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. Love Huckabee

    I think David Gergen is in love with Hillary, and he needs to get over it.

    August 26, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  2. Trevor Guerlain

    Michelle needs to hang more with Oprah. This "South Side Girl" can't emote-she appears patently phony and acts like the perfect egomaniac to an arrogant Obama.

    August 26, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  3. Anna

    First I would like point out that CNN Journalist should try to be more like Wolf Blitzer, who reports news, raises questions and injects his own thoughts without being mean spirited and respects all those who he reports on. John Roberts is another reporter who goves the object his report the option to give their side or opinions.

    I was dissappointed by the comments of Carville and Gergen. I always listen to CNN but lately commentators have been trying so hard to make the news rather than reporting the news. Carville sounds like he is on McCain's payroll and Gergen has just become someone who seems to like to hear his own voice. I know reporters like to break stories but they should also be reminded that they should not try to control the outcome of stories or an election.

    Also I was a great fan of Andersen Cooper at one time. I feel he believes he has obtained star status, and at some times he comes off as an elitest.

    I know other networks do the same in reporting stories but I thought CNN was special. Keep up the good work Wolf.

    August 26, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  4. texas democrat

    michelle was a complete total success and i love her even more now. they understand what the country needs and where we should be going. i think i can see the light after 8 years of doom.

    August 26, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  5. Reed


    August 26, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  6. JImmy in California

    Contrary to what has been said, I think Michelle's job tonight was to show the American people that The Obama's could just as well be the neighbor next door or across the street. To that end I feel she was right on the money. This should free them up in the remaining weeks to bash Bush and McCain. I do feel that Obama does not want to be the attack dog but Joe Biden can do it with no problem. As a Rocket Scientist, I don't think Ben Stine's elevator goes all the way to the top floor. He missed the point of the entire night but that's OK. Everyone is entitled to one mistake in a life time and he made his tonight.

    August 26, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. Sharon

    Michelle Obama did a beautiful job in her speech.

    While I have this platform I would like to make several comments pertaining to other topics concerning this elections.

    1. The news media need to make up its mind, If the Obama's had spoken on John McCain the news commentators would have said they were using smear tacts and were attacking McCain. People are tired of that kind of politics, that's what Obama so appealing.

    2. Speaking concerning the RACE ISSUE it really should not be an issue. John McCain has run for the presidency every election year. He wasn't a viable candidate then so what makes him the MAN now? I think what the republicans are trying to say is that the worse candidate they have to offer is better than the best candidate offered by the demoncrats. Which may be a subtle way of expressing racism. They( the republicans & the news media) need to be careful their true colors are showing. The news media I feel are planting the seeds of racism and call it news reporting.

    August 26, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. Erica

    Michelle Obama made me proud of my country tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    August 26, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. Hank

    i love her! what a refreshing speech

    August 26, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. AOA Seattle

    David Gergen...

    Did it occur to you that maybe we are where we are because all we do is tear each other down? I know Americans respond to attacks, maybe it's the only language they understand... it's what gave the world 8 years of bush.

    Maybe we need to take a step back. Maybe the best way to convey the message is to first make people want to listen to you, see you as genuine person who deeply cares about what is right and just. Launching into attacks does not afford you that opportunity.

    You may not want to admit the obvious but the people who are most resistant to Obama's presidency are the same people who are afraid of an African American becoming president. They will never admit it openly but you and I know that's the only reason why McCain can be running neck to neck with Obama at this time with the country being in this sorry state.

    I believe to reach those people to the point they can hear the message, you need to earn their trust not attack who they perceive to be one of them (McCain). I believe this was a very smart move by Obama. Until you get that group "to go out for a cup of coffee or a beer", you cannot begin to sell your ideas...Tonight was about that...getting them comfortable enough to want to listen to what Obama has to say.

    Just a different persective from an independent voter.

    August 26, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. AncientMariner

    Parts of her speech moved me, but I also thought she was a bit stagy; studied gestures.

    But I'm nit-picking.

    August 26, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  12. From California

    I think she was phony, especially her remarks about Hillary Clinton! Isn’t she the reason that Hillary Clinton is not on the ticket. I am not convinced. Democrats have lost my vote this time.

