Michelle wows delegates; but voters?
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michelle Obama lifted the Democratic National Convention delegates Tuesday night with a speech aimed at reminding them why Democrats followed the Obamas four years ago. She did it not by focusing on the economy, but by speaking of the president’s dedication to his job and to public service, his values and love for her, their two daughters and the United States. She also put special emphasis on her own work with military families.
It was effective in the hall and probably among the already persuaded, but unlikely to resonate with voters who judge the president in a different framework: continued unemployment above 8 percent, record national debt, high energy prices.
Putting her own particular touch on stories that have been told since Obama first appeared on the national scene, the First Lady spoke of his humble side when they first met — “His proudest possession was a coffee table he had found in a dumpster” — and how both of them grew up in humble homes with “unconditional love.”
Tuesday, Mrs. Obama followed the path of her more recent predecessors in the White House, choosing to give a more human and personal testimony to their president-husbands. She spoke particularly of how “life in the White House has not changed him at all.”
In a line that seemed a sharp turn from the previous speakers mocking Mitt Romney’s wealth and success, however, Mrs. Obama said of her family’s and her husband’s: “We didn’t begrudge anybody else’s success.”
Her speech came on the heels of a night in which speaker after speaker hailed Mr. Obama for his commitment to same sex marriage, and abortion rights. Clearly drawing a cultural line between the pro-family tone at the Republican National Convention last week, the cultural warriors in Charlotte Tuesday night included Georgetown University Law School student and abortion advocate Sandra Fluke and National Abortion Rights Action League President Nancy Keenan.
All told, there was little that was fresh or truly newsworthy in the First Lady’s convention address. Most of the reporters had heard it before and the delegates would probably cheer any words from a lady most of them have expressed heartfelt admiration for.
If Ann Romney last week made an address to “humanize” her husband, to the voters, Michelle Obama on Tuesday devoted her remarks to reminding the voters how human her husband is — and how they both hope the public sees them that way once more.