By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Michelle Obama’s speech

She was appealingly nervous and sincere. Given that she’s been caricatured as Angela Davis, only less fun, all she really had to do was come across as normal and friendly. Which she did. And the girls are adorable.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Checking in with Al Giordano


Poynter’s very busy redesign


  1. Esther

    I definitely agree. She did seem nervous. Her voice didn’t reach a crescendo at applause points. At times, she didn’t really seem to know what to do with her hands. But all that made her appear more human, more endearing. I was very moved when she talked about her father and his struggle with multiple sclerosis. And the best part was at the end, because the girls are adorable. Just watching them interact with their father on the video hookup was great. They seemed like a nice, loving, caring family, people you’d want as your neighbors or friends.In a country where too many white people don’t know or work with African-Americans, that may be the most important thing Michelle Obama accomplished.

  2. O-FISH-L

    All of a sudden Michelle says, “I love this country.” Riiiiiight. Her flag pin must have fallen off as she ascended the stage. The kids were indeed cute and followed the script well. The writers who told them to pretend not to know what city Dad was in may have gone a little too far though. In the future, letting them be themselves, especially the little one, would be a big asset. Not sure if anyone is buying either act, but we’ll see.

  3. tyon

    `o fishYou are a naive person. Even someone of your “class” will have to admit, Michelle speech was well written and well said. The children was just the icing on the cake finalizing a sweet and passionate evening along with Ted Kennedy. As an Independent, I felt that Michelle spoke to Americans across this nation into our living rooms. About ONE America and “the American dream”. Through hard work obtaining Prosperity , Peace, and happiness!! for ourselves and our CHILDREN.

  4. Brian Flaherty

    Ugh, I didn’t watch it but reading people fawn all over Obama is making me gag. Give me a break – this is all manufactured drama and done to pander to those who are easily influenced by corny speeches and fancy sets.

  5. mike_b1

    Brian/o-Fish:You must be referring to George Bush, the Compassionate Conservative, on whose watch more Americans have died in war and entered poverty than any administration’s since Nixon’s. You also must have missed that little bit about Mr. Crawford, Texas, buying a big house in Dallas. So much for “retiring to the ranch.” Talk about scripted. You’ll — we’ll — be paying for your last vote the rest of our lives. Heck, more than 6,000 Americans have paid for your vote with their lives.

  6. Brian Flaherty

    Mike_b1 I was not referring to George Bush but since you brought him up, yes, war is up and people have died. Why? Perhaps because WE WERE ATTACKED! Would you prefer that we stood back and did nothing like your hero Bill Clinton did?As for poverty, you got to be kidding me that more people are in poverty now than they ever have been. Take a History class and read the chapter on the Great Depression.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Damn straight, Brian. That’s why we’re at war with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Oh, wait …

  8. Esther

    Of course it’s all manufactured drama. You don’t actually think Americans decided who they’ll vote for by spending hours poring over position papers and tuning in to C-SPAN to hear the candidates speak, do you? It’s all about an appeal to emotion, how it hits you in the gut, which candidate you feel will best protect what you believe in, which candidate you believe shares your values. And I have to say, I think Michelle Obama did a great job connecting on that level.In many ways, it’s an emotional decision, not a carefully thought-out rational one. So of course the campaigns are going to appeal to the emotions. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  9. Christopher

    Brian Flaherty (thanks for providing your full name so we know who you are) may very well be the most ignorant person in America. Can I take a minute to get this straight? Iraq attacked us? When? Did I miss something?

  10. Peter Porcupine

    DK – to return to the speech….I watched it (and did any one else notice that the poor woman had her bra strap showing throughout – I felt bad for how she will feel when she watches the videotape) and had a time warp moment.This was an accomplished, intelligent woman, making six figures a year, trying to be a virtual stay-at-home mom, and icon of domestic bliss a la Philicia Rashad in the Cosby Show.Then I shook my head, and the sixteen year old image of Hillary Clinton in a headband talking about toll house cookies vanished, and the time warp was over….God love her, she tried hard for her husband.

