US Elections 2016

Michelle, the belle of the party

Mrs Michelle Obama was the top searched speaker on Google on Monday, after her speech at the Democratic Party's national convention. And on Twitter, about 40 tweets mentioning the First Lady were posted every second, according to social media analyti
Mrs Michelle Obama was the top searched speaker on Google on Monday, after her speech at the Democratic Party's national convention. And on Twitter, about 40 tweets mentioning the First Lady were posted every second, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.PHOTO: REUTERS

PHILADELPHIA (Pennsylvania) • Democrats divided over the future of their party agreed on at least one thing as their national convention opened in Philadelphia: Mrs Michelle Obama was a star.

The First Lady gave a speech in support of a former first lady, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, and described America as "the greatest country on Earth", clashing with Republican Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan and bringing an arena crowd riven by a fierce fight for the nomination to its feet. Several Twitter users said the speech brought them to tears, while others marvelled at its positive tone in an election year marked by blunt exchanges.

"Mrs Obama deconstructed Trump's entire campaign without using a single pejorative word," Twitter user @weddady said in a post after the speech. "Mrs Obama's speech also disassembled Trump's entire narrative without ever mentioning his name."

THE NEW NORMAL

I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters - two beautiful, intelligent, black young women - playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.

US FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA

Mrs Obama was the night's top searched speaker on Google. On Twitter, about 40 tweets mentioning the First Lady were posted every second, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.

Her husband, President Barack Obama, may have drawn praise for his oratorical skills for years, but Monday night belonged to her.

"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters - two beautiful, intelligent, black young women - playing with their dogs on the White House lawn," Mrs Obama said. "And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.

"Don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again, because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.

"This election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton." She went on to outline the qualities of her husband's 2008 primary rival.

Mr Obama lauded her performance. "Incredible speech by an incredible woman. Couldn't be more proud & our country has been blessed to have her as FLOTUS. I love you, Michelle," he wrote in a Twitter post, using an acronym for First Lady of the United States.

His tweet became the most re-tweeted post of the night.

"One can completely understand why people plagiarise Michelle Obama," actress Mia Farrow said on Twitter.

Last week, during the Republican National Convention, Mr Trump's wife, Melania, delivered a speech that appeared to borrow phrases from Mrs Obama's convention speech in 2008, drawing accusations of plagiarism.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'Michelle, the belle of the party'. Print Edition | Subscribe