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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama’s Speech

posted by on August 26 at 8:30 AM

The full video is after the jump.

If you’ve been following the campaign, or even if you’re just curious about Michelle Obama, this is an absolute must-see. I was watching from a downstairs cabaret lounge in Denver that has been turned over to gavel-to-gavel coverage (with drinks!) of the convetion. A guy sitting next to me said at one point: “She’s killing it.” Absolutely true.

This was the best speech Michelle Obama has ever given, and I’d venture to say the best speech/performance we’ve seen from a First Lady or potential First Lady in my lifetime—and maybe ever (and, for those of you accusing me in the comments of being overly-gushy, this is actually not as big a compliment as it may sound; First Ladies and potential First Ladies have only been expected to take on roles like this in recent decades).

Also, since Michelle paid tribute to Hillary Clinton in the speech, it’s worth noting: The speech was far, far better than any speech Hillary Clinton ever gave during her campaign.

Speaking of Clinton… she’s up tonight, addressing the convention in prime time. Whatever she ends up saying, Michelle Obama is going to be a tough act to follow.

RSS icon Comments


Darcy Burner said it was the worst speech of ever.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 26, 2008 8:30 AM

Um, why was this speech that was written by a pro team of speech writers really matter?

Posted by still wondering | August 26, 2008 8:39 AM

I have now watched the speech twice and I agree it was well organized but to solidify it as the best speech ever is a bit much. The comments and references to family and friends are typical of every speech ever given by every political candidate. I do not believe that her speech will bring Clinton supporters to the Obama camp just because she mentioned Clinton's name.

Posted by next speech please | August 26, 2008 8:46 AM

Speeches are horrible. It's like reading the Sunday NYT. You know half of it is complete fucking bullshit, and it's so obvious but everyone is sooooo in love with it.

Posted by i hate michelle obama club USA | August 26, 2008 8:49 AM

@2: She wrote it. It was vetted by advisers, sure, but she wrote it. WTF have you done for the world lately?

Posted by Ziggity | August 26, 2008 8:50 AM

She didn't write the speech. You cannot prove she wrote the speech. If you did it would be the only thing you will ever do for the world that will matter.

Posted by the facts of life | August 26, 2008 8:52 AM

By "cabaret lounge" do you mean drag bar? One can only hope...

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | August 26, 2008 8:55 AM

@5- How do you really know she wrote it?

Posted by The world | August 26, 2008 9:02 AM

@2 (and 6, and whenever you post again as PC, nobama, clintonsarmy, McCain/Crist, etc): it must be so depressing to spend all your energy actively trying to shit in everyone's punchbowl to ruin the party, to always be the skunk at the picnic. I'm sorry your life has been so lonely and bitter and I hope someone hugs you someday.

Posted by concern troll | August 26, 2008 9:03 AM

Wow, I hope you can extend your computer time at the library, because I'd really enjoy spending the morning with you.

Posted by Ziggity | August 26, 2008 9:04 AM


Posted by she didn't write it. SHE DIDN'T WRITE IT! | August 26, 2008 9:07 AM

I guess if all you have to do is hire a few speechwriters if you want to give a great speech, then you really start to wonder why they hell Hillary couldn't do what Michelle just did.

Couldn't afford it? Where did all that money go then? Lack of skill to find and hire good people? Is she just a crappy speaker? There must be some reason, right?

Posted by elenchos | August 26, 2008 9:13 AM

1. When Michelle Obama runs for office and gets 18 million votes, perhaps in 2016, then you can say her speeches are as effective as Hillary's.

2. She gave a great speech and better than any political spouse's ever.

3. However, it's all defense, proving "yes I am American too."

WTF with the wussy scaredy cat Democrats. McCain bashes Obama for a month as exotic and non American, so the response is to take 25% of the convention to prove yes we are American.

How come the Obama team hasn't bashed McCain as unAmerican with his disastrous policies supporting Bush and wrecking the economy? Why is there never, ever any offense by Democrats to define the GOP as people who suck? How come Cindy McCain doens't have to spend 25% of the Republican convention airtime proving she's okay?

