Philadelphia's Wednesday night was all about taking down Donald Trump. Joe Biden delivered a sotto voce appeal to reason; Michael Bloomberg tried to show he was a better billionaire; Tim Kaine pulled out an impression that won't get him any SNL callbacks. And then there was the president, proving once again that giving The Big Speech is one of his supreme talents.
The contrast was not the traditional conservative-liberal one -- though the policy differences remain stark -- but one of temperament, of pessimism versus optimism, of "I alone" versus "Yes we can." The polls and the election will tell us how it played with an electorate worried about terrorism and economic uncertainty, but it set quite a rhetorical bar for Hillary Clinton's coronation tonight. Here's what you need to read to catch up.
Aaron Gould Sheinin and Tamar Hallerman deliver the lede-all:
PHILADELPHIA — Democratic Party stalwarts circled the wagons around Hillary Clinton on Wednesday during the third night of the Democratic National Convention, leaving no question that the full brass was united behind the presidential nominee even as die-hard supporters of Bernie Sanders continued to protest inside and outside the convention hall.
Two nights after his wife, Michelle, offered a forceful argument for Clinton, burying any remaining notes of discord that may have remained following the tense 2008 campaign, Barack Obama did the same for the woman who was once his secretary of state.
Obama, receiving a hero’ welcome when he took the stage shortly before 11 p.m., painted Clinton as a cool-headed leader who knows how to manage through a crisis.
“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” he said.
Jim Galloway: Hillary Clinton's historic moment tonight is more "gee whiz" than "wow."
Galloway: Tim Kaine warns of "one-man wrecking crew" Trump.
Dan Chapman: Joe Biden reprised the roles of Middle Class Joe, America First Joe and Obama Defender Joe to take down Trump.
Greg Bluestein: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed used his prime speaking slot to declare Democrats choose "diversity over division."
Sheinin: A succession of Democrats sought to hammer home Clinton's superiority on national security and hammered Trump for his ties to Russia.
Galloway reports on Bernie Sanders pushback at a Georgia Democrats' gathering.
Liberal columnist Jay Bookman goes down the rabbit hole with Donald Trump after his wild press conference.
Here's the full text of Obama's speech, which is likely to be remembered for a while.
Obama's argument: Trump isn't American enough to be president. (New York Magazine)
Ron Fournier writes in The Atlantic about how another political outsider New York billionaire made the case against Trump for independents.
Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times that Clinton has unexpectedly put on a better television show so far than the reality star --- but Trump's convention was well tailored for his new favorite medium, Twitter.
Because everyone loves a good listicle, Politico put together 21 of Wednesday's sickest Trump burns.
National Journal's Josh Kraushaar throws a little bit of cold water on the Democrats' lovefest, pointing out that the mood appears out of step with the electorate.
Don't forget about the GOP
How could we forget 'em on a day like Wednesday, when Trump said in a news conference that the Russians should hack Clinton's missing emails and release them the way they (apparently) hacked the DNC. Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post that the "chaos candidate" must always seek the spotlight when it's turned elsewhere, and the comments were "exponentially beyond even his standards for creating turmoil and controversy."
But this kind of stuff has only helped him in the past, so why not keep going back to the well?
For more on Trump and Russia, journalist Mikhail Zygar writes from Moscow in Politico Magazine about why the billionaire presents "the kind of relationship with a US president the Kremlin has dreamed about" -- and it's not about financial ties.
From a former Ronald Reagan speechwriter
Hillary Clinton closes the convention tonight, after an introduction from her daughter, Chelsea. Not known for soaring addresses, can she meet the moment?