August 25th, 2008
11:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Gergen: Michelle Obama rescued the night

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Michelle Obama rescued the night, Gergen says. "]The Democrats should be enormously grateful to Michelle Obama: after a very slow start to the convention, punctuated by a moving tribute to Teddy Kennedy and his own rousing speech, the first evening was in danger of becoming an entirely lost opportunity. But Michelle rescued it.

She was extraordinary, talking in ways that were both conversational - always welcome in people's living room - but also inspiring. She spoke in ways that reached out to people of all backgrounds. Democrats should be both proud and grateful.

It is impossible to know whether how many people will accept her message. To a significant degree, that is of course because she represents such a departure from the traditional order of things in America. She represents a new future - of women who are not only devoted mothers and wives but also highly educated, caring people ... and, yes, African-Americans, Hispanics, and people of many diferent backgrounds. One day the country will be there. Is it prepared to be there now? I'm frankly not sure. We are living through one of the most important chapters in the American story

soundoff (483 Responses)
  1. Mz

    Seemed to me that the talking heads just wanted to focus on the keynote speeches. And then came the criticism FROM THE SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE about how there wasn't enough "red meat". To ignore Nancy Pelosi and Claire McCaskill's speeches was unforgivable................

    August 26, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  2. Ricardo Phillips of DC

    First Lady you are well on your way. Nice to know that there are women whom will stick by their husbands through the struggle for a better tomorrow even while his head is in the clouds. Time to move on for America. Bring the American people what they want. " Change in the White House".

    August 26, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  3. Todd

    Michelle Obama proved she is every bit the speaker that her husband is. She was eloquent, graceful, humble, and inspiring, without sounding rehearsed. Clearly she loves this country and her family. I wish the media would have made it clear that, when she said she was "proud of her country for the first time," she was talking about the amazing voter turnout, not the country in general. She will make an outstanding First Lady.

    August 26, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  4. Peter

    Michael’s speech was inspiring and was one that the audience could relate to. The message was indeed communicated and it was communicated well. She did a good job at making Day 1 of the Democratic National Convection a memorable one.

    August 26, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  5. Dan

    CNN shouldn't be so critical of the Democrats first night after their own flop on Sunday night. Who's decision was it to be on the convention floor while the house band rehearsed? The music was so loud no one could hear the commentators, yet they continued on script. It looked like they thought if they pretended not to hear the music, we wouldn't either! AC mentioned in at first before he realized it would continue to plague the whole broadcast. Wolf looked oblivious – perhaps even tapping his feet awhile proclaiming it was "good music."

    The best political team on television? Perhaps. But they all looked like ostrichs on Sunday evening.

    August 26, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  6. Birdie

    For someone who has followed CNN for years to get, what I felt, was some of the best news coverage and analysis across the globe, I am disappointed and sadened by the biased, myopic and majorly anti-Obama stance CNN has begun to take of late.

    Take a good hard look at yourselves.

    There is a new world order taking shape. The role the US will play in that largely depends on the kind of leader you elect .

    May you cover with wisdom and not the baggage of prejudice.

    August 26, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  7. Perusing-through

    I hope things have not gotten so bad at CNN that I have to go to FAUX News for "Fair & Balance" reporting. MEANING => => Is there any reason CNN is constantly running McCain's negative attack ads even before McCain run the ads in the states they were meant to run in. There is something fishy, unethical and substandard about this. When you do this its like you are directly campaigning for McCain by running his negative ads again & again "FOR FREE", even before McCain's ads run in the states for which they were meant.


    August 26, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  8. Dylan Los Angeles

    No coverage of Jesse Jackson, Jr? Great young speaker that didn't even get a wiff of coverage except for CSPAN.

    August 26, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  9. The Truth

    I agree, it was CNN who missed the opportunity to cover. Way too much premature analysis. I wanted to see and experience the convention for myself in realtime. I didn't wanted to hear all these opinions during the convention. You could have weighed in when it was all over (or between speakers). With this much analysis and opinions, CNN is presenting an altered reality of events. Michelle Obama gave a rousing and inspiring speech. She hit the grand slam, no question. But there were other speakers who scored points that weren't covered. Thank god for CSPAN.

    August 26, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  10. RC

    Ted Kennedy was the center of the attraction at the DNC. Great Speech given by him despite of his illness. God Blesses him and his family.

