Visual Rhetoric – Fall 2008 Rotating Header Image

Obama’s Acceptance Speech – August 28, 2008

There is a very long backstory to tonight’s acceptance speech by Barack Obama. As over-exposed as he may appear to be, there are still many Americans who do not know much about Obama, and the acceptance speech is his opportunity to reintroduce himself to the American public, and outline what he feels they need to know about him.

This is Obama’s night, and there has been some friction between the two campaigns as the possibility of John McCain’s campaign leaking McCain’s VP pick on the same night. The McCain campaign has pledged to not announce the VP pick tonight- but they also had to decide whether to not air or say anything tonight, or to run a negative ad tonight. Instead, Sen. McCain aired the following:

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No precedent for this- nothing like it has been used in past campaigns.

As the McCain ad mentions, this is an historic night, as it is the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Here is a copy of that speech:

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If you did not see it live, here is a copy of the speech given by the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama:

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You can also watch the speech, with full transcript playing alongside, on the New York Times website. Great resource- be sure to check it out.

For this blog entry, outline what you think was the most important argument laid out by Sen. Obama, why you think it is so important, how you think Sen. McCain could respond, and what audience Sen. Obama was speaking to with that argument (not just the general audience- what group of voters would he expect to find that argument appealing). Finally, how effective was the speech, and why?


  1. […] following post is from Professor Anand Rao’s Visual Rhetoric course blog, he absolutely nails the significance of the political event this evening […]

  2. Reverend says:

    Wow, how amazing, Anand. You absolutely nailed this. I’m glad I get my news from UMW Blogs, you framed this evening, and the momentous historical moment we are coming upon so poignantly. Thanks for this, it’s the first I sw of the McCain ad. Wild stuff, this ain’t no Daisy Chain.

  3. Caitlin Mackay says:

    The key argument in Obama’s speech was the importance of keeping the American Dream alive. Dr. King spoke of his dream for equality, justice and the pursuit of a good life as the American Dream. 45 years later, Obama wants to uphold that American Dream for all Americans, and he is the perfect example. Obama gave multiple examples of how is family is like any other American family: his grandfather was a vertan, his mother was hardworking and tried to balance school, work and family and his grandmother worked her way up in business despite the subordination of women. These examples and more depict Obama as the man who overcame obstacles to get him to where he is today. The examples also speak to Americans like his family: struggling, hardworking and who love their country. Obama was speaking to Americans who still believe in the American Dream and want a change in government to make that happen.

    In this sense, Obama was very effective. He came across as a man, as a candidate, who sincerely wants everyone to be able to live the American Dream, as he has. And, he was effective in saying that John McCain would not do this for Americans. To this, McCain might respond by pointing out his military experience or that his policies differ greatly from Bush’s. However, those or any other arguments would not suffice.

  4. nmodly says:

    Well, Sen. Obama certainly knows how to give a speech. His speaking skills really were engaging and appealed directly to his audience of younger voters. I apprecited each one of his arguments although I am still waiting to hear more about his actual implementation plan on things such as eliminating the need for oil from the middle east and his plans for helping the education system. These two arguments stuck with me the most. For college students and younger voters rising gas prices are a huge problem. They have made it very difficult to pay for everyday expenses and still afford an education. I know that he is very adiment on helping the economy in this way but I want to know how. I also appreciated his words regarding aid for early childhood education. Hiring new teachers and aiding in funds for the education system as a whole. I really believe his promises in this area because he has two young children of his own and certainly has first hand experience for the affects of the American education system.

    He really seemed to put a huge emphasis on moral code and ideals of hope and change. All of which are good but I am missing the ‘meat’ behind his arguments. I think he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to appealing to a particular audience and has made some smart moves in that direction. His family of young girls and a wife with a powerful yet
    supportive appeal really helps his side when it comes to his place in the media. He really engaged the audience that night and seemed to make direct points to the American people, which is how he gets so much support.

