Rave reviews greet Obama’s Denver show

August 29th, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) If spectacles could win elections, Barack Obama has made it. The Denver show where the first African American to lead a major party ticket accepted the historic Democratic presidential nomination won rave reviews from the media as much for style as for substance.A number of media reports proclaimed his Thursday night acceptance address as “something close to a home-run for Obama”, seeing his sharp criticism of Republican rival McCain as a shrewd political move, while praising his poise and delivery, as the US News and World Report put it.

“Good, great or something else,” Obama’s speech “unquestionably confronted two of his greatest challenges,” said the New York Times in a front-page report.

“One was to help voters, in emotion-laden language, to connect his promise of ‘change’ to more earthly policy proposals,” and “the other to show he could take the fight to…McCain over Obama’s own image and the best way forward for the nation.”

The Washington Post called the speech “what many nervous Democrats were hoping for: a forceful challenge to John McCain and the Republicans, and a restatement of the message to change Washington and the nation that propelled him to the nomination”.

The USA Today described the speech as “filled with promises of generational change and a better America”. The New York Times referred to Obama’s “cutting language” and to the “cheers that echoed across the stadium”, while the Washington Times spoke of Obama’s “soaring oratory”, with “the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop”.

Commentators lavished praise on Obama’s delivery with David Gergen saying on CNN that the speech “opened up an important and legitimate debate the Republicans will carry on about issues,” but “as a speech, I was deeply impressed. In many ways it was less a speech than a symphony.”

Carl Bernstein, on CNN, called it a “transformational speech, maybe the greatest I’ve ever heard at a convention since Kennedy”. Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, immediately after the speech ended, said: “Vote for him or do not, but take pride that this nation can produce men and speakers such as that”.

The praise was bipartisan. Republican pollster Frank Luntz, on Fox News said: “I have been to eight conventions. I have never seen a convention where there are more people standing throughout the entire speech because they felt this was so historic, so special.”

Editorial reaction Friday too was generally positive. “One test of a presidential candidate’s strength, and often his best shot at winning, is how much he can mould his party in his image and rally it around a powerful argument for his election,” The New York Times editorialised. Obama “left Denver having made significant progress on both fronts”.

The Washington Post thought that Obama “left no doubt of his commitment, one that we share, to vigorous international engagement, the fight against terrorism and the urgency of promoting prosperity in the developing world”.

Obama “helped himself Thursday night, but if the polls are right, he’ll need to build his case further during the next nine weeks if he is to become the first black president, not just the first black nominee”, said the USA Today.

However, a few disagreed. Fortune Magazine’s Nina Easton on Fox News “thought it was a lost opportunity. … I was thinking, how many times have I heard this same speech over 20 years?”

Also critical of Obama was New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin. In his view, Obama “fell short of the expectation he would be workmanlike and very specific about helping the middle class.”

But TV critics and analysts seemed to be in agreement that the Obama speech played well on the small screen.

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