CBS's Bob Schieffer on Thursday night praised John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican convention, especially compared to VP nominee Sarah Palin's address from the night before. He was pleased that McCain appealed to “our better angels” with a speech that was “much more inclusive” than what Palin delivered:
I thought this was a fine speech tonight that appeals to our better angels, really. I found it much more inclusive than the speech that Sarah Palin made yesterday. I think this speech will play very well across America.
Colleague Jeff Greenfield, however, found McCain's address to have been too predictably Republican: “I have to say, I found much of the speech surprisingly familiar. It was a speech that almost any Republican could give, except for the part of change” and so “other than the instant bump in the polls that everybody gets” the address “may not have changed a lot of minds.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd saw McCain's words as anything but the standard Republican fare: “This was designed to be as non of an ideological speech as a Republican nominee could give at a Republican convention.”
Both CBS's Couric and NBC's Tom Brokaw took the time to point out that McCain is calling for change in Washington when he and/or his party have been entrenched in DC:
KATIE COURIC: So this four-term Senator who's been a member of Congress for almost 26 years, tonight tries to establish himself as a Washington outsider, a change agent, tries to seize the change moniker and make it his own. Of course “change” being the trademark of the Obama campaign. He's warning that the old big spending, do nothing, me first country second, Washington crowd, change is not a coming but change is coming.
TOM BROKAW: When he talks about change, he's been a member of a party for eight years that has been dominant in Washington, his own party.
Most of the discussion on CBS a little past 11 PM EDT after McCain finished:
BOB SCHIEFFER: People are tired of government that just simply can't seem to confront any major issue head on. They want change. They don't know how it's going to get done, but they're tired of the way it's happening now. And I think if he can convince people that he really can form a unity government, that he really can get Washington to sort of working again, I think he has a good chance to win this election.
KATIE COURIC: And in fact, polls show that undecided voters care most about getting something done and holding government accountable, right, Jeff.
JEFF GREENFIELD: Yes, and everybody says they're going to doing it, and it was clear in the constant reputation of the word fight, I think ten times in the last couple of minutes, that the 72-year-old candidate says I'm not too old.
I have to say, I found much of the speech surprisingly familiar. It was a speech that almost any Republican could give, except for the part of change. And based on the reactions I've gotten from a few of my colleagues left, right and center, I have to be honest with you and say they felt the speech was bit underwhelming. They were expecting a bold policy proposal. They were expecting a more frontal challenge. And I think we're going to see when the reviews are in, that this speech may be, other than the instant bump in the polls that everybody gets, may not have changed a lot of minds.
SCHIEFFER: I simply do not agree. I think, Jeff, that misses the point. With John McCain, it's not about the rhetoric, it's about John McCain, the man and what he stands for. I thought this was a fine speech tonight that appeals to our better angels, really. I found it much more inclusive than the speech that Sarah Palin made yesterday. I think this speech will play very well across America.