That. Was. Incredible.
If you’ve been following the DNC from home, then you just witnessed, along with us, one of the greatest speeches ever delivered at a Democratic National Convention… Michelle Obama’s culminating primetime address, in which she eloquently laid out the case for President Barack Obama’s reelection. To say that the speech was a home run would be putting it mildly. It was absolutely fantastic.
By the time Michelle Obama walked out onto the stage at 10:38 PM, expectations were already high — and delegates were already plenty excited — but the First Lady somehow managed to propel the energy in the arena to a whole new level.
I’m not sure how to describe the feeling. A mixture of delight, happiness, joy, gratitude, excitement. A euphoric feeling.
In that moment, when Michelle Obama walked to the podium, it felt like there was an electric current in the air. Thousands of We Love Michelle rally signs in the air. Everybody on their feet. Cameras flashing. Yelling, whistling, cheering and clapping so prolonged that the First Lady had to wait for the excitement to subside a bit so she could begin her remarks… which I’ll discuss in a moment.
Republicans have been trying to suggest for some time that Democrats just aren’t enthusiastic about reelecting Barack Obama. I think tonight, Democrats offered convincing proof that the Republicans are completely wrong, The enthusiasm here in Charlotte is contagious, and there’s a lot of it. Democrats truly are fired up and ready to go to ensure that President Obama gets a second term in 2012. If Democrats lose this November, it won’t be for lack of trying.
In her speech, Michelle Obama described her own journey as a mother from being the spouse of a presidential candidate to the spouse of the leader of the free world.
“Serving as your First Lady is an honor and a privilege,” she told delegates and guests. “But back when we first came together four years ago, I still had some concerns about this journey we’d begun.”
“While I believed deeply in my husband’s vision for this country, and I was certain he would make an extraordinary President, like any mother, I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance. How will we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight? How would they feel being uprooted from their school, their friends, and the only home they’d ever known?”
“See, our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys — Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at Grandma’s house, and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both,” she added, to laughter from the hall.
“And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girls, and I deeply loved the man I had built that life with — and I didn’t want that to change if he became President… I loved Barack just the way he was.”
“And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn’t want any of that to change if Barack became President.”
“Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being President doesn’t change who you are — no, it reveals who you are.”
Delegates jumped to their feet, giving the First Lady another standing ovation.
“You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being President really looks like,” Obama continued. “And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones — the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer; the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error. And as President, you’re going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.”
Later, she reflected, “So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago. He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work — because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
After asking the convention to stand with her in reelecting President Obama, she exited to thunderous applause and another sustained ovation.
The unanimous opinion among everyone I’ve talked to so far here in Charlotte is that the speech was outstanding. Of course, we’re biased.
But then, so is our opposition.
It’ll be interesting to see if any media organizations come out with polling showing what self-professed independents and undecided voters thought of the speech. I bet if there are any such surveys done, a majority — or more — will give the First Lady a good grade. That was simply a terrific speech.
We’re all definitely looking forward to tomorrow after this. Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton have a tough act to follow. But they are excellent speakers in their own right, and I suspect they’ll be able to build on the excitement that Michelle Obama and all the speakers who came before her built this evening.
Charlotte is rockin’ tonight!