  11. liveandletlive

    It is hard to believe that you are adults. Many of you come across sounding like petty children. Her bra strap was showing, she didn’t know what to do with her hands and her voice…SO WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How many times has your bra strap or some other part of you shown? We are always so quick to be negative and critical of people and we wonder why so many children do the things that they do. THEY ARE LISTENING TO YOU!Any of us would have been equally as nervous as she had to be. Speaking to a large mass of people, many of whom are waiting for you to make the slightest slip so that they can further convince themselves why they don’t like you and shouldn’t vote for your husband/wife. She, nor he has professed to be perfect, it’s people like you who try and hold them to that standard. Could you meet that standard if you were in that position?Ah, and the ole Cosby Show comparison, I knew that would come up. Are those they only accomplished African Americans that you are familiar with? If the answer is yes, then that is very, very sad and you need to get out more. I know that many of you are very fearful of an African American man becoming our President and that’s where much of the negativity and criticism comes from.Michelle is and always will be an intelligent Princeton and Harvard-educated African American wife and mother whether they make it to the White House or not. What will you be? What I have found is, the more unhappy a person is in their life or with themselves, the more critical and negative they are towards others.It’s scary to think that many of you call yourselves “Christian” and make sure that you are at church every Sunday; what are you learning? We are all entitled to our opinions, but many comments go beyond that and turn into personal attacks. What if were you and your family in the same position? Think for a moment….It is so unfortunate for us all, that our society constantly focuses on so much negativity that it seems that we have forgotten how to say and talk about positive things. While I realize the “job” of the President and first Lady is serious, at the end of the day they are still two human beings much like us who have careers and are working hard to raise our families.Remember that ole saying “if you can’t say anything good don’t say anything at all”? That’s a good one to remember. Are you teaching your children those types of things?

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Liveandletlive: The first person I saw who compared the Obamas to the Huxtables was Rev. Eugene Rivers, on MSNBC last night. For what it’s worth.

  13. Peter Porcupine

    DK – Lucky for me, Comcast removed MSNBC from our lineup of channels on Cape, so I genuinely had not seen that. Interesting that we both reached that conclusion.Mr. Live – We were all critiquing a speech – that’s why parts were critical. I in no way slammed Mrs. Obama – and it seems you are doing a great deal of hysterical assuming about conservatives, Christians, parents and politics. You do not serve your cause with such a rant.

  14. Rick in Duxbury

    Christopher: What you missed is that threatening someone online is bad form, IMHO. You sound like a young guy. If you think this blog includes “the most ignorant person in America”, you haven’t toured the US much. Compared to the Herald blog, this is the Algonquin Roundtable. I’m sure it’s difficult to stoop to discussion with someone lacking your prodigious intellectual rigor but we live in an imperfect democracy, eh?

  15. Matt

    If anyone equates true love of country to a damn flag pin one more time, I’m going to put one in your eye!! By that logic I suppose anyone not wearing one of those yellow bracelets is pro cancer? Ridiculous.Use your heads, people!! The choices have never been more polarized and clear:Would you rather have a president who lifts up the cacauphony of blind, ignorant anger saying “We will defeat them over there because they are evil!”Or a president with the wisdom to know that we shouldn’t be so quick to point fingers; that we are all imperfect beings. Better that we raise ourselves up as a beacon rather than tear others down in the self righteous name of good.You can choose to keep a party in administration which has repeatedly used it’s position to purge the government of those who disagreed with them, and then boldly lied to Congress, or insultingly played dumb; who has used their power in totallity to serve their own corporate fundraising intrests, above all else.Or you can choose a man who is beholden to no corporation, but to the individual people that have driven his campaign; a man who sees value in opposing opinions and knows that the true path to moving forward lies somewhere in between.Do you want to be led by a man who focuses on attacking with the negative: making unfounded and absurd allusions to Barack based on his divergent experiences, mocking his ability to invigorate countless throngs as celebrity, or something as laughable as a coincedence in middle name?Or would you prefer to follow a man who cultivates the positive by appealing to the very best of our nature? In voting for Barack Obama, you’re not only gaining a superior leader, but the added advantage of millions of Americans striving to be better than they are.To borrow from Caroline Kennedy: Once or twice in a lifetime you have the opportunity to see a leader commited to justice, fainess, service, and sacrifice. This is one of those oh so rare times. Those ‘corny speeches’ have roused countless millions from their narcoleptic despair over what their government has become. They serve to inspire ‘those easily influenced’ to fight for unity and equality; because in unity we are stronger. The last time a man inspired us to dream like this, we reached for the moon! Just think what we could acheive this time around!! How can you not crave living in that world?But I digress (…and gress, and gress, and gress…..LOL)My thanks to Michelle for waking me from my political fatigue. Her speech was humanizing, heartfelt, and electrifying. I can’t wait to have a leader I can be proud of. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.

