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. eugenet

    She was on the money, balanced, strong and full of the best things about this country. But I think to those with axes grind will certainly keep grinding.

    August 26, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  2. Karen

    Americans are ready for the Obamas. Well educated, down to earth
    family. Michele stole the show and she moved the crowd.
    White House is for smart people. We have seen the dummies lived there before. It is about time for the Obamas to move in. The sooner the better.

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  3. Katie K

    Tonights beginning was a great change of pace and not a horrible bunch of badmouthing that you are hearing out of the McCain camp!
    Has it ever occured to all of you that the American People are sick to death of hearing bad mouthing? A great deal of it being done by the Republican Camp! What they are famous for! American People want a CLEAN, informational and honest campaign. All the bad mouthing YOU FOLKS are doing doesn't help it drag it on and on and on! What happened to report it as it was seen and leave it at that?
    So now I can be considered "not in touch"...let me tell you, there are a GREAT deal of folks out there as I am that are just plain sick of the badmouthing! We want to know what are you going to do for us!!!!
    How are things going to change in your administration? None of us are dumb enough to think we need to be reminded of how horrible it has been the last 8 years! Starting wars we don't belong in? Killing our men and women or treating them like absolute crap when they do get to come home? Where is the solid plan to get them out of there?
    Gas, food, mortgages, college is a dream now, being able to afford a car that would give us better gas mileage? The biggy...The Senior Citizens of this country are being starved and just plain screwed over!
    DONUT HOLES!!!!! Do you have an extra $4, 050.00 that I can have to pay for all my medicines for the rest of the year? Or the thousands that I have already had to pay so far this year? Needless to say any hope of ever having a "dream" just went down the pooper! Big Time!
    I am a strong believer in Barak Obama...but, I will not bad mouth John McCain, it isn't him that got us into this was the Bush Bunch and the Republicans!!!! Thank you for listening! I am a Proud American, even though I am disabled and neglected because I am not rich!

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Daniel Okinaka

    I think you made the most incitful comment right at the end of your remarks on air and futher here that Michelle offered a different kind of first lady that America may or may not be ready for. Its the Democratic convention, but all of America can tune in. She did rescue the night, but I don't think she should have been put in that position to have to rescue it. She was faced with outlying the talking points for the Democrats when it should have been done much earlier. Then later as she comes on, use her to soften things up and show contrast. Instead, they used her to put the strength in the message as well as showing emotion at the same time which can have mixed signals.

    If I can use an example, people really gravitated toward Oprah especially at the beginning of her career, because of her ability to show certain weaknesses, thus becoming a strength to be able to show that. Michelle as I have seen her in different occasions and in her words sometimes might not be as comfortable in the spotlight as her husband. That can be used as a plus. If she talks about her weaknesses like all Americans have instead of trying to be the strength. It was a great speech, but most of the ammunition shouldn't have been placed on her plate.

    Thanks Dave

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  5. Michelle

    Michelle inspired me as a woman and made me even more proud of my humble beginnings and to continue to believe that all things are possible: final comment – I was definitely surprised how the majority of the cnn commentors were COMPLAINING

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  6. jeff swenson

    Again my party has failed . When are these leaders going to understand the american people want fighters , people who are going to protect and stand up for them and their families . We have had 8 years ot hell and we need more than just sweet moments . We will loose this election if we do not get tuff. The republicans are going to throw everything at us like "They want to come here and kill so we must kill them over there " and alot more .scare tactics . It worked for 8 years it will work again. My doubts in this ticket just dropped significantly. At least we will hold the Congress , unless they screw that up to.

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  7. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Michelle made a fantastic speech and will make a fantastic First Lady that our daughters can look up to with pride.

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  8. Shannon

    She was great! What a wonderful tribute to her parents! It gave you the perception that all americans can lose the rhetoric and start talking to each other to achieve success in the 21st century. We may disagree on how to get there, it may take longer than we thought but, "Yes,we can"! It gave you a larger prespective of what americans can achieve than the daily minutia of the campaign and media coverage.

    August 26, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  9. Jeannette

    I could not agree more with the above comment. CNN just liked
    hearing themselves talk. Their coverage was downright awful. MSNBC did let us see and hear the full speeches. I was really disappointed with CNN's overall coverage

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  10. Terry W. Brookman

    I see that the number one news team has discovered that wemon barter sex for things.
    Way to go I have been waiting for news on that. Could I get a job there I have known that seince I was ten.

    Terry W. Brookman

    I'm sixty two.

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  11. AUC

    Michelle, you made every American woman and every mother proud tonight!!! Keep your head up and may God continue to bless you, Barack and the kids!!!

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  12. Ron

    Michelle did a great job tonight, she will be a super first lady for your nation.

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  13. Michael

    Michelle did a great job tonight. She is a beautiful woman on the inside and out. She also has a beautiful family. I am so proud of them. They have come a long way.