Obama IS responding so he's not Kerry but he's still just responding to attacks instead of fucking attacking McCain for being part o the party of Katrina, the housing mess, the economoic meltdown, mortgaging our future to China, the biggest transfer of wealth ever to foreigners via the hidden oil "tax" paid to terrorist sponsoring governments that hate us, etc. etc. Why did we have a whole day of the convention NOT ATTACKING McCain?

3. Go read Bob Hebert today. There's a really strange dynamic in our dialogue. If I say "Hey Obama's behind or tied" then the response is fuck you Hillary troll. But if Herbert says "hey USA is racist this means Obama's behind right now, cuz you ahve to subtract three poitns from his standing in the polls" than the OBama base nods their heads sagely and bemoans the fact that America is racist.

Yet the reality is the fucking same:

So Obama fans, if we spend the convention without ATTACKING McCAIN and talking about HOPE and CHANGE and other vague bullshit, and without telling that 5% slice of the electorate who are Reagan Democrats and Dogpatchers (whom you consider dirty stupid racists and "insane" Hillaryites" cuz' they don't go for Obama right now) how specficially Obama is going to allow them to have jobs, homes, retirements, and a way to drive their cars around, then what is the plan for winning them?

Yes, we know he will expand youth vote and black vote and that's great. Yes we know the plan is to send Biden to Scranton and convince them some dude in the US Senate for 30 years is actually a regular Joe. Ha, ha, he couldn't get 10,000 votes in Iowa.

What is the plan to overcome the fact that we are down right now as per Herbert?

This slice could've been brought over right now by naming HRC VP. OK, that's not been done. So what's the plan man? Cede this segment as not good enough to join the coaltion?

Keep telling them they're insane and stupid?

Posted by PC | August 26, 2008 9:13 AM

I thought it was a good speech. Not great. She seemed nervous, especially at the beginning (the first 60 seconds were definitely a struggle) and the delivery was just okay. I actually found myself thinking that I thought she was a better speaker than that...

I don't know whether she wrote it or not -- the text itself was decent, so if she did, I will be pretty impressed. But, if she didn't, it was a good (not great) delivery of a speech by a speechwriter, so I don't get all these folks who are saying she "killed it".

I still love her and Obama, of course, but all the raves and tears are a little puzzling to me...

Posted by Julie | August 26, 2008 9:16 AM

Wall Street Journal: "Aides say Mrs. Obama wrote her speech two weeks ago. "It's very, very personal, so she wrote it herself," an adviser said. When Mrs. Obama brainstormed with her staff before writing it, she made it clear that she wouldn't respond point-by-point to Republican attacks..."

Posted by Ziggity | August 26, 2008 9:17 AM

Or maybe Hillary is a great speaker with a brilliant team of writers. But the infighting and backstabbing insider her organization prevented them from writing anything good. Not that infighting should reflect badly on her as a leader.

Her speeches might have always sucked for any number of reasons, but in no way can any of those reasons be her fault. Just like the Obamas get no credit when the do something right.

It's all luck. Pure luck.

Posted by elenchos | August 26, 2008 9:18 AM

Maybe we should all stop and ask ourselves why we're believing anything any of these candidates, and their bitches, are saying. After a minute or two, you can go back to drooling and eating with your fingers.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 26, 2008 9:23 AM

Joe Biden stole the speech and gave it to Michelle.

Posted by DOUG. | August 26, 2008 9:24 AM

Annie strikes another blow against Unity, and this PUMA is profoundly grateful.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | August 26, 2008 9:26 AM

Anyone who doesn't think it was a great speech doesn't know any black ladies. This was an historic event.

PC: Step One of any plan should be SHUTTING YOU THE FUCK UP.

Posted by Fnarf | August 26, 2008 9:32 AM

I didn't think it was that great. She needed less reading and more speaking voice and cadence. It sounded artificial, only a little better than her brother.

BTW, I'm voting for Obama, so please shut the fuck up.

Also, which speaker is going to fucking call McCain to the mat and pound him relentlessly?! I want to watch that speech:

Posted by whatever | August 26, 2008 9:34 AM

Obviously none of you have heard the speech Eleanor Roosevelt gave when addressing the DNC on behalf of her husband, FDR. Look it up, bitches...this aint shit compared to that. But good nonetheless.

Posted by Non | August 26, 2008 9:35 AM

@15- yea let's believe everything we read.

Posted by henry o henry | August 26, 2008 9:36 AM

It will probably go something like this:

“So your friends were saying threatening things about Obama?” a reporter asked.