  16. Don, American

    A real Stepford wife, as programmed by the “handlers.”

  17. Doug Shugarts

    What struck me as I watched the speech is how Michelle Obama now stands confidently on the ground that Hillary Clinton fought for, inch by inch.Women of Obama’s generation can present themselves as they are: strong, intelligent, decisive and competent, qualities that, when seen in Hillary Clinton, too often have added up to the word ‘bitch.’ That Clinton’s success as a public figure should most benefit Michelle Obama is a sad irony.Doug Shugarts

  18. O-FISH-L

    Peter, c’mon, the “bra strap showing” was obviously planned well in advance by the Hollywood producers and choreographers that surround these two. Nothing is left to chance. I’m sure the focus groups said it would make her look more human. Just like the embroidered sunshine or whatever it was on the front of her dress. A flag pin (or background) would have been too obvious an attempt at damage control, but who doesn’t love the sunshine and all that it symbolizes? If you can’t use Old Glory, the sun might be the next best thing. As Howie Carr says, “Nothing on the level, everything a deal, no deal too small.”

  19. Peter Porcupine

    Fish – I absolutely disagree. No woman alive would consent to such a stunt, and agree or disagre with her philosophy, Mrs. Obama is a lady.

  20. Steve

    Media Matters flags Fox’s Megyn Kelly’s commentary. It seems Michelle didn’t say what Kelly wanted her to say, so Kelly just went ahead and put the words in her mouth anyway:”Do you think that, you know, her saying that she loves America, that she loves this country, is going to do it for those who questioned her patriotism? Because she said something — what she said was, and I wrote it down, was, “The world as it is just won’t do.” If you replace “world” with “country,” you’re back to the same debate, arguably, that you have been having about Michelle Obama’s feelings about this country. Did she give her critics any fodder with that comment?“Sounds like Fish.

  21. timmycee

    I certainly appreciate that someone has pointed out that if there is any calculated catering to the collective emotions of those still undecided it is a product of our spoon-fed, 8-second sound bite popularity contest political process. That we can’t be bothered to take a few hours to pour over actual public voting records and any other factual information that would give valid if debatable preponderance to our decisions is probably as old as democracy itself. But it has never before seemed such an act of national indiscretion, even peril. And lest anyone think I am on a high-horse, I count myself among those easily swayed by a few well-placed trinkets. But to hear how we have become the judge, jury and executioner (or should I say the Randy, Paula, and Simon) of Michelle Obama’s speech makes me ashamed and aghast at how we regard the political moments that may very well change the course of our country’s future. If anyone wants to accuse me of being mawkish or stumping for Obama notice I wrote “MAY very well change”. I have great hope for CHANGE not necessarily Obama.And just a final note: O-Fish-L, does Michelle’s strategically mislaid bra strap go in your conspiracy theory scrapbook right up there with the Kennedy Assassination and 9/11 or is more along the lines of Roswell and Men In Black? Now, it you can just convince Julia Roberts, we’ve got ourselves a movie, Mel.

  22. O-FISH-L

    Timmy, I’m not sure if two thousand years ago Aristotle considered costume a conspiracy theory, but he did make it one of his famous “Six parts of a play”, all of which were clearly on display last night. If you think the “bra strap showing” was unplanned, then I have some buildable swampland to sell you in the Everglades.Aristotle’s “Six parts of a play”1)Character – Michelle Obama2)Plot – Michelle gives a speech3)Ideas – Make Michelle more likeable and the Obama’s seem like the family next door4)Language – See text of speech5)Music – “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder6)Spectacle – Conservative green dress with sunshine-like bauble, bra strap showing to make character appear “human” and minimally falliblecostume [ˈkostjuːm] nounan outfit, especially for a particular purpose.

