The Ticket

Michelle Obama’s speech wows critics and lights up Twitter

Eric Pfeiffer
The Ticket

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Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention (ABC News)

Michelle Obama already had high expectations going into her Tuesday night address at the Democratic National Convention. But the first lady exceeded even those, wowing viewers and eclipsing the entire social media traffic generated by the Republican National Convention in a single speech.

Twitter's official blog noted that Michelle Obama's speech generated 28,003 tweets per minute, nearly double those created during Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the RNC last Thursday. At the time, Romney's speech was the most tweeted news event of 2012.

In fact, just one line from Obama's address, "We've got so much more to do," was on its own the catalyst for 22,004 tweets per minute. Overall, the DNC's Twitter traffic is set to far outpace that of their Republican counterparts. The first night of the DNC had already generated three million tweets as of Tuesday night, not too far behind the four million tweets produced throughout the entire week of the RNC.

"Michelle Obama owned this convention in a way that no speaker owned the convention in Tampa," said NBC's Political Director Chuck Todd, in his review of the speech.

The overwhelmingly positive response for Obama's speech is the culmination of a public relations turnaround for the first lady that began long ago; at times back in 2008, she was viewed as a polarizing political figure in some circles. As the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz noted in his recap of the speech:

"The first lady's task was far different than in 2008, when she was still struggling to dispel the image of a resentful black woman who hadn't been proud of her country. …This time around, Michelle Obama is the most popular woman in the country, a fashion icon and nutrition enthusiast who draws no harsher criticism than that she sometimes seems like a national nanny."

Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Jay Bookman wrote that even those who disagree with the political points in Michelle Obama's speech must agree that, "Obama and his wife are quintessentially, honestly American."

Even most critics of the speech found Obama's delivery to be exceptional. Analyzing the speech on the Fox News Channel, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called it "brilliantly delivered" while declaring, "I thought it's a great speech, but I don't buy a line of it."

A May 30 Gallup poll showed that Michelle Obama's popularity has climbed to 66 percent, up 23 points from January 2008, when only 43 percent of the country viewed her favorably. And her disapproval numbers have dipped slightly as well, with 27 percent disapproving of her performance, compared with 30 percent in January 2008.

Even still, some political realities are tough to escape: For all of the acclaim given to the substance of Obama's speech, a number of the top tweets discussing her address focused on her fashion choices.

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