Sunday 11 December 2016

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Obama hands an early gift to Republicans

President's toe-curling speech is a weapon for Romney -- but only if he knows how to use it, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 22/07/2012 | 05:00

Do you remember the excitement of the 2008 American presidential election? All those nail-biting months as one of the most famous women in the world, Hillary Clinton, fought and ultimately lost in the primaries to the hitherto unknown Barack Obama?

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The moment when the phenomenon (whatever you think of her) that was Sarah Palin was revealed to a surprised world? The way 'Yes we can' caught the world's imagination? And the ease with which the Young Pretender, an academic with little political and no executive experience, trounced the war hero and admired veteran senator John McCain?

Being generally in favour of using your head when it comes to voting, I thought it foolish of the US electorate to put someone untried into the most important job in the world. But my feelings when Obama won were mixed. In 1979 my heart made me vote Liberal, because I couldn't stomach my Conservative candidate's enthusiasm for capital punishment, but when I saw Margaret Thatcher standing outside Number 10 Downing Street, I felt joyful that against all the odds a woman was prime minister. I felt a similar burst of euphoria when Obama's victory was announced, and later, when I saw this mixed-race man and his black wife take possession of the White House.

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