Barack Obama: “Eight is Enough”

The reviews are in: Barack Obama gave an outstanding nomination acceptance speech last night at the close of the Democratic National Convention.

To me, this wasn’t Obama’s most moving or inspiring speech. His keynote address at the 2004 Convention was certainly more uplifting than this.

The distinguishing feature of this speech was its “meat and potatoes” content: it (a) laid out in detail what Obama would do if elected and (b) it made pointed attacks on the opposition.

This was not a motivational speech, but rather, a persuasive closing statement for why Barack Obama should be elected president. It made the stakes of the election clear. It showed who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are. It made the argument for change.

Two lines resonated with me. The first: “eight is enough.” Pop culture references like this one always add flavor to political speeches. For older voters, this is the kind of zinger that will stick in their heads. That’s going to make a great line for a t-shirt.

I also liked Obama’s comment that, based on McCain’s record of voting with Bush 90% of the time, American had a “ten percent chance of change” if McCain took office. For business professionals, that will be a catchy line.

The bottom line is, Obama made it absolutely clear why people should vote for him and against McCain. He gave specifics, he set goals. This wasn’t fluff.

Obama has made his case, and next week, McCain will make his. The battle is joined. Let the real campaigning begin.

Brief Convention Notes: Hillary, Forum on Black Politics, Michelle

It’s a sure sign of fame, when a person can be referred to by their first name, and everyone knows who is being talked about. So it is with Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

I can’t be more emphatic: Hillary Clinton gave a great speech yesterday. It had so many memorable lines, it’s difficult to pick out any one or two of them as prominent. But these parts of her speech were especially memorable for me:

..I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn’t have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.

I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps t-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: “Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there….and then will you please help take care of me?”

I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn’t know what his family was going to do.

…I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

That struck a chord with me, as it no doubt will with many of Clinton’s female supporters.

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