August 28th, 2008
11:38 PM ET
14 years ago

Gergen: A political masterpiece


Watch Obama says the country is better than what it has gotten the past four years.

I imagine that lots of you out there remain fierce critics of Barack Obama. Next week Republicans will legitimately debate and challenge many of his ideas, especially about his call for a more activist government. It will be fascinating now when John McCain and Obama meet in debates.

But for this moment and for this purpose, I saw Obama's speech tonight as a political masterpiece. As I had a chance to say on CNN a few moments ago, it was in many ways less a speech than a symphony. I also sensed that we saw tonight an Obama who is growing into a new, more mature leader - stronger, tougher, harder-hitting than he had appeared only a few weeks ago.

Watch: 'Our work won't be easy,' Obama says

Whether Obama will win this Novemember or not is still very unclear, but if he does, I imagine we may look back and say this was a major turning point.

Many of you, I know, will disagree. From all of you, I would welcome your thoughts - you, after all, are the voters who will actually decide the fate of the country.

August 28th, 2008
11:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee: I won’t be McCain’s V.P.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Mike Huckabee said Thursday he is not McCain's vice presidential pick."]
(CNN) – Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told supporters Thursday he would not be John McCain’s running mate, and emphasized that he was never vetted by McCain’s presidential campaign.

"I have never been contacted by the McCain campaign at any point about the VP slot," Huckabee wrote in the statement posted on his political action committee’s Web site. "I have never been asked for any information, background, etc., so as I have said repeatedly in interviews, I didn’t consider myself to be under any consideration."

"I think people thought I was being coy and just not talking, but I have built my political life on trying to shoot straight and tell it as it is and as I see it," he added. “I have been honest in telling you that I had no reason to believe I was ever seriously considered or “vetted” for the ticket."

Huckabee, whose surprising win in the Iowa caucuses, helped derail rival Mitt Romney's presidential bid. His position on issues such as same sex marriage and abortion made him a favorite of social conservatives. Huckabee told supporters he, too, “will await news of who Senator McCain selects.”

“I hope it will be a person with a solid record and solid convictions on the foundation issues that bring many of us to the process,” Huckabee wrote. “I’m taking this unusual step to communicate so it will come from me and not from some of the ridiculous things being said on TV and websites tonight.”

McCain is set to appear with his vice presidential pick in Ohio on Friday.

Filed under: John McCain • Mike Huckabee
August 28th, 2008
11:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Amy Holmes: Obama hits right notes

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Michelle Obama joined Barack on stage Thursday after his speech."]
As a former speechwriter for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, I heard some very important things that Barack Obama needed to include in his speech tonight.

He personalized, he humanized, he dramatized - that is so important for the listener and viewer to be able to connect with the person who is speaking.

Watch: Fireworks for the Democratic ticket

He also tried to turn the tables on John McCain by characterizing him as out of touch with most Americans' values - he's the one who is the elite, he's the person that is the greater risk in this election. And I thought that was an interesting way to try to take those attacks and turn them on his opponent.

He also attempted to move toward the middle ground - he talked about personal responsibility, that's typically something that conservatives and Republicans talk a lot about. And he also talked about "American exceptionalism" - I heard a lot of "we are the best hope for the world" - and again that's something that Republicans and conservatives talk a lot about.

Tonight, Barack Obama was saying the Democrats can own that too.

August 28th, 2008
11:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Chaos and confusion outside Invesco Field

DENVER (CNN) - The celebration of Barack Obama’s presidential nomination brought people to their feet inside INVESCO Field.

Outside it just made their feet hurt.

As 75,000-plus spectators filed out of the stadium, they walked straight into mass confusion.

Those who arrived by shuttle bus were led through an obstacle course created by law enforcement, barriers and port-a-pottys, only to find that transportation coordinators did not know where those shuttle buses were. Many were directed to different lots. Others were told to walk to their destination.

Law enforcement officers added to the confusion by blocking off routes into and out of INVESCO Field, causing pedestrians to change routes often – turning them around and around.

