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. Franky

    Impressed with Michelle Obama, she's a strong women, and she humanized herself. I hope it isn't lost on the voters, gave recognition to Hillary, which was important.

    August 26, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  2. Alex

    Regardless of what the Obama's do to build the momentum of the campaign, Clinton supporters like James Carville are there to spoil it. The electrifying speech by Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama did not mean anything to him when he spit that it was a wasted night. I just cannot believe when a “democrat” criticizes the other harshly on public TV. The campaign people are ready to do that without your help. After he spit that nasty comment brain less CNN reporters all picked it and spread it without challenging him for fact. The McCain campaign is using Hillary Clinton words to attack Obama on their ads. James has given them the tool they are looking for to take air out of the convention. The sad news is Mr. Carville Kennedy and Michelle Obama they delivered and connected the people. You are the true Judas.

    August 26, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  3. Awet okbay

    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.
    We can only have one first this year and everyone in the United States should be proud to have the first African-American nominee of a major party. Maybe next time we'll get our next first, the first female presidential nominee of a major party.

    Awet Okbay

    August 26, 2008 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  4. danvan

    Yes, I found it very interesting that they complained about substance yet talked during most of speeches. If you watched CNN on cable, they choose what they thought was important – there were numerous speeches that they glossed over.

    August 26, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  5. Miriam

    The republican machine is at work through CNN! How they keep hashing emotions and keep trying to bring up the issue of the Clinton supporters. How they kept interrupting the program with their NEVERENDING TALKS and TALKS! How they cut many speeches off and how they kept offering analysis and NEVERENDING COMMENTARIES! S...UP and let the public decide for themselves! Stop the brainwashing, the imposing of your own objectives, and let us view the program! Last time I checked I still have ears and eyes, and a brain between my eyes! The little of it left, thanks to your NEVERENDING BRAINWASHING Next time watch the program on KCET, they allow all to be heard and certainly DO NOT CENSURE !

    August 26, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |


    August 26, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |

    Many of the speeches were interrupted with "Best Political Team" comments. We could confirm the criticism that there was not enough substance at the start of the program. I hope next time CNN will allow us to watch some of these speeches.

    August 26, 2008 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  8. charlie

    CNN is a political party under the guise of media operations, led by people like Lou, Anderson, Wolf. With these guys in, CNN can never like anything with Obama stamp on it. What is happening is a kind of palace coup-de-tat. An attempt to shut out the DNC convention from the citizenry, and all because of Obama. So I am not supprise that CNN cannot see anything good in DNC convention opening. Thank GOD we have choices. May GOD bless MSNBC. For them, we don't miss CNN at all. With CNN around; May GOD help America! May GOD bless America.

    August 26, 2008 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  9. kofi

    Many of the speeches were interrupted with "Best Political Team" comments. We could confirm the criticism that there was not enough substance at the start of the program. I hope next time CNN will allow us to watch some of these speeches.

    August 26, 2008 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  10. SeattleWA

    Michelle Obama...Black, Strong, Eduacted, Powerful, Confident, Intellgent and most important Proud American go girl!

    August 26, 2008 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  11. p v ca

    Michelle will make a great first lady.
    Barack will be one of the greatest Presidents ever.


    August 26, 2008 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  12. John

    I thought Michelle Obama's speech was moving and very well given from the heart. I find her a strong tough and smart on the issues and she will make a great First Lady.. Her and Barack's story is a true american sucess story that all americans should like and admire.

    August 26, 2008 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  13. Justin in CA

    It was a slow start but hard to get into it when the cable guys wouldn't keep quiet during the peoples speeches, even if the crowd is talking and moving around. It is a convention after all. Lie they were shocked. Besides that I thought Kennedy and Michelle were terrific. A good night for the Democrats for sure. Michelle and the kids came off very well I thought.

    August 26, 2008 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  14. James

    There is so much that this country has to offer. But we find that it is always finding ways to make us struggle to make it live up to the ideals that that it professes. Tonight was a look into the personality of the Obama's, as individuals, as a family, as citizens. It was totally in sync with the public record that anyone can find if they truely want to know the truth. But to too many of our citizens, it is more about winning than about truth. We always seem to find a way to fall short of our ideals. The Obama's do not represent change. They represent the now. I only hope and pray that people who are unsure do not fall back on just what they know and are comfortable with. I pray that they will look to thier families and communities and thier country and vote for the belief that things can be better, that dreams are meant to be achieved, that ideals are not just meant to be talked about, but made real. The real Michelle spoke to America. The only question is was America listening? And will America live up to the ideals that it wants the world to believe it has? I do not know. I wish I that I did.

