The Democratic National Convention, Day 3: Opening Acts

There were a number of rhetorically powerful appeals that aired before prime time that are worth watching:

  • Gabby Giffords struggling up to the podium to read the Pledge of Allegiance left no dry eye in the house. 
  • Jennifer Granhom was a whirling dervish of energy.  She made an impassioned case for the importance of saving the auto industry, offering a state-by-state accounting of the number of jobs saved. Hers illustrates that a fiery speech can work if the topic supports it and the speaker can command it.
  • Congressmen Clyburn and Lewis offered moving accounts of civil rights and vote suppression.
  • The presence of Caroline Kennedy underlined the Kennedy connection, evoking the image of Teddy Kennedy passing the health care torch to Obama.
  • Actress Eva Langoria struck home with the line, “The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers — she needed a tax break.  But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.” That’s a nice example of a well-written point designed to evoke a response and stick in your memory.
  • John Kerry demonstrated the power of a short, pointed speech.  His memorable moments: Arguing that before Romney debates Obama on foreign policy he better debate himself because of the many positions that he has taken; Obama “a man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace;” Romney’s idea of an overseas trip is tripping all over himself; ask Osama is he is better off than he was four years ago.

You can read our analyses of Biden’s and Obama’s speeches on separate posts.

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