First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Tuesday's opening night at the Democratic National Convention -- anchored by First Lady Michelle Obama's address -- set social media networks ablaze. But what did the pundits think?
As a general matter, her speech was a big hit: good enough that even Fox News was kind to her. But the specific stories -- about her father working through the pain of multiple sclerosis, about the debts she and her husband accumulated from college -- served a powerful campaign purpose. A speech that was thoroughly apolitical on the surface carried multiple political messages, linking a very traditional message about parenting with a call for social justice.
Even amid a "blazing lineup" of Chicago political stars making the case for their friend and former boss, the First Lady stole the show, report the Chicago Sun-Times' Dave McKinney and Natasha Korecki:
She ended her speech in a rousing crescendo, playing off the repeated question that at one point was trending on Twitter Tuesday: Were Americans better off than they were before her husband was elected?
Her answer, delivered emotionally and with a few tears: They will be once her husband is finished with it.
On CNN, Wolf Blitzer declared it a "grand slam" while Anderson Cooper's take on Twitter was popular enough to see more than 13,000 retweets:
I've never heard such a well delivered speech by a first lady ever— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) September 5, 2012
After her speech, Michelle Obama stopped by the social network herself, asking followers:
Just one question at the end of an amazing night--are you in? OFA.BO/w76s16 -mo— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 5, 2012
Keynote speaker and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro already had the crowd on its feet before the First Lady's address, reported NBC's Chuck Todd:
"Well its the passion that you see throughout the evening. The Republican National Convention, you only saw it in the last hour. It's almost as if they waited for the television cameras to come on. Here tonight it's been passion -- you hear the screams, you hear the yells and the passion here is for the president ... last week passion was against the president more so than passion for Romney."
Politico drew parallels between Castro's rousing address and President Barack Obama's own star-making turn at 2004's DNC, while the Houston Chronicle framed his remarks in context of a broader debate:
[Texas' Republican Senate nominee Ted] Cruz's speech last week [at the RNC] and Castro's address Tuesday night reflect the political battle being waged by both parties not only for the votes of Latinos -- the fastest-growing bloc of voters in the nation -- but for control of the political mystique engendered by the American Dream.
Perhaps the surprise star of the night was Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, slamming his predecessor Mitt Romney in a booming speech that challenged Democrats to "grow a backbone," and not allow Obama to be "bullied out of office."