POLITICS
10/05/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

John McCain Speech Reactions (VIDEO)

Below is reaction to John McCain's Republican convention speech.

David Gergen thought the speech repeated the same old GOP ideas:

I did not think that the substantive part of the speech worked very well. It was mostly a rerun, retread of a lot of old Republican ideas that have brought us to where we are now. I think the country is looking for fresh answers. It's hard to separate yourself out from President Bush when you essentially have the same economic policies as President Bush. I thought that the policy presentation was a little thin."

Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson slammed McCain's speech on MSNBC

The policy in the speech was rather typical for a Republican. Pretty disappointing. It didn't do a lot of outreach to moderates and independents on issues that they care about. It talked, about issues like drilling and school choice which was really speaking to the converted. I think that was a missed opportunity. Many Americans needed to hear from this speech something they have never heard from Republicans before. And in reality, a lot of the policy they've heard from Republicans before.

The New Republic thought the speech was flat:

It's not over yet but this is a very underwhelming speech. Familiar points explained in pedestrian terms. No overarching themes--right now it's sounding like a State of the Union laundry list. Even the crowd in the hall isn't jazzed. This is the sort of reception Tom Ridge got.

MSNBC pointed out that the biggest applause of the night was for Sarah Palin. Watch clip:

Jeffrey Toobin told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that:

I thought it was the worst speech by a nominee that I've heard since Jimmy Carter in 1980.

I thought it was disorganized, themeless, I thought it was very, very boring until the end when he started talking about his personal story, which is, of course, remarkable and always important to hear. I personally cannot remember a single policy proposal that he made because they had nothing connecting them. I found it shockingly bad.

Watch clip:

The National Review also thought it fell flat:

Ehhhhh...maybe I'm missing some grand strategy or tactics, but I think it was a missed opportunity. Good that he did some policy. I liked that he championed free trade -- something he didn't have to do. I liked the fight, fight, fight stuff. Good that he was specific. I can come up with specific compliments about this or that. But it was flat, forced and basically a free pass for Obama.

The New York Times blog said people were falling asleep:

Sleepy? Our colleague Patrick Healy reports from the floor: There is a delegate in the Utah section and a delegate in Puerto Rico who are both drooping, eyes closed - look asleep - both are men.

ABC News asks whether McCain has a different take on community organizing:

ABC News' Deputy Political Director Karen Travers points out that despite all the "community organizer"-bashing at this convention, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seems to like the notion, at least based on this passage:

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you're disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

If a community organizer isn't someone "defend(ing) the rights of the oppressed," or getting involved to correct the mistakes of government, what is it?

TPM asked if McCain's speech smothered Palin's sizzle?

Not a lot to say about McCain's speech but how on earth did they not avoid this:

Prediction: There will be little to no bounce out of tonight; indeed, McCain's speech will smother Palin's sizzle like a wet blanket.

Time gave it a mixed review:

A mixed performance. The ending worked, though in the hall I doubt anyone could hear him very well as he spoke through the crowd's applause. The final peroration -- "We're Americans. We don't hide from history. We make history" -- was strong stuff.

It also noted McCain's struggle with the Teleprompter.

He's struggling, as he sometimes does -- misplacing the emphasis on words, sounding at times like he's reading the speech for the first time, losing energy during the sections on issues he's never been particularly passionate about, buring applause lines in a string of sentences. It's as if he can't bring himself to pretend he's not reading a teleprompter -- that the charade distracts and frustrates him.

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