Obama at DNC
Photo: AFP
Not the same Obama
Analysis: DNC speech delivered by more humble president who is aware of his limitations

President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was not the best he had ever delivered. Heck, it probably wasn't the best speech delivered at the conference itself. An important Republican strategist said the Democrats could have gone home after Bill Clinton's and Michelle Obama's speeches.


Obama proved yet again that he is a great orator, but his speech at the DNC was not as strong as the one delivered by the promising young candidate in 2008. It was a cautious address delivered by a president with four years of experience in the White House. He admitted to making mistakes, but claimed that he saved the economy. It was a speech delivered by a president who is aware of his low approval rating and wants to turn the upcoming elections into a choice between two conflicting worldviews rather then a referendum on his presidency. He used the words "choose" and "choice" several times.


The Left called Obama's speech "inspiring," while the Right dismissed it as an "empty promise." But Obama was actually trying to appeal to undecided voters, and particularly to young Hispanics who have lost confidence in his "change." Many Hispanics tend to stay home on Election Day. Obama knows they can give him the victory.


Obama's DNC speech    (צילום: רויטרס)


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The words were measured and precise. It was not a bombastic speech, but one that was delivered by an American president who is aware of the gravity of the task at hand and is also aware of the limitations of his power. Obama reminded people, not arrogantly, that he, and not Mitt Romney, has the experience to move the country forward. Obama spoke with more humility this time – self-deprecating almost – while reminding the young Americans who supported him that they cannot abandon the ship during this difficult time.


In Charlotte we saw a cautious president who is aware that millions of Americans are suffering from the ailing economy and that many are disappointed in him: "I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, 'I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.' But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I'm naïve about the magnitude of our challenges. I'm hopeful because of you," he told the DNC.


Many Israelis wanted to hear Obama to speak about the Jewish state and about Iran, but he will most certainly address the nuclear threat at the UN General Assembly in less than three weeks. In Charlotte, Obama mentioned Israel and Iran only once, but keep in mind that 184 other countries weren't mentioned at all.


After mocking Romney's limited diplomatic capabilities and the fact that he has yet to lay out his plan for ending the war in Afghanistan, Obama hit the Republican candidate where it hurts: "And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our joint chiefs don't even want, I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work— rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation-building right here at home."


Now that the Republican and Democratic conventions are behind us, we can conclude that Obama beat Romney on points, not by knockout. The three televised debates, the first of which will be held on October 3, will most likely determine the outcome of the US presidential elections.




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