    I am anxious to hear how Sen. McCain responds on thursday. I would hope that he takes Obama’s lack of specifics and addresses his claims with some detail. With a running mate so familiar with the country’s oil needs I hope he makes some specific comments for an affective change in this area.

    All in all, I think Sen. Obama did exactly what he came there to do. He took the significance of that night and used it to his advantage. He addressed his audience of the American people direclty and appealed to the wants and needs of the people, and he did so with charisma.

  5. Casey Ridlon says:

    I had caught snippets of Obama speaking in different areas of the country on tv the past couple months; however, his acceptance speech was the first speech I had watched in full. I have to say I was very impressed, not only with his delivery, but also with several of the arguments he made. Although it is not exactly specific to one issue, I thought the most important argument he made was “the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise and fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.” I believe the reason why Obama has become so popular and why he has a good chance of winning this election is because he radiates feelings of hope and good. His vision of the United States as a great community working together for the betterment of our nation as a whole is a very powerful and moving argument.
    I am very interested to see how McCain responds to Obama’s speech. As others have said, Obama offered a number of ideas and promises to the public; however, he did not elaborate much on how he was going to accomplish these tasks. He also made a large number of promises that seem, on the whole, like they are going to cost a great deal of money. I believe that McCain may comment on this as well as Obama’s plan to successfully solve almost every problem we are facing in America. I also hope that he will respond to Obama’s promise to pull troops out of the Middle East.
    As for the audience, I thought Obama was speaking mainly to the lower and middle classes of America. This was apparent when he addressed tax cuts and stated: “…the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.” He also mentioned teachers, farmers, citizen military, etc… a number of times.
    Overall, I thought Obama’s speech was effective for the audience he was addressing. The parallels he made to his own life and family were an excellent strategy. It is obvious that people like him because he is able relate to them and their lives. His strong and clear delivery also made the speech effective in that it brought 10,000+ cheering people to their feet. I am curious to see if McCain can produce a similar effect on his audience.

  6. kprobst says:

    Sen. Obama can certainly give one good speech. I have not listened to any speech in its intirany before. I think that Obama was addressing the younger voter. I am a younger voter so when he said that he wanted to keep the taxes lower. The way that he went about his speech made it very entertaining. I had a hard time turning away. I found that when he talked about our former Presidents it made his point more ground in fact. I think that he was hitting on some very good facts with trying to get more teacher and people to serve our country. I think that I would like to see how he will be able to go about it. The United States has a form of checks and balances and it will be hard to get some of his ideas through it. He did mention that the ideas might not work but that he was going to try for it. I think the most important argument that he laid out was the fact that we need to teach our younger generation and to do this we need to have a better system to do so. When he said that he will try to get more teachers, it hit home for me. I think the other great point that goes along with it is that college student need to have a better more available way to go to college it they want to.
    I think that McCain’s responce was a little fake. I think that he was only going to do this so that he could get more voters. If he had not done it it could have hurt him more in the long run. I also that when he said we’ll be back at it tomorrow was not needed.
    I think Obama’s speech was very effective. I was not going to vote for this man before but after his speech, I wanted to and was more than happy to not vote for the other guy. It was effective because he spoke to us and he made it very personal and seem sincere. He put himself and his family into his speech and then he included us. I think that if Obama can pull off everything or even 50% of what he said in his speech he will be a better president than we have had in a while.

  7. Sarah Pierson says:

    Barak Obama’s speech was very moving. He told his audience what they wanted to hear. His audience was Middle America. He emphisized the importance of the middle class workers that keep our nation going. His most important argument was keeping the american dream alive. He was referencing how the past 8 years the american dream has been hard to keep alive under certian management and focused on how he planed to rejuvinate it. This is important becuase like I said he tells the audience what they want to hear. This is a very effective tactic.

    I thought that a majority of Obama’s speech was negating McCain’s campaign. Personally I like to hear not what the other person is don’t badly but what the person will do to help. I believe McCain’s campaign should go in this direction.

