Discuss as:

Obama's speech: The reviews

Here's a round up of editorials and local feedback from around the country. As expected, it is hard to find a negative editorial about Obama's speech. The New York Times' editorial: "We can't know how effective Mr. Obama's words will be with those who will not draw the distinctions between faith and politics that he drew, or who will reject his frank talk about race. What is evident, though, is that he not only cleared the air over a particular controversy — he raised the discussion to a higher plane."

The Washington Post: "We don't agree with the way Mr. Obama described some of those problems yesterday or with some of his solutions for them. But he was right to condemn the Rev. Wright's words, was eloquent in describing the persistent challenge of race and racism in American society -- and was right in proposing that this year's campaign rise above 'a politics that breeds division and conflict and cynicism.'"

The Arizona Republic's editorial page: "This was the biggest speech of Obama's political life, the most majestic and sweeping any candidate has given thus far in the presidential campaign. It was also the riskiest, a gamble that Americans have the fortitude and willingness to face this searing issue."

The Baltimore Sun: "win or lose, Mr. Obama's thoughtful exposition of race in America was an important contribution to this presidential campaign."

The Boston Globe: "That's why, as Obama said, voters have to choose. They can focus on scandal and spectacle, on who said what outrageous thing. They can focus on the racial dynamics of who votes for whom. But the truer course is to focus on building a better America, one with stronger schools, better health care, reliable voting machines, fairer taxes, strong roads and bridges, and a healthy economy. Voters have to choose, and in doing so they should seize this chance to forge their self-interests into a new, truly United States of America."

Dallas Morning News: "Has any major U.S. politician in modern times ever given a speech about race in America as unflinching, human and ultimately hopeful as the one Barack Obama delivered yesterday? Whether or not the speech satisfies critics of Mr. Obama's close relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, this remarkable address was one for the history books."

The Kansas City Star: "Obama challenged all Americans — black and white — to find a path toward better understanding. A bigger, necessary conversation is a challenge that the country should accept."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The campaign with the promise to transcend race, with the potential to help this country leap boldly into a post-racial future, found its voice in taking the talk beyond the whispering stage."

Newsday: "It was a speech Barack Obama had to give. There was no way a black man within striking distance of a major party nomination for president of the United States was going to get much closer to the nation's ultimate political prize without, at some point, talking frankly about race in America."

The Sacramento Bee: "On Tuesday in Philadelphia, Barack Obama delivered the most articulate and profound speech on race in America since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, 'I have a dream,' in 1963."

The San Jose Mercury News: "If Obama is, as we hope, the leader who can draw people across political divides to create real change and a renewed optimism in America, then confronting race head-on was inevitable. Perhaps Pastor Wright did us all a favor."

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson wasn't as impressed. "It was one of the finest political performances under pressure since John F. Kennedy at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960. It also fell short in significant ways… Obama's excellent and important speech on race in America did little to address his strange tolerance for the anti-Americanism of his spiritual mentor."

Maureen Dowd thinks Obama's speech -- and the Wright controversy that sparked it -- knocked Obama off his pedestal, which she thinks is a good thing. "He should be congratulated on the disappearance of the pedestal. Leaders don't need to be messiahs. Gray is a welcome relief from black and white."