“Yeah,” Clinton replied.

“It sounded like they didn’t want him to be president?”

“Yeah,” Clinton said.

Posted by catnextdoor | August 26, 2008 9:37 AM

OK I give up - it was all a lie. Everyone's lying. Her speech is actually the first letter of each sentence from the Koran, and she wrote it on the scalps of dead U.S. troops in an ink made of African yellowcake and U.S. Olympic athletes' druggy piss. And through Islamic magic, because you even looked at it, you've all got anthrax and the bad AIDS.

Posted by Ziggity | August 26, 2008 9:43 AM

Uh, Fnarf, what does knowing or not knowing black ladies have to do with a discussion of how good the text or delivery of her speech was?

Of course it was an historic event -- that doesn't automatically mean that the speech was great. My criticism is primarily about her delivery -- I agree with @21 in that for the first 5 minutes or so, she was reading the speech and not really speaking.

Posted by Julie | August 26, 2008 9:49 AM

If you knew some nice black ladies, you could ask them, and they'd tell you. There's more than a few black women in this country, particularly black women with daughters, for whom this was the most significant thing that has ever happened anywhere period. I wouldn't go so far as that, but it was pretty god damn awesome to see, not just Michelle on the podium but her mother in her seat and her daughters on stage with her. The generational stuff is powerful.

Posted by Fnarf | August 26, 2008 9:57 AM

Yeah I thought it was a decent speech, it got across the point they were trying to get across... but I thought she had more fire than that. I kind of felt like they made her turn herself down for the convention or something.

Posted by SDizzle | August 26, 2008 10:02 AM

@15 - um, the WSJ is so obviously partisan, I wouldn't trust them.

Heck, today's front page - all the other papers have coverage of her speech, they use a pic of her and the title "Shaky Economy Challenges Ambitious Obama Agenda".

It's just a dip in the market - happens every week or so - but I guess someone had to parrot the Fox line ... I wonder who owns them ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 26, 2008 10:02 AM

Agreed @27

Posted by catnextdoor | August 26, 2008 10:03 AM

@27 and 30

why do you always have to make it about race?

Posted by Non | August 26, 2008 10:05 AM

I was not impressed. Her cadence was off and her gestures and eye contact were awkward at best. I like her as much as the next person, but really, not that great.

Posted by Tamara | August 26, 2008 10:05 AM

The speech had one objective only - not to be compared to any campaign speech - and that was to undo the damage done by her previous - first time in my adult life that I have been proud to be an American remark and her Ohio talk about how hard it is to pay for ballet class etc.

Now what annie, Eli, Fnart, and Elenchus think isn't worth warm spit.

What matters is the 10% of the country that might vote Dem but worry that the Obamas don't love America in the right way, or enough or ? think.

Since I'm not one of them it's hard for me to say but I don't think she was convincing.

Posted by not PC, susan, odrama, clinton's army, McCain/Crist etc. | August 26, 2008 10:10 AM

@31 it's about society and history, not race.

Posted by catnextdoor | August 26, 2008 10:10 AM

@31, are you pretending that race has nothing to do with it? This was an historic moment for black women, who are frankly a little tired of being ignored by people like you. ONLY about race? No. But about race? You fuckin' bet it is.

Posted by Fnarf | August 26, 2008 10:10 AM

This was not the most important speech for Black Women at all. It should not even be considered great. The speech was well rehearsed and delivered. If people really think that this will bring in the undecided vote need to step out of their Obama bubbles. This speech was the most powerful place for Michelle to counteract the negativity surrounding her previous slip up about feeling American.

Posted by Rosa Parks Anyone...Anyone | August 26, 2008 10:14 AM

Susan, you are such a humongous asshole. No wonder you have to hide yourself.

Posted by elenchos | August 26, 2008 10:22 AM

I sincerely tried to read down 'til the end - but again - all of you drive-by verbal paparazzi are such nitpickers. It's like I'm sitting uninvited in your knotty-pine rec room watchin' teevee, while you pick your ass, drink beer and tell your wife/gal friend to rustle up some grub while you express your every thought.

