Byron York –
CHARLOTTE — Pundits across the political spectrum have praised First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention for its smooth mix of personal revelations with a defense of her husband’s presidency. Before Mrs. Obama’s appearances, press reports suggested she would refrain from any attacks on Mitt Romney and Republicans. But as it turned out, that wasn’t the case: the First Lady was on the offensive for much of the speech, delivering a series of jabs — without ever mentioning Romney — to suggest that her husband’s Republican rival is the wrong man for the presidency.
Start with the way Romney would approach the job. “I’ve seen how the issues that come across a president’s desk are always the hard ones,” Mrs. Obama said, “the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer.” And who might the top “data guy” in the race be? That’s the way Romney describes himself, and, just for emphasis, it describes GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as well.
Prior to Mrs. Obama’s appearance, several speakers emphasized Romney’s wealth. Romney, who made his own fortune, was also the privileged son of American Motors CEO and Michigan Gov. George Romney. Barack Obama, the First Lady said, came from nothing. “He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was a half size too small,” Mrs. Obama said. To emphasize the contrast, she later added that “for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”