The journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC were beside themselves with gushing praise of Barack Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention, Wednesday. Immediately after his speech, they hailed the President as a “preacher" and a “powerful” "lawyer.”
Offering the most effusive cheering, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley lauded, “Barack Obama in full Sunday meeting mode, preaching to a choir that sang a chorus of amens.” He parroted, “The first African-American president challenging Democrats to make history again. The biggest difference in this election, he said, is the very meaning of our democracy.”
Journalist Norah O’Donnell agreed, marveling, “This was President Obama at his best.” John Dickerson saw it as a “a sweeping speech about the history of America” that “went back to America's founding.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt hyped, “The roar is deafening here in this arena. President Obama delivering a speech, a powerful arc embracing hope and optimism, a passionate endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie saw Obama as the great legal mind: “I keep thinking about Barack Obama, the lawyer. This felt like a closing argument.”
Over on ABC, Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos summarized, “Grateful, emotional at the end, thanking the American people for picking him up when he was down. Passing the baton, as he said, to Hillary Clinton, remarkably generous speech for a President to give.”
Reporter Cecilia Vega highlighted the unsurprising fact that Democratic operatives liked the speech: “George, I'm standing here at the back of the stage near Clinton and Obama staffers. They were crying during this speech."
In contrast, the network journalists jumped on Donald Trump’s “dark speech” last week as one from a “vengeful” “demagogue” Donald Trump.
Partial transcripts are below:
NBC Democratic National Convention coverage
LESTER HOLT: The roar is deafening here in this arena. President Obama delivering a speech, a powerful arc embracing hope and optimism, a passionate endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton and at times an artful takedown of Donald Trump, a call for Americans to participate in democracy. There was some familiar refrains there. “Yes, we can” and “the audacity of hope” there in the final part of his speech this evening.
CHUCK TODD: It was the rebuttal to Trump that he's been dying to give for months. You could tell.
GUTHRIE: I keep thinking about Barack Obama, the lawyer. This felt like a closing argument. It was a point-by-point recitation certainly of his record, her qualifications, a takedown of Donald Trump, including acknowledgment of Hillary Clinton's weakness but a rebuttal to that. And here they are together. I'm thinking about all the times Hillary Clinton as secretary of state would travel to other countries and say, “In our democracy, even though we were bitter rivals, in the end I went to work for him and that is how democracy works.” That is democracy at its finest.
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CBS Democratic National Convention
SCOTT PELLEY: Barack Obama in full Sunday meeting mode, preaching to a choir which sang a chorus of amens. The first African-American president challenging Democrats to make history again. The biggest difference in this election, he said, is the very meaning of our democracy.
NORAH O’DONNELL: This was President Obama at his best. The most powerful endorsement that Hillary Clinton could ask for tonight, the strongest enunciation of Donald Trump as a candidate, as a businessman, his values. Barack Obama saying, American is already great.
ABC Democratic National Convention
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Twelve years to the day he burst on the national scene, two-term President Barack Obama gives his political valedictory. Grateful, emotional at the end, thanking the American people for picking him up when he was down. Passing the baton, as he said, to Hillary Clinton, remarkably generous speech for a President to give, saying that Hillary Clinton, no man or woman, no one who has held the office has been more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America. He included himself, he included Bill Clinton in that. Remarkably brutal toward Donald Trump, painted him as a would be dictator, but said Americans don't look to be ruled. The through line, optimism that he called the audacity of hope and Matthew Dowd, it's been an article of — and there comes Hillary Clinton right now. We're going to see the baton passed as she comes out, big, big hug there. This is a relationship that was not formed easily but look how grateful she is for that speech he gave tonight. Tears in her eyes, as well, saying he's proud of her. As you watch them, Matthew Dowd, as I was saying, it’s kinda of an audible faith in American politics. The most optimistic candidate, the most optimistic campaign wins. President Obama contrasted them with what he called the deeply pessimistic vision we saw in Cleveland.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And David Muir, he had this crowd in the palm of his hand.
DAVID MUIR: No question, George, did he have the crowd in the palm of his hand and just keep in mind, that moment at the end, when Hillary Clinton emerged on that stage, you know, Tim Kaine is here in the audience, his family, Bill Clinton is here, but they chose that the two of them would walk out on that stage together and what an incredible story between these two people who were rivals eight years ago, and him coming out here tonight and passing the baton, as you said, pointing out that she is not the woman on the sidelines. She is the woman in the arena. Sometimes not noticed, in his words, but he urged this audience not to boo, but to vote for the woman in the arena, George.
VEGA: George, I'm standing here at the back of the stage near Clinton and Obama staffers. They were crying during this speech. I also want you to know, I am standing where I can see the teleprompter, the President was reading from it and he made that joke about the birth certificate, that was not in his prepared remarks. Martha said it, this was a commander in speech test that he laid out, who can best walk into the Oval Office and do that job, he made the case, he said, it's Hillary Clinton. She is ready. This is going to be his campaign stump speech over the course of the rest of this campaign, George.