So the Republicans and the Democrats have held their pre-election "Conventions" in Tampa and Charlotte respectively (and the choice of venues was no accident either). The four-day info-mercials were received by almost complete rapture by Fox News in the case of the Republicans and almost raucous derision when it came to te Democrats.
We can safely ignore the so-called "fair and balanced" Fox News whose allegiance is painfully obvious after about ten seconds of watching their vacuous drivel.
The Republicans did ok though neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan are charismatic characters. That's not to say the Republicans don't have talent in their ranks and there was a sense many were biding their time until 2016 - men like Governor Chris Christie and Senator Marco Rubio promise to make the 2016 Republican primary elections hugely interesting.
The Democrats don't seem to have that strenght in depth apart from the Los Angeles Mayor Castro, who could have a real chance of being the country's first Hispanic President. Obama' speech was worthy if dull but the show-stopper was former President Bill Clinton. In a brilliant 45-minute speech, he demolished the Republicans with a deadly combination of humour and facts.
Clinton is arguably one of the great political orators of our time. I saw him deliver a speech at the Labour Party Conference and he was brilliant and though his health scares have clearly weakened him physically, his performance at Charlotte was out of the top drawer. No one in British politics gets anywhere near him as an orator and his rhetoric was smart, clever and aimed at thesmall group of independently-minded voters who will decide the election.
Indeed, the first polls since the Conventions have shown a clear strengthening of Obama's already formidable position. The race isn't over though by any stretch and the Presidential debates beginning October 6th will be critical. though I suspect the Vice-Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will be more exciting.
At the moment, Obama is in pole position though the Republicans have wads of money to throw at the election - yet, no amount of money will compare to the value of one speech by one ex-President.