Barack Obama at the DNC

President Barack Obama at the DNC.

From EJ Dionne:

Obama’s was a speech aimed less at shaking up the campaign than in building on an existing narrative. The president did not defend his economic record. He left that to Bill Clinton. He did not even promise rapid recovery. On the contrary, he told voters: “I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick and easy.”

Indeed, he seemed to reach back to John F. Kennedy’s call on the nation to ask not what the country could do for them, but what they could do for the country. “As citizens,” Obama said, “we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating work of self-government.”

And thus his redefinition of hope and change. Faced with assertions that he can no longer inspire the elation he called forth four years ago, Obama challenged those who had supported him to stay in the fight for the longer-term and do the work required for saving their original vision.

From NY Editorial Board:

President Obama’s dilemma has always been that he has been far more successful a president than his opponents claim, but far less successful than he needs to be at making voters see that. Powerful speeches by former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and others did a lot to fix that impression during the convention. But it was up to Mr. Obama to make the case for another term, with a speech that was every bit as fraught with uncertainty and risk as his 2008 convention address.

Just as he did then, Mr. Obama rose to the occasion.

He could have sold some of his best lines with more passion, but gone was the maddening coyness of recent years in which he has avoided candidly talking about the mess that President George W. Bush dumped into his lap and shied away from the rumble of politics. He didn’t hesitate to go after Mitt Romney. “You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally,” he said.

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3 Responses

  1. I actually thought this was the best speech I’ve heard Obama give–mainly because, for lack of a better word, it was REAL.  It was down in the trenches with the rest of us, not soaring above it all.  He seemed ready to rear up on his hind legs and fight!  Best comment to me was by Carville on CNN, who after watching their profile on the Obama presidency said, “Even I didn’t realize we had done so much, and I was there!”

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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