O’Malley’s Convention Speech: Here’s How It Went

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When our governor addressed the Democratic National Convention last night, the first thing he said was, “Greetings from Maryland, home to the number-one public schools in America for four years in a row!” but by the time the station I was watching caught up with him, he had abruptly switched gears, saying dramatically, “It is August 27, 1776…”

He was splicing a little Maryland-centric Revolutionary War history onto the beginning of his speech. But he quickly offered a manhandled segue into the situation at hand (Maryland troops moved literally “forward;” Democratic governors are “leading their states forward;” Obama is “moving America forward”).

After the highfalutin poetry of his cringe-worthy 2004 convention speech, Martin O’Malley opted for some simplistic call and response this time around: he recites some supposed triumph of Barack Obama’s, and the crowd chimes in with, “Forward, not back!” It’s an easy way to get a little audience interaction, but it tends to make the speaker resemble an elementary school teacher. And with O’Malley’s excessive smileyness, he came off like a political version of the human from Blue’s Clues.

But outside of his tone, and the beginning, and the gravitas-killing call and response, O’Malley did a credible job pumping up the president. He even seamlessly incorporated some of his own biography without losing sight of the speech’s main thesis: Obama good, Romney bad. But I doubt it will have the anointing effect he might have hoped for.

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