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Obama's speech through the eyes of the media

By Jimmy Orr / August 29, 2008

What's the word on Obama's speech? Like anything else, it just depends who you are talking to. But there are some commonalities in the way reporters and columnists describe it. Searing, soaring, cutting, fierce, tough and strong seemed to be emerging as the words of choice.

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The Christian Science Monitor's Alexandra Marks used the word "fierceness" in describing the speech saying that it surprised some on the right.

“It was definitely a show of force,” says Lori Weigel, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm. “He took it straight to the Republicans and clearly laid down the gauntlet.”

Great delivery

The New York Times used both "searing" and "cutting" in one article describing the speech. As for Obama's delivery, it was spot-on.

"Mr. Obama looked completely at ease and unintimidated by his task or the huge crowd that surrounded him. And he chastised Mr. McCain for trying to portray him as a celebrity, an attack aides say has been particularly damaging, offering a list of people who he said had inspired him, from his grandmother to an unemployed factory worker he met on the campaign trail."

Back in time

The LA Times, as did so many news outlets, compared the speech to JFK's.

"Not since John F. Kennedy's speech at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960 has the Democratic Party staged a spectacle so grand for the acceptance speech of its White House nominee."

This is normal?

The Washington Post held an online chat immediately following the speech where one reader opined that the speech itself was full of energy but questioned the opening video which proclaimed Obama had a "childhood like any other":

" ... uh, a mixed race child of a black African and white Kansan, abandoned by his father, grew up in Indonesia before being shipped off to Hawaii to live with his grandparents? That's the new normal?"

The backdrop

Peggy Noonan, in this morning's Wall Street Journal, explains why she wasn't that impressed with the much-discussed backdrop.

"The famous Greek amphitheatre didn't look all Alexander the Great if you were there. It looked instead like the big front display window at Macy's during Presidents Day Sales Weekend. You expected to see "Sofas 40% off!" in a running line on the bottom of the screen. A friend said the columns looked like "a ballroom divider at the Hyatt Hotel."

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