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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

9:29 MDT: We’re wrapping up for the night in Denver, some closing thoughts from me. Seems to be some mixed reaction on the internets, Josh Marshall calling it “a great speech… exactly what was needed.”

A lot of people raving about Kerry’s speech as well, which struck me as beside the point. Yes, Kerry’s was a very good speech, but in some ways an academic exercise. He’s not on the ticket. He is correct on the arguments and right to be mad. It had a personal edge to it, given the story of the 2004 election.

But Biden’s speech was far, far more important, because he had to emotionally connect voters who relate to his very personally told story with Barack Obama’s American story. Taking people down that emotional path takes a kind of skill that is underappreciated, I think. Joe Biden did that. He drew people into his story, he told American stories in an authentic way, and then tied it to the Obama story. Neither of the Clintons did that for Obama. Hillary Clinton made the great appeal to her reluctant supporters to ask themselves why they supported her in the first place, but it wasn’t a vouching for Obama from a story perspective, it was a policy perspective. Bill did even less in that regard. Yet Biden did the personal vouching for Obama, that his story was one that Americans can and should relate to. As I watched it I suspected other watchers were “getting it” in a way that doesn’t sink in when Obama tells his own story. I felt the “click.”

Thanks for sharing the night with us, and we’ll see you tomorrow for the final day.

8:59 MDT: By the way, where was Bill Richardson? Obama’s last-minute entry came at Richardson’s expense.

8:54 MDT: That was the single best speech of the convention. Nate and I disagree on this one. That had feeling.

8:51 MDT: Nate says Biden is almost whispering, but it came across well on TV. The near-whispering was during an emotionally gripping point of the speech, the delivery supported the content.

8:49 MDT: Motorcade just went by the Big Tent… Obama to appear on stage tonight at the end. He better give Joe Biden a big hug, because right now that is the sound of Joe Biden getting folks to sign on the line which is dotted.

8:43 MDT: Forgot who said it the other day after the Springfield speech (apologies), but Obama’s story sounds different coming out of Biden’s mouth, and it’s pitched to a different ear, one that hasn’t been hearing it these past months.

8:40 MDT: This is why Biden is on the ticket. Wow. Emotional, moving, telling the American story. And hitting McCain fluidly. This place is silent, riveted.

8:37 MDT: OK, that reference to his mom’s advice after the accident was really powerful. It’s a little dusty in here all of a sudden.

8:32 MDT: Nobody believes anyone leaves Joe Biden speechless. Don’t kid a kidder, Joe.

8:28 MDT: Despite the strange energetic flow of the night, I’m looking very much forward to Joe Biden. Yglesias is right, he needs to cut out the “Literallys” and the stylistic ad-libbed emphasis crutches he sometimes uses. When he stays in control, he can give a smiling punch like few politicians in either party. Whereas Brian Schweitzer is a joyful ham that infectiously makes you have fun listening to him, Biden’s actually better at the facial expressions when conveying disdain at the shallowness of an opposing talking point. Go watch this for a Biden classic. Hope to see more of that Biden tonight.

8:14 MDT: Judging by the increasingly loud ambient noise and conversational chatter in the Big Tent, the mood seems to be fairly disengaged from what is happening in the hall. Nate may perceive it differently from his vantage point, but people here are mostly socializing. Last night, people were much more glued in, it seemed.

8:08 MDT: Twenty-plus more minutes to Biden? Tonight is not well-paced. Yesterday kind of built and built to a crescendo. Tonight feels kind of flat on the whole. I haven’t seen commentary from the cable news networks in many days at this point, but as we build toward Joe Biden, I can hear Joe Scarborough yapping about the Ultimate American Voters in Scranton and Youngstown anyway. He is, right?

8:01 MDT: Shameless stealing of Al Giordano’s line from a couple days ago on potential dark horse veep pick Chet Edwards: How pissed was that guy when the Enquirer story broke?

7:58 MDT: One global impression of conventions. I’m used to absorbing lots of political information from all sources. During convention time, this seems nearly impossible. It’s a maelstrom of doing, going, meeting, and watching. Writing feels a bit like it comes in a bubble. So the influence of other well-written and not-so-well-written analysis and opinion has a hard time getting into the mix. At least for me. Not sure if that’s good or bad, just an observation.

7:47 MDT: Kerry was good. This is the time on Sprockets when we get more beer.

7:40 MDT: “Talk about voted for it before he voted against it…” Now, that had to be satisfying for John Kerry.

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