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How Did Obama Do?

It was a make-or-break moment for the president as he closed out the DNC. Daily Beast contributors weigh in on the big speech and more.

Michelle’s Savvy First-Lady Fashion

Obama’s subtle polish sends the right political message, says Robin Givhan.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

The last time Michelle Obama delivered a speech on stage at a Democratic National Convention, she wore a teal sheath by Chicago-based designer Maria Pinto, which was accessorized with a starburst brooch at the center of the neckline.

Media Mob Charlotte

The Democratic National Convention's marquee speeches don't start until Tuesday night, but first lady Michelle Obama, House candidate and war hero Tammy Duckworth, and other big names were in town a day early to greet the press hordes. Lloyd Grove reports.
Jae C. Hong

Not a lot of news—in the sense of unscripted surprises or revelations of things previously unknown—is generated at national political conventions, let alone on the day before national political conventions.So more than a hundred photographers and reporters—some of them speaking French and German—gathered in a mob Monday afternoon on the floor of Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena to watch Michelle Obama conduct television interviews high above in the nosebleed suites and then descend to the blue-carpeted podium to check out the speechifying equipment.

O’Malley Tests Convention Waters

The governor, who speaks Tuesday night in prime time, is laying the groundwork for a future White House bid, says Howard Kurtz.
Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Martin O’Malley, who is busy singing President Obama’s praises in Charlotte, is also keeping one eye on the next Democratic convention—the one that gets under way in 2016.When the Maryland governor submitted his speech—“They only gave me seven minutes”—to Obama campaign officials, he recalls, “they said I had too many applause lines.

5 Things to Watch at the DNC

From an unprecedented endorsement of same-sex marriage to the first lady's big speech, here's what's worth tuning in for on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.
Charles Dharapak / AP Photo

The schedule for the Democratic National Convention is laid out a little differently than the RNC's, at least on the first day. Where the Republicans offered a series of speeches one after another, on Tuesday the Democrats will mix major speeches with panel discussions.

Up for Grabs

Obama can win, but he has a much narrower margin for error in 2012 than in 2008. Douglas Schoen and Jessica Tarlov explain.
AP Photo (2)

Barack Obama won a comfortable victory in 2008, with an 8-point advantage over John McCain. Today things are drastically different. Recent polls suggest a virtual tie between Obama and Romney—which means that, in all likelihood, this election is going to be extremely close.

Obama’s One-Woman Warrior

Stephanie Cutter may have kind words for Ann Romney, but she’s a pit bull when it comes to the Republicans. She talks to Lauren Ashburn about gender issues and the 2012 campaign.
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

It’s no surprise that Stephanie Cutter didn’t think much of the Republican convention and its blatant appeal to female voters. But there was one woman she singled out for praise.“Ann Romney is an impressive person and did a good job of giving a lens into her husband,” she tells me.

Bring It, Mobama!

Ann Romney conveyed vulnerability at the GOP convention. Look for the first lady to answer with fire—and pump up the faithful. Michelle Cottle on what Michelle needs to do.
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Tuesday night, arguably the most popular campaigner of this presidential race will have her say, when Michelle Obama takes the stage to make the case for her husband’s reelection.And while her role as candidate’s wife remains more or less the typical one—humanize the hubby—expect the contrast between Mobama’s convention appearance and Ann Romney’s to be dramatic in a number of ways.

Can Castro Out-Obama Obama?

The Democrats’ keynote speaker in Charlotte is a savvy pol with a bright future. Andrew Romano on the hurdles he’ll need to overcome if he hopes to become the first Latino president.
Pat Sullivan / AP Photo

Henry Cisneros. Antonio Villaraigosa. Bill Richardson.It’s a safe bet that Julian Castro, the San Antonio mayor and rising Latino star set to deliver the keynote address Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, remembers these names well.