  8. Emma says:

    Watching Obama’s nomination speech was a very powerful experience. The opening minutes gave me goosebumps and I was frequently emotionally touched, particularly during the personal anecdotes about his childhood and his mother. Obama seemed most sincere in those moments and I valued that a lot. He has seemed to me to be a very polished, scripted and rehearsed individual, a little too “politician-y”, but he was very real and genuine, it appeared, during parts of the speech. I appreciated that.

    As Obama spoke, several arguments stuck out as very important, but the section regarding America’s Common Purpose remained with me after the speech ended. In a nation so politically polarized, divided between Democrat and Republican with little option in between, as well as with the divisions within Obama’s own party, this argument seemed the most relevant and important. The emphasis on all Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, coming together in spite of their differences to “restore our sense of common purpose” was very appealing. It was very exiting to hear a politician directly state the hot-button issues that historically divide the two parties and still vehemently resonate today. He mentioned abortion, same-sex marriage, and immigration – often a voter’s stance on just one of these issues will decide which candidate gets their vote. Obama’s willingness to simply say “These are some of the things that we don’t agree on, but both sides have valid views and both sides are rational enough to find common ground within the issue” is so exciting to me. In my view, one party or one ideology does not and simply cannot offer the solutions to the obstacles our country faces. Creative problem solving works best when all sorts of ideas are thrown together and combined. Obama’s decision to speak to the Republican positions indicates a respect for individual thought, compromise, and ultimately, democracy. This argument is what its all about for me. Perhaps his tune will change or he will return to spouting only the Democratic Party line, but it is very refreshing to hear such openness and willingness to listen and consider the importance of other viewpoints.

    His specific audience for this argument seems to be Independent and Republican voters, those who may not accept every Democratic Party position. It is important for those voters to hear that Obama will listen to them too and that he really is a candidate for change, not just a candidate to enact all the liberal policies they associate with the Democrats.

    I think McCain can only respond in a similar fashion. An American common purpose focusing on getting things done seems like a universal desire of the voters. The country is divided over many issues and McCain would do well to echo Obama’s sentiments and reassure the American people he will work in a similar fashion. His history of working with Democrats in the past should point him in this direction anyway, and offer him credibility in this argument, perhaps more than Obama has to offer at this time.

  9. avanv8sa says:

    Overall, I think that Barack Obama gave a wonderful speech on Thursday night and it showed what an effective speaker he is. Obama outlined many important arguments, but I believe that the most important one discussed was the idea of keeping the American Dream and the promise of America alive and well.

    I think this was an excellent topic to focus on because so many middle class Americans are finding that is hard to live even moderately comfortably in today’s world. This is an important argument because it is one that really speaks to a large group of Americans, mostly lower, middle, and upper-middle class viewers. I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of Americans have felt some pressure because of the economy, the war, etc., and the ideas of the possibilities of America are threatened by these issues. It is also important to reference this ideal because of the large numbers of people that come to the United States in search of a better life, which is becoming harder to attain. Obama stresses the fact that both the people of the U.S and the government need to do more to make the American dream one that is recognized easier for the masses again. He directly speaks to middle America by creating little vignettes of sorts that portray what many citizens may be going through (a woman who is one illness away from losing her job, or a man whose long term career has been shipped overseas. I feel like this was a VERY effective tactic because it probably made a lot of people watching realize that many people are experiencing what they are going through. It also shows them that Obama not only recognizes the problems of the middle class, but that he also really cares and actually calls those people his heroes. I believe that by describing himself and his past, Obama appeals to the masses by making himself appear like a regular guy, and not just a wealthy candidate. It makes it seem like he really understands where people are coming from, and more importantly that he cares, because his grandparents and mother were in that position. He really knew how pull at the heartstrings of Americans, regardless of whether they are in a difficult position.

