Live Blogging the President’s Convention Speech

Alright, I’ve been asked to live blog the President’s speech.  Hopefully it will be received better than last night’s blog about Clinton!

As always, join in (that means you, students, who are at loose ends on campus!)

It’s pretty clear that the Obama team thinks that the auto bailout is a winner, particularly in the midwest battleground states.  Almost every speaker has brought this up.

The real irony of Biden praising the President’s decision to go ahead with the Bin Laden raid is that Biden opposed it.

And he’s on!  (By the way, was that George Clooney narrating the Obama film?  Was Clint too busy?)

A shout out to Biden – which is needed, since he didn’t get a prime time speaking slot.

There’s genuine affection for this guy in the convention hall.

Here he’s going to reference the major themes of his campaign: he inherited the economic crisis, one precipitated in part by Romney-like outsourcing….

Here he trumpets his tax cuts for the middle class…

Look for him here to remind voters that this is a difficult path to follow…

Every president – and presidential hopeful – has learned the Reagan/Carter lesson – always, always appear optimistic, and praise the American people…

Here comes the automotive shout-out again…..they really think this is a winning theme against Romney…

He references outsourcing jobs, but he is not going to mention Romney directly by name more than once…

What he doesn’t say is that the reduction in oil imports is almost entirely due to a sluggish economy…..

When it comes to coastal drilling, he’s been burned once – won’t happen again….

The twitterverse is getting antsy – speech is (so far!) lacking the inspirational atmospherics of previous presidents.  I  say wait …. .

Conservative twits are pointing out that increase in oil production is on private lands – not federal.

We ended the war in Iraq?  The fact checkers will have a field day with this – Bush negotiated the withdrawal.

Who, in 2008, would have predicted that Obama would be touting his foreign policy credentials, and dissing his opponent’s?

(By the way, who is his “opponent”?)

For what it is worth, Romney has endorsed an Afghanistan troop draw down.  It’s a sign of the times that the Democrat is running on his foreign policy credentials, while the Republican wants to focus on the economy.

From here on out look for him to emphasize optimism, and to give a shout out to the people….

He ends with a soaring shout out to the people.  but will it sell in a period  of 8.3% unemployment?

Lots of tweeters tweeting that this is a “safe” speech.  It’s not – notice that he’s focusing on the future.  This is a speech you would expect from a challenger.  He’s not running on his record so much as running on the promise that things will get better.

The ending is telling – entirely focused on the future, with the hope of better things to come.  It’s clear that he wants to convince voters that he’s begun to turn this around, but that he needs more time.  Will voters buy this?

Democratic tweeters acknowledging this isn’t his best speech, but certainly shows a change in tone.  More presidential.

Some Obama supporters like Ezra Klein are arguing that this was a “safe” speech because it didn’t mention specifics. I disagree – this was a forward looking speech because he knows “his” record isn’t something to highlight.  His goal here is to persuade voters that he needs more time to fix the mess he inherited.

The other interesting part of this speech is how much time he spent on foreign policy  – what a change from 2008, when he ran against the Bush policy on terrorism.  Now Obama is presenting a much more muscular foreign policy profile designed to highlight his commander in chief credentials.  Note that Romney and his surrogates largely ignored foreign policy, in the belief that this election will turn primarily on the economy.

In the end, Obama played to his base more than to the undecideds…. his speech was strong on rhetoric and looking ahead, but not much here on defending the major policy initiatives of his first term – the stimulus bill, or health care.  And that’s understandable – those are very polarizing issues.   This is a reminder that it’s easy for surrogates to give soaring speeches, but much harder for the President to go on the attack without appearing less presidential.  What a difference four years make.

With the conventions over, we look toward the general campaign. I’ll be on tomorrow addressing the convention bumps, (or lack thereof) but the next major events that have the potential to change the campaign narrative are the three October debates.  In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what impact these two conventions have on the polling.  Romney has made incremental gains starting from before the RNC, and is now tied with Obama (or ahead) in most polls. Will that trend survive the DNC?

Stay tuned.



  1. The random crowd shots on CNN are pretty bad…its like the cameraman forgot we have HD, I could see that guys nose hairs….

  2. This almost sounds like a State of the Union address…. the 100,000 teachers has been in every State of the Union since Lincoln it seems like

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