A few memorable convention moments
August 22nd, 2012
03:09 PM ET
2 years ago

A few memorable convention moments

(CNN) – The political party conventions are considered a kickoff to the presidential election season - though the campaign has been going on for months, summer is winding down and Americans are beginning to pay closer attention to the race for the White House.

The conventions have served as a launching pad for future political stars like Barack Obama in 2004 and Sarah Palin in 2008. And from the convention stages came some memorable political speeches – sometimes regrettably memorable from the speaker’s point of view, as in the case of George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips…” promise.

Here’s a look back at some of memorable speeches. What’s your most memorable speech? Add yours to the comments below.

2008: Palin goes on the attack

Using punchy rhetoric, John McCain’s surprise choice of running mate Sarah Palin went after then-Sen. Barack Obama in her first speech on a national stage.

Playing off of Bill Clinton's "soccer mom," voting bloc in 1996, the then-Alaska governor called herself a “hockey mom.”

"You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" she asked the crowd at the 2008 RNC. "Lipstick."

2004: Obama's breakout moment

Barack Obama, then a little-known Illinois state senator, to the top tier of Democratic politics when he showed off his oratorical skills in this rousing speech that was aimed at divisive politics - Obama famously talked of one America uniting red and blue states, "...there is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is a United States of America."

1988: Richards takes aim at Bush

In 1988, Ann Richards, was Texas’ state treasurer and another Democratic rising star when lambasted George H.W. Bush, Reagan’s vice president who was running to replace him at the end of his second term.

Richards pointed to the privileged Bush’s lack of concern for everyday Americans - until he was running for office – and his gift for gaffes: "Poor George, he can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Richards was later elected governor of Texas but was defeated in her bid for re-election by Bush’s son George W. Bush.

1988: 'Read my lips, no new taxes'

Although Bush, then Ronald Reagan’s vice president, was not new to the national stage, his speech the night he accepted the 1988 Republican nomination for president made history.

The line written by Peggy Noonan, "Read my lips, 'No new taxes,'" came back to haunt him in his re-election bid.

Two years after making his pledge, Bush raised taxes as a part of a budget agreement. His 1992 Democratic opponent, Bill Clinton, made hay of Bush’s miscalculation.

1984: ‘A tale of two cities’

In running for president four years earlier, Ronald Reagan called the U.S. a “shining city on a hill.” But then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who was viewed by Democrats as a rising star, disputed Reagan’s view of America.

As Reagan was running for re-election, Cuomo told delegates at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, “A shining city is perhaps all the president sees from a portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch where everyone seems to be doing well. But there’s another city – there’s another part to the shining city….In this part of the city there are more poor than ever…there is despair…”

Mr. President, you ought to know, this nation is a tale of two cities…”

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. 8.3% unemployment - Over 8% 42 Straight months and the Obama Jobs DEPRESSION continues unabated

    Barack Obama, then a little-known Illinois state senator, to the top tier of Democratic politics when he showed off his oratorical skills in this rousing speech that was aimed at divisive politics – Obama famously talked of one America uniting red and blue states, "...there is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is a United States of America."
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    And so the loooong trail of lies and deceit started... Little did the country know then what it does now, Obama's ONLY skill was his oratorical skill. Now they realize the suit is simply empty. Thanks for the scam Democrats. 4 years down the tubes.

    August 22, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Four years ago,Snooki Palin lied up a storm just like Alfalfa(lyin)Ryan does now. Americans are ignoring the twit and he like they shut out Snooki.

    August 22, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. Expat American

    I think Palin’s speech at the 2008 GOP SS Rally was historical.

    I watched it on TV and remember seeing a convention hall full of young but mostly old angry whites cheering on the bumbling fragmented speech of a hopelessly unintelligent individual.

    Palin’s speech kept the world abroad laughing at the GOP well past Election Day and still laughing today.

    August 22, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    8.3% – You have posted enough of your right wingnut lies for today. Now go back and sit on Hannity's lap, and get your dog biscuit.

    August 22, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Another Ex-Republican

    @Wire Palladin: thank you, 8.3% has a lot of problems.

    August 22, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |