The kickoff of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night was less of a get-to-know-you party like the GOP’s event last week, and more of an adrenaline shot to keep Democrats excited about the four-year-long party and about President Obama.
The steady stream of speakers—from Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and actor Kal Penn of “Harold and Kumar” fame— kept with the mantra “Forward, Not Back,” prompting this tweet: “OK. If you are playing the #DNC2012
Drinking Game, please take ‘Forward’ off the list, or make sure you have a doctor in the house.”
The keynote speaker San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro offered a rousting speech mixed with humor, Republican digs, and a breathe of fresh air to the familiar slate of speakers. He said, to applause, that Mitt Romney told students to borrow money from their parents. "Gee, why didn't I think of that?” said Castro, who came from humble beginnings.
On Twitter, the talk drew some strong missives, including:
“Well, first they couldn't imagine having a black prez named Hussein. Now they imagine a future prez named Castro.”
“Hey, #GOP: We'll see your Marco Rubio and raise you a @JulianCastro. Julian Castro: A Star is Born.”
The featured speaker First Lady Michelle Obama offered a strong speech that avoided the word Romney and only said “Republican” once, while focusing on the man behind the president. He was a "guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster." And she added, “we were so young, so in love, and so in debt.” A more memorable sound bite was: "I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are—it reveals who you are.”
Some Twitter gems from Obama’s speech:
“I'm not going to comment on how awesome Michelle's dress is, because I don't want to seem superficial.”
“Mrs. Obama talks about what she has SEEN, not what she has heard!”
“Apparently an important point on becoming President is what you do on your dates.”
The comparison between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney drew some poignant tweets as well:
“Michelle pulled off the ‘we were poor’ part of the speech much better than Ann, lol. Probably helps actually being poor.”
“FLOTUS sees Ann Romney's ‘young-Mitt-with-ironing-board-as-dining-room-table,’ raises a ‘young-Barack-with-a-dumpster-dived-toaster.’”
“Election wedge issue. Did Michelle love Barack more than Ann loved Mitt? Whole lotta love from the FLOTUS and would be FLOTUS.”
“Hey, I still think that Ann Romney was bubbly and positive and this speech is dreary.”
And the tweet that actually makes some sense: “Can we skip Ryan/Biden and have a FLOTUS vs. Ann Romney debate?”
Gil Rudawsky is a former reporter and editor. He heads up the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. Read his blog or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.