May 19, 2013
The Democratic National Convention Day 3: Recapping President Obama’s Speech
Posted on Sep 6, 2012
Almost everything about Barack Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech indicated this one would be different from 2008. The venue: downsized. The expectations: downsized. The speech: downsized. This wasn’t the same “hope” and “change” rhetoric that dominated his last convention speech, even if he did invoke the words. Overall, it lacked the pomp, the circumstance and the pizzazz (and, ahem, the fireworks) of four years ago, something the president was quick to acknowledge when he accepted his party’s nomination for a second presidential term.
“I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. “The times have changed—and so have I,” Obama said. “I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.”
Nevertheless, President Obama—perhaps overshadowed by the extraordinary speeches of Bill Clinton on Wednesday night and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama—still delivered a strong address as he spelled out his vision of the next four years of an Obama presidency.
Indeed a lot has changed in the four years since Obama delivered a stunning rhetorical performance that helped catapult his presidential candidacy past his Republican challenger, John McCain, and, ultimately, into the White House.
What Obama’s DNC speech lacked in style, however it made up for with substance and policy—something polls suggested that the American people actually wanted anyway. But perhaps even more important, it also made the case that the country is better off today than it was four years when George W. Bush was president.
As Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry put it in one of the best lines of the evening, “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.”
The president also used the speech to—no surprise here—address his critics while also hitting back at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.
But far from painting a rosy picture, Obama acknowledged the tough times that have befallen the country and acknowledged that the path ahead would not be free from difficulties.
“I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now,” he said at the conclusion of his speech. “Yes, our path is harder—but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer—but we travel it together. We don’t turn back.”
Indeed, with the conventions behind us, it’s time to move forward on the campaign trail and on to the next big show: the presidential debates.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
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