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How Effective Was the Conclusion of McCain’s Speech?

While I was moved, but not wowed by John McCain’s Acceptance Speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, I wondered why he spoke over the roaring crowd as he concluded his speech.  Way up in the rafters, I could see (and feel) the energy of the crowd, but I couldn’t hear the candidate’s words.  I had to look up to the television monitors to read the close-captioning.

I had thought that stirring rhetoric got lost in the enthusiastic applause and emotional acclaim.

Other who saw it disagreed.  On the plane, I talked with a Spanish national who works for an American media company and leans left politically.  He thought it was a rousing conclusion.*  As did a radio journalist I spoke with at the baggage claim in LA.

Listening again” to the speech, Commentary‘s Jennifer Rubin found it had “a Churchillian quality.”  She linked the last minute or so.  It came across well on Youtube and possibly even better on TV.

*He also thought the GOP Convention was more effective than its Democratic counterpart.



  1. stand up!!! but try to do it on cue.

    Comment by michael — September 6, 2008 @ 8:23 pm - September 6, 2008

  2. I missed the end of the speech, but caught it later that night in rerun. It was amazing, and kind of surreal, with McCain giving a “fight, fight, fight” kind of chant to a background of crowd cheering that steadily rose into this crescendo that was unlike anything I had heard previously in either convention.

    It gave me chills, and when I saw it again the next day I got all teary, and that never happens. Something did happen, and while it may have not been apparent in the bleachers, it sure was to the 38 million viewers…

    Comment by Bud Chisam — September 6, 2008 @ 8:52 pm - September 6, 2008

  3. The end was extremely stirring, better than anything Barry had at his Greek temple. I look for the McCain camp to run ads with that conclusion. When I heard that Palin and McCain’s speeches were so well viewed as well…McCains viewed by more than any acceptance speech in history….the leftists have a problem. Once again, Obama can’t close the deal. He now is imploring the women of his party to go out and beat back the tidlewave called SARAH. Keep repeating, there is only one man in this race who has fought for America. And it ain’t the community organizer.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 6, 2008 @ 10:24 pm - September 6, 2008

  4. And the money is pouring in to Republican coffers. Sen McCain received one large check $85 million from the federal election commission. Remember BHO went back on his word, he lied when he said he would take public funding. Thinking his hollywood supporters would continue to fill his treasury. Lots of people I know who had no intention of sending money to McCain have sent checks the past week. My sister was in tears during Sarahs speech. My neices were hopping up and down. How this race has changed. The best example of how much, is how befuddled the media is right now. What a great sight.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 6, 2008 @ 10:30 pm - September 6, 2008

  5. I agree, I was moved by the end of the speech and was surprised that it did. He reached out TO ME (at least I felt he was) … He was real, sincere, and wants to leave this world a better place than he left it, that inspires me… it was nothing flashy–but it was effective.

    Government to stand by me, not get in my way.

    Comment by Colocelt — September 6, 2008 @ 10:54 pm - September 6, 2008

  6. I haven’t watched it yet. My cable service has free On Demand programs which includes a politics channel for the election. I guess since it’s C-Span’s video, they have to wait like 3 days before it’s available. Going to check and see if it’s on now.

    I did catch it after the balloon drop. The shots of the cameraman literally up to his neck in balloons was hysterical.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 6, 2008 @ 11:53 pm - September 6, 2008

  7. “Stirring rhetoric.” “Moved by McCain’s speech.” “Chuchillian quality.”

    Try “Obama-esque quality.” I don’t want a celebrity who just trots out and hypnotizes everyone with a speech to be the next president.

    Comment by Mitchell Blatt — September 7, 2008 @ 12:13 am - September 7, 2008

  8. John McCain’s first ad, Man in the Arena seemed to have the same exact call to action’

    I thought it was a great way to end his speech.

    The ad is very moving.

    Comment by Vince P — September 7, 2008 @ 12:57 am - September 7, 2008

  9. 6: Was that the video of Andrea Mitchel and the balloons just smothering her?

    Comment by Vince P — September 7, 2008 @ 1:07 am - September 7, 2008

  10. I heard on Fox (Beltway Boys?? maybe) that someone on McCain’s staff indicated for him to continue and talk over the crowd rather then wait for the crowd to calm.

