The Note: Contact Sports

Did it all add up to something that matters? "Opening night began the job of filling out Obama's profile for skeptical voters, but what it lacked was any effort to frame for the electorate the choices in November or the case against the Republican candidate," Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post.

"Monday's opening events highlighted the degree to which Obama's advisers know they have work to do this week, from binding together a Democratic family still divided after a hard-fought nomination battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to providing reassurance that the man they will nominate shares the values of Middle America and has the toughness and judgment to lead the country," he continues.

Michelle was a hit: "Much of her 20-minute speech was simple and plain-spoken, delivered in a crisp tone," Mark Z. Barabak writes in the Los Angeles Times. "To those who would question her patriotism, as some have, Obama offered a long and passionate paean to America's possibility, ending with the affirmation: 'That is why I love this country.' "

"It was up to Michelle Obama to try to fend off criticism that her husband is elitist and out of touch," ABC's Jennifer Parker writes. "She touted her husband's values as a husband and father, and highlight her working class roots at a time when the campaign is seeking the support of blue collar voters that supported Clinton during the primaries."

"Last night's speech was, in part, an effort to counter those attacks -- and it succeeded brilliantly," Howard Wolfson writes at his Gotham Acme blog. "Michelle Obama successfully rooted herself as the daughter of a hard working middle class family. This will help reassure those blue collar holdouts that the Obamas understand their lives and struggles."

"The getting-to-know-you phase featured several branches of Obama's family tree on the podium, including his brother-in-law, his half sister and several longtime friends and associates from his adopted home state," the Chicago Tribune's Jim Tankersley writes. "But the advocate-in-chief was Michelle Obama, who reached for the transcendence of her husband's 2004 convention speech -- an address that galvanized Democrats and launched his national political career."

"Great speech. She nailed that point that she loves this country," Spike Lee tells the New York Daily News' Michael Saul. "I think that she's put that to rest tonight."

She hit this note just right, too: "Mrs. Obama also used her opening-night speech to try to begin a week of healing rifts in the Democratic Party," Jonathan Kaufman and Monica Langley write in The Wall Street Journal. "She inserted a tribute to Hillary Clinton, whom her husband defeated in a bitter primary fight. Mrs. Obama praised the vanquished candidate for having "put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters -- and sons -- can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher."

Obama's convention already has a moment for the ages: The tribute to Kennedy, D-Mass., was pitch-perfect, the right balance of emotional and motivational -- topped, of course, by the lion's own roar.

The words that will echo as long as Democratic conventions exist: "The dream lives on," Kennedy said.

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