President Obama’s speech is getting lukewarm reviews. It was a checklist, a rehash of points made in his stump speech, a cautious exercise.
In the arena, it was enthusiastically received, albeit not to the pitch of former President Clinton the night before, and I actually thought it started with cliche and ended with the kind of rallying rhetoric those in the hall were seeking.
But today’s lackluster jobs report is sobering, and could mute any post-convention bounce.
On the ground, Charlotte was a better convention than Tampa: It was more festive, less restrictive, more connected to the city itself. It makes a difference in enthusiasm and media perceptions. To give you an idea: Google’s party in Tampa was almost impossible to find unless you knew to go to a guard at a chain link fence, get him to open the gate and then give you directions. In Charlotte, Google’s fete was in the center of the city, the music booming from a set up made of a tent and shipping containers.
In Tampa, much of the media was behind a security perimeter. In Charlotte, the CNN Grill, an eatery the cabler set up at the entertainment complex for convention goers, was surrounded by crowds waiting to see who would come out. Last night it was Anderson Cooper, who had a team of security guards to bring him through the throng and over into the Ritz Carlton. Inside, he shielded part of his head to try to be inconspicuous and make a quick pace through the lobby and bar to the elevators, while a table full of women let out some screams — it was late, he isn’t a teen idol and they were in their 20s.