August 28th, 2008
08:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Gergen: Some thoughts as we wait for Obama

The scene at Invesco Field in Denver.

The scene at Invesco Field in Denver.

As we await the acceptance address tonight, a few quick thoughts:

- This is indeed an historic occasion as an African American becomes the nominee of a major political party, and there is good reason for all Americans - not just Democrats - to celebrate the racial progress we have seen. But I also believe that Martin Luther King Jr. would be the first to tell us that we have still not reached the day when we look beyond the color of one's skin and instead look to the content of their character. To me, one of the biggest questions of this campaign is how many votes Obama may lose because he is black. (to be fair, he will also win some votes because he is black). From my perspective, it is impossible to measure right now. One top GOP strategist told me privately that he thinks it will cost Obama 4-6 points nationally. That sounds very high to me. But I am very curious what you think.

Watch: Gore says Obama is a chance for a new beginning

- So far, my sense is that this convention has been very helpful to Obama and the Democrats. The party finally seemed to come together last night, and much of the credit belongs to both Clintons. At a moment of personal pain, they put a smile on their faces and came out four-square for Obama. To be sure, there have been a lot of hours spent early each night without much of significance occurring (why not shorten these conventions to two nights?), but the closing hour to an hour and a half each night has been highly successful - a series of first class speeches by Michelle Obama and the two Clintons. Too early yet to measure the political impact, but Gallup tracking is reporting tonight that so far– half-way through last night - Obama has enjoyed a 6 point bounce. We'll see. Curious again about your view.

Watch: Lewis: 'We stil have a dream'

- In the meantime, we are also awaiting the Republicans. There are several signs tonight that John McCain may be choosing Tim Pawlenty as his running mate. We will all have a lot to say about that if it occurs - strikes me as a "safe" choice (popular 2nd term governor of Minnesota, social conservative, blue collar roots) but if the Republicans believe that a key requirement for going to the White House is whether you are "ready" to be commander in chief, the question arises: Pawlenty? What do you think. (Please know that other names are floating wildly and that there is some talk that John McCain may wish to postpone the convention if the storm grows in the Gulf).

Here comes Al Gore, so will leave things here. But again, would welcome your thoughts.

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Wayne, Maryland

    Why is the media perpetuating the notion that Barack is the first African-American nominee? He is not. He is the first multi-racial candidate. Is it not pejorative to play into the historical aspect of this country that if part of you is "black" then you are "black." This does not disavow his African heritage but, rather, to lift up the fulness of who he is because of his multi-racial heritage and the potential that it holds to speak to the broad spectrum that is this nation.

    August 28, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. sarah1

    dear david, please stop complimenting the clintons. the zealots who have been relentlessly pushing obama on the rest of us dems hate the clintons and will miss no opportunity to bash them. if you mention them in any favorable way the zealots will rush in and immediately trash both sen. and former pres. clinton with a vicious and poisonous hatred that is deeply offensive and disturbing. so please just leave those two fine people alone.

    August 28, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. Kelly

    No Hillary = No Obama August 28th, 2008 8:57 pm ET

    It's more like waiting for Godot. This is ridiculous. What a contrived and inflated nominee. Exploiting MLK Jr. legacy to try and create his own. MLK was a martyr for the cause, not a rock star. MLK was the real deal, a true hero, not a media created one. He earned his spurs, he walked the talk. He had a dream – Obama has an ego need.


    August 28, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  4. Bob

    on a hundred acre farm , just outside of town , my ol dog was a barking , barking real loud , with big sad eyes , all he was trying to say, was don't vote for obama , be happy another day , with a wag of his tail , he let out one last holler , say don't vote for obama , he gonna take your last dollar ....

    August 28, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. Bob

    Fiesco field is all set up in style , to have Obama come out with a big , big , smile . All that's going to happen is like big ears flapping in the wind , he going to come out and Holler " CHANGE " again ..

    August 28, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Sandy

    Carlo, don't let those who jumped ship fustrate you. It just goes to show they were never a Dem in the first place and that we know the true nature of their judgement.

    August 28, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Carolina Girl

    well said Rose, my thoughts exactly..

    August 28, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  8. miker

    Mccain in '08 and Hillary in 2012, its ok to cross the line and vote republican this time.

    August 28, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. American First

    Martin Luther King said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Wake up people and listen to what brother Martin really said.

    To vote for a man just because of the color of his skin is just as racist as voting against a man because of the color of his skin.

    I will vote against Obama because of his character and lack of real national experience.

    August 28, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. andrea

    jordan, i canNOT agree with you more. it is a sad state of our country. i grew up in northern minnesota and encountered many that would vote dem. just because it was traditionally dem. i find the race issue no different. i will vote for whomever i best think will lead our country. northern mn is traditionally white and if anyone from another race came into our community, god forbid. i think it was really ironic since much of that area was based on a melting pot of people immigrating from northern europe and of different backgrounds. i am ready for change. i want someone to lead our country and do so in a good way. my only comment would be for all to get out and vote!

    August 28, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  11. LOL

    For a race that's NOT about race, it's certainly ABOUT race!!!

    ...seems like a Soul Train convention!!

    Go McCain!

