Immediately following the speech last night, the three major networks offered words of praise for the Democratic nominee. Peter Jennings commented on ABC, "John Kerry, they say is a good finisher. This has to qualify as a good finish to this convention week. All the talk of whether or not he would deliver a good speech, he delivered a good speech. It was a tough speech." Bob Schieffer gushed on CBS, "This is the best speech I have ever heard John Kerry make." CBS' John Roberts added that Kerry "obviously showed strength, he obviously showed confidence." On NBC, Tom Brokaw said Kerry "fulfilled his duty, delivering a strong speech, touching on all the themes important to the Democratic Party, and reaching beyond the party as well, with his references to what he would do as commander in chief. And making a direct appeal to President Bush, that in this campaign they both move to a higher ground. John Kerry, demonstrating what has been known about him in his political career, that he gets stronger as the campaign goes on."
A Sampling Of Editorials.
Major paper editorials, overall, were not as kind to Kerry as the networks. Under the headline "Missed Opportunity," the Washington Post editorializes this morning that "though Mr. Kerry spoke confidently and eloquently, his speech was a disappointment." Kerry "last night eluded the charged question of whether, as president, he would have gone to war in Iraq." He "will be judged in part on how he chose to present himself last night, and on that score, while he may have been politically effective, he missed an opportunity to demonstrate the kind of leadership the nation needs."
The New York Times editorializes against Kerry's failure to "provide a clear vision on Iraq," claiming voters needed to hear that his support of President George Bush's decision to go to war "was a mistake."
In its editorial this morning, the Los Angeles Times praises much of Kerry's speech, but adds that "by putting Iraq near the top of the speech, before jobs and the economy and healthcare, Kerry made it official that he is going to make opposition to the war his big issue. . . . Kerry voted for the war. Is he now prepared to say he was misled? If Iraq is going to be Topic A, he will need a smarter strategy of evasion, or more brutal frankness, than he has managed so far."
Local TV Coverage.
Kerry's acceptance speech received widespread coverage on local TV last night, the main source of political information for most voters. A survey of dozens of reports from across the country shows that many noted the Kerry camp hoped the speech would answer the concerns of voters who say they do not know enough about Kerry. Many used the clip of Kerry saying, "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty," and noted his promise to make America "stronger at home and respected in the world." Several also noted that Kerry's speech was aimed more at undecided voters watching from home than the delegates in the convention hall.