Michelle Obama Makes Original, Powerful Speech to DNC

How do we know Michelle Obama and her speechwriter didn’t plagiarize her speech to the Democratic National Convention? Because the First Lady spoke last night of her own unique, historic, inspiring experience of the evolving greateness of America in a very personal way that no privileged white pretender ever could:

That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn [First Lady Michelle Obama, speech, Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, PA, 2016.07.25].

Michelle Obama did plagiarize Ted Cruz, at least tactically. She skewered Donald Trump without uttering the Republican nominee’s name:

Michelle didn’t have to mention Trump by name to hit him hard, noting how she and her husband have taken pains to tell their daughters “to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith” and to “insist that the hateful language they hear from others on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.” This is Michelle sticking a shiv in Donald Trump’s birtherism and his brutishness. But she managed to do it and stay true to the cheery theme of her convention, not the dystopian vibe of his convention, pointedly advising, “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, our motto is, ‘When they go low, we go high!’” [Rebecca Traister, “Michelle Obama Elegantly Eviscerated Donald Trump, Without Even Mentioning His Name,” New York Magazine, 2016.07.26]

Michelle Obama one-downed Ted Cruz—he uttered Trump’s name once in his convention speech. She also had the opposite effect, breaking the momentum of the Bernie boo-birds who distracted and disrespected most DNC speakers yesterday with their self-indulgent and counterproductive emotional exhibitionism (gee, that sounds familiar) and ending to a powerful ovation. Copy that, Ted.

Michelle Obama took on those boo-birds directly in the same way, not mentioning the name of the man in whose name they were supposedly protesting, but making the political lesson by citing the grown-up example of the woman this convention will nominate for President:

And when she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned.

Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.

So she proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe.

And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs. But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.

And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that’s what I want [Michelle Obama, 2016.07.25].

You want the party of family values, of optimism, of service, of belief in the greatness of America? You want the party of Michelle Obama. Accept no pale imitations.

Michelle Obama has set a fine example for her daughters and all of our children during her public life. She set another fine example as a parent and a speechmaker last night.


56 Responses to Michelle Obama Makes Original, Powerful Speech to DNC

  1. She absolutely crushed it tonight. When she began to talk about this historic nature of the Clinton candidacy, even the bros went quiet. Far and away the most powerful speaker of the evening.

  2. Darin Larson

    I could not agree more! The contrast of the class that she showed compared to the crass that Trump shows is palpable. She is cementing and reinforcing the historic nature of the nation’s first black president and drawing a connection to the nation’s first woman to be nominated for president by a major party. She made the case for Hillary better than anyone else could.

  3. Don Coyote

    “…. I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”

    I see Michelle repeats her prevarication of a slave built White House. The historical truth is that the White House was built almost entirely by Scottish masons and their apprentices, local tradesmen, local carpenters, immigrant Irish and Scottish laborers and free blacks. Slave labor was used primarily for rough cutting stone and timber. Scottish stone masons were even used in the quarries to train the slaves on how to quarry the stones. To claim that slaves built the White House one would also have to claim that wheat farmers bake wedding cakes and lumberjacks build houses.

  4. They were slave laborers also Don. I’m sure just being paid pennies.

  5. You seem like a decently bright guy, so I know you’re intentionally missing the point, Don. Some did participate in the labor, and yes, they were not the majority. Some were even paid. The point is, it’s a stark damn contrast that some blacks were enslaved when they assisted building the white house, and now a black family runs the most powerful nation on earth while residing there. I consider myself the #1 pedant, but you are pushing hard for the title here.

  6. mike from iowa

    To claim that slaves built the White House one would also have to claim that wheat farmers bake wedding cakes and lumberjacks build houses.

    Do you know for a fact wheat farmers don’t bake wedding cakes or lumberjacks don’t build houses?

  7. Keep trying Don – I realize you can’t allow an amazing speech to go unchallenged so by all means if that means grasping at straws then have at it.

    Meanwhile back in the real world anyone who has taken an 6th grade civics class probably already knows that slave labor was required to build the White House. That fact is not in dispute. It wasn’t just those in quarries either – there were slave laborers on site doing ground work, hauling materials and even acting as carpenters.

    Sorry Don, but Michelle Obama’s statement is 100% accurate. She did NOT say the White House was exclusively built by slaves, but built by slaves it very much was.

  8. Really Cory? I am really disappointed with you, although I am not surprised.

    “She skewered Donald Trump without uttering the Republican nominee’s name:”

    I know a school teacher from Madison moved to Spearfish to teach French, and landed in Aberdeen, who stepped out of his comfort zone to run for the State Senate. We agree on very little, and that is okay. I still have respect for him for recognizing a problem and stepping up to help fix it.

    We all know a Marine (no such thing as a former or ex-Marine) who spent over 20 years in service to our nation, then runs for office, and loses, so he runs again. He could have just retired to his little farm and raised sheep, instead he steps up to serve us once again.

    Then we come to a wealthy business man from New York who self-funds his primary race. He has stepped out of his comfort zone to run for the highest office in the land. His life is under a microscope. I doubt any of us would enjoy such scrutiny. Despite all the negative information presented, he still maintains the campaigns and is now the Republican Nominee.

    And now you applaud someone for skewering a candidate?

  9. Roger Cornelius

    Wow! What a night, absolutely Michelle was the shining light that helped unify the party and restore pride to the work we have to do.

    Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, and Corey Booker all made significant contributions in an attempt to unify Democrats.

    What we should not lose sight of is the criticism of Donald Trump, not in name calling, but in terms of his policies, or the policies he doesn’t have.

    There was more policy discussion on the stage of the DNC convention last night than there was in an entire week of the republican clown show last week.

    If Don wants to nitpick Michelle’s speech and the best he has to offer is slaves didn’t build the White House, let him have it. Just remember Michelle’s advice, “when they go low, we go high”.

  10. I’ll let others quarrel over how much slave labor was involved in constructing the White House. I’m impressed – again – by Cory’s deft use of prose in describing the events of the day. The “self-indulgent and counterproductive exhibitionism” of those disillusioned Sanders supporters nails it.
    People need to listen to Bernie himself. He’s calling on us to continue the political revolution he started – “Our Revolution”. I did not expect that pragmatism would turn out to be one of Bernie’s greatest virtues, but there it is. I’m with him … and albeit a bit reluctantly, also with her.

  11. Don, your attempt to denigrate the First Lady’s statement fails. She did not prevaricate. Her statement is truthful:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/fact-checking-lady-michelle-obamas-speech-white-house/story?id=40887848

  12. Conservatives have shown themselves to be nothing more than the Devil’s Advocate Party. Liberals brainstorm about ideas to move society forward, while conservatives try to flush out all the facts in order to scare voters away from progress. Too bad R stands for nothing but nebulous anti-liberalism at all costs. And to criticize the words of either Obamas – at any point in the last 7 years – is to be incapable of recognizing what a good orator says and sounds like. It’s par for the conserva-course.

    I don’t trust the judgement of the conserva-voter, nor the lame brains they have running for office. I hope they all get beers with W one day up there in Heaven, like they always wanted.

  13. “Conservatives have shown themselves to be nothing more than the Devil’s Advocate Party. Liberals brainstorm about ideas to move society forward, while conservatives try to flush out all the facts in order to scare voters away from progress. Too bad R stands for nothing but nebulous anti-liberalism at all costs. And to criticize the words of either Obamas – at any point in the last 7 years – is to be incapable of recognizing what a good orator says and sounds like. It’s par for the conserva-course.”

    Guys named Adam have shown themselves to be nothing more than hasty generalizers. Guys named dicta brainstorm about ideas to move society forward, while guys named Adam try to flush out all the facts in order to scare voters away from progress. Too bad A stands for nothing but nebulous anti-nuance at all costs. And to criticize the words of anyone I like – at any point in the last 7 years – is to be incapable of recognizing what a good orator says and sounds like. It’s par for the Adam-course.

  14. I know you are but what am I? I’m rubber your glue… LOL

  15. Just saying: hasty generalizations produce little of value. They offend people who may disagree with you and would be willing to discuss things reasonably if you’d give them a chance.

  16. Depends on your definition of the word ‘hasty.’ I think I’ve been carefully paying attention to politics for many years. I very much think I know what I am talking about, and I took good care to be extra clear in what I said.

    GOP is broken, and commandeered by a billionaire rogue because it is aimless and weak. They don’t even know what they stand for anymore, but they sure are passionate about obstructing anything a Democrat says or does. Heck with ’em.

  17. mike from iowa

    They offend people who may disagree with you and would be willing to discuss things reasonably if you’d give them a chance

    More likely they’d pull a gun and hose the room down and claim “stand your ground”

  18. MC, I highlight the device of not mentioning the name to draw an ironic parallel between Michelle Obama’s speech and Ted Cruz’s speech.

    And yes, I do applaud anyone who skewers Donald Trump. He has it coming. Donald Trump hasn’t stepped out of any comfort zone. He’s just looking for the next way to keep the cameras on him. I take umbrage at any likening of Donald Trump to a far more sincere public servant like Stace Nelson.

  19. Michelle Obama rocked the house. I don’t think that’s a hasty generalization. ;-)

  20. Did she dance? Are there you tubes of it?

  21. Donald Pay

    Slaves built the White House. It’s historical fact, but that won’t satisfy the racist right. Obama’s birth certificate didn’t stop the race baiting by the likes of white supremacist Trump. I assume Don Coyote got fed a line racist bunk from somewhere, and then repeat it. I don’t assume he just made up an obvious lie. It would be nice to know from where Don Coyote got his instant analysis. A few times I have gotten bad information and I admitted it.

  22. Don’t get me wrong here, Michelle delivered, and she nailed it perfectly.

    The part that really bothered me were how the press played it

  23. mike from iowa

    Rex HuppkeContact Reporter Chicago Tribune
    Three sentences.

    That’s all it took for first lady Michelle Obama to eviscerate the central theme of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

  24. Bill Clinton really hit a homer tonight too. I honestly can’t think of a more effective potential spouse of a President than what he will soon be. Hillary was ahead of her time, Laura Bush was totally average, Michelle Obama was awesome, and Bill will outshine them all with his widespread philanthropy all over the world.

  25. Roger Cornelius

    Adam,
    Fortunately Democrats have an abundance of eloquent speakers, it is difficult for me to say that one of them is better than the other. Each of them take the stage with a plan to strengthen and unite or party.
    Bill did what he does best, he is a masterful story teller that knows how to connect with his audience. He did what he had to do in humanizing Hillary by describing their personal and public relationship.

  26. Roger, I think America has been spoiled by Barack Obama eloquence – only because his words are pretty gosh darn bullet proof. You can question his actions, but it’s really… really hard to question his words.

    Bill tactfully bolstered Hillary’s honesty and trustworthiness – as public polling demanded. It was the only goal of his speech, and he accomplished that goal entirely. I do not miss the days of 4th grader english nor thoughts in the White House.

    Dems or Bust!

  27. “They don’t even know what they stand for anymore, but they sure are passionate about obstructing anything a Democrat says or does.”

    It’s almost as if the GOP isn’t a monolithic hive mind and there are real differences of opinions within the party. Better to treat them like the Borg, though. Makes for better blog comments.

  28. Adam, as First Hubby, Bill brings the added advantage of being able to talk about the policies he worked on himself as President as well as with his advisor/wife.

    MC, what’s to blame in the press’s coverage of Michelle Obama’s speech. The speech was good, as you said, and the press said so. You can’t blame the press for reporting the facts.

  29. Dicta: “It’s almost as if the GOP isn’t a monolithic hive mind and there are real differences of opinions within the party.”

    There are a lot of differences and there are many well-respected Republicans who haven’t supported Donald Trump (including former Presidents and former Presidential Candidates), but when it comes to obstructing Democrats the party is essentially undivided. Whether it be the hundreds of votes to repeal Obamacare, the refusal to acknowledge an unprecedented record of monthly job growth, the refusal to even consider a Supreme Court nominee – well clearly the party is united in their desire to prevent the Democrats from experiencing a “win”.

    You had the leader of the House proudly proclaim their number one priority was to ensure Obama was a one-term President… and his caucus supported those words 100%. There could be outliers when it comes to individual issues, but on the whole Republicans have ensured their priority isn’t the economy, terrorism, or education, but instead their priority is simply to obstruct anything and everything proposed by a Democrat or the Democratic party.

  30. You win on the House. The loons have ruled the roost there for a bit, and it’s disappointing.

  31. mike from iowa

    Actually, Craig, that was Sinate Majority Loser Mitch MccTurtle made that claim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-A09a_gHJc

    I don’t recall any congressweasel making that claim- I could be wrong.

  32. You’re right Mike – I swapped him with former Speaker Boehner in my mind for some reason, but yes it was very much Mitch McConnell who uttered those words. Sadly – it seems all members of Congress were in full support of the idea regardless of which house they were part of.

  33. mike from iowa

    Don’t matter, they are interchangeable pus pockets.

  34. I’d love to see someone try to explain a couple differences between Kristi Noem and John Thune outside of their gender.

    They’re just run of the mill anti-liberal clones. They have no real identity outside of that, and no differences of opinion.

    Gotta love the cheap generic stuff of the world. It’s almost like Thune and Noem were made in a China.

  35. Interchangeable – indeed

  36. Roger Cornelius

    Returning to issue of slaves built the White House for a moment, Bill O’Reilly the FOX “News” whore claimed today that at least the slaves were “well housed” and “well fed”.
    O’Reilly probably can’t comprehend how filthy and patronizing that comment is.

  37. Don Coyote

    @cah: “Don, your attempt to denigrate the First Lady’s statement fails. She did not prevaricate. Her statement is truthful:”

    Ahh, but she did. Call it a half-truth, stretching the truth or lying by omission if that betters suits your view, it’s all the same. Michelle Obama’s implication is clear; the White House was built by slaves because it better fits the arc of her speech than if they had only assisted. But in doing so she falsifies the history of our Nation. It’s ironic that you are piqued by Melanie Trump’s “plagiarism” in her speech but ignore Michelle’s tortured historicity of our country.

  38. David Newquist

    https://www.whitehousehistory.org/questions/did-slaves-build-the-white-house

    “The D.C. commissioners, charged by Congress with building the new city under the direction of the president, initially planned to import workers from Europe to meet their labor needs. However, response to recruitment was dismal and soon they turned to African American—enslaved and free—to provide the bulk of labor that built the White House, the United States Capitol, and other early government buildings.

    “Stonemason Collen Williamson trained enslaved people on the spot at the government’s quarry at Aquia, Virginia. Enslaved people quarried and cut the rough stone that was later dressed and laid by Scottish masons to erect the walls of the President’s House.”

  39. I’m convinced Don is nothing but a troll. Everyone knows slaves did in fact participate in the building of the White House. Yes they cut block, yes they dug for the foundations, yes they hauled materials, yes some were carpenters.

    They were slaves. They built the White House. Thus Michelle Obama’s statement that she wakes up “in a house that was built by slaves” is 100% factual. Not half-true – just true.

    Taken further, slaves helped build more than just one building. Slaves grew crops, slaves built infrastructure, slaves cooked meals, raised children, did housework, all types of manual labor, and in some cases even acted as mistresses for their owners. Thus slaves not only built the White House, but they also built America.

    If someone is too afraid to acknowledge our history, then perhaps they need to ask themselves why.

  40. Roger Cornelius

    “Well fed”, you bet slaves were well fed, the slaves masters in Africa and America knew they had to feed the slaves well to keep them healthy for the hard labor the masters required of them. The slave masters weren’t being generous, they were being greedy
    Craig makes some excellent points as does Dr. Newquist, so many of this nation was built on the backs of slave labor.
    Don Coyote seems to live in a world of denial and chooses to parse or take words out of context to justify that denial of what this country did to slaves.
    Michelle was right, slaves did build the White House.

  41. coyote is still pissy w/ cory’s trump take down of the doofous speech she read from a teleprompter-“here. go up there and read this” her loving husband/billionaire/tax dodger/bankruptcy business planner trump, jr. (is it? “here son, here’s a million $$ to get started.” “Gee dad, thanks, I think i’ll run for GOP’s president some day”… another jr.) said without having reviewed it knowledgably nor her having the faintest clue what she was saying. these people want to run the country for GOP. WHERE ELSE DOES COYOTE GET TO USE HIS NEW BIG WORD. historicity-jfc

    o’reily is prolly coyotes role model.

