August 25th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Gergen: Kennedy changes story line

Teddy Kennedy has finally brought this convention to life - and sent the first powerful message to the country.

This is conventioneering at its best - a moving tribute by the daughter of John Kennedy, an excellent film, and a courageous, inspiring speech by Senator Kennedy.

Finally, the Democrats have started to frame the message they want out of the convention - that America faces a huge choice this fall. The Republicans will have their own version of that choice, of course, but now the Democrats have a chance to put it in their own terms, and that is what Kennedy accomplished.

Moreover, he started to change the story line of this convention - that it is all about Obama versus the Clintons. Teddy reminded viewers that Democrats represent a much bigger family. At the very least, it is a party not only of the Clintons and Obama but also a party of the Kennedys. In that sense, he can be a much-needed healing force for the Democrats, bringing them out more unified.

The Republicans will vigorously contest much of what Kennedy said, as they should ... but for now, a lot of Democrats can come out of tonight with a battle cry, "Let's Win This One for Teddy!"

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Beth

    I am deeply offended with Gergen's comments about the Democrats not going on the attack the first night. Gergen sold his soul to advise every president and look at the country. Truth is Obama and the Democrats refuse to do business as usual. That is why Gergen and the Clinton die hearts are on the outside looking in. Its time for change including Gergen's analysis through the same old lens.

    August 25, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Barbara Weyrauch

    We turn the TV on to hear the speakers–not the commentators. If you have to take a break, take it between speakers and keep the commentators quiet. No one is interested in their take on the speech we can't hear.

    August 25, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. Pat

    I always watch CNN but went channel surfing because the hosts were talking during the speach presentations.
    I am now watching the rest of the convention on tvone.
    I can not believe you are talking over the speakers.

    August 25, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  4. Mary Garlick

    I wish the commentators would SHUT UP so we can hear the speakers. Coverage is supposed to be unfiltered and uninterrupted, so save your remarks until the speaker is finished – it's called courtesy!!

    August 25, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  5. Dave

    John McCain seems respectable to be our next president. Barack Obama just seems to be a celebrity for entertainment.

    August 25, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. mike FL

    Please ... shut your traps.. CNN is becoming a useless channel for politics...

    The networks did not start airing the DNC until 10:00PM EST.

    Suggestion... Fire all your pathetic strategists and hire some regular folk. At least they would be honest..

    August 25, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. betty

    This has been as about as exciting as doing the Dinner Dishes!! If Obama thinks using a washed up Kennedy, along with some of these other Boring People, is going to make him President, He's even more Disillusioned than i thought!! I,m sure the Mrs. is Really, Really Proud tonight!!

    August 25, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    .Why are Blitzer and Gergen so NEGATIVE????????????
    I'M going to switch to NPR so I can get decent coverage without all the criticism. Let the Democrats have their Olympic moments!!


    August 25, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. Betty

    Dave – you've been smoking something stronger than a legal cigarette.

    Respectable? McWarmonger offered his 50 something year old wife up for a topless Buffalo Chip contest. Respectable? NO

    His attitude toward little people and WOMEN is dispicable!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  10. Betty


    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Dave – you've been smoking something stronger than a legal cigarette.

    Respectable? McWarmonger offered his 50 something year old wife up for a topless Buffalo Chip contest. Respectable? NO

    His attitude toward little people and WOMEN is dispicable!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  11. KenG

    This is why I watch MSNBC and listen to NPR much more often than watch CNN now. I miss the CNN of old that would report the news and didn't commentate the news. At least MSNBC's commentators are balanced with Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan.

    August 25, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. achala


    although i generally respect your commentary, the CNN coverage has been pathetic. The media gives itself too much power, Instead of covering the convention, you are presenting your opinions, without much thought or self-criticism. Think before you speak. It would do a great service to the country..


    August 25, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. lila

    Obama is one of us.

    August 25, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. Stephen in Red Bluff

    Don't you wish you had CNN's phone number so you could call the on-air "talent" and tell them to get a clue??

    August 25, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Former McCain Constituent

    The Kennedy family has been royalty to the Democratic party for my entire lifetime. Edward Moore Kennedy did what royalty should always do...he reminded people that there are issues facing the country bigger than the individuals who are in a fight. He told Democrats what we are really fighting for, that the fight is worth it and that it must be won. Thank you, Uncle Teddy.

    August 25, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  16. Denise

    I only saw part of it, and his speech had me almost in tears

    August 25, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  17. Susan

    A friend told me to watch Public Television after I couldn't stand your reporting anymore??? – I am so happy – what a wonderful, refreshing change from your biased opinions!!! I am from Canada and find that your media seem to be running and distorting the elections: in fact I think you will elect the next president – How democratic is that??? I think you are not reporting news but competing with National Enquirer – Good Job?? P.S. You don't know how to to tell people that they have done a good job- you just want to criticize!!

    August 25, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  18. Change, where ?

    where is the change ??
    Same old Washington politics and insiders, Obama is surrounded by.

    August 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  19. Cathy in MD

    Senator Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy ... They're the real deal. They shine brilliantly without the need to take from and diminish the brilliance of Obama. The Clintons are no Kennedys, but maybe they can learn from them.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  20. Pat_Pinehurst NC

    Pretty soon Blitzer won't be able to say "the best political team" anymore. Everyone at CNN is sounding negative. If you're not connecting to the message, you don't know what we're talking about at our kitchen tables and perhaps it's time for a "change" in political analysists.

    August 25, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. Patricia

    Usually I agree with Gergen. I don't know where he is coming from tonight. CNN seems to have changed their commentary. I felt like so many of the commentators were heavily pulling for the Republicans.

    August 26, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  22. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Ted is not JFK, he is a "Don't ask what you can do for your country, but ask what your country can do for you!" Progressive = European Socialism and a Welfare State which is Obama's and Teddy's agenda.
    The democratic left showed they are the heart of the democratic party!

    August 26, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  23. John Fitz

    Ted Kennedys speech moved me to tears.This man is a genius.I prayed to God that HE heals him becuase his genius and leadership is still so required in the US.People of his calibre (such as Obama) are rare and they come once in a lifetime.The sad thing is that some folks will never realise the true value of something until it is gone or forgone...Vote for Inspired for Obama/biden

    August 26, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
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