Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An interesting political moment.

I realize that the coverage of the DNC has been omnipresent to the point of being REALLY annoying, but I experienced a moment on Tuesday that I thought was pretty interesting. On Monday, I watched Caroline Kennedy introduce her Uncle Ted Kennedy on TV. It was a moving occasion to be sure, but I noticed that during her introduction Caroline, repeatedly cut off the audience’s applause and attempted to go into her next line, thus stalling any momentum the crowd was building and losing the impact of her own words through the din of the crowd. It didn’t ruin it for me, I thought her uncle gave a fitting swan song of a speech, but I did notice it.

The next day, a Women’s economic group held a forum at the beautiful Colfax Events Center across the street from Twist and Shout. We were told Michelle Obama would be speaking there and maybe other guests, so we went. It was a media and security frenzy. There were T.V. and print journalists galore and lots of dudes in blue suits and sunglasses. We took our seats and listened as Michelle Obama was introduced. The place went nuts. She was articulate and sweet and incredibly skinny. As she spoke, it became clear she was leading up to an introduction to someone else. She then introduced Joe Biden (the crowd had no idea he was going to speak) and they really went nuts. When Biden walked in it was a total rock star moment; the air goes out of the room and all eyes go to this person. He had the glow of someone who had been in the public eye for a very long time.

Here’s where the interesting thing happened. The crowd was literally going ape-shit-standing ovation and all that, when Mrs. Obama realized she had not introduced Jill Biden, the Senator’s wife. Since this was a Women’s economic forum it was quite relevant for her to do so. She began to speak over the crowd just as Caroline Kennedy had the night before. She looked to Biden for a moment, and without losing one second of his cool, he held up his hand to her and mouthed “wait a minute.” He was cuing her on how to work a crowd. When you give as many speeches as this guy has, you don’t waste good applause. She waited a few seconds and continued her introduction, which was largely drowned out by the crowd. Biden immediately took the room by the throat and delivered a fantastic 10 minute speech, where he introduced the crowd to not only his wife, but his sister and daughter as well. He said nice things about Mrs. Obama and made everyone near him look and feel good.

The thing I found so interesting was the process of these total pros from one generation (Biden and Ted Kennedy) handing the torch to a new generation at the same time they are schooling them on how exactly it is done. It is an interesting reflection of our times, the acceleration of culture and the replacing of one generation by another, maybe before the replacing generation has learned all the necessary lessons. My little convention moment.
-Paul Epstein

1 comment:

colfaxeventscenter said...

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