MSNBC’s journalists will never forget their first love. On Wednesday, Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, and Nicolle Wallace reminisced over getting teary-eyed about the “brilliant” Barack Obama, hailing the Democrat as “the one.” After playing video of then-state Senator Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Maddow almost got emotional, remembering that the next day on her radio show, “We couldn’t play any of it.” She blubbered, “We're all softies. None of us could play a couple lines without saying, ‘Yeah, man.’... It slayed you.”
Wallace went so far as to suggest Obama should just give that same 2004 speech again: “Look at how it endured. He could re-rack that speech and give it tonight.” She marveled, “I think the brilliance of him as a speech writer sometimes gets eclipsed.”
Reid hailed, "Do you remember what Oprah said about that? He's the one. Poor John Kerry. He was like, 'I'm the one.'”
MSNBC has a history of being wowed by Obama speeches. In 2004, Chris Matthews cheered, “I have to tell ya a little chill in my, in my legs now. That is an amazing moment in history right there. It is really an amazing moment. A keynoter like I've never heard.” In 2008, he famously lost control, gushing:
I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.
A partial transcript is below:
MSNBC Democratic National Convention coverage
8:33 PM ET
RACHEL MADDOW: I want to play a little bit of sound just as a reminder about president Obama at Democratic National Conventions. The first time —
NICOLLE WALLACE: Sort of his thing.
MADDOW: The first time the great majority of Americans ever had an inkling of his existence is what he did to basically end the Democratic National Convention in 2004, much to the detriment of everybody who thought they were the big deal at that convention. No, it was this guy.
JOY REID: Do you remember what Oprah said about that? He's the one. Poor John Kerry. He was like, “I'm the one.”
MADDOW: “Wait, wait, wait.” Barack Obama was a state senator running for the United States Senate in 2004 when he gave that keynote. He was a state senator. I remember I was at the time hosting a talk radio show on air America with Chuck — and Liz Winstead of The Daily Show and we all came in the next day and were like, “I can’t — we can't play any of it” because like none of us — we're all softies. None of us could play a couple lines without saying, “Yeah, man. Who is this guy again?” It slayed you.
WALLACE: Look at how it endured. He could rerack that speech and give it tonight.
REID: And just play that.
WALLACE: I think the brilliance of him as a speech writer sometimes gets eclipsed. But if you look at — and just in the excerpts from what she's going to say tonight, with Obama it is always the architecture of the actual speech, the delivery, as you said, the venue. This is just layer upon layer of message designed to, I think, set her up for success because I think he's invested in Senator Harris' success as well. But I think this is a fight for his legacy. I think he sees a re-election of Donald Trump the same way most people in national security see it. We could maybe eke by one term of Trump. But at the end of the second term, we won't be the country we think we are. You’ll pass the point of no return. There is something even more desperate, even more personal, I think, that we can expect to hear from Obama tonight.