    The music, the backdrop, the audience, LOL

    August 28, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. Bob

    Focus-- Repub-li-sons --the Democraps want you too ......1st... air up your tires , 2nd.... drive down to the cow Poop farm , and catch cow poop gas ...3rd.... turn stinking cow poop gas into electricity ....4th....... get on your battery powered tractor to plow fields 30 minutes at a time before Recharging batteries ...5th for higher gas probably 5.00 gal ....6th..... with no drilling equals less supply higher oil and gas .............Focus....FOCUS....Repub-li-sons

    August 28, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. R. Douglas

    My thoughts are this will be a historical event, when the final vote is counted. I believe it will be a "landslide", for Barack Obama.
    I'm a 76 year old white male, having seen the black and white drinking fountains, the sign in the street cars and city busses that said "blacks sit in the back three rows"; and the white only rest rooms.
    What we are seeing her in our lifetime, is a happening,
    of perhaps "Biblical" preportions.
    I'm proud to be an American, and proud to be able to vote in a free country, especially proud to be able to vote for a black man, without any recriminations.

    August 28, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. LOL

    Obama is a loser!

    Obama is an empty suit!

    Go McCain!

    Obama is all about Me, Mine and I, can you say Super ego?

    August 28, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. Susan, Albuquerque, NM

    Having lived in Minnesota for 14 years, including the Pawlenty years, he as a VP pick just shows McCain's lacking in judicious decisions. Pawlenty, picked as his L. Governor, Carol Molnau, as well as her as the MNDOT transportation secretary, without any experience for either job. We all know what happened on August 1 in Minneapolis. I was there, too. Molnau was ousted in early 2008 for her "running" of MNDOT. She still stands as L.Gov, but just knowing that Pawlenty picked her for both these roles, in addition to his handling of the Minnesota government during the past eight years, would be of a great detriment to the United States if he were to be Vice President. This man has no foreign policy experience, lacks judicial financial sense – Minnesota was flush with money for years prior to his elections. It is now in debt, much like the US had a surplus prior to the Bush years, and now has a huge deficit. I feel very sad for the Minnesota people if that woman becomes their governor, and extremely upset if McCain and his VP win this election. I moved to the desert Southwest, having tired of Minnesota winters, but Canada is still not out of mind, yet, for the coming years.

    August 28, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. Jay from New Jersey

    Sadly, even if he is unknown, Pawlenty is more ready than Obama.

    August 28, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  17. Canadian Cate

    Can one say it's definately time – has been for awhile that a "minority" of any ilk should be elected, just NOT THIS ONE – and if not, WHY NOT?

    August 28, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  18. Observation


    I will tell you this, from reading these blogs, McCain is in trouble for November, in light of Obama's race.

    August 28, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  19. Franky

    "One top GOP strategist told me privately that he thinks it will cost Obama 4-6 points nationally."

    Man, that seems little. Plus, I can show you the numbers to what believe it will cost him. We got it at 8-10 points nationally. That's a lot compared to what the Strategist said. But shhhhhh, I wasn't supposed to tell you that...

    Ohh what the heck, if the boys aren't ready, I'll give you more numbers, LOL!!

    August 28, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. LOL

    That long blue carpet...will soon be known as the walk of shame!!!

    August 28, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. Katerina

    I enjoy what I believe is your unbiased view of both parties. I would hope it is less than 6% of americans who would not vote for a person of a different race. I know there is racism in the US, it is alive and just as evil as ever.
    I think the Doric columns are fitting since Greece is the birthplace of democracy. I know a good number of Obama"s "foot soldiers" are there tonight. We have worked long and hard during the campaign as volunteers. This is our night also.

    August 28, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. Winona Hearn

    it is exciting to me to see the interest the young people have for this Democratic convention. I am 83 years old and I would be there if I could move around a little better on bleachers and steps. It is time for a change and I think Obama and Biden make an excellent team. I was pushing for Hillary but I am willing to go with her advice and support Barack Obama. The mountains will be moved if we have faith. I believe in our young people and they will take control and know a good leader who is before us now. God bless America.

    August 28, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  23. Kamasri

    Mr. gergen,
    would you please tell me why no one is talking about John Mccain's temper. Do americans want a Commander in chief who is quite likely to make rash, impulsive decisions? How will he deal with the other national leaders? It is in my view a obligation for the media to report on this personal flaw of a candidate. The risks are enormous. I hope i get to read one of your commentary on this subject.

    August 28, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Creeptree

    Thanks for sharing, Dave. Is that top GOP strategist the same one who organised the Iraq war? Pawlenty has a silly name that will prove more off-putting than McCain's age I think. Poor judgement from Caino.

    August 28, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Pamela

    As an educated 50 year old voter who is less concerned with the party affiliation and more concerned with the person (regardless of race, gender, creed, or color), I care most about their experience, values, and ideology. So I am in between a rock and a hard place with the two deficient choices we have now. What scares me most is the pathological level of narcissistic personalities both candidates possess (then add the Clintons' into the mix who are both high-level narcissists) and it seems like our country is doomed by leaders who care only about gratifying their own needs for adulation and gratification. And although I won't vote for Obama (since I don't think it's wise to promise "free" health care and a "free" college education to a nation filled with obese gluttons, smokers, self-imposed diabetics, illegal immigrants, and people who don't want to go to college, etc.), I will commend Obama on making a wise choice with Senator Biden and I hope McCain will do well in his VP choice by not choosing Romney or Pawlenty. Why aren't they talking about reducing the outrageous amount of money spent on "pork" and reforming the system to reduce waste? Medicare fraud, tax fraud, and so on are all issues that need to be addressed yet all the Democrats talk about is spend, spend, and spend – sadly the people of this country don't realize that ultimately, all of this "free" help the Dems want to give us comes out of our paychecks......God help us.....

    August 28, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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