Posted by on September 06, 2012 in Blog

Wednesday Speaker Recap

There were many potential headline grabbers in Wednesday’s speaker lineup, from employees of Bain –acquired companies who lost their jobs to women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke. Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had a distinct need to grab headlines to garner an advantage in her close Senate race against Scott Brown. Unfortunately for Warren, all other speeches Wednesday night were dwarfed by that of former President Bill Clinton. Clinton spoke in great detail for over 45 minutes, delivering one of the most powerful and comprehensive defenses of President Obama’s record to-date. He also delivered a blistering critique of House Republicans, the previous administration of President George W. Bush, and the Romney-Ryan ticket. Clinton devoted much of his speech to debunking some of the charges against Obama on issues such as Medicare and welfare. His lengthy discussion of economics boiled down to a simple message: “too many people do not feel [the recovery] yet. If you will renew the president's contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.” He then added, “Folks, whether the American people believe what I just told you or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know I believe it. With all my heart I believe it.”

The gushingly positive reaction to Clinton’s speech from the media was immediate. GOP strategist and CNN pundit Alex Castellanos said that Clinton's speech tilted the scale. "Tonight when everybody leaves, lock the door,” he said. “You don't have to come back tomorrow. This convention is done. This will be the moment that probably re-elected Barack Obama."

Media speculation about the speech’s impact may very well have come true, if it were not for a self-inflicted distraction over the DNC’s caving to pressure and forcing a platform amendment on Jerusalem. In a highly irregular procedure, the platform committee forced through an amendment declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel amidst boos from the crowd. Instead of talking about Clinton’s speech, Democrats today have been fending off attacks from Republicans about “throwing Israel under the bus” and attempting to downplay discord amongst the delegates on the issue.


Thursday Speaker Preview

Tonight President Barack Obama will accept the nomination for reelection. His reputation as an orator will be put to the test, as his speech could make or break his chances to gain an edge on Romney. Obama will be standing on the shoulders of powerful speeches by the First Lady and former president Bill Clinton, but their efforts do not make his task any less daunting.

Obama senior adviser David Plouffe promised the president would give voters "a very clear sense of where he thinks the country needs to go economically, the path we need to take." Plouffe also downplayed hopes that Obama will leave the convention with a big boost in polls: "We've always believed that there's very little elasticity in the election. You're not going to see big bounces in this election. For the next 61 days, it's going to remain tight as a tick."

Citing a chance of thunderstorms, convention organizers scrapped plans for Obama to speak to an enormous crowd in a 74,000-seat outdoor stadium and decided to move the event under the roof of the convention arena, which seats a mere 15,000. The smaller crowd will make it more difficult to mirror the sort of excitement generated by his 2008 acceptance in front of a crowd of 84,000.

While the other speeches will certainly pale in comparison to the president’s, there are several other prominent speeches being delivered tonight. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden will address the convention. A prominent speaking role was given to Senator John Kerry, prompting speculation that he is being considered to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The honor of introducing the president has been given to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. 

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