Analysis of Michelle Obama's Speech

Elaine Brye, mother of four servicemen, introduced Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention. Using alliteration, Brye said, "I'm not even a political person, but what I am is a military mom." Unfortunately, Brye's speech wasn't properly reviewed; two grammatical errors slipped by: "...she invited my husband and I to the White House" and " I said..."

After the introduction, the First Lady spoke to an enthusiastic crowd.

Reporters for The New York Times added commentary throughout Michelle Obama's speech. The article shows the speech transcript and includes selected video clips with annotations. Jodi Kanter notes Michelle Obama's use of emotional appeal and her attempt to relate to the American People:

"This speech could be called 'The Obamas Next Door.' It's all about how they are regular folks who have experienced economic struggle."

Another reporter notes contrasts between this speech and Ann Romney's: 

"In contrast to the speech that Ann Romney, Mitt Romney's wife, gave at the Republican convention last week, Mrs. Obama avoids any kind of political confrontation: No talk of Republicans or Romney or even the other side.

"There is much talk of the Obama family, and the experience of raising two daughters in the White House -- something that concerned her, she said, when Mr. Obama first began running for president. But the political discussion is limited mostly to discussing Mr. Obama's record: in pushing health care legislation, in supporting abortion rights. The attacks, by design, have been left to the other speakers."

Discussion Starters:

  • Watch Michelle Obama's entire speech. What is your impression? What does she do well, and what suggestions would you offer?
  • Now watch Ann Romey's speech, and answer the same questions.
  • Which speech do you believe is most effective and why?