From NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
Today we look at what we consider the decade's Top 10 political speeches. What are your thoughts? (By the way, it's worth noting that five of the speeches on this list -- and five of the top six -- called for unity or coming together in some way. Yet here we are at the end of the decade, and the rancor is worse than ever...)
1. Obama's race speech in Philly (2008): Barack Obama has delivered many notable speeches -- in fact, we could even run a Top 10 Obama speeches -- but this was his defining address, showing the ability to tackle a controversial topic and take it to another level. It took Jeremiah Wright head on, and it arguably saved his presidential campaign.
2. Bush after 9/11 (2001): Here's something that even George W. Bush's supporters and detractors can agree on: This speech was his finest hour.
3. Al Gore's concession (2000): It brought an end to the 2000 presidential election -- and called for unity and graciousness.
4. Obama's keynote at the 2004 Dem convention (2004): It was the first time that the nation met Barack Obama. It also was the time in our memory that the keynote speaker actually overshadowed the rest of a party's political convention. That is until No. 8 below...
5. Bush's "Mushroom Cloud" (2002)/State of the Union-"Axis of Evil" (2002)/Colin Powell on WMD to U.N. (2003) (tie): We put these three together because they encapsulate the Bush administration's selling of the Iraq war. Putting Colin Powell's reputation and credibility on the line to sell evidence for WMD is certainly a marker in history.
6. Palin's convention speech (2008): Who can forget the "Hockey Mom with Lipstick" who bulled her way onto the national scene at that Republican National Convention? And what a scene it was in Minnesota. That speech launched a political star and -- overnight -- put John McCain ahead in the polls. But that euphoria only lasted a few weeks.
7. Hillary Clinton's concession (2008): Democrats, your long primary nightmare was finally over after this speech. Indeed, Clinton's concession brought an end to the year-and-a-half knockdown, drag-out primary between Clinton and Barack Obama -- the likes of which we'll probably never see again.
8. Zell Miller's keynote (2004): My goodness, where do we begin? Here's what Miller, then a Democrat, said about John Kerry: "This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?" He also said: "Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending." But our favorite moment is what happened after the speech -- Zell challenging MSNBC's Chris Matthews to a duel. Really.
9. The Dean Scream speech: Without a doubt, it's our favorite political sound bite from the 2004 election. Question: Had it not dominated the airwaves after the Iowa caucuses, would Dean have gone on to win the New Hampshire primary? (By the way, one of us was in the Iowa ballroom that night, and no one there actually heard the scream because the ballroom was so loud. Only the microphone that drowned out the background noise picked it up.)
10. Hugo Chavez at U.N.; Khaddafi at U.N.; Ahmadinejad at U.N., then Columbia (tie): We learned in this decade that speeches by dictators at the U.N. (or in New York) never fail to entertain. Bush as the Devil, hour-long ramblings from scribbled notes in a pocket notebook and no gay people in Iran make these a dictator Top 10 special.
Honorable mentions (lots of Obama): Obama's inaugural, Obama's Cairo, Obama's Nobel speech, Obama's health-care address to Congress, Ted Kennedy's address at the 2008 Democratic convention.