Dems vs. GOP: Who won the convention war?

The Week's Editorial Staff
The Week

Going into the conventions, the goal for Obama and his GOP rival, Mitt Romney, was to generate momentum for the final stretch of the campaign. Were both events duds?

And... it's over. The Democrats have wrapped up their energetic three-day convention in Charlotte, N.C., making the case for their presidential ticket: Michelle Obama extolled her husband's character; Bill Clinton authoritatively defended Obama's record; and the president himself vowed to finish the job he started if given a second term. A week earlier, the Republicans had their shot, with Ann Romney working overtime to humanize Mitt, veep nominee Paul Ryan slamming Obama, and Romney promising to restore prosperity in ways the Democrats haven't. Political conventions are designed to juice campaigns as they enter the home stretch toward election day. Whose big event generated more momentum, Obama's or Romney's?

Team Obama trounced the GOP: Judging by the conventions, "you'd wonder why this election is even close," says Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post. Republicans were united against Obama, but mustered little enthusiasm for Romney. The Democrats made a compelling, spirited, and optimistic case for the need to re-elect Obama, with Clinton eviscerating every attack the GOP has fired at the president. These "three-day infomercials" don't turn elections, but Obama's unquestionably gave him an edge.
"The tale of two conventions favors Obama"

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Sorry, the GOP was the one with the winning message: It's baffling that the Democrats thought promising to stay on the same "ruinous course" was a good sales pitch, says Bob Webster at WEB Commentary. And if that wasn't enough to scare fence sitters to Romney's side, the "Party of Division" once again tried to smear Republicans as the enemies of "every minority in existence," except the rich. The GOP put on a "good-spirited" show promising to put American on the right track. For centrists, the choice is now clear.
"Reflections on the Democratic convention"

Call it a draw. They were both duds: Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton set up the president perfectly, says Molly Ball at The Atlantic. All he had to do was "articulate a forward-looking vision for the future," but he managed only to offer up thin gruel ("investing in education! renewable energy!") that killed the momentum. Meanwhile, the Republicans were "so laser-focused on getting people to like Mitt Romney" they forgot to say "what he would do and how it would work." All the pageantry merely "confirmed voters' worst suspicion: that neither candidate really knows how to get us out of the mess we're in."
"Convention wrap: Hopeless"

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Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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