Bill Clinton’s Speech At Democratic National Convention Loses To NFL Opener In Ratings

Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was a rousing endorsement of Pres. Obama that some are already crediting with sealing him the election, but it wasn’t enough to beat out the NFL season opener.

As Reuters reported, Clinton’s speech generated 22,000 tweets per minute, but lost out to football by a margin of more than 10 million viewers.

The NFL season opener that saw the Dallas Cowboys knock off the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants drew 21 million viewers while Bill Clinton’s DNC speech, which was broadcast on ABC, CBS, and an number of other networks, attracted 7.5 million viewers.

NFL viewers almost had a chance to add to that total. NBC cut into the Democratic convention at halftime of the NFL season opener, but by that point Bill Clinton’s speech had ended and viewers instead saw Brian Williams’ interview with Clinton.

Football fans missed quite a speech, political analysts have said. CNN political analyst David Gergen called Clinton “the best political orator in the country” for the past 20 years. He called Wednesday’s DNC speech “the best and most influential he has given since leaving the White House a dozen years ago.”

What makes Bill Clinton’s DNC speech even more remarkable is that it appears he ad-libbed large portions of it. His former speechwriter David Kusnet wrote on that after reviewing Clinton’s written remarks, it is clear that he made much of it up on the spot.

Kusnet wrote:

In his speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, Clinton still did just fine, just as he’s done in so many speeches where he’s treated his prepared text the way jazz greats soar from the sheet music.

By one account, the former president spoke for 48 minutes and 5,895 words, while his prepared text, which had been distributed beforehand to the media, was only 3,136 words. No wonder, when asked about her husband’s speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was looking forward to comparing the “as prepared” and “as delivered” texts.

Reviewing each version, it’s clear that the same person wrote both — the same president who improvised 20% of his first State of the Union address and explained his health-care plan from memory to a joint session of Congress after the teleprompter displayed the text of an earlier speech.

Bill Clinton’s speech was pretty amazing, Kusnet wrote. It’s too bad NFL fans will never know.

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