09/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hillary's Adjectives

Tuesday night, we heard how great Hillary was, how much she's struggled for women, we heard how important health care is and how important breaking barriers is. But we didn't hear anything about what kind of person Barack Obama is and what kind of president (or Commander in Chief) he will be.

Instead, we heard Hillary say more positive things about McCain's character ("served our country with honor and courage") and Joe Biden ("a strong leader, a good man, pragmatic, tough, wise") than we did about Obama, who got no adjectives or character descriptions at all, just a litany of good policies he would implement.

We did hear some good Democratic boilerplate about how McCain won't give women equal work for equal pay and how he is out of touch with people feeling economic insecurity, but issues doesn't drive voters, character does.

But if you're going to talk issues, at least talk the ones that have the most potential. Unlike in Bill Clinton's 1992 convention speech, we also didn't hear an explicit reference to the one issue that's likely to make white Democratic women enthusiastic about Obama: the right to choose (though we did hear Hillary talk a lot about how she had done a lot for "women's rights").

Because of these gaps, we're not likely to see any big movement in the polls after the speech. It's now going to be up to Biden and Obama to tell McCain"s record of failure after failure after failure.

Hillary has shown the capacity to rally her base behind Obama. She did it June 7 when she endorsed him in stirring words about his character and his ability.

I have served in the Senate with him for four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I have had a front row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit.
In his own life, Barack Obama has lived the American Dream. As a community organizer, in the state senate, as a United States Senator - he has dedicated himself to ensuring the dream is realized. And in this campaign, he has inspired so many to become involved in the democratic process and invested in our common future.

And that's the kind of thing she's going to need to say on the campaign trail..over and over again, without equivocation, to really make sure she one day sees the health care and women's rights she's fought so hard for become law.