What Obama accomplished

Did his acceptance speech say everything it needed to?

“Barack Obama had to give the speech of his life Thursday night,” said David Yepsen in the Des Moines Register. “And he did.” His powerful address (New York Times video) had plenty of “rhetorical red meat” to inspire partisan zealots.” But it also had “meat on the bones” that made clear how the man who is now officially the Democratic presidential nominee plans to realize his vision for the country.

The coronation before 85,000 people at Invesco Field provided the closest look yet at “the shooting star bidding to be our next president,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. “Yet for someone who is so close to being the most powerful man in the world, the remarkable fact is that Americans still know very little about either his political philosophy or what he wants to accomplish.”

“Good, great, or something else,” said Patrick Healy in The New York Times, Obama’s acceptance speech capping the Democratic convention connected “his promise of ‘change’ to more earthly policy proposals” on tax policy, foreign policy, and more. And it “showed real fire” to make it plain that he could “take the fight” to his Republican opponent, John McCain.

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“So much for bringing us together,” said Fred Barnes in The Daily Standard. That speech officially put to rest the “new politics of bipartisanship” Obama advocated earlier in his campaign, and showed that the Democratic nominee “has become a standard liberal politician who advocates the standard liberal agenda.”

Obama painted McCain as the one stuck in the past, said The Boston Globe in an editorial. And he presented his candidacy—already part of history as he became the first African American nominated by a major party—as the one uniquely suited to address the “modern threats” of terrorism, poverty, and climate change. In that sense, Obama “cast his gaze unambiguously ahead.”

The speech helped, said USA Today in an editorial, but Obama still has work to do if he wants to convince undecided voters that “despite his relative inexperience he is up to the job.”

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