President Obama's acceptance speech last night wasn't a complete dud, but it wasn't the finest speech of his career—or of the Democratic National Convention, or even of yesterday, say pundits. At 38 minutes, it was the shortest acceptance speech from an incumbent since Gerald Ford in 1976, Politico notes.
- The Democrats were having a great convention until the president delivered a "warmed-over rehash of his stump speech" with a "laundry list of familiar proposals," writes Molly Ball at the Atlantic. His speech—which "seemed engineered as a series of defensive moves"—was "so befuddlingly flat as to make you wonder whether its lameness was intentional," she writes.
- The speech wasn't make-or-break for Obama, but he could surely have done better than the "fourth best speech of the Democratic convention" after Bill Clinton's, Michelle's, and Joe Biden's, writes Yuval Levin at the National Review. Obama "laid out no discernible second-term agenda of his own," and his attack on Romney's "supposed plans to eradicate all of government while giving tax cuts to the wealthy" was the speech's "sole coherent message," he writes.
- Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post names his winners and losers of the convention, and puts Obama between the two categories. "At times, it felt more like a State of the Union address than a convention acceptance speech. It was workmanlike more than inspirational," he writes. The speech wasn't in the same league as Bill Clinton's, "but neither will it be remembered as a colossal flop."
- The speech was "forceful, animated, and error-free—but not among his most lustrous rhetorical moments," write Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes at the Hill. The speech "highlighted Obama’s accomplishments, drew broad outlines of what a second White House term would bring, and was jam-packed with stark, sometimes mocking, contrasts between his policies and those" of Mitt Romney, but there wasn't a glimpse of the "more elevated oratory that powered his historic journey to the Oval Office in 2008" until the final minutes.