First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention is getting rave reviews for the well-crafted text and her dynamic delivery — but she managed to draw a strong contrast between her husband and his opponent without ever mentioning Mitt Romney’s name or attacking him directly.
“The most devastating attack on Mitt Romney at Tuesday’s Democratic Convention came from Michelle Obama, who did not mention Romney’s name and said not a single cross thing about him,” writes E.J. Dionne. “She devastated him by implication. If Romney was the son of privilege, she and her husband were anything but. What she said directly is that Barack Obama understands people who are struggling. What she didn’t have to say is Mitt Romney doesn’t.”
She didn’t have to say the name of her husband’s Republican opponent once from the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night, but First Lady Michelle Obama managed to deliver a stinging, yet subtle, rebuke of the GOP candidate’s values and approach.
“For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” Mrs. Obama said.
The Washington Post report by Karen Tumulty:
As the night’s most celebrated speaker, Michelle Obama took aim, obliquely, at Romney’s argument that success in the business world translates into skills for guiding the country through a difficult economic time.
“I’ve seen how the issues that come across a president’s desk are always the hard ones — the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer,” Obama said. “At the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.”
The New York Times report by Jim Rutenberg:
“He believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you,” Mrs. Obama said, her impassioned delivery drawing the crowd to its feet as it waved red, white and blue “Michelle” placards. “You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
It was one of the few times Mrs. Obama came close to even a subtle reference to the very direct argument being made against her husband’s opponent here. She argued that Mr. Obama’s experience as president had taught him that “no amount of data or numbers will get you the right answer.” Her portrait of her husband was the inverse of the one that other Democrats have sketched of Mr. Romney, who former Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio said viewed the “American worker” as “just numbers on a spreadsheet.”
Michelle Cottle at the Daily Beast:
First came the heart-warming stories about President Obama’s up-from-nothing roots. Most of us are by now familiar with the basics: “Barack was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help …”
The unspoken but unavoidable corollary: guess which candidate never faced any of these character-building challenges?
And the report from Fox News noticed it, as well: “Michelle Obama did not mention Romney’s name once in her speech. Still, there were subtle moments in which she appeared to contrast Obama’s story against that of an unnamed wealthy foil.”