January 27th, 2010
10:25 PM ET
13 years ago

Castellanos: The "I's" have it

(CNN) - The bad news is that this long speech had too many words. The good news is that many of them were "I." A long list of stuff will not change the narrative for this president tonight. I would have advised him to give a shorter speech about bigger things, instead of a longer one about smaller things.

And I wish he'd given a speech that implied some change of direction, something to prove he'd gotten the message the American people have been sending him. I didn't hear that tonight.

January 27th, 2010
10:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Castellanos: Saying one thing, doing another

(CNN) - The same president who yearned for less partisanship tonight also resorted to it without hesitation a few sentences later, blaming his problems on his predecessor, one long year into his own administration.

That same president who yearned to reduce deficits also called for a huge expansion of government and a bagful of expensive new Washington programs. The same president who said, "We can't wage a perpetual campaign," just brought in his campaign manager to do exactly that. And the same president, who said it was urgent to reduce the deficit, said we would start next year.

January 27th, 2010
10:04 PM ET
13 years ago

Castellanos: China's 'clean energy'?

(CNN) - "China's not waiting to revamp its economy," President Obama said Wednesday night. "Germany's not waiting. India's not waiting. These nations aren't standing still. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs."
What was that? China's economy is growing because of its investments in "clean energy"? Really?

January 27th, 2010
09:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Castellanos: Beware the long speech

(CNN) - If this State of the Union speech is as long as we have been told - about 70 minutes - it means that the president could not decide what was important. So he decided everything was important. That's a shame because the American people suspect this president is trying to do everything and accomplishing nothing except spending money we don't have and creating debt.

What the president needs to do is focus on only a few things: Growing the economy, creating jobs, reducing debt, and keeping America safe.
This is not the night for a speech that is longer than train smoke.

August 27th, 2008
12:03 AM ET
15 years ago

Castellanos: What Clinton didn't say

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/27/art.clintcast.ap.jpg caption="Clinton didn't say enough, Alex Castellanos said."]Hillary Clinton gave a workmanlike speech tonight. She checked the boxes. However, the message many will hear is that her sisterhood of the traveling pants didn't make it this time and was wronged. But keep going, Senator Clinton told her coalition of supporters, and we will make it someday.

At least one Democratic delegate interviewed by CNN after Senator Clinton spoke said Clinton's remarks proved she was denied the nomination because of her gender. That's the speech she heard in the convention hall. The sisterhood of the traveling pants may not be ready to embrace Obama just yet.

If had to title this speech, I would call it Clinton's "Lesser of Two Evils" speech.

She gave all the reasons she ran for president and then said if you believe in those, vote for the Democratic nominee.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Speaking of ringing, she said nothing about the questions she has raised about Obama's preparedness to be president.

It's 3 a.m. and that phone is still ringing.

August 26th, 2008
10:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Castellanos: Warner the 'next Democrat'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/26/art.mark.warner.jpg caption="Former VA Governor Mark Warner gave the keynote address at the DNC in Denver."]
A powerful speech from Mark Warner, who is going to come out of this convention as the "next Democrat," much like Barack Obama himself emerged from the Democratic convention four years ago.

The election Obama can win is not one about who has the experience to lead the world in the most dangerous moment in history - That's the election we Republicans would like.

Watch: Waner says this is 'the most important contest' of our generation

The election Obama can win is a race between the past and future, and Warner framed that election better than anyone else this year except perhaps Barack Obama himself.

The structure of the old world we knew is gone. No longer is America the unchallenged economic leader of the world. No longer is our security challenged by only one formidable Soviet adversary. Warner told America tonight that we face a new generation of challenges, implying we need a new generation of leaders to meet them.

What he didn't tell us is that behind the new rhetoric, there are still the same old industrial age policies: Warner closed his budget gap in Virginia by persuading liberal republicans to join him in raising taxes. Today Obama promises just the same.

August 26th, 2008
09:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Castellanos: Will Clinton acknowledge her failings?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/26/art.hillary.jpg caption="Clinton takes the stage tonight, vowing to unite Democrats."]
I often teach young campaign managers what I view as "The Laws of Politics."

One of them is "The Law of the Ketchup Stain" - When your candidate walks into the room with a stain on his or her shirt, no one is going to listen to a word they say until it is acknowledged.

Everyone knows Hillary Clinton is going to support Barack Obama, that's not the stain on her shirt. Rather, the "ketchup stain" is that she has said Obama is inexperienced and unprepared to be president. She's got to acknowledge what every Democrat has heard her say.

How does she do it? She must say, "I know you've heard me say things in the competitive heat of battle that may cause some of you to have doubts about my support for Obama. I know that and you know that. Let me put those doubts to rest. I'm not only going to do everything I can do to elect Obama, I am going to ask you to help me, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your energy. If you believe in Hillary Clinton, believe in Obama, support him. Elect him president."

Will she do it? The Clintons have never been very good at acknowledging their failings. Unless she does, however, her support of Obama will be seen by many Democrats as a choice between the lesser of two evils - the appearance that she supports Obama only because he is not as bad John McCain.

August 25th, 2008
10:27 PM ET
15 years ago

Castellanos: It’s a liberal Democratic party tonight

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/25/art.four.gi.jpg caption="The Democratic speakers tonight are more liberal than mainstream America, Castellanos says."]Senator Kennedy's speech is going to be one of the highlights of the evening if not the entire Democratic Convention.

But it also demonstrates one of the challenges facing Barack Obama.

Tonight, America is hearing from the national Democratic Party - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Jimmy Carter, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, Ted Kennedy, a group considerably farther left of center than mainstream America.

They are not change. They are classic, old school "make Washington bigger" Democrats.

When Obama won the nomination, change ran into the national liberal Democratic establishment. So far, as we can see tonight, the national Democratic Party has won.

Let's see if the Obama campaign chooses to reverse that and regain the mantle of change this week.

August 25th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Castellanos: Kennedy gives heroic speech

A wonderful and heroic speech by the last lion of a great American family, a family that has borne too great a burden.

This was the laying on of hands, the transfer of the moral leadership of the Democratic Party, which the Kennedy's hold, to Barack Obama - a new generation of Democratic leader.

Watch: Ted Kennedy " The dream lives on"

It is the most powerful gift Obama has received.

May God be with the sentator. No family should have to bear as much.

August 25th, 2008
07:54 PM ET
15 years ago

Castellanos: What Michelle Obama needs to do

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/25/art.michelle.cnn.jpg caption="Michelle Obama has a tough task ahead of her."]Michelle Obama is going to attempt to give us a more intimate view of her husband when she addresses the Democratic National Convention tonight.

That's sometimes difficult with political leaders like Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan whose strength is stature not intimacy.

It doesn't keep them from being president. But that stature keeps them emotionally distant from us. Obama has a bit of that emotional teflon that Reagan had too.

Let's see if Michelle Obama can penetrate it tonight.