By Heather Hurlburt
Before the speech, John Neffinger laid out here the impact that Barack Obama needed to have with his words. But I'm reminded as I watch the speech that Obama's genius in this visual, sound-bite, 24-7 cable age, has always been to convey as much with his presence, his backstory, what he doesn't say as what he does.
And that's so true tonight. I thought the opening was a bit academic, a bit of a slow start. It's often his style to begin speeches as I imagine a law school lecture might be (I went for the 2-year master's myself). That runs completely counter to my speechwriter training --make the first page or two flashy and then sneak in all the meat later.
But as he gathered steam, we had not just his delivery but Joe Biden behind him as a comic partner -- as someone on a listserv commented, telling the folks at home when to cheer and when to laugh. He seemed to have made a careful study of how the TV cameras would put the Republicans on the spot -- and taken advantage of it.
As humbling as this is for a writer, Obama is someone -- my boss Bill Clinton was another, love him or hate him -- who brought entirely another dimension to what was written on the page. That's our fate in this multi-media era.
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