    August 26, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. MP

    A long time CNN fan, I am becoming very tired and disappointed. Until recently, I have had great respect for David Gergen, but now he and his political team seem interested only in fueling the Clinton fire (much more than the Clintons as of late I might add) and encouraging more of the political stupidity (negative campaigning) that we are desperately trying to get away from! In Obama, we have the most intelligent presidential candidate who I have ever had the pleasure to follow in the past 30 years. Please do not question the intelligence of the American people by implying that we somehow need negativity to get a message across. I agree wholeheartedly that Michelle was extraordinary, but disagree strongly that the previous speeches had no substance. It felt as if your opinion was made before the convention began. I am listening to the convention, but when you all start in on your need to drag out this overkilled Clinton topic or overly criticize the convention, I am exercising my right to turn off the television until you are finished and I can turn the T.V. back on to the real substance! Please show these people their due respect!

    August 26, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. felinechar

    as a registered democrat I never once since I have voted since the age of 18 considered voting republican but this time my entire family will support MCCAIN . The reason is simple, OBAMA LOST MY SUPPORT WHEN HE DID'NT PICK HILLARY AS HIS RUNNING MATE!
    They would have won this election by a landslide! all of Florida will now turn to Mccain to send Obama a message! We don;t need an unqualified president ,whom attended a church that spews hate against whites. as for Michele Obama she is an educated black woman who speaks well and chose well rehearsed words during her speech . she is someone I do not like . ENOUGH SAID! SIMPLY PUT SHES A FAKE!

    August 26, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  15. Trina

    I have to say that Michelle's speech was outstanding. I enjoyed watching the whole convention. Yea, I enjoyed watching the whole convention on Cspan, because Cnn decided to take the Fox News approach and be negative throughout the broadcast. I know you are thirsty for something negative to talk about to keep people watching your station, but people didn't tune in to Cnn to watch your commentators who are craving a way to make a name for themselves. They tune in to watch the convention without the idiotic statements and conflict baiting commentating trying to keep friction going. I use to be a fan of Cnn, but as an African American, I see that your just as racist as Fox News and just like Fox news... You will be on my list of Networks never to watch again.

    August 26, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  16. jozap

    This was a great speach.

    The Dems have an inteligent candidate with a very smart wife.
    I so hope we can get these people into the white house. Imagine, two people who can speak well, two people who can think, two people who can lead. Wow.

    August 26, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  17. chris

    Michelle was brilliant tonight by simply being herself. She set the stage and raised the bar for the rest of the convention. No one will ever know what impact her speech had, but my goodness, what human being couldn't warm a bit listening to her talk about herself, family, and country in ways we all can identify with and feel.

    August 26, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. Obama08

    CNN, you all need a happy pill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yall act like a bunch of angry grade school kids wanting attention...

    August 26, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  19. New York

    Wow! What a great speech! I am motivated to donate, volunteer and do everything in my power to elect Barrack Obama as our next President.

    August 26, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  20. Dave

    If cable news had actually given the podium speakers a chance to give their speeches, they would have seen that there was plenty of substance to the night, even aside from the strong moments of Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama. CNN didn't even bother to cover Nancy Pelosi, who recieved plenty of applause and drew out plenty of distinctions between Obama and McCain, giving Gloria Borger and David Gergen the "red meat" that they clamoured for. Instead, CNN listened in to 3 minutes of GOP Congressman Leach's speech. Granted the beginning wasn't exactly enthralling, but it made complete sense when put together with the part of Leach's speech that CNN missed. Thankfully, CSPAN showed where Leach heavily criticized his own party and the sitting president. Give the parties, even some of the lesser-knowns, an opportunity to make their case.

    August 26, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  21. Tennessee

    The night was pure, unfiltered crap!

    August 26, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |

    Michelle Obama's speech was awesome. I thought that she would do well but she delivered in a way that was unimaginable. Inspiring the nation and women to believe in our future.

    August 26, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. o. mckenzie

    I agree with you. From the blogs, Michelle is receiving a lot of negative feedback from those who are fighting hard to resist her awesome message, but I also see that many of us were moved to tears. I am also an educated, professional African American wife and mother, (from humble beginnings). Michelle is my idol! I tell myself every day that if she can go through this campaign and still keep her family strong, I can certainly maintain that career/family balance in my own life.

    August 26, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  24. Sharon

    Please correct the word tacts. I meant tactics.

    August 26, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  25. TSL

    I was there tonight. She was incredibly moving. I was amazed to see a black woman from the south side of Chicago express so beautifully and embody the American Dream – for ALL of us. She was America tonight!

    August 26, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
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