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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.

Two Insanely Smart Speeches

Bill Clinton was justly praised for a great address (so great that it managed to praise the president while laying the groundwork for Hillary in 2016), writes Robert Shrum, who argues that Barack Obama has been grossly—and unjustly—shortchanged by the pundits.
Lucian Perkins / The Washington Post via Getty Images

I received an email from one of the smartest reporters around who asked, “What does it say about the POTUS that he didn’t even give the best speech of his own convention?” He was echoing the reaction of a broad swath of the pundit class.

The Big Speech’s Little People

In his primetime speech, President Obama gave a shout out to a handful of average Americans who give him hope. So who are they? (Hint: They’re not that average.)
Alex Wong / Getty Images

During Barack Obama’s highly anticipated speech at the Democratic National Convention, the President mentioned a handful of ordinary Americans who give him “hope”. The controversial word that defined his 2008 campaign was applied to citizens Obama never mentioned by name.

Why Obama Went Low Key

The president’s more subdued rhetoric is being derided by pundits—but it was carefully vetted with groups of voters. Howard Kurtz reports exclusively on the Obama team’s decision not to swing for the fences in Charlotte.
Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

Barack Obama’s team wanted an earthbound speech, and they got it.While the pundits are generally calling the president’s Thursday night address mediocre, Obama and his advisers had taken great pains to avoid soaring rhetoric that might have been derided as empty.

Will Black Voters Show Up?

Controversial new restrictions aside, Democrats are worried that black people might not turn out for the president this time. How party heavyweights are rallying the troops.
Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Just hours before the first African-American president was set to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Al Sharpton convened a group of black pastors, political leaders, and community activists to discuss the problem and the plan for 2012.

4 Beefs With Obama’s Speech

Not every politician can give a great speech and stick to the facts. How did the president do at the DNC on Thursday night?
Brendan Smialowski / AFP-Getty Images

Ever since Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan made a number of misleading claims in his speech at the Republican National Convention last week, fact checkers have kept a close eye on the assertions candidates from both parties make onstage.

Underwhelming and Anticlimactic

The president should have gone after Mitt Romney for doubling down on the mess the GOP created, and the nightmare we’ve had to endure. Instead, it felt like a laundry list.
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

To be honest, I was underwhelmed.Obama’s acceptance speech had two apparent goals: The first was to lay out an agenda for the next four years so people feel they have something forward-looking to vote for. The second was to recapture the sense of hope that defined Obama’s 2008 campaign.

7 Best Moments From Obama’s Speech

The president faced down of the most important speeches of his career on Thursday night. Did he pull it off? Watch the most memorable moments, from his attacks on the GOP to a climactic rallying cry.
Stan Honda / Getty Images

Obama’s Sick of Hearing Himself, TooEach year, political campaigns become increasingly focused on trivial, ridiculous moments. Obama is the first to admit it, calling those small, silly things “big distractions” and bemoaning the fact that the larger, more important issues become “sound bites.

'I've Been Changed'

The president delivered a substantive address that conceded real change will take years. Howard Kurtz on his more nuanced message of hope.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Obama invoked FDR in making his case for a second term on Thursday night, replacing his hope-and-change mantra with a more sober challenge for a “harder” path to economic prosperity. In an acceptance speech seemingly aimed at critics who said he has been short on substance, Obama coupled a call for $4 trillion in deficit reduction—the deal he failed to strike with the Republicans—with a pitch for investments in energy and education while protecting middle-class benefits.

Obama’s Got a Secret

A major unemployment report is dropping tomorrow morning, just hours after the president's big speech—and he already knows the new stats. Daniel Gross on whether he’ll drop any hints.
Seth Wenig / AP Photo

On Friday, pollsters will be crunching numbers coming out of the convention. But the most consequential number will be released at 8:30 a.m.: the August payroll jobs report. The strength (or weakness) of that report will be enormously consequential for this fall’s election.

Nancy’s Brass Knuckles

Pelosi is convinced that her party can flip the House this November—and she praised the Dems’ campaign committee chair’s ‘reptilian instincts.’ Lloyd Grove on how the ex-speaker is bracing for battle.
Ken Cedeno / Corbis

Maybe Nancy Pelosi really believes she’ll once again be speaker of the House next year.“We’re going to go mano-a-mano,” the 72-year-old House minority leader promised Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., site of the Democratic National Convention, where she predicted that the Dems will pick up 27 seats in November—two more than necessary to regain the majority.

How the Dems Tripped Over Israel

After an all-too-public wrangle over affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Democrats made matters worse with their bumbling explanations, reports Eleanor Clift.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

It was one of those rare unscripted moments where viewers could observe on live television differences among the delegates in Charlotte, N.C., on how to handle God and Israel in the Democratic Party platform. With Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presiding, the delegates, 6,000 strong, shouted out their ayes and nays three separate times before Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, pronounced victory for the ayes, claiming they had provided the required two-thirds voice vote even though to most ears, the delegates sounded pretty evenly divided.

Kicking Biden to the Curb

He’s been given a lesser spot in the lineup. The networks are barely covering him. And the GOP is in his face. Michelle Cottle on the veep’s bumpy convention.
Robyn Beck, AFP / Getty Images

Talk about a finger in the eye. It’s bad enough that Vice President Joe Biden isn’t getting his own night to shine at the convention. It’s worse still that he’s speaking so early tonight that only one of the big three networks is scheduled to carry the address.

Obama’s Ohio Problem

As he takes the national stage tonight, the president has a sticky swing-state situation on his hands. Mansfield Frazier on how African-Americans in Cleveland are feeling snubbed over a last-minute scheduling change.
Mandel Ngan, AFP / Getty Images

Predicting that Bill Clinton would deliver a knockout nominating speech last night was easy.Predicting the weather in Charlotte is a bit more difficult, causing President Obama’s acceptance speech tonight to be moved from an outdoor stadium that seats 70,000 to an indoor arena that seats 20,000—leaving about 50,000 of the faithful without seats and sorely disappointed.

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