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Obama's Speech

29 Aug 2008
Posted by Stan Collender

As a public relations guy during the day and someone who has written and delivered lots of speeches over the years, I can tell you from very personal experience that there are two parts of every address: what you say and what the audience hears.  They are not necessarily the same.  The one you really want to turn out right is the second.

That's really where Barack Obama succeeded last night.  Six hours after he finished delivering it it, my impression is that the folks in the stadium and those watching at home heard someone who seemed to be:

1.  Tough

2.  Strong

3.  Combative

4.  Resolute

5.  Self-assured

6.  In charge

I suspect The Speech will be nitpicked to death in the coming days over some of what was said.  And that's what the McCain campaign tried to do last night immediately after The Speech was over when it released this statement.

Posted by Stan Collender

It was 1960, the Democratic convention was in Los Angeles, and John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were battling for the presidential nomination. Neither candidate had enough delegates before the first ballot roll call began and no one was sure what would happen when the votes were tallied. Kennedy ended up winning on that first ballot.  (I may be wrong but I seem to remember that it was Wisconsin that put him over the top.)

Like now, the tradition then was that the candidate didn't show up at the convention until the final day, when he (in 1960 it was always a man) arrived to accept the nomination and give the big speech. But Kennedy surprised everyone when he showed up shortly after the balloting ended. I have a vague memory of him saying something to the effect that he wasn't allowed to say officially at the time whether he would accept the nomination but he was sure everyone had an idea what his answer would be.

Posted by Stan Collender

Here's my "Fiscal Fitness" column from this week's Roll Call.

Celebrate Now Because Tough Budget Times Are Fast Approaching

Political conventions are usually fun times for the party faithful. Everything, including your wildest political dreams, seems to be likely rather than just possible. The opposition appears to be far less formidable than it appeared to be just a few days earlier. There’s nothing anyone can say that makes you think it’s not your destiny to win. Even your food tastes better.

 And you don’t have to think about actually doing anything. Not only does governing appear to be, at best, months away, but in the immediate afterglow of a convention, it’s hard not to completely believe in your candidates’ and party’s ability to deal with whatever lies ahead. Your only thought: Bring it on.

More On Corzine

27 Aug 2008
Posted by Stan Collender

I've written several times (here and here) this year about New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's effort to take the fiscal bull by the horn in New Jersey.  Thanks to fellow CG&G blogger-in-crime Pete Davis' alert eyes, I discovered that the New York Times yesterday ran an editorial saying much the same thing.

Posted by Stan Collender

It's very hard not to laugh at the criticisms being aimed by some analysts this morning on the talk shows about Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden as his running mate.

After some said for weeks that Obama wasn't strong enough on foreign policy, the criticism of the Biden selection -- who among all the potential vice presidential candidates had the best foreign policy credentials -- is that this shows how weak Obama was on foreign policy.  In other words, the fact that he's stronger now on foreign policy than he was before Biden was selected is somehow besides the point.  I can only imagine what would have been said this morning had Obama not selected someone who enhanced his ticket's foreign policy abilities.

Same thing for experience.  The ridiculous spin this morning is that selecting a vice presidential running mate who has ample experience and is a Washington insider demonstrates that Obama by contrast shows how inexperienced he really is.  But the ticket is now far more experienced in the ways of Washington than it was on Friday and the Biden choice actually takes decreases the inexperience charge.



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