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. Sandra Speidel

    Thank you, David Gergen.
    I agree, Barack's speech was a symphony, and he shows a new mature confidence in his mission.
    The entire convention has been a symphony, carefully and masterfully, inspiringly, orchestrated.

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  2. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    Masterpiece? Hardly. This was nothing more than a typical attack speech, one that any politician could have said. No substance, nothing new, no change-just a flat, boring speech from a political mouthpiece. Come on David Gergen-a symphony? 'Chop Sticks' is more of a symphony than this speech/lecture ever will be. It will be forgotten by December.

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. Joman

    As usual, your analysis is succinct, accurate, objective and deferential to those who would dissent. America needs to tip its hat to you for the fine work you do in helping us see through the spin to the essence of the moment, whether right, left or center. Keep up the great work.

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  4. Sue

    I am from Chicago! I was flip flopping between the Cubs game and Obama's speech! Both hit a grand slam!

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. Steven Vermaas

    Obama is America's best hope for the future. He's given me hope that it's possible to to undo some of the damage that's been put upon this country in the past eight years. John McCain will look pathetic standing next to this man in the debates. This is Obama's year; this is America's finest hour. Yes we can!

    August 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  6. Minnesota against John McWar

    One House One Spouse – Obama / Biden '08

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. Taruna Agarwal

    You said it!
    It was indeed a masterpiece less than that !
    Years and years to come this day will be remembered and mentioned time and again. A beautiful way to end the 45th anniversary of MLK's 'I have a dream speech".

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR


    Sign me up to do my part to help America!

    Senior white woman for Obama/Biden

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  9. zumm

    Obama, actually laid down a masterpiece. he will be a great leader that will take this country to the next level.
    America wake up and live your dreams and also lay down a legacy for the next generation............

    Let's go elect Obama-Biden '08

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  10. Adrienne

    It played on my heart, mind, and gut. It was a speech that touched every sense. I have never watched anything like it.
    I watched Obama and I was left with 3 words. He's a winner.

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  11. Pellehives

    Awesome speech. Anyone who watched this will be hard-pressed not to vote for him. Go Obama!

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  12. Hal Sedgwick

    I respect you Gergen, far more than most of our banal and shallow pundits, but even you seem incapable of simply stating the obvious: the case made tonight is inescapably TRUE and the only "fascinating debate" remaining is whether we can help millions more of our fellow Americans understand rather than be spun.

    August 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  13. Emma

    We watched CSpan. So we didn't have to listen to the half-baked opinions of the likes of Anderson Cooper, John King, et al. (Mr. Gergen, I generally like your opinions, but this time it was far, far better to hear everything that went on at the podium—without the unending commentary of the talking heads). Thank God for CSpan!

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. Observer


    You are the political pundit that I always look to for a sound and unbiased analysis. I only tune in to CNN because of you…thank you for your wise and thoughtful words.

    I agree with your analysis…the speech was extraordinary and I have always been proud to be an American but today is a historical day and I just couldn’t stop smiling.

    God bless.

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. Bill G.

    Choreographed wonderfully. Powerful speech...We all know he doesn't know enough to function in a debate. 143 days in session as a senator. lmfao. I am not a McCain fan. But by far he is the lesser of two evils. Go John, go. Anybody see what he did with Ayers and the millions he funneled to him? And are you guys kidding? Biden??? Sold his soul the other night bad-mouthing his longtime friend. He can use the secret service to pull the foot from his mouth when he ultimately gets it stuck in there...Is this the best the Dems can do? Dont get me wrong...It will be tight...but it shouldn't be...McCain will win. My dear Lord, I cant stop laughing at the Dems...And when the laughing dies down, I think Pelosi, Reid, Gore, Clinton and just start laughing all over again. The only time I stop laughing is when I think of my children and realize these clowns actually live in and have considerable say in the same world as my children – Bill

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. Darlene PA

    This was such a great night to be an American! I am so proud of Senator Obama and I know we can take the White House back in Nov. The only probem I have with this evening is the hatred I hear coming from Republican's calling him a Black socialist???? and a few Hillary supportors still hanging on to a dream deferred???? What is going on with these people?

    I have a dream and it's coming true election day Nov. 08

    God Bless Barack Obama. God Bless Joe Biden. God Bless the people of America!!!!!

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  17. Franklin

    I am so proud of my country and my candidate. Obama's acceptance speech was brilliant. I have never witnessed anything like it in all my 52 years. God bless us all!

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. Steve, Jacksonville, FL

    I watched John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech when I was 12 years old and it has stuck with me through the years as being one of the greatest political speeches in the history of America. Obama's speech tonight belongs in the same category but it will only be remembered as such if Barack Obama becomes President.

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  19. Isabella, California

    David, I've usually voted Republican, but I am not happy with McCain or how the Republican party has lost its way. I have been interested in what Obama has to say but did feel as if I didn't really know what his "Change" would mean for America. Tonight he convinced me to give him a chance to run this country, and he will get my vote in November. I thought it was an inspiring and imformative speech.

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  20. Courtney

    Daivd, I think you hit it right on the head. Barack Obama is ready. If he didn't prove that to the skeptics, I guess they were expecting a 3-ring circus with lions and tigers and bears... oh my. He raised the bar tonight and he did it eloquently.

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  21. Ashima Gupta

    I agree that this will be regarded a turning point in history, not just his speech tonight, but his being the Democratic nominee and what his campaign has done for the country. I also think that there is no stopping him, actually, the people who are energised because of him. All that needs to be done is ensure that Hillary Clinton's supporters get behind him; the independents and the ones on the borderline will be; and nothing can be said about hard core Republicans who actually elected Bush for the second term because their attitude is to close their eyes and ears to other points of views and who actually do not believe in trying to 'be in someone else's shoes', as Obama said.

    August 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Paul Dobro

    Faster pace, less like a preacher, hit ALL the major points, fantastic.

    America did not go the the moon by bashing the people who said it was possible.

    We did not build the greatest nation on earth to see it brought down to this level.

    I can't imagine how the GOP will evr be able to come close to this. They will try to bash it down, but it will stand on it's own marit.

    August 28, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. elizabeth

    Undecided to Decided Enough said...

    August 28, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. John SmithSan Francisco

    still no substance,his speech is like John Kerry of 2004.

    Lets wait what will happen next week with Republican Convention.

    But for now i still want to see mcCain, tested candidate to hold the

    most powerful office in this world.Lets give Mccain a chance.

    Then Hiliary in 2012.

    August 28, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. Marcia Arnold

    I agree with you completely. It was magnificent! If Obama does not win this election, something is definitely wrong! I was involved in politics in high school and college and not for the past 40 years, but now I feel compelled to work again for a campaign. Barack Obama will make a fantastic leader.

    August 28, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
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