Most people were frantically looking for their buses, talking on cell phones, asking police for help. There were handicapped people struggling to maneuver wheelchairs and walkers through grass and down stone paths.

Some police officers admitted that they were unprepared for the situation, saying that a month was not enough time to plan for such a large event.

August 28th, 2008
10:56 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama tells Dems: 'I accept your nomination'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Barack Obama formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination Thursday night."]
DENVER, Colorado (CNN) - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is laying out his plan to lead the country into an era of change after what he called eight years of failed policies.

Watch: 'I accept,' says Obama

"I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it," Obama will say, according to a copy of his speech released Thursday evening.

"Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time," he will say.

Watch: 'Eight is enough'

At the beginning of his speech, he detailed what he called the failures of the Bush administration.

Watch: Obama: 'We are better'

"America, we are better than these last eight years," he said. "This moment, this election, is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive."

Full story

Update: McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds released this statement in response to Sen. Obama's acceptance speech: "Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama. . . . The fact remains: Barack Obama is still not ready to be President."

August 28th, 2008
10:15 PM ET
14 years ago

What the TV cameras aren't watching

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Barney Smith got the Invesco crowd to its feet."]While TV cameras weren't watching, "ordinary guy" Barney Smith - part of the convention's "American Voices" segment - brought mile-high stadium to its feet.

He told his story of losing the Indiana factory job he'd held for 30 years and then said America needed a president who paid more attention to "Barney Smith" not "Smith Barney."

The crowd leapt to its feet chanting "Barney, Barney!"

August 28th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Crowley: Team Obama wanted a show and it has one

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Thousands of Democrats await Obama's acceptance speech."]
DENVER (CNN) – The crowd at Invesco Field is now almost at capacity. Beachballs are being bounced overhead as the crowd does the wave.

Team Obama wanted a show and it has one.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays outside of the stadium after tonight.

Watch: 'American needs Obama,' says Richardson

A familiar name just spoke - Susan Eisenhower, grand daughter of the very Republican late president Dwight (“I like Ike”) Eisenhower.

My colleague Jessica Yellin also just witnessed quite a moment. Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, hugging each other and weeping on this historic night - the anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the night a biracial man accepts the nomination of the Democratic Party.

On top of everything else, a number of military types are currently on stage testifying to Obama's ability to be the next commander in chief.

August 28th, 2008
09:46 PM ET
14 years ago

Gergen: The Obama speech arrives

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Barack Obama waves to a sea of supporters Thursday."]
An advance copy of the Obama speech has just been distributed. Because of the embargo, I won't go into content for the moment - but know that it is long and is much meatier than most acceptance addresses. Word count estimate: about 4500 words. Will look forward to hearing listener comments as we go.

August 28th, 2008
09:43 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain camp won't reveal VP tonight

(CNN) - John McCain’s presidential campaign has decided not to reveal the name of his running mate until Friday, a senior McCain source tells CNN.

McCain will appear in Ohio tomorrow with his vice presidential pick.

“This is Barack Obama’s night,” said the source.

Filed under: John McCain
August 28th, 2008
09:22 PM ET
14 years ago

Gergen: Worth reading Gore's speech again

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gore addressed the Democratic National Convention Thursday."]Before it gets lost in the excitement at Mile High Stadium, it is worth going back and reading Al Gore's speech tonight. While his delivery was way too rushed, the substance of his speech was something that the country needs to think and talk about a lot more: a possible catastrophe building up around us.

Watch Gore's entire speech

Gore has been trying to tell the U.S. and the world for some time now about the dangers of global warming, and to his credit, he has been honored with both an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize for his efforts. But neither of the candidates - nor have the parties - spent enough time talking about what is ahead and what we must do. Every expert I know thinks it will require sacrifice on our part - higher prices for using fossil fuels. When will the candidates level with us on what is required?

Some of you, I am sure, disagree with Al Gore and perhaps you don't even like him, but I must say that from my perspective, we need to pay attention to what he is saying.

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