Live Blogging Clinton’s speech

Ok, the Big Dog is on, but running late.  Let’s see him work his magic – and stick to the schedule!

Hard to believe he left office more than a decade ago, and under a cloud of suspicion for his last minute pardons.

Ouch!  Bill praising Obama’s choice of a wife – has that ever mattered to Bill before?

It didn’t take long for Bill to switch the focus to him.

Notice that he’s strayed from the script.  No teleprompter for most of this.  The question is whether he can wrap up in time for the evening news casts.

It’s worth remembering that Bill was crucified for “cooperating” with Republicans.

Uh, Bill  – don’t forget you aren’t running – Obama is.

Timing is becoming an issue here – he needs to wrap up in order to meet the evening news deadline.

Rumor has it that Obama will join him on stage.  If so, it is a reminder that Obama is worried about whether he can get the votes of the so-called “Reagan democrats” – middle and lower-income white working class voters.

Keep in mind that in 1988, Clinton’s convention speech went way over the time limit, and when he announced “In conclusion”, the crowd – relieved that it was finally over – broke out in huge applause.  How long will the audience stay with him tonight?  He’s only about half way through the speech, but the audience is still with him…

I’m shocked – shocked! – that Clinton has run over his time limit. He’s already 5 minutes past the 11 p.m. deadline, and only slightly half way through the speech.  Someone is going to have to drag him off the stage. He’s in his element now.

“This is personal to me” – Clinton touts his own welfare record.  I’m not surprised.

I think he’s gone longer than he did in 1988.  Is he losing the crowd?

This is veering toward self parody – hard to tell whether this is a validation of Clinton’s presidency – or a plea for Obama’s.

And – finally – he ends.  How long did this go?

As expected, Obama makes an appearance on stage – neither of them look particularly pleased to see the other guy!

And now – about 1/2 hour after bedtime – the Democrats will finally hold the roll call to confirm Obama’s nomination as the Democratic standard bearer. I hope you forgive me if I don’t stay up to describe the roll call vote.  I’m sure all the “great states” will, in the end, nominate the incumbent president.

I’ll be on tomorrow to see if Obama can secure the nomination!



  1. Prof. Dickinson,

    I appreciate all your work on your blog and I regularly read it (as my previous posting more than a year ago attests!) And I’d say that if you had any serious intention of blogging Clinton’s speech, you let your standards down. It’s late to be working, but if you hoped to provide any insight beyond duration, I hope you will write more another day.

    Clinton’s speech included a lot of analyses, arguments, and effective rhetorical choices. Many immediate commentators gave it positive reviews (probably just on the grounds of rhetorical effect), but it’s a speech that, in my opinion, deserved more focus than it received.

    Thanks again, and keep up the good work,


  2. Adam,

    I appreciate the criticism. I’ll look at the transcript again tomorrow to see what I missed. Right now, however, I stand by my initial impression – this speech was too wonky, and too long, to shift very many undecideds into Obama’s column. Instead, it was in large part a paean to Clinton’s presidency rather than a celebration of Obama’s. And knowing what we do of Clinton, no one should be surprised.

  3. Well, regardless of the length of the speech, it’s clear that President Clinton has a gift for communicating relatively complex policy ideas in an understandable and clear manner. His charisma is also quite impressive; he definitely comes off as someone a voter would want to “sit down and have a beer with.” I also appreciate that he used specific numbers to support his points, though I’m sure that, with the arrival of the morning newspaper, it will become clear just how accurate and/or selective his numbers are.

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