    I'm looking forward to President Obama restoring America.

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  14. Leland

    CNN, your coverage was really, really bad. Anderson and Gergen kept complaining about the fact that the Democrats had no message but you weren't showing the speeches! Sure the start of that Republican's speech was terrible but I wanted to listen to Pelosi. She's the House Speaker! Number three in the order of succession! I wanted to listen to McCaskill. I wanted to listen to that clerk from Chicago City Hall and instead I got music and Anderson and Gergen complaining that there was no message.

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  15. Heather Stewrd

    Whats happened to CNN ?
    Some balance perhaps.
    Larry King – spending the evening with idiots like Ben Stein on the Democrats first evening ? Come on ...
    Focus focus focus on the negative effects of Hilary and Obamas negatives. Why ?
    I for one am switching chanels, but will tune in during Republicans convention to see where King goes on these evenings. If he is with them then again, I give up.

    Shame on you !

    August 26, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  16. sacto joe

    We're there if we want to be there. In a way, that's what this election has come down to: Are we ready to put on the mantle of an enlightened electorate?

    Or are we still bogged down in our petty squabbles, our prejudices, our ingrained reactive natures?

    I'd like to be proud of this nation. I truly would.

    But I just don't know. I read the posts on this site, and I see abysmal depths of ignorance and hatred. When Ms Stubs died, the things that were said....

    But this is also the nation of Lincoln. So for that, if nothing else, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Senator McCain is a good man. He loves his country. If it were only about him, I might be all right with that choice.

    But it's not all about him. He represents, unfortunately, all that's gone wrong with this country the last seven years.

    We need someone new. Someone fresh. And more than anything else, someone who's at least as good a person as Senator McCain.

    And thank God we've got such a person.

    We've got Barack Obama.

    August 26, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  17. jayee

    I couldn't agree with your more. Listening to the speeches online was the best way. CNN seem hell bent on driving the story of divisiveness between supporters. Maybe this is the only way they can attract advertisers.

    August 26, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. Molly Weasley

    It would be nice if both networks and cable shows would cover at least the highlights of the actual speeches people are giving here, rather than doing endless stories on how much of a Clinton-Obama rift still might exist. And it seems that CNN is throwing in Republican comments every 20 minutes or so. Why don't you just let the Democrats say what they have to say and let viewers decide? I'm more interested in what a speaker might say than James Carville's take on it.

    August 26, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. Amber

    I agree with Dave. The whole time the commentators were complaining about the speeches, I was like, well let me see the speech and make my own decision. Plus, you couldn't have this night be an attack night. Then it would have painted Michelle Obama as an angry women again. And they needed to move away from that. I was already an Obama supporter, but Michelle really sealed the deal.

    August 26, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  20. Leah Texas

    Michelle Obama will make a wonderful FIrst Lady of the United States of America!

    August 26, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. agwilliams

    Michelle Obama did an excellent job tonight. She came across as warm congenial, human and loving. I feel that she stated that she loves America, for those who needed to hear where she stands.

    Those analyst that said to night was a waste did not understand what Michelle Obama's mission was. She is not a negative person as some have tried to project her. Her task was to show herself from a different point of view. She is a loving wife, excellent mother and a working women. She was blessed to come from a loving two parent home, where her dad was the sole provider for his wife and children.
    I am very proud of Michelle. The Obama's are a great family. They will make a great first family.

    August 26, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  22. Peter Macklin

    Yes, I think the fault was not in the convention but the cable news coverage of it. I couldn't believe we were forced to listen to reporters talk about the convention when it was happening right in front of them. Couldn't we be treated to the speakers who spoke instead of the hot air that you reporters were blowing? I couldn't understand why the leach's speech wasn't shown among many others. Cable news coverage failed, not the convention.

    But what we did see of the convention was inspiring and wonderful. Thanks Teddy, Michelle and everyone else. President Obama will be wonderful.

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  23. John Thomas

    I watched it on CSPAN, without the talking heads in my ear. It was such a great night for the Democrats. Its unbelievable to listen to the to the talking heads on CNN, they all of a sudden seem to have no clue what is going on the country anymore. This was a great night!

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  24. proud female

    Michelle inspired me as a woman and made me even more proud of my humble beginnings and to continue to believe that all things are possible: final comment – I was definitely surprised and disappointed how the majority of the cnn commentors were COMPLAINING about the order of the DNC program for tonight. Be Patient!!!! It's not about you's about the American People watching from home.

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  25. Kwise

    I agree with the Dave. When Mr. Leach's speech started to get interesting the talking heads talked down and over him and he was off the air! I turned to C-Span and listened to the entire speech. It was very good and compelling. It seems the point Mr. Jon Stewart made recently about how political reporters like to keep mining the old vein, is more true than I wanted to agree with! I think C-Span will be on the more than CNN,NBC,CBS or ABC for me.

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
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