With the Democratic Convention already half over, TheWrap is ranking the speeches so far. There are too many people taking the podium for us to include them all, so we’re only evaluating the most memorable.
His delivery Tuesday was stilted and felt off, until his conclusion, a callback to the speech that helped bury his 2004 presidential run. It’s cool that he can joke about it, but disappointing he didn’t have a better closer.
The former presidential candidate got almost three minutes of cheers before he spoke, but delivered a long speech that didn’t say much new. And he took 10 minutes to clarify that yes, he’s still endorsing Hillary Clinton. His speech was just OK.
The Massachusetts senator is one of the Democrats’ most energetic advocates for economic justice, but she was relatively low-key Monday. Warren may have been thrown off by people in the crowd who booed or heckled her for getting behind Clinton. But she did land some punches against Trump, her occasional Twitter antagonist.
The first female Secretary of State, one of Clinton’s predecessors in the job, made a passionate argument that Donald Trump has hurt U.S. national policy just by running for president.
He did a good job doing the attack-dog thing vice presidential candidates are supposed to do, and spoke a little Spanish, calling Clinton “lista” — ready.
The Minnesota senator turned to his “Saturday Night Live” experience to deliver solid jokes that made a serious accusation: the Republican presidential nominee is just a con man.
The comedian and former Sanders supporter said something no politician has had the guts to say when she accused the Bernie-or-Bust crowd of acting “ridiculous.” Whether or not you agree, give her points for saying what she believes. The onetime Sanders surrogate made a strong case for switching over to “pretty kick-ass woman” Hillary Clinton.
The New Jersey senator got the audience fired up by quoting Maya Angelou: “You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
He’s had the same issue with Democratic Convention speeches since his first one in 1988: He goes on too long. But his slow, relaxed style is so much a part of his charm. His encomium to his wife and her great advice was lovely — we could listen to hours about how they first started dating — but he could have tightened up his long list of her accomplishments. Key line: “She’s the best darn changemaker I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
He walked out to the theme from “Rocky” — get it? We’re in Philly, and he was born in Pennsylvania? — and then paid tribute to the Rockys of the world. He said blue-collar people may not be respected in Washington, but celebrated people who get up every morning and “put one foot in front of the other.” He also started a new anti-Trump chant: “Not a clue. Not a clue.”
The first lady set the standard for convention speakers with these words: “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States. So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again, because this, right now, is the greatest country on Earth.”
She was the first presidential nominee in modern history to dress all in white, but she tried to share the spotlight with everyone she could. President Obama set her up Wednesday by portraying Trump as a man who claimed only he could rule. On Thursday, Clinton praised everyone from 9/11 first responders to Obama to Bernie Sanders. “Love trumps hate,” she said, and made the case that as the first female presidential nominee, she isn’t just in it for herself: “When any barrier in America falls, it clears the way for everyone. After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
President Barack Obama
We know, he said his wife’s speech would be better. And Clinton’s did the job. But this was one for history. Rejecting the idea that dark forces are hurting America, he said the values of his ancestors — hard work, honesty and kindness — are as strong as they’ve ever been. He said shortcuts and demagogues will never win, and belittled Trump’s proposed border wall. “The American dream is something no wall with ever contain,” Obama said.