    It looked effective on TV.

    Comment by LifeTrek — September 7, 2008 @ 4:31 am - September 7, 2008

  11. i was catching up on my talk radio ,, and i was surprised by how many callers were saying they were in tears from it. both men and women

    Comment by Vince P — September 7, 2008 @ 5:04 am - September 7, 2008

  12. It was John McCain — unscripted, un-telepromter-ed. In a word: genuine.

    Comment by Julie the Jarhead — September 7, 2008 @ 8:20 am - September 7, 2008

  13. You asked: “I wondered why he spoke over the roaring crowd as he concluded his speech.”

    I’m sure that it was planed and meant to be that way. I thought that it was a very stirring and inspiring, and way to end. It kind of added excitement to the speech.

    Comment by DD2 — September 7, 2008 @ 9:22 am - September 7, 2008

  14. I loved Palin’s speech — really loved it. I thought McCain’s speech was mixed; the first half slow, the second half really good. Then the next day, I realized something.

    I didn’t remember any of Palin’s lines, but McCain had several I will probably never forget.

    So I watched them again. And here’s an operatic analogy.

    Palin’s speech was like Moses und Aron. Musically sophisticated, and overall, a great opera. McCain’s was like Madama Butterfly or La Boheme. Not terribly sohpisticated, but you leave with beautiful tunes running through your head. Palin’s was no doubt more historically important, and it certainly did have a tremendous effect, but McCain, while not overly eloquent, was heartfelt and said things we’ll never forget.

    Comment by rightwingprof — September 7, 2008 @ 11:50 am - September 7, 2008

  15. I was really impressed by Cindy McCain. I knew nothing about her… .wow.. she’s awesome

    Comment by Vince P — September 7, 2008 @ 12:30 pm - September 7, 2008

  16. #9 – I think it was; Newsbusters has a great YouTube version of Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington (aka Mrs. Alan Greenspan) getting smothered by balloons. The talking heads at PMSNBC got into their conspiracy mode and noted that it seemed the balloons were designed to “attack” her.


    1. The balloons didn’t attack Andrea Mitchell – she was just too stupid to move out of the way on the convention floor.
    2. If we really wanted to attack Andrea Mitchell, the balloons would have been full of rocks.
    3. The MSM is in full panic mode now.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 7, 2008 @ 1:47 pm - September 7, 2008

  17. The end of McCain’s speech worked extremely well on TV. You could hear every word. The cheering just pumped energy into both the speech and McCain himself. I thought it was one of the best ends to a speech I have ever seen.

    It probably didn’t play as well in person, because you couldn’t hear as well, but he wasn’t trying to speak to the hall at that point.

    Comment by RHarrison — September 8, 2008 @ 8:42 am - September 8, 2008

  18. As a student of History, McCain’s impromptu closing reminded me of the closing of Douglas MacArthur’s broadcast the the Phillipine people just before the beginning of the liberation of the Phillipine’s at Leyte.

    ” ….Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of
    Bataan and Corregidor lead on.
    As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the
    zone of operations, rise and strike.
    Strike at every favorable opportunity.
    For your homes and hearths, strike!
    For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike!
    In the name of your sacred dead, strike!
    Let no heart be faint.
    Let every arm be steeled.
    The guidance of divine God points the way.
    Follow in His Name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!”

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — September 8, 2008 @ 10:40 am - September 8, 2008

  19. This is the ad McCain started his campaign with

    It’s a pretty good ad.. it has the same langauge he closed his acceptance speech with

    I thought it was pretty cool

    Comment by Vince P — September 8, 2008 @ 12:07 pm - September 8, 2008

  20. Yes, it was a rousing conclusion. The even-handedness, even flatness, for which some criticized McCain (e.g., Peggy Noonan) seemed to me – as one who this year will be a first-time GOP-for-prez voter – entirely appropriate.

    There was almost a paternal wisdom and gentleness in his delivery, certainly a humility, and certainly not the “swagger” which W bragged about in his ’04 speech for which he was vilified (esp. by liberal feminists like Susan Faludi). McCain’s speech was anti-Rovian in that was non-ideological. It was the change I’ve been waiting for.

    Comment by Jeremayakovka — September 9, 2008 @ 11:07 pm - September 9, 2008

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