The buzz began earlier than most of the networks showed. I started to get sick of Chris Matthews talking over people as they spoke, so I started flipping to C-Span to watch the straight feed, then to CNN and, yes, Fox to see what they were showing. Only CNN caught the beginning of the craziness in the Pepsi Center tonight. At around 10:15, President Clinton walked into the hall and started to make his way to a seat in one of the luxury boxes, shaking hands and giving hugs. We saw Joe Biden for the first time as he sat next to Michelle Obama. And Brian Schweitzer, with his bolo tie, took the stage. I've heard a lot about Schweitzer -- everyone who knows anything about him seems to be madly in love with him -- and I think I kind of like him too now. He blew the doors off of the arena with a rousing attack on foreign oil dependency and used a fantastic ending to get the gathered on their feet, screaming and hollering. The perfect set-up going into the Hillary video, the very brief introduction, the introduction by Chelsea.
Then, Hillary Clinton, long-vilified by Obama supporters, her motivations questioned for the last two months, stepped up to the plate. And, frankly, George Mitchell might want to look into any dealings she might have had with Brian McNamee, because she knocked the sucker out of the park. At this point, I'm not even sure what my expectations were. In retrospect, it seems stupid to think she would have been anything but completely on board with the Obama campaign. It would have been bad for her, personally, and for the party over the long term. So, the tone was great, but maybe that comes as no real surprise. But what I didn't expect was the quality of her speech. Yeah, her concession speech was pretty good, but throughout the campaign she was up against Obama himself and that was obviously not much of a contest.
"No way, no how, no McCain!" Her line about the Twin Cities, which was so unexpected and great that I actually clapped from my couch. I always kind of laugh when I see Bill Clinton with his big goofy grin. He knows the cameras are going to be on him so he hams it up a little and I can't believe that smile is real. As Hillary got into the meat of the speech, I had that exact smile on my face. I could feel it, but it was involuntary. She was great tonight, there's not much more to say about it, except to talk about my moment of the night and to look ahead to tomorrow.
At one point, early (maybe at the beginning during the very long ovation?), the cameras showed a closeup of Bill and he mouthed, I have to think spontaneously, "I love you. I love you." I've made my feeling for the unscripted Obama family moment last night clear, but this one was almost as good. And, as I thought about this, an I had an epiphany about Bill's speech tomorrow night. With the good will and the excitement that Hillary created tonight, do you really think he's going to come out and give a half-hearted endorsement of Obama tomorrow? If anything, I say the Comeback Kid relishes the low expectations for his enthusiasm. I think he comes out tomorrow and wows us. He is, after all, a pretty good speaker. Which apparently makes two Clintons who have that talent.