    As a whole, I think his speech was very effective for the reasons I discussed above as well as others. I think that one of best things he did was actually outline some of his plans for HOW he plans to go about changing the state of America. Many people who are skeptical of Obama’s claim that he is all talk, but no substance or action. By giving examples of what he plans to do, he gave those viewers something to look at and hold onto, instead of just the ideas of hope and change. I think Obama needs to do even more to get the point across that he isn’t just big talk, but I believe he is on the right track and that this was a good stepping stone. I think that McCain will respond to that weakness in the campaign during his speech next week. I expect him to challenge the areas where Obama has not been as specific as use that to his advantage, and try and convince voters that Obama doesn’t have the experience or whatnot to actually have tangible plans for change. I will definitely be interested to see what other attacks McCain makes. Since Obama spent a good amount of time in the beginning of the speech portraying McCain as being Bush Round 3, I think McCain should definitely address that issue and try to establish himself as a different type of Republican than Bush. Before McCain started this campaign, he appealed to more moderate voters because of some of his more moderate conservative views, and I think he needs to get back to those ideas as well in order to bring moderates over to his side. Overall, I think McCain has his work cut out for him, but I am excited to see what he comes up with.

  10. Matt Hale says:

    This was the first time that I have personally sat down and watched an entire acceptance speech, and with the help of the New York Times, got to read each and every word Obama was saying. During his speech you could tell especially at the beginning that he was talking to the middle class of America, or the “Working” class. By stating America is better than the last 8 years, we are better then the last 8 years. By telling different stories of every day people that could be happening, like the man from Indiana and the woman from Connecticut, he is going after middle America and sway voters who may not no which way to go. I think by stating those little stories and how we as America are not heading into the right direction, he will get some attention from voters who may not have thought about voting for him.

    I believe McCain could and will respond by going after the exact same class of people, and tell them yes, we are going in the wrong direction but there is light at the end of the tunnel and Obama’s ways are not it. As you could see through out the speech that Obama continued to attack McCain and Bush’s party and stating all of the bad things which have occurred and continue to occur, so I think McCain can take the positive route. Not by just simply attacking the other candidates, but yet tell what he is going to do to change this country. You can see he did some reverse psychology during Obama’s speech by playing a commercial congratulating him. I think by being more positive towards one him he can take away voters from Obama, and I believe that is why Obama continues to point out the direction in which we are going, saying McCain has agreed 90 percent of the time with Bush. So they both have different approaches at trying to win this election and it will be interesting what McCain does next week and on Nov. 4th.

  11. queenmab182 says:

    I think the most important argument laid out by Sen. Obama in his speech is that of the need for more jobs in America. He seemed to me to focus largely on the fact that America needs to stop outsourcing. This only takes away jobs from Americans who need them, and hurts our economy that is already in a deficit.

    This is the most important argument in my mind, because people need to be able to work in order to survive. America needs its people to have money so that we don’t have homeless and dirt poor people. In order to thrive and grow as a country, we need people to be able to have a job that in turn feeds our consumer economy. So we don’t fall behind other countries, we need to supply Americans with jobs.

    Sen. McCain could respond to this argument by saying that Republicans don’t just give money to the rich in the hope that the trickle down theory will start to actually work, but that he will work to create more jobs and stimulate our economy. He could argue that tax cuts are just the thing to help people be able to afford to buy things and pay for higher education that would enable them to get a higher paying job.

    Obama was mainly speaking to the middle, and lower working classes with this argument. He was also speaking to immigrants and working students and older workers.

    His speech was highly effective because, at least it seemed to me, that it covered all of the important issues. It was very positive and called for a lot of change that would truly help America to grow and prosper. It was also an effective speech since it was well written and had a great delivery. It was also gracious. Sen. Obama is a wonderful and motivating orator.

  12. Sadie Hagberg says:

    Obama had many very important arguments throughout his speech, but one that I found particularly important was his argument focusing on the economy and in particular the middle class. Obama says how McCain has “been anything but independent” on issues such as health care, education and the economy. For those Americans who are struggling in our current economy they will realize that if McCain has been consistent with the Republican Party, how can they be sure he will produce changes? This economy issue is so important because so many Americans, as Obama says, are losing their homes and unable to pay their bills. I believe this argument greatly appeals to the middle class and the people who are suffering from the current state of the economy. Obama brings up McCain’s statements that the economy is strong, and how McCain defines the middle class as people earning fewer than 5 million dollars a year, something that most American’s do not achieve. Obama caps his argument with the simple statement that John McCain just doesn’t understand.