  23. timmycee

    I think it is sweet that Oafish L has remembered something from a sophomore humanities elective and applied it point for point to our topic. And Aristotle, no less. Way to come on with the big guns! Kudos to you, Mr. L. And the tried and true swampland gag really closes the deal. Priceless!By your argument Michelle Obama had no business coming out in anything more than a gray frock, eyes cast downward and in so many words pleading for a seat at the table. Everybody knows its a dog and pony show and a national pep-rally all rolled into one. Hell, even someone as impressionable as David Berkowitz probably knew that. Or maybe his dog clued him in on it.But thanks for the Cliff-notes version of how we are being blindly led to “feel-good” slaughter.Paranoia and stick-in-the-mud over-analysis are what make me feel safe at night. Score!Thanks again, L. You’re aces!

  24. iGuru

    People ,people ,people… I keep on hearing the same things every where i go…Im nt in anyway an Obama fanatic but im a pragmatist1) With all due respect to Mcain, being beatn up n tortured as a POW does not mean youre made of the right stuff for the presidency ! There are lots of POWS out there2)It does not mean that you are any more loyal to the nation than the average joe that contributes his quota to ensure the GDP of America stays where it is… its just different acts of service3) Bra’s ,Lingerie or hell… even garter belts dont determine how “human” you are. And even if it was staged, whats wrong with that? How many of us clean up the house when someone important is coming? Its perfectly natural to put your best foot forward non?4)Vote on issues people not dressing or sound bytes or tit bits or rumours or hear say, make an INFORMED DECISION5)Lastly, people make him out to seem like a confused guy continously changing his mind. I would rather have a “human” president who can change his mind when he realizes he has made a mistake as opposed to pure stunt man theatrics of 8 years that bring disaster to every thing that is cherished

  25. O-FISH-L

    At 6:29 PM, timmycee said: “Everybody knows its [sic] a dog and pony show and a national pep-rally all rolled into one.”—I’ll take “dog and pony show” as your begrudging admission that the entire convention, right down to the exposed bra strap, is contrived. Thanks.As for your resorting to name calling [Oafish L], who are you calling a sophomore?

  26. mike_b1

    o-fish, so now I understand why McCain cheated on his invalid wife. So his “character” would come across as more human.” Gee, thanks!

  27. timmycee

    oh lighten up. i’m just yankin yer chain, man. don’t take your opinions so seriously? god knows i certainly don’t take mine. you really think anything we say to each other on this little cyber-forum is gonna make much of a difference. but just fer fun i made some gramatical errors for you to correct.[sic][sic][sic]kisses,timmyceep.s. you didn’t think the berkowitz joke was funny? aw’ man.

  28. Chad

    Matt, I love the way you summed this up. You nailed it in a way that most people can’t. Can I submit your post to my local newspaper? I’ll need your full name and hometown because you’ll need full credit.My email is

  29. Gladys Kravitz

    I would just like to say that this has been one of the most interesting threads I’ve read in a long time, and on any blog. This past year a certain controversy raging in my region, and then my State, forced me, by principle, to become more involved than I would ever be in government, politics and activism.After a year and a half of battle – of – discovering for myself what goes into policy and politics and politicians, I admit to having become extremely jaded – more so than I thought possible – as to the National election.That being said, Matt’s post also roused me from my own ‘narcoleptic despair’. I do creative work. And so, I think that Candidates choose the people who ‘stage’ them for a sound byte addicted nation. And they approve or disapprove their decisions. Then they take those decisions to their audience. They pick their speechwriters and their speeches.Yesterday, I became officially middle aged – so I’ve seen a lot of elections. And I’ve seen what happens after them. And I know what has inspired me in the past, and what has come of it. And I know what has not inspired me and what has come of it. So, if “Those ‘corny speeches’ have roused countless millions from their narcoleptic despair over what their government has become. They serve to inspire ‘those easily influenced’ to fight for unity and equality; because in unity we are stronger.” – then that is the best message, of any message, I have heard in a LONG time.Because I had been trying to find ANY real message, from any candidate for a very long time. Therefore, not only I, but in my opinion, Randy, Paula and Simon would approve.

  30. DWS_CT

    When did John McCain cheat on his invalid wife? I never heard that one. Wasn’t it the Democratic Presidential hopeful EDWARDS cheating on his termially ill wife? And also . . . look what our country is becoming . . . we refer to our country comparing to the America Idol judges. Shame on all of us!!!

  31. mike_b1

    dws_ct: Do your homework:,0,6546861.story?page=1McCain is just another in a long line of GOp unfaithfuls, which includes none other than Bedtime for Bonzo himself.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén