killed last night, in more than one respect.
Her speech was an effective re-introduction of President Barack Obama, outlining their courtships, his human qualities (the rusted-out car, "a man whose proudest possession was a coffee table he found in a dumpster") and the challenges he faced in saving the American economy from the brink. The crowd laughed, cried, stood on its feet and chanted "Four more years!"
But the speech was a devastating velvet-cloaked takedown of what one Twitter wit called "the Republican clown show" that was on bilious display in Tampa last week. FLOTUS gently sliced GOP nominee and alleged human Mitt Romney to ribbons seizing on all his character flaws -- both real and percieved -- without even mentioning him by name.
Even the marriage of Michelle and Barack, arguably the most powerful couple on the planet, had a dual purpose. FLOTUS skillfully invited listeners to compare their story - the biracial son of a single mom reared in Kansas who once had to resort to accepting food stamps meets the Southside Chicago daughter of a man who had a song on his lips each day he put on his coveralls to go work at the city water plant -- with the white-bread courtship of Mitt and Ann, a private-school trust-fund kid and his upper-middle-class girlfriend, kids of privilege whose salad days as a couple included a trust fund to fall back on if times ever got too hard.
FLOTUS' skill with the rhetorical knife was on full display with lines like, "[being president] "doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are," and "when it comes time to make [tough] decisions, as president all you have to guide you are your values and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are."
Translation: what do you REALLY know about Mitt Romney? Character DOES matter: can you trust a guy who's so malleable? Also, bullying.
The frame that the Obama campaign set during the summer, about Romney being an out-of-touch white guy, is now firmly in place, set in concrete by the first lady. Hard to imagine how Romney and company will wriggle out of this one, especially since Mrs. Obama did it with seeming ease, and more than a little restraint, if reports are to be believed.
In the Times the other day, there was an article about how President Obama is a dude who plays to win in every area of his life, from card games to politics. Last night, looking poised, polished and relaxed, with those famous guns on display, Michelle showed she plays for keeps, too.