    In response to Obama’s argument McCain can say right back the Obama doesn’t understand. Obama give McCain a very good opportunity to play with the popular criticism that Senator Obama doesn’t have enough experience to be President yet. McCain could pull out many instances of thing Obama doesn’t understand in the realm of politics. He could also respond saying that Obama doesn’t understand what its really like to be in a war.

    Obama’s speech was very effective. From the beginning he touched on the most important issues to pull in his audience, and he did a good job of keeping the audience engaged. Obama was respectful to McCain, in particular acknowledging his military time. What he had to say way all very believable, and even not watching it live I could sense his energy throughout the speech.

  13. Matt Treacy says:

    I believe that Sen. Obama’s speech, like all of his speeches, was a very powerful one in that he is really engaging in his arguments and he seems passionate about the issues he talks about. In my opinion the most important topic he covered was not a specific topic it was a general feeling of change. His whole campaign has been about change and that was the most important thing he spoke about. That is the reason why this race is going to be so close. When Sen. Obama spoke about how Sen. McCain has voted with President Bush on 90 percent of the time. Sen. Obama wanted to get this point across that having Sen. McCain be our president would not be the change he believes is necessary for our country. He was making this argument to appeal to not a certain demographic of people not based on age, race, or gander. He was appealing to the demographic of people that are unhappy with our current president. The particular voter audience that would find this argument to be appealing would be young people 18-30 because the are the people that are most unhappy with George Bush. I think the speech was very effective because he is a great speaker and he gave many facts that made the comparison between McCain and Bush.

  14. Matt Treacy says:

    McCain will respond with stating the issues he disagreed with President Bush and by stating the things he may change if and when he gets in office.

  15. Ashley says:

    This was the first time I had ever watched an acceptance speech for any nominee and I was really impressed by Obama. He is so eloquent and kept my attention till the end.
    He addressed the major issues that have been going on and how he wanted to change the country to improve the lives of the people. All of his plans do cost money and he wants to close corporate loopholes and tax havens that do not help our country.
    I agree with his idea to change around some government programs that have not been effective. It is important for the country’s budget that funding is going towards programs that are flourishing. It is also important to start new programs that can help the people and economy as well.
    Obama isn’t just worried about the financial state of the country but that citizens take responsibility for their actions and get involved in their communities.

    I think McCain will respond to all of his topics. Some he will agree with and others he will disagree with. He has labeled Obama as a celebrity who is unexperienced so I’m sure that will come up at some point, although, his VP has less experience than Obama does.

    I found Obama’s speech to be very effective. I’m also interested to hear what McCain has to say on Thursday.

  16. Kiernan Whitworth says:

    After watching the acceptance speech of Senator Obama it seems clear that his main argument is the same argument he has been making throughout his entire campaign and that is change. He outlines that John McCain will continue on the same path that the Bush administration has been on for eight years. He points out that 90 percent of the time McCain could vote in line with Bush, he did. This is the most important argument Obama could present because he knows that the last thing that Americans want, including Republicans, is four more years like the last eight years. Senator Obama was reaching out to the working class of America. He offered a reduction in taxes and also a plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil which affects the working class greatly. I feel that it will be very challenging for McCain to respond or bounce back from this speech. His commercial during the speech however did win major points for his campaign. It will be very important that McCain stresses his past lengthy service to our country in the senat to contrast the shorter time that Obama has spent.

    This speech was very affective in that it offered up an appeal to one of the most fundamental human feelings which is also the theme of Obama’s campaign and that is hope. He was also successful in appealing to republicans and independents as well. He stressed that we must move forward not as republicans or democrats but rather as Americans.