Obama’s Real Chicago Politics

No matter what Clinton says on Obama’s behalf in Charlotte, the gentrification of the Democratic Party has gone too far to be reversed in this election, writes Joel Kotkin.
AP Photo (2)

While the Democratic convention this week celebrates the party’s new coalition, Bill Clinton will no doubt try to recapture the white middle class that’s largely deserted the Democrats since his presidency ended. But it’s likely his efforts will be a case of too little, too late for Barack Obama—who will have to look elsewhere for his electoral majority.

Obama’s Simple Convention Task

The GOP convention was a dud. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to woo undecided voters—by telling them the truth about what Romney-Ryan will do if they win.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

It’s conventional wisdom that Barack Obama and the Democrats have to use their convention to persuade swing voters. OK, but how? That’s the big question. It doesn’t seem at first blush that the famous Reagan question that’s resurfaced—“Are you better off than you were four years ago?”—will work to Obama’s benefit.

South Carolina, Who Knew?

Well here I am in my hotel, a Quality Inn in the exurbs about 20 miles outside of Charlotte, across the highway from a down-at-heel seeming amusement park, surrounded by mega-gas-stations on one side, an office park on the other.

Is Obama 'Likable Enough'?

Early arrivals to the Democratic Convention are already framing Obama as the unexcitable, even-tempered choice. Lloyd Grove on the game of managing expectations.
Mladen Antonov, AFP / Getty Images

Never mind hope and change—or at least the euphoric hope and sweeping change that characterized Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. The message this week in Charlotte, N.C., site of the Democratic National Convention that will nominate President Obama for a second term, is incremental change and a tiny sliver of hope.

Explain the Financial Crisis

One of the most gifted orators in American history will take the stage in Charlotte to convince us the nation is not in decline. Peter Beinart on the two economical phrases Obama must utter.
Mandel Ngan, AFP / Getty Images

This week in Charlotte, N.C., Barack Obama will answer Mitt Romney. It’s a doable task, given that Obama is one of the most gifted orators in modern American history, and Romney, as he reminded us Thursday, is not. But to succeed, Obama’s speech must include two phrases that he doesn’t usually utter on the stump.

Obama’s Anticlimactic Speech

Everyone thinks the president will knock it out of the stadium in Charlotte this week. But Howard Kurtz says he needs more than just oratory.
Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

The relentless drumbeat during the Republican convention was loud and insistent: Mitt Romney had to deliver the political speech of his life.By contrast, the conventional wisdom surrounding Barack Obama is that he can deliver the speech of his life here in Charlotte and it won’t matter.

The Democrats' Convention Trap

What should be a celebration of the president’s accomplishments will instead be a minefield. Mark McKinnon on the perils that await the DNC in Charlotte, N.C.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

They’re caught in a trap. And it’s a trap they built. (Yes, they did build it. Nobody else made it happen.) As the 2012 Democratic National Convention nears, I do not envy Team Obama. They have to escape from the narrative trap they’ve built.

What Do You Think?

Take our DNC poll: DNC2012

'I'm Hopeful Because of You'

'I never said this journey would be easy,' the president told Americans Thursday, 'and I won't promise that now.' But the hope that drove him into office in 2008 remains, he said; he still believes in Americans' ability to 'pull each other up' and travel the hard road to economic recovery together.

  1. Meghan McCain Slams Charlie Crist Play

    Meghan McCain Slams Charlie Crist

  2. Clinton Nominates Obama Play

    Clinton Nominates Obama

  3. Jimmy Fallon or Julian Castro? Play

    Jimmy Fallon or Julian Castro?

Watch This

Beast TV at the DNC!

Best of Beast TV at the DNC

Best of Beast TV at the DNC

From Darrell Hammond’s Clinton impression to Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Jerusalem, see the best moments.

The Other Guys

All About the RNC

The Block-and-Blame Game

The Block-and-Blame Game

The RNC says it’s Obama’s fault the gun bill didn’t pass. By John Avlon.


J.C. Watts Drops Bombs


Poll: Yes, We’re Better Off


Leave Clint Alone!


Ann’s Big Boo Boo