August 28th, 2008
11:15 PM ET
3 years ago

Amy Holmes: Obama hits right notes

Michelle Obama joined Barack on stage Thursday after his speech.
Michelle Obama joined Barack on stage Thursday after his speech.

As a former speechwriter for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, I heard some very important things that Barack Obama needed to include in his speech tonight.

He personalized, he humanized, he dramatized - that is so important for the listener and viewer to be able to connect with the person who is speaking.

Watch: Fireworks for the Democratic ticket

He also tried to turn the tables on John McCain by characterizing him as out of touch with most Americans' values - he's the one who is the elite, he's the person that is the greater risk in this election. And I thought that was an interesting way to try to take those attacks and turn them on his opponent.

He also attempted to move toward the middle ground - he talked about personal responsibility, that's typically something that conservatives and Republicans talk a lot about. And he also talked about "American exceptionalism" - I heard a lot of "we are the best hope for the world" - and again that's something that Republicans and conservatives talk a lot about.

Tonight, Barack Obama was saying the Democrats can own that too.

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. RRE

    boring...his speech was boring...Hillary in 2012.

    August 29, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  2. RRE

    dont you love militant michelle ...she would be a great first lady..NOT... she would be the worst first lady in history..can you image...not me...go HILLARY in 2012

    August 29, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  3. Anonymous

    For the first time in my life, I have been following the political scene this year and I have been fascinated by the entire process. This has been a historical moment for all people but for some reason even the pundits can't leave the negative comments to experience the history that has unfold today. I think the problem we are having with all of this is that no one but Barack could see this outcome at the beginning of his journey. No one can believe he has been so masterful in running such an awesome campaign. One keep hearing about his lack of experience but for someone without experience has been able to out plan, out think, out organize, out smart, out raise all of the most experience. If his campaigning ability is any indication of how he will run our country I am on board. However, I am not convinced Barack will be successful in becoming our Next United States president because the reason folks are verbalizing for not supporting Barack is not the real he will not receive their votes. I pray that even though folks are not being honest publicly they will be honest with themselves. I would like to Congratulate Barack on a superb campaign and a job well done. Even if he does not become president it has been a wonderful day for AMERICA.

    August 29, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  4. Antoine

    Corrections to my last post:

    In my first sentence, no should be on. In reference to the Little Rock comment, I was refering to the integration of the school system in Arkansas after Brown v. Board of Topeka. In my last statement, I am requesting that Griff keep his racist comments confined to the back quadrants of his tiny brain. Thanks.

    August 29, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  5. Fred

    Not a right note with me. I still can't figure out how a half white, half black man can be considered an African American that is the first African American to be nominated to run for president on the Democratic Ticket.
    Please explain this to me. White mother , Black father. How do you
    compare this man to African American? How can you say this is a
    historic moment? Were do you people come up with this. Yes a mixed
    race man was nominated to run for president on the Democratic ticked, but he is know way African American.

    August 29, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  6. Thanks, But No Thanks

    Obama/Biden 08. To all the democrats/Obama supports, this is truly our moment to be proud of the democratic ticket for this 2008 election. He knocked it out of the park.... what a great week for the
    Democrats.

    YOU GO OBAMA/BIDEN !!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  7. RRE

    the only change Obama bring is racism...because that is all he has... so figure it out America..we can not afford to have another Bush..Obama is another Bush but a different color... Hillary in 2012

    August 29, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  8. RRE

    WAKE UP AMERICAN NO OBAMA PLEASE...THIS IS NOT OUR TIME..HILLARY IN 2012

    August 29, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  9. Raffi

    He did that and superbly. More power to him. We are in days of prosperty and health,

    August 29, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  10. Megan

    Mccain is Bush! Just another war munger looking to take over more oil! And to do so he is using your money and your troops, and what do you get in return. You get to watch the big guys with the big money get tax breaks, you get to watch them get health care, and you get to watch them get any kind of education they want. It's funny that there are still some people that like to watch. Keep supporting Mccain and that's all you'll ever do, is just watch! I would have thought every American would want what the rich and elite have. Unless of course you are listed under the rich and elite. IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! VOTE BARACK OBAMA!!

    August 29, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  11. Julie in California

    Right on the money. Congratulations to all at CNN for your analysis on Obama's speech–it was indeed a masterpiece.

    August 29, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  12. Peter (CA)

    The haters got to get over themselves. They will always come up with some lame excuse won't they?