  17. brian donohue says:

    I think the Obama’s strongest point in this speech was overarching and steady throughout his whole speech. He kept away from a dying war and focused on what he would call our “broken country.” He kept most of his thoughts in the homeland, and effectively was able to show his listeners that tweaking a few tings in the homeland could truly change the way we live.

  18. brian donohue says:

    I think the Obama’s strongest point in this speech was overarching and steady throughout his whole speech. He kept away from a dying war and focused on what he would call our “broken country.” He kept most of his thoughts in the homeland, and effectively was able to show his listeners that tweaking a few tings in the homeland could truly change the way we live.
    I felt that it was refreshing to finally hear a candidate talking about something other than the war in iraq. Obama’s repetition of instances wherein the working class has been, more or less, pushed aside and left to die. he worked very hard throughout the speech and i think managed to shed this whole barack obama the celebrity. In essence I, who am still on the shelf with this whole barack obama thing, believ that this was the best nomination speech i have heard in my life.

  19. Rachel Gerstein says:

    As a listened to Obama speak I couldn’t help but to get goosebumps. Over the past eight years, the United States has become more and more divided. We have become a hated nation. We have drifted farther and farther away from the American Dream. CHANGE is the idea Obama stressed, which is exactly what this country needs. Just like Biden, Obama stated how similar McCain’s Presidency would be to Bush’s Presidency. Obama pointed out that 90% of the time McCain voted with Bush. I think this statement not only shocked but swayed many people away from McCain.

    Obama also did a great job of being empathetic to the lower class of America. He stressed the importance of unity. Stating that if a group of citizens were hurting that we all were hurting. He made me feel as though we could actually become a united country once again.

    Obama is an amazing speaker and very personable. His speech was exactly what people needed to hear. He gave hope to the American nation, which I think even the Republicans could agree is something we lack. I would be proud to have him as the next President of the United States.

  20. nfinney says:

    I think that Sen. Obama’s most important argument was when he said that unlike Sen. McCain, he would stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and start giving them to companies that keep their jobs in America. I think this is an important argument for a couple of reasons: first of all, he is addressing an issue that has been of pretty big interest to a lot of the American middle class and blue collar voters. These are the voters that it has been said are crucial for Obama to win over in order for him to take the presidency. Blue collar workers that work for companies that are increasingly moving their factories overseas for cheaper labor will certainly like to hear that those companies’ taxes won’t be cut. Secondly, this is an important argument because the Bush administration is notorious for giving tax cuts to large international corporations (including ones that send jobs overseas) as opposed to the working class American citizens. Obama is aiming to distance himself from the policies of one of the most disapproved administrations in United States history by showing how his actions are going to be different than Bush’s and how McCain’s are going to be more of the same.

    Sen. McCain would likely respond to Obama’s argument by saying that Obama would have to accomplish that feat by raising taxes on everybody else. He’d also probably say he’d cut taxes for the middle class and blue collar workers who lost jobs to foreign soil.

    I believe Obama’s speech was indeed effective. It served the purpose of helping to unify the democratic party, while promoting the party and candidate’s main theme; change. Obama masterfully exposed McCain’s alliance with 90% of Bush’s policies – the more Obama can make voters think of Bush when they think of McCain, the better.

  21. escot1ot says:

    Senator Obama’s most important argument was that the war in Iraq has been misguided from the beginning and needs to end. He made some very valid points, such as that our occupation of Iraq will not stop a network of terrorism that spans 80 countries, and that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while our economy is suffering. I have had similar thoughts about the war’s actual effect on terrorism, and the second point is just outrageous.

    Obama’s comments on the war fit into the larger theme of his speech, which he referred to as “change” and mostly focused on the idea that McCain’s views are outdated. I thought his view on Iraq were especially effective within this larger theme because Obama mentioned that while McCain voted to occupy Iraq, he was against the war from the beginning. He also mentioned several times that McCain was stubborn and stuck in the past, reiterating the idea that his opponent will carry the foreign policies of the Bush administration into the next presidency.