    I am fairly certain Boehner said it too. the obstructionism being GOP’s raison d etre. pigs

  42. dicta-“GOP isn’t a monolithic hive mind and there are real differences of opinions within the party” is a nice excuse for the last two terms of a bush/cheney followed by Boehner/McConnell who completely obstructed every thing good congress could have achieved, and did their best (not nearly enough) to bring Obama down. every one of you republicans who elected these unpatriotic “patriots” is responsible for taking down this country and the world for the sake of the 1%. pretty seamy. “they all do it” is also always your excuse for bad political behavior, trying to drag democratic values thru your own dirt. we dems are NOTHING like you valueless republicans. go count your money.

  43. grudz-michelle’s speech is all over youtube. report back after you watch it. give it your best! thx for your interest. are you capable of voting non-republican?

  44. Darin Larson

    Coyote, much like Wile E. Coyote you have gone off the cliff on this subject and found no support underneath your arguments. But by all means, flap your arms furiously as you fall into the canyon beneath you. It is fun to watch.

  45. “we dems are NOTHING like you valueless republicans. go count your money.”

    So much energy expended on saying precisely nothing.

  46. Dicta, I’m pretty sure Leslie said more than your tiny copy paste sample. I’m also pretty sure there was substance in there too.

  47. The Obama family is a class act! Every single one of them. Our country will miss them!

  48. O’Reily idiocy: On Killing Lincoln, “writer bill oreily” says conspirator Mary Surratt. O’Reilly though ” she wasn’t on trial, she had to wear a padded hood that disfigured her and made her claustrophobic; that she was “sick and trapped” in a cell that was “barely hospitable” aboard the monitor Montauk; and that she had “a haunted, bloated appearance” because of the experience.”

    O’reily likes to make the federal “bloated” government look bad at every turn, thus republicans must be right wanting limited government, right? To which expert Steers replies: “None of this is true. Mary Surratt was never shackled or hooded at any time. She was never imprisoned aboard the Montauk. . . . This mischaracterization of Mary Surratt is unfortunate, and helps to perpetuate the myth of her innocence and her brutal treatment at the hands of the Federal government.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/bill-oreillys-lincoln-book-banned-from-fords….2011/11/11/

    republicans…??? trying to rewrite history trying to own Lincoln. you know “the GOP, the party of Lincoln” (C) GOP 01.09.2009

  49. sorry to the likes of eagle-eyed dicta and coyote, this correction:

    On Killing Lincoln, “writer” bill oreily says “conspirator Mary Surratt”, though “she wasn’t on trial,….”

    misspellings however may be intentional

  50. can you imagine what kristie could do with such a mentor as Nancy Pelosi?? instead our SD GOP coterie of her two senators and the house seat are influenced by mitch McConnell and Donald trump. daugaard likes Trump’s choice for VP too. SD republicans “should be ashamed.” (C) John Thune campaign against Tom Daschle

  51. No equivalency, Don. Michelle Obama delivered a powerful and honest speech. She committed no error that would cause her to get a zero for her speech the way Melania Trump did last week.

    The Republicans’ only hope is to lure lazy thinkers into thinking that all sins are equal, that Hillary Clinton is as bad as Donald Trump, so it’s o.k. to just vote for your gut or the party label. These numerous, desperate false equivalencies will crumble under scrutiny like what commenters here have presented with their links.

    But we know millions will still excusify their way to vote for Trumpism. The necessary response is for millions more of us to vote Dem.

    As President Obama said tonight, “Don’t boo; vote.”

  52. “Dicta, I’m pretty sure Leslie said more than your tiny copy paste sample. I’m also pretty sure there was substance in there too.”

    No, it was pretty much all platitudes. There was no actual criticism of policy, just vague hand wringing about Bush and congressional obstructionism. And to be fair, some were straight up attempting to block no matter what. But it gets a little tiresome to hear people declare that apparently the entire GOP was only interested in blocking stuff, not that there could be actual disagreements about the policies in question.

    The part about counting my money was really lulzy, and much of it is spent on student loans. But you know me, must be a fat cat or bible thumper or redneck or whatever other derpy stereotype Leslie fever dreams about people she disagrees with.

  53. mike from iowa

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/bill-oreilly-and-the-long-tradition-of-slavery-apology/493223/?utm_source=atlfb

    Abigail Adams had some interesting insights to the condition of slaves working on the White House. She wrote about it in her diary.