    If you're still unsure, then watch the debates. But, then you have to make the choice. Seriously, who EVER has the experience to be President? Who is arrogant enough to believe that they know how to do that job? Obama has been in elected office longer than Bush was governor of Texas and, as someone has pointed out, longer than Reagan was governor of California.

    He is smart, he ideas, and he knows how to draft the right people to make them work, Wow, someone who tries to make things work. I know that is a novel concept for the right-wingers but give it a chance.

    August 29, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  13. K of TX

    Although your article was a bit begrudging in your compliments for what was an obviously brilliant and excellently delivered speech, I do take into account that you are a Republican or right-leaning Independent. I thought this speech was the best he has given yet solely because it has nothing that his opposition can encroach upon with any credibility. Simply put, he showed he is able to vehemently disagree with John McCain WITHOUT demonizing him and debasing himself. Brilliant...

    Obama/Biden '08

    August 29, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  14. Chris

    I am always impressed by how good he is with the teleprompter. That quick jolt from the left one to the right one has this intensity behind it. Really exiting, actually.

    Hopefully he'll have a teleprompter with him at all times, though, or we might end up seeing who the man really is.

    August 29, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  15. rusty long

    Obama showed the country a lot tonight. Anyone who was not impressed with his speech were never going to be convinced anyway. But, Barack made his claim tonight, and basically offered America a real choice. Hope, against cynicism. Take your pick. I'll take hope any day. And to those who try to claim he was not specific, well, you were not even listening, were you.

    August 29, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  16. sandra-california

    NO WAY-NO HOW-NO OBAMA, READING A TELE A PROMTER, DOES NOT MAKE YOU READY TO LEAD!

    August 29, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  17. Colleen Klug

    I feel the faint stirrings of hope…we need Obama, Biden, Clinton(s), and everyone to keep the momentum going..and take back our country from the pillagers who have controlled it's future for too long…
    go-bama!

    August 29, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  18. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Experience is overrated.

    Sound judgement and temperament is what is most important.

    George Bush had "experience".

    August 29, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  19. MAGNIFICENT SPEECH!!!

    Senator Obama gave the most important speeche of his politicial career!! He hit all points WITH CLARITY AND PRECISION, and LAID OUT HIS POLICIES VERY CLEARLY. From the economy, foreign policy, education, and social security, to the TWO wars, our troops, terrorism, immigration, jobs leaving the U.S.A., government responsibiilty and our responsibility, international diplomacy, and last but NOT LEAST, how out of touch McCain really is with the economy and his lack of judgment, Senator Obama was spot on!!! "McCain's no maverick, he's a sidekick!!"

    August 29, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  20. Slider

    Obama said, "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives."

    Tell you what Barack, when John McCain takes the oath of office, his first act ought to be to conscript you into the Army, put a rifle in your hands, and order you to lead the charge into the cave.

    It'll be the first thing you've ever done for the armed services. Hell, why stop there; it'll be the first thing you've ever done for America.

    You can take your buddy, Ayers, too.

    August 29, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  21. GO BAMA

    enough with the life experience already-
    there is such a thing as natural talent.

    McCain has been around for 71 years and he still sux.

    Cheney worked for Nixon and his experience merely turned him into Darth Cheney.

    Let's give this country the new exciting push it needs....

    get out of the rut guys!

    obama/biden!

    August 29, 2008 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  22. Scott of Sydney

    Great speech. Speaks to the world of what USA should be. I bet the Republicans were apprehensive at all those text messages.

    August 29, 2008 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  23. Sam

    Honeybee58:

    Actually, as I understand it, Obama wrote his own speech tonight. It was glorious.

    August 29, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  24. Anonymous

    One question, the mess our country is in today, is it because of experience? If experience is the reason why Bush and Cheney has been so successful then perhaps we should vote for a novice because no one with or without experience can be worst that these two. McCain may have experience whatever the definition of experience is but, I question his cognitive skills or he seem to have a labile personality in that he is unpredictable. For some reason he thinks one answer is sufficient for a variety of questions. When he is evasive in answering questions is it because he does not know or is it because he can not remember. This question is much more serious to me than inexperience. One thing we know about Barack is he has surrounding himself with some brilliant folks. He has manage to outwit quite a few experienced candidates. So can we conclude that even though he may not have all of this experience McCain, Bush or Cheney his IQ is greater than the sum of the 3.

    August 29, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  25. A M

    WOW – What an incredible speech!!! It had character, substance, hit all the issues – and brought them home.

    August 29, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
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