    McCain could respond the Obama’s views on the war with the argument that the situation in Iraq has gotten better and that America cannot pull out of a war that is not yet finished. The idea that America should not pull troops out of a country that is not yet stable is valid, but the situation in Iraq has gotten much worse before it has gotten any better. Many Americans are fed up with the war and did not want to occupy Iraq from this start, so this argument would not appeal to them.

    Obama’s argument on the Iraq war and his larger them of change is meant to appeal to younger, more liberal voters. As a college student, I felt like he was appealing directly to me about the future of social security, women’s rights, education, and the war in which many members of my generation are fighting and dieing. These are all issues that young college-age students are concerned about, and it appears that Obama is specifically targeting this group in order to mobilize their voting power.

    Overall Obama’s speech was effective. His theme of change was actually very powerful, especially against the background of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech. He made several points that were very smart and well thought out, and in general he is a better speaker than McCain and especially Bush. His speech was also effective because he addressed specific issues that Americans are struggling with every day, such as the war in Iraq.

  22. Emily Curtis says:

    After watching the Obama speech I couldn’t help but feel the passion that Obama has for America and get excited myself. For this fact alone I believe the speech was effective. Specifically, I felt his strongest point was his forceful examples of the everyday Americans who struggle. His imagery of their plight in factories, at war and one that hit home for me was not being able to pay for college. He talked at length about these issues and I thought this not only affected the people who are struggling but everyone in America can relate to struggle. I hope that none of us want to see it continue and that is why I found it to be the most effective argument that Obama gave that night. I think everyone can feel the struggle that is upon us in America and even if they aren’t directly affected they don’t want to see it continue.
    This argument was directly addressing lower income Americans because they are feeling the brunt of our countries economic recession. Job loss is one if not the main issue in America and Obama addressed these people beautifully by inspiring their faith in our government again. Lower income Americans have been ignored by the current administration and now Obama is giving them a voice again. Even if some of these people might be Republican I think Obama has given them a reason to switch sides for one election. I thought also that Obama’s point about a united America made all of his arguments much stronger because he wasn’t just marketing himself as a democrat but someone who just wanted to help our country as a whole. I find this idea very appealing and think the rest of America did too.
    The speech was extremely effective as a whole. He brought up all the poignant issues and how he planned to address them. I found that he hit every key demographic in America. The pure hope and inspiration that he put forth was enough to make every person who watched him at the very least be proud to be an American. For me personally this was an extremely welcome change. Something that was a bit distracting was all of the cheering and sheer size of the crowd. Some of it did add excitement but I felt that if the crowd had been smaller the speech actually would have been slightly more effective.
    Lastly, McCain could respond by appealing to the lower income group of Americans and telling them how he plans to help them. He definitely needs to address job loss and how he plans to fix the economy. I do not think however that he could be nearly as effective as Obama because I think that he is out of touch with these citizens.

  23. Serena says:

    It may just be the rabid environmentalist in me, but I thought that the most important section in Obama’s speech was the one concerning alternative fuel sources, and his plan for ending dependence not only on foreign oil, but on oil in general. This wasn’t the strongest argument he made, but was the one that is most important to me personally. I think it’s fair to select this part because it seemed that—more than anything—his purpose in this speech was to connect with as many voters as possible. He did this by addressing nearly every topic of interest to voters across the spectrum. So for me, it’s the environment, and I’m judging him on that. For others, it might be the economy or health care, and that’s what they’ve paid most attention to. And as far as reaching each voter as an individual rather than a group defined by party lines or social strata, he has been very successful.

    Along with hooking people on a political and ideological level, he pulled in his own family’s experiences and goals as a way to connect with his audience on a personal, emotional level. Logic and solid plans only go so far, but making the audience care about him (and convincing them that he cares in return) seal the deal.
    He was very enthusiastic about moving forward with alternative energy, but a bit vague on specifics. I’d like to see him discuss the challenges of this transformation in greater depth, rather than simply listing the types of energy that are possible. Until I know that he recognizes exactly how difficult it will be and has a specific plan for dealing with each and every hurdle, I won’t be confident in any promises he makes concerning the environment. I realize that this acceptance speech had to be both brief and wide-reaching, so it was impossible for him to include every detail about the key topics, but this did seem to be a general problem in each area. He had a catchy turn of phrase for nearly everything, but didn’t focus much on specifics of any sort.

