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.

soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Brian, Quad Cities

    One major strategy of the Republicans is to drive a wedge between Obama and those he represents – the old "He's not one of us" meme.

    Part of Obama's speech was a personal and deep look at who he is and where he's come from – delivered first person, unfiltered, and without misrepresentation.

    That meme is now shattered.

    August 28, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. Myron Lieberman, Miami Beach, USA

    Obama speaks like he understands how we are as humans and Americans. He's what I want in a leader. He speaks the truth, and he has our votes.

    Enough of the corruption and greed in government and business. Accumulating wealth is not our purpose on our planet. It's being happy with the small things and helping others when you can.

    August 28, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. JJ

    My comment, Mr. Gergen, is that you are not a journalist and certainly are not a fair-minded or balanced commentator. You are an Obama sycophant. I'm no fan of the inexperienced, unprepared, and substance-less Senator Obama, nor am I fan of the unpredictable, volatile, and rapidly losing in good judgment Senator McCain, but your posts are not helping me or anyone else make the unfortunate choice between them.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  4. Former PUMA, just converted

    I hate to admit it, but I couldn't agree more. After what Hillary and Bill said the last two night's, and what Obama said tonight. I will vote for this man. I still think Hillary got robbed and would have been the better candidate (her speech was better too) but I cannot in good conscience vote for McCain or not vote at all. it's just too important

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. Observation

    CNN as a result of Obama's presidency, I can see you fading out with the GOP as well.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. Bill Lorenz

    This speech was spectacular and utterly inspiring? When's the last time you saw anything like that? It was forty some years ago.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  7. Jay

    I agree........

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. Brian Stark

    I can't recall a time when I heard a more energized plan on how to get our country back on track. Without alienating any population, Obama addressed his plan for making much needed changes in our government and gave me a much needed sense of unification and citizenship.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  9. Julie

    Well said, we witnessed nothing less than a masterpiece.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  10. Martie

    We are truly standing at the crossroads of history. Obama was eloquent and rendered most people speechless. I anticipate a disheartening RNC convention next week. I wasn't totally thrilled with the DNC performance this week. However, I can honestly say I cannot understand why anyone with a pulse and is competent to think could possibly consider voting for McCain. If Obama loses this election, I don't believe he will lose this because of their support of McCain but because they are afraid of Obama. That would truly be a sad commentary on the citizens of this country.

    As an independent, I was moved by his speech and applaud his courage to be untraditional. He has taken the track less traveled and oftentimes never traveled before. I applaud him for that.

    And hopefully once and for all, we will all let it go about Hillary not being on the ticket. That would have been lunancy for him to have done that. I'm shocked he selected Biden but I am not disappointed that he did. But I'm a dreamer. I wanted Obama to get Colin Powell, the most unlikely of all possible candidates.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. Betty Bartlett

    I was very impressed by Obamas speach tonight. I am a registered Republican. But he sure sounded good to me,I have been becoming more and more unhappy with the Republican Party over the past few years

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  12. Ellen Schuette

    Mr. Gergen: I agree. This was a masterpiece of a speech. I had tears in my eyes at many points. As I listened, I reflected on my own political background: raised a Republican, married for many years to a straight-ticket Republican, and here I am in my early 50s planning to vote for the Obama-Biden ticket and watching this man speaking on TV be tough, plain, and righteously angry at the past 8 years while still delivering a soaring and heartbreakingly personal speech. Whatever it is that he has and believes and says - I want it. I hope the United States wants it, too.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  13. steve nelson

    Mr. Gergen:

    What we saw & heard tonight was the guy who walked over Clinton & Gore's bridge to the 21st century...and here he stands on the other side, waiting for America to join him on the next big road trip through history.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. Let's Unite

    Mr. Gergen as a young Democrat growing more interest in this truly amazing process I have always trusted you and your profound insight. I appreciate you both your praises and disappointments with this party because I know there is fact behind your belief. With all that in mind this short four paragraph statement has me ecstatic beyond belief.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  15. Democrat for John McCain

    David Gergen, you are wrong. Barack has no chance unless you want to become his presidential adviser if he comes to power. Barack has a big mouth and this big mouth spoke tonight. This is rhetoric we are used since his campaign began. American people are smarter than that. They will not be swayed. I am more confident today that John McCain will be our next president.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  16. Matt

    As a ardent Sen. Hillary Clinton supporter, I think Sen. Barrack Obama did an amazing job tonight delivering his acceptance speech. I was seriously considering backing Sen. John McCain, but I have decided to reconsider and will most likely back Sen. Obama because of this single speech.

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  17. gjt in Georgia

    The United States of America has a new champion! His name is Barack Obama. For all of the people that had doubts, I hope they feel more at ease. His acceptance speech was a work of art. The delivery was superb! And it was very good to hear you say that you were sharing the KOOL-Aid!

    My congratulations to the Obama campaign!

    August 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  18. Andrew

    David, I agree. It was beautiful. Michelle Obama, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, many of the democratic governors, Senators Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy, and Biden all loaded the bases and Senator Obama knocked the ball clean out of the park. It was plain and simple a grand slam! What a speech!

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  19. Linda

    David, you are so right! This speech was one that left me blown away and jumping off the couch. I knew Obama was a great orator but this speech was, as you put it, a masterpiece.
    What so many McCain supporters are underestimating is the the enthusiasm this man, this speech, will bring to those who are his supporters – we're all just going to work just that much harder to get him elected. There is a large percentage of young voters out there who don't blog on places like this, who have cell phones and not land lines (I'm over 50 and have a Vonage phone and cell) and aren't accessible to the pollsters and the pundits.
    Meanwhile, not only are Democrats angry at the stolen Gore election and what we got in return for the theft, but that McCain and the Republicans think we're going to roll over and take on another 4 years of continuing decline, horrific foreign policy, and more debt and sacrifice for a POW. What McCain doesn't get is the American people are now the POWS!!!! And we want out of our cells!

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  20. James in Ohio

    It was a beautiful speech, but based on his resume I still think he's the wrong person for the job.

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  21. Sarah- ARIZONA

    I agree with you a 100%

    It was a MASTERPIECE =)

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Matt

    Obama is ready to be president. And America needs Obama. McCain's campaign is a pathetic symphony of fear and hopelessness. Fear that will keep republicans in power and America on the path to becoming a hopeless nation without a future.

    There IS substance to Obama. It is there for people with an open mind and heart.

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  23. Morningstar

    It was just wonderful! I wish my grand father was here to see this day!

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  24. Terry

    Over the several presidencies I have experienced this surely was the most brilliant speech I have ever witnessed in 42 years. simply wow !!!

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  25. Dmitry Tyomkin

    The speech was indeed extraordinary. If there was enough confidence among independents and even centrist Republicans that Obama can and will deliver, I am sure he would win. One thing I haven't heard from him yet is exactly how does he plan to turn things around without relying on same Washington cadre.

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
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