    August 26, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  11. Independent voter

    Not sure If I will vote for Senator Obama, but I liked Mrs. Obama tonight totally different tone from the begining of the campaign.
    Don't take me wrong I agree with a lot of things she said but women can use our words to influence the world in a subtle way, tonight was a good beginning for her. She demonstrated she is smart, strong and very supportive of her husband in a delicate way.

    August 26, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  12. Peter

    Michael’s speech was inspiring and was one that the audience could relate to. Her message was indeed communicated and it was communicated well. She did a good job at making Day 1 of the Democratic National Convection a memorable one.

    August 26, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  13. EDB

    Not that I'm a Hilary fan, but didn't she represent the same ideals, probably....other than the "minority" one when Bill was running(and probably Lara too for that matter)? The problem is its easy to label Barack and Michel as different because that is what people wan to believe.

    August 26, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  14. angel

    Michelle Obama for 2012!!!

    August 26, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  15. Sandy

    I'm not really sure why we would even want to hear from Michelle Obama at this point in time...I'm not voting for some one because of their spouse...and I resent her speaking at the convention...I feel like she is being forced on us to like her....

    August 26, 2008 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  16. piper in sc

    All she did was try to convince everyone she's nice. Big deal. I've seen her give a better speech and a much better delivery. I agree with Mr. Gergen that the rest of the night was forgettable, and that's a very bad thing.

    August 26, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  17. Sharon

    The DNC did just what was needed. Michelle Obama talked about the things most Americans with good sense of understanding know most people are sick of party fighting. They need to come out just like they did.

    To the media, no one ask you to cover the whole 7 hours of the Convention waiting on someone to say or do something negative. Most people know that our creator are watching everything we do and say and will be accountable. So don't expect Obama to play you negative game, can you see he is not that type of person.

    I must say you (CNN) made me turn my TV to CSPAN, due to the fact that your heads was focus on everything you wanted to see and hear and not what the people wanted to see and hear for them self while at that convention. You just started to show the two candidates in their own words without your analyzing for us and said you'll allow the people to make their own choice. Some viewers believe any and everything the media say, I just Thank GOD that He gave me the ability to judge for myself.

    P.S, Stop trying to be hateful like that blank-in Fox station, that's why I switch to CNN.

    Go Barack Obama !!!

    August 26, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  18. Manuel

    how can we expect the american electorate to absorb so much talk in a span of three days? the campaign period hasn't even started yet, and the real fireworks have yet to unfold. but maybe it's good that michelle obama took the spotlight. had there been other heavy stuff, her performance might have been overshadowed.

    August 26, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  19. Seattle Slew

    Conventions are prep rallies. They don't do much to show how a candidate will run the country no matter who says what. Records and facts show that. And with the media pushing Senator Obama we have to find our own facts.

    August 26, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  20. Olokunde Lekan Akande

    From what I read in Senator Barrack Obama's books; I was made to understand that Michelle Obama detest politics but take my word She will Sooner or Later become a Full Time Politician. Her address was not defiled of politics but that is just the starting point. Anyway, I like her.

    August 26, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |

    don't blame the dems. cnn you are doing a poor job of covering the convention. You guys can talk after the covention not during.

    August 26, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  22. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Shame on James Carville. This was an outstanding night.
    Senator Kennedy and Michelle Obama were amazing!
    Imagine Barack and Michelle in the White House. They are
    strong and brillant people. Malia and Sasha are beautiful.
    Joe Biden also has a beautiful family. Carville keep quiet.
    Tim Russert is looking down on you.

    August 26, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  23. ica crai

    Dave, i couldn't agree with you more; I had to switch from CNN to PBS just to see the titles on the Kennedy tribute and Wolf Blitzer et al never shut up.

    August 26, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  24. Mark

    I couldn't agree more with Dave – CNN, your coverage of the convention thus far has been a real shame. I will find other outlets to watch the remainder of the convention. Not only were viewers kept from actually hearing the speakers, the commentators were too busy talking down the event as it transpired. Watching CNN coverage of this campaign, and especially this convention, is becoming more and more intolerable. How unfortunate, as I used to respect this network for their political coverage.

    August 26, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  25. Donny from California

    Also, I love David Gergen. No, seriously, I love this guy. He's ALWAYS RIGHT.

    August 26, 2008 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
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