    I understand the importance of creating jobs, improving the economy, and all of the other issues he discussed. However, one thing that I really did not see—and it’s a shame—is focus on legislative measures that benefit the world as a whole. In my opinion, he doesn’t have much room to criticize McCain’s lack of consideration for certain groups within America when he’s also ignoring the fact that we have a responsibility to the rest of the world. This could mean working to combat global warming, it could mean giving aid to struggling third-world countries, and it could mean working towards trade agreements that benefit both American and foreign workers. Okay, great—we improve our economy. We fix the healthcare system. It’s important to take care of our own interests, but it’s also important to remember that our interests and those of other countries are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes the impression I get from our country as a whole is “me me me.” Like a 5-year-old who hasn’t learned to play well with others yet. I know it’s awfully cliché, but the amount that we—as human beings—have in common with each other far outweighs our differences, and it would be nice if every once in a while someone remembered that and considered the concept of worldwide common interests.

    So now that I’ve engaged in a ridiculous tangential hippie-ish rant, back to McCain. I agree with many of the observations above that McCain can certainly play the “lack of experience” card on Obama. He would also do well to target some of Obama’s more sweeping statements, and counter them with details about his own, very specific plans for accomplishing the same goals. Obama clearly has the ‘gut reaction’ vote, so McCain’s best bet is to appeal to voters’ sense of logic. Especially after Obama’s big criticism of his record of voting with Bush 90% of the time, he’ll want to distance himself as much as possible from the Bush administration and its policies.
    Finally, it might not have been a great move for McCain to pick a VP who hates polar bears. Just sayin’.


  24. Alicia Grolbert says:

    Senator Obama’s main argument is greater government involvement and control in Americans’ lives. It is very important that Americans Understand that this is what Senator Obama wants. He wants greater government control on health care, retirement, jobs, and more. He wants less privatization and more government funded programs. Senator McCain could respond by discussing how more things should become privatized and not as reliant on the government. He could also discuss the failures of many socialist countries with government run healthcare and retirements.
    Senator Obama’s speech was directed toward people who haven’t researched the issues because he glosses over many of the issues without explaining how most of his ideas would work. His speech was for those people just becoming interested in the campaign and those who he knows will already vote for him.
    The speech was effective in keeping the democrats happy and supportive of Senator Obama, and it probably encouraged dormant democrats to get more involved. I doubt the speech converted many Republicans to Senator Obama’s side, and it didn’t explain much to the voters just tuning into the presidential race.

  25. Stephanie_B4C says:

    Both Senator John McCain and Barack Obama delivered their nomination speech with great gratitude. They made good arguments for future economic references and assured numerous things if there were to be elected president. However, Democratic or Republican, we all know who seemed more promising. One of my very own colleagues, a republican, has decided to withdraw from voting because of agreeing with Obama’s plans rather than her own candidate, McCain. Senator Obama speech was very powerful and confident about almost everything. His ethos, pathos, and logos were clearly straight forward and his presentation was exact. Obama had a grand response from the crowd numerous times and captured a majority of the American people. He had the tendency to ramble on with certain things but would always get back to the main idea. In comparison to Senator Obama was John McCain. His speech was also very good but did not contain as much power and confidence. His speech had the tendency to get dull and less passionate but he still made an effort to hold through. McCain’s stage was at level with everyone else which made him seem closer to the people but his family was not near him giving hints that his relationship was not as close. Now, with all that said, whose speech was more effective? Even though McCain was able to continue his speech with all the protestor’s interruptions, Senator Barack Obama still had a sense of power in his words which gives out confidence and acceptance to the people making his argument better, making Senator Barack Obama the strongest presidential nominee for 2008.