August 28th, 2008
11:38 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: A political masterpiece

,
CNN

Watch Obama says the country is better than what it has gotten the past four years.

I imagine that lots of you out there remain fierce critics of Barack Obama. Next week Republicans will legitimately debate and challenge many of his ideas, especially about his call for a more activist government. It will be fascinating now when John McCain and Obama meet in debates.

But for this moment and for this purpose, I saw Obama's speech tonight as a political masterpiece. As I had a chance to say on CNN a few moments ago, it was in many ways less a speech than a symphony. I also sensed that we saw tonight an Obama who is growing into a new, more mature leader - stronger, tougher, harder-hitting than he had appeared only a few weeks ago.

Watch: 'Our work won't be easy,' Obama says

Whether Obama will win this Novemember or not is still very unclear, but if he does, I imagine we may look back and say this was a major turning point.

Many of you, I know, will disagree. From all of you, I would welcome your thoughts - you, after all, are the voters who will actually decide the fate of the country.

soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Julie McCamish

    David, I totally agree with you. I'm a Democrat though so they didn't have to convert me. I'm an Australian with dual citizenship (US through birth) and thus will be watching the election from afar. I'm following what I can all over the net and watching what my cable TV's CNN channel will show (we don't automatically get the US CNN feed). I pray that this chance for renewal will actually work this time but I will have to watch from afar. Keep up the good work, CNN!

    August 28, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. Gina

    Obama's speech was very powerfull. He did more than good. I feel better about my grandkids' future, knowing that we are going to elect Barack Obama in November. I am very proud that he has chosen not to cut down McCain as a person, and instead cut down his policies. I am tired of dirty politics, which include lies and half truths about Obama that has circulated in the news and email. Tonight was a major turning point. I believe Obama will win in November.

    August 28, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  3. mathew

    He called out to Mccain for a debate during summer too my friends and when Mccain took obama to his words we all know what happened. And today he called him out again. also he said GOP belives in ownership ideas but he and the dems think government need to take care of people. in other words welfare. well i think USA doent want to be the next Europe. or do we. Mccain is not Bush there was not a Bush Mccain Administration. Mccain will tell you what he really thinks and will do. not like "the one" who will say what ever is needed according to the polls. Obamas VP is a senator for 35 years is that change? he used the same words moving rational words to tell you how elections should be funded and how he stands for public financing and we all know how that turned out.. its all words you say to people who are desperate, to make them do what ever you want them to do. please Americans spend some time and think…

    August 28, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. Susan

    I think that Obama's speech was fabulous; I think that America (indeed, the world) is most fortunate to have a man of such high caliber even consider running for office. I predict that he will win and that he will be an excellent president!!

    August 28, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  5. Bruce Davis

    Obama is not running against John McCain: he is running against Karl Rove. We learned that lesson years ago in Texas.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  6. Eugene

    The ball is in McCain's court. This week showed a tough act for the Republicans to follow.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  7. DJ

    I was a supporter of Hillary, but tonight, I am 100% behind Obama. For the first time in years, I am proud to be an American1

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  8. Peter from Michigan

    I know already what McCain and the Republicans will do:
    Complaining, complaining and complaining, endlessly complaining.
    Due to having no record worth mentioning from their last eight years, they are poised to stick with creating a circus and derive attention from themselves.
    They are poised to be stuck in endless negativity and that will defeat them, because people are so so so sick of negativity and fear-mongering!

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. michael white

    I think you're right, David. I found myself really caught off guard by the directness and by the way the whole thing worked on my. He managed a very straight delivery at times in a way which evoked King's stark yet beautiful manner of speaking. (I'm thinking about the "follow him to the cave" line). I'm a big Obama supporter, but I imagine this speech will cause ripple effects throughout the . . . well, I think it's very fair to say the world.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  10. huey

    AFTER WATCHING THE DNC CONVENTION, I SKIMMED PAST NBC NEWS, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING SENATOR OBAMA'S SPEECH, TOM BROKAW HAD THE AUDACITY TO COMPARE SENATOR OBAMA'S SPEECH TO THAT OF VERGIL TIBBS "IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT!!!." ARE U KIDDING ME...I WILL NEVER WATCH NBC AGAIN. THIS WAS A SPEECH THAT SHOULD BE COMPARED TO DR. KING'S "MOUNTAIN TOP" SPEEDCH. OR PRESIDENT KENNEDYS' "WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY SPEECH"...HOW DARE TOM BROKAW CAMPARE THIS TO A FICTICIOUS TV SERIES CHARACTER!!! WHAT KINDA STATION IS THIS?

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  11. Robert in CT

    I thought it was amazing too.

    Additionally:

    Regarding McCain's ad
    ,
    One condescending "I'm nice ad" does not erase two months of relentless negative attacks and cultural warfare advertising.

    Senator McCain, America does not appreciate you maligning the patriotism of another wonderful senator of our great country.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  12. nick

    Right on. This is our generation's moment. These opportunities come once in a century. This guy will be the best President since Lincoln.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Deb

    In 53 years the best speech I have ever heard.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. Katrina

    I am afraid , I disagree.., speech didn't offer anything new and certainly left you wondering how he would pay for all that he promised.
    Increase spending and yet reduce taxes doesn't add up.
    The convention was an Obama love fest and Democratic speakers failed to address the real issues , they failed to deliver.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. David, Silver Spring MD

    Obama took the fight to McCain in a way I suspect McCain and his camp never expected. I was at first surprised, almost shocked at the turn; but soon I was cheering the aggressive, straightforward confrontation of McCain.

    Obama was also very detail-oriented, something many apparently wanted.

    For me, though, I know that the world can change in ways none of us can predict. As a result, a speech like this, grounded in the details of the day, can grow outdated very quickly.

    And for that reason, I really look forward to Obama's inauguration address. There, no longer constrained by the needs of the campaign, Obama can speak to the higher themes that can motivate the nation come what may, rather than the particulars of proposed legislation or the strengths or shortcomings of particular politicians.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. Dave Hansen

    Well, I see from this and previous reports that David Gergen is pushing for job for another President. He doesn't care whether its a Republican or a Democrat. He just wants to to work for them. I looked up the term "lap dog" in the dictionary. Yes, you guessed it. Gergens picture was there. Gergen you are the same unprincipled person now that I knew in Washington.

    August 28, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  17. Barbara Ewing

    David,
    I agree with you. So good to have an analyst of your stature and background responding so positively to the Obama presentation.
    He said "This isn't about me. It's about you." and the 75,000 in the
    stadium represented all of us out here cheering for him. I'm 73, always a
    Democrat, but contributing to a political campaign for the first time.
    He's energizing us.
    Barbara, Houston, Texas

    August 28, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  18. Joel

    A masterpiece indeed.

    As the camera focused upon the different expressions on the faces of those in attendance I immediately felt a sense of joy and pain. While I observed the joy from the belief in change in the eyes of some of the men and women in the crowd I could also detect pain from the fear of failure.

    "Change doesn't come from Washington, It comes to Washington"
    – Barack Obama August 28, 2008

    August 28, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
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