    August 26, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Wow, Michelle Obama was SOOO inspiring in her own words. I can't believe how she has been vilified by the right over the last year. This is a real role model!

    August 26, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  16. Christy

    I am thrilled that Michelle Obama provided an inspired feeling at the convention. However, Mr. Gergen's article mentions her as a "new future" in that she is an educated mother. Don't forget that Hillary Clinton is quite educated and served as First Lady. So in answer to your doubts about America being ready for that change: yes! We are ready to welcome another female into the spotlight with a strong, educated voice.

    August 26, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  17. kevin

    That's pretty stuck be relying on mainstream media channels such as CNN.
    CSPAN did an outstanding job of complete coverage–with no pesky intermissions for commercials..more importantly no spin by vested interests on the panel... [Anderson, Wolf grudgingly accepted the greatness of michelle's speech]

    August 26, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  18. USMC

    It was 5 Am Baghdad time, I set my clock to just listen Michelle Obama, Yes she did brough tears to my eyes. I could picture my 2 years old daughter role model.
    Yes change we can believe in.
    America bring us home,and it is Obama who can do it.
    I have no plans to stay here for the next 100 years.

    August 26, 2008 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  19. Tracy-Oakley

    Wow CNN more and more i am seeing that you are not the channel for all things politics. you don't know how to least FOX with all their wrong information is consistant. Such a pity....Maybe Michelle had to come out and tell who she and her husband was because CNN helped the republicans make their lies true...or maybe Michelle was doing what all blacks have to do to equalize the playing field...over achieve...

    August 26, 2008 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  20. cb

    Thank you, despite baseless attacks from right wingnuts, she has come through not phased. M. Obama is awesome.

    August 26, 2008 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  21. Todd Drogy

    I am in full agreement. I was really frustrated with and disappointed in CNN's coverage of the first night of the convention. Instead of giving viewers the opportunity to listen to many of the speeches, CNN filled much of the evening with hyperbolic commentary with very little substance. Thankfully many of these speeches were covered by other news stations, allowing viewers to actually hear what folks such as Nancy Pelosi and Clare McCaskill had to say. I for one wanted to hear a lot less of James Carville's predictable grumblings, and a lot more of the actual convention footage. CNN's focus on spectacle sometimes comes at the cost of serious content, informative discussion, and thoughtful coverage.

    August 26, 2008 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  22. ben furbish

    Do the children really understand what is going on/what they're goin through?

    August 26, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  23. Saba

    We are proud of you , Michelle. Excellent job!!!

    August 26, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  24. YoungAfricanAmericanWoman

    I don't know what political impact Michelle Obamas speech had on anything.

    All I know is that tonight, Michelle Obama did for this African American women what neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will ever be able to do.

    She became my ultimate role model and HERO !

    August 26, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  25. shannon

    I can't stress enough how outrageously bad the on-the-floor conference coverage was tonight. It had the feel of a bunch of kids who sulk in the bleachers all night at the prom dissing everything, then complain how bad it was after. The performance of Begala and Carville in particular was terrible – rude and dismissive of the Republican speaker for example- a guy who had obviously been invited by Democrats , and who eventually delivered some the attacks on the Republicans you guys were all looking for. The democrat opinion guys are allegedly paid to represent democrats on your network, and they represented them as bad-mannered and hot-tempered, in the middle of their own party! I would have liked to hear what Nanci Pelosi said – or Barack Obama's sister – maybe listened to a few minutes of the "town hall" or whatever it was that TBPTOT also talked over.

    I'd have liked to have had some information with which to form an opinion, instead of listening to ones offered by those who weren't listening themselves. As for you straight "reporters", why can't you observe and report what's going on and ask questions about that, instead of speculating over and over again what might happen or be happening somewhere else. What's the point of being right on the floor in the middle of things if all you keep asking about are things elsewhere? I'm up in Canada, I'm not a partisan troll, and I was curious engouth to consume 5 frickin hours of CNN but tomorrow I'm going online (not your feed!) and I am also sending this message to your sponsors. Please change tomorrow- its your journalistic responsibility!

    August 26, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
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