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. Iowa Dem

    I would give Michelle an A-...and I am certainly no fan. I must admit she did a wonderful job of reaching out to people in a very human way. Missouri Senator Claire Macaskill on the other hand should be muzzled and ushered out. I am amazed at how often she puts herself in the public eye and acts like a giggling twit of a school girl. If the dems in Missouri can't find somebody better than her, I will be forced to donate to her Republican rival just to boot her off of the stage.

    August 26, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  2. John

    Maybe Michelle Obama saved the night, but CNN's coverage ot the evening certainly didn't help. Most of the coverage was talking heads from CNN going over the same stuff, and trying to make issues out of nothing. I actually had to change the channel several times just to hear some of the speakers. Some commentary is good, but it seems as though CNN is trying to make the news, instead of reporting and analyzing what's happening at the convention Please get back to the basics. It would be helpful to actually hear some of the speakers!

    August 26, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Kathy in MInnesota

    MIchelle Obama was FABTASTIC tonite!!

    Her speech focused on what a dream, hard work, and persistence does in achieving all that is possible in America. She identified herself as a Wife, Mother, Daughter, and Sister.

    Michelle Obama did what she had to do to tell her story and that of Barack's, that they are not the ELITISTS portrayed by the GOP. That they had to struggle much of their lives, while maintaing the values we all hold dear. They are as Americann as it gets.

    Makes me wonder what Cindy McCain will say on how hard she had to struggle to becomne an Heiress to a Beer Dynasty and all the Millions that went with it.. Seems like a sad story indeed.

    August 26, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |

    I find it quite curious that tonight Michelle Obama articulated beautifully who she was, what she stands for how and why Barack Obama means so much to her ettc. All of the blanks were filled in if anyone had any questions about who or what she believes in. But for all of those that desire to hold on to a snipet of a sound bite when she made an extemporaneous comment about how prod she was being an American in her adult life seems to resonate beyond the beauty of her speech. What does that really tell you about those who really want to plant seeds of bitterness, hatred and animosity among the true Americans? I celebrate Michelle Obama and her journey that she and Barack are endeavoring.

    August 26, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  5. activistmom

    She's brilliant, she's honest in her emotions, she's obviously a GREAT mom, she cares about this country, she's beautiful. Michelle Obama will be a GREAT first lady.

    August 26, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  6. no joke, boston

    senator obama.

    you will win without those racists, zionists, war-profiteers, and loan sharks's votes,

    if you humbly speak the truth to the people.

    maybe not in landslide, but you will win.

    August 26, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  7. KenB, MI

    Absolutely wonderful.

    nuff said...oh someone remind ben stein (on Larry King) that the armed forces were mentioned during the Ted Kennedy Tribute. I enjoyed the entire day...I like fireworks leading up to a final finale...starts off with a little flare and ends with stars and strips forever.

    August 26, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I've watched today's events since their beginning. I waded through all the speeches of folks to people who weren't listening. A complete waste of my time, but I didn't want to miss out on anything.

    When Caroline Kennedy introduced the video about Senator Kennedy, I woke up. I was deeply touched by the video and then brought to tears when Kennedy appeared on stage to give a rousing speech.

    As for Michelle Obama, she simply did a wonderful job of presenting her own life story and the story of Senator Obama.

    It was an exciting evening. I can't imagine why James Carville thought it was a bunch of "nothing." But. . .perhaps he is still preoccupied trying to hold his wife's hand whose reputation has been badly tarnished because of the "hate" Obama book that she praised.

    August 26, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. Rose

    I am a registered Democrat (who has casted her vote to her party for over 25 years). But this year I and my entire family will be voting for Sen.McCain. However, I wanted to give the Obamas the benefit of the doubt and see if there was any substance that would change my mind . Unfortunately, I was RIGHT. Mr. Obama is a "celebrity" running on fumes. Mrs. Obama an extremely arrogant lady who did not contribute anything of substance to the convention. A first good impression was needed to steer me back to the Democrats. They failed tonight as they will do in November. Thank GOD for choices!

    August 26, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. forbiddenmango

    Michelle Obama's speech tonight was phenomenal. If there was any little doubt left in the people's minds that Michelle doesn't love this country, her speech eradicated those doubts immediately. She will be an amazing, inspirational First Lady, and I can't wait until she and Barack Obama take their rightful place in the White House!

    Obama/Biden '08

    August 26, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  11. Dale Hunt

    David, do you really mean to say that women who are "devoted mothers and wives but also highly educated, caring people" are something new? I had one of those back in the '60s (still do, actually), and my kids have had one for the last many years, too. Go ahead and praise Michelle Obama, but don't do it by such ridiculous hyperbole as to insult every mother who came before her. Michelle isn't the original devoted mother who actually cares AND has an education.

    August 26, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  12. Rev. Wayne M. Weathers

    I love David Gergen comments. When he speaks, he is objective then subject. However, I have a slight disagreement with his comment. He raised a question "is America prepared to be there now?" My response to his question is we can't wait until we think America is ready. We must cease the opportunity now!!!