Michelle might have been nervous because she knew she was speaking - oh say - before a couple of million people, many of whom - would criticize her dress, her hair, her speech patterns, her kids (should they be there or not?), whether she's black/white enough, whether her mother should smile upon mention - and I almost forgot - because she's auditioning for one of the most public jobs in the world...First Black Lady - or Black First Lady - your call...

Have at her carrion-eaters, but save up some energy, for tonight you get to masticate Hillary like sabre-toothed tigers. Rest, Huns - get some sleep - Hillary is guaranteed to have you frothing.

And you just know she and Bill had something to do with those guys who got arrested today in Denver planning some sort of Manchurian Candidate scenario on Thursday. I know I spotted Angela Lansbury in the crowd last night.

Posted by BELMONT PLACE | August 26, 2008 10:29 AM

Fnarf – I’m totally on board with this being a great moment in a historical/societal context. That doesn’t mean it was a great speech. The historical excitement and generational pathos were there, and the text was pretty solid, but her delivery fell somewhat flat for me. I may just be hung up on the fact that I really thought she was a better public speaker than that – I’m sure she was “great” relative to other First Ladies (or potential First Ladies) who give speeches.

Posted by Julie | August 26, 2008 10:31 AM

all these pessimist and knee-jerk "ho-hum" responses are so cliché.

Posted by moonface | August 26, 2008 10:36 AM

@38 - um, what do you think the point of the fucking comments section is? No one is forcing you to sit in our rec room, reading our opinions. If you think they are boring or uninformative, you can, uh, not click on the little link that says Comments.

Posted by Julie | August 26, 2008 10:37 AM


Posted by Miss Michelled Obama | August 26, 2008 10:40 AM

@39, and others: keep in mind she's the potential first lady. She's not running for anything. She's not going to be shredding the Bush adminstration or anything. But just try and imagine Laura Bush, or Cindy McCain, coming within a lightyear of this.

Posted by Fnarf | August 26, 2008 10:46 AM


Yeah. Too bad Eli wrote this post. Idiot.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 26, 2008 10:58 AM

@41 - the point is not to be lame or halt. How good should her speech have been to please you? Yes - I see - "ADD YOUR COMMENTS" - maybe some sort of defining adjective should be inserted before COMMENTS. Just sane.

Posted by BELMONT PLACE | August 26, 2008 11:03 AM

Just more evidence for Slog needing to disable commenting (see above, all of it, along with every previous Slog comment, ever)

Posted by Just Sayin' | August 26, 2008 11:25 AM

I wish Hillary and her supporters well. I hope their grieving process is soon complete.

The Obama's face standards and expections (ie: too black, too white, not black enough, not white American enough)no white politican ever has to face yet they manage to pull it off.

My grandparents endured some horrible shit in the south at the hands of white Americans. My grandmother left this earth feeling some whites were nice but most were evil beyond belief. Her early life experiences with whites were so brutal I understood why she felt that way.

I am grateful my grandfather is still alive and experiencing this moment in US history.

I am finally proud to be an American because Bush made me feel embarrased. Everytime he opened his mouth something stupid came out.
No person of color or female could be that moronic, corrupt or clueless and still have their leadership abilities taken serious.

I hope Obama wins but at the same time I am jaded. I think the general racist attitude of the vast majority of white Americans coupled with Republican money and religious lunacy will result in this election being handed to crazy old man McCain.

Posted by Ren | August 26, 2008 1:47 PM

Both Barack and Michelle think they can cover up their own history of anti-American racist remarks and associations, simply by giving a few speeches to the contrary. Furthermore, it should be noted that in addition to Barack and Michelle choosing Jeremiah Wright as their mentor and spiritual advisor, for 20 years ... they also subjected their two young daughters to the racist anti-American likes of Wright, Farrakhan, Pfleiger, Moss, etc.. This also does not jive with the all American family image the Obama's are all of sudden trying so hard to portray for political gain.

Posted by Gina | August 26, 2008 4:09 PM

Who cares? Michelle Obama is a She-Devil, and nothing she says will change that.

Posted by VinDcator | August 26, 2008 7:04 PM

I am a bigot; the difference is I can admit it, but the Obamas won't. No racism here, I just don't trust blacks and don't believe they trust whites. So let's just accept that and stop pretending with this hypocritical politically correct orthodoxy and stop this ass-kissing.

Posted by Mike | August 26, 2008 7:12 PM

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