    Michelle Obama smacked a homerun with her speech. I don't care what people will comment. When I saw both black and white women with tears in there eyes, I knew this woman inspired many.

    Michelle, GREAT JOB!!!!!!

    August 26, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. vyronda


    August 26, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  14. Connie

    Everyone needs to boycott CNN because every thought and every
    2 minutes does not need to be about Hillary Clinton. No fair coverage -only putting their bias opinions in the mix. I hope everyone catches the fever and turn off CNN network.

    August 26, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. Hughlean Medlea

    Tonight was a good night. The planners knew what they wanted, how toget it and it was done. The news media is upset and don't have anything to talk about so you make up something. The was a good night and the rest of the week will also be good.

    August 26, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. Ken Monnett

    your convention coverage was the best i have seen in years,but i was very upset at the end when you all complained it was a wasted night , for months now you all have said oboma has to open up to the voters and let himself be known , well tonight was the best thing i have seen, i watched a famialy come and for the first time igot to know the person i would like to know as president, you all complain that no ine knows who or what they are well tonight for the first time i know, now how would it look if obomas wife jut ranted on the other party ,not very plesant is it. then i got to see sen . kennedy proubly make his last public speach ever again , it was awsome ,i will never forget it, but may be he to should of thrown in a few jabs at the other party, it would of made some of you feel better , no matter what this man does is not right to you all , if the did what you wanted you would of said bummer i wanted to hear more about oboma and his life and family by them in ther own words. you all did a great job ,but for the last few moments , you all took away a night i won't forget and tell me a cnn viewer for mant years and watch cnn several hours aday for my news, and you inform me i just wasted 4 hours of my time becuase some of you all wanted a bashing of the other party instead on the first night,it's sad you will all get your bashing starting tomarrow, then you will say iwish they would talk about what theregoing to do if elected, be careful for what you fuss about. it seem no matter what he would of done it would of been wrong . but what the hell im just a 62 yr old who is worried about the person who i will vote for . thank you ken monnett

    August 26, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  17. Jay

    Phenomenal speech, I can't imagine how any one could see her speak and not see a real person and a real family. No more of the scare tactics, lets elect a president based on ideas and policy and stop all the other baloney that has been going on. Unite!

    August 26, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  18. ZB

    Michelle's speech makes all US women proud to be Americans. We are one people, and yes Gergen, we are "there now" in the USA. The Obama's are symbolic of the great accomplishments Americans are making and have made. Thank you Michelle. Malia and Sasha are adorable too. You are a very lucky man Barack and we are lucky to have you as our next POTUS.

    August 26, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  19. Rebecca

    When Michelle first started to talk tonight, I feared it was going to be just another typical campaign speech. Instead she touched my heart. The American people are led to believe that fear should guide our every move, that if something is different, we should destroy it or shove it under the rug. Tonight Michelle reminded us all that HOPE, not fear, should guide our country. That together, our differences only make us stronger, and our similarities, only bring us closer together. The McCain camp and the Republicans have led us to believe that change is something we should fear–well I have seen status quo, and this Hillary fan is ready for something different–A Democratic Party, united, to bring back hope to America.

    Obama, Biden 08

    August 26, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  20. Drew in Denver

    I think it was a great speech but I sure hope the Dems come out fighting in the next days. It is time for the Dems to grow some balls and start showing America that it can not let a person who dosent know how many house he owns or thinks that being rich starts when annual income hits 5 million. The Repulicans keep getting negative and its time for the Dems do the same or risk losing this election to that warmonger!

    August 26, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  21. Eileen

    Michelle spoke very well and I hope she identified with others as she did with me. Personally, I don't consider a nominee's spouse when I vote for them as I don't believe they play a center-stage role in America; however, I liked her connections to life and hearing what's important to her. Yes, the ability to speak well is very important when one holds a public office and if you happen to be the President's wife I would expect her to also be a good public speaker – Michelle nailed it..

    August 26, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  22. meme

    Why is everyone so hung on the dems being gangsters. Granted you have a really tough skin if you're going to aspire for a career in politics. However, that's the problem now with this country. We're so messed up, I feel sorry for Barack simply because he has so much to clean up. Watch and learn, it will get ugly, I'm sure.

    August 26, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  23. Ashley in GA

    Michelle did an amazing job tonight! She will make such a beautiful and inspirational first lady....and that's coming from a Hillary supporter.

    August 26, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  24. Joan Nagy

    Lost opportunity? I tuned in to hear the speeches. Why did CNN decide to ignore Nancy Pelosi? Why cut off Jim Leach who was making a very interesting speech? Tomorrow night it's back to PBS. A pox on all of you

    August 26, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  25. shelley Iowa

    CNN's once best team are the only ones that blew it tonight, did the altitude get you? Geez David you were as bad as Carvell, Michelle has always had it together, the media did not

    August 26, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
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