The person Michelle Obama forgot to thank

David Silverman/Getty Images Michelle Obama got some of her biggest applause last night when she thanked “People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters and sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.” Against the backdrop of a press- and chattering-class fueled ...

593005_080826_condi_rice5.jpg
593005_080826_condi_rice5.jpg

David Silverman/Getty Images

Michelle Obama got some of her biggest applause last night when she thanked "People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters and sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher." Against the backdrop of a press- and chattering-class fueled story about an enduring split between die-hard Hillary backers and Barack Obama, it was a deft political move.

Watching Michelle, I couldn't help but think that she might also have given a shout-out to Condoleezza Rice. Isn't it likely that Americans, accustomed to seeing an assertive African-American woman on TV every night for the past seven years, are more comfortable with Michelle Obama as a result? After Michelle's speech, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC were marveling at the fact that six years ago, it would have been hard to imagine an African-American family up on the stage as a possible first family. For that, the Obamas may have Rice to thank.

David Silverman/Getty Images

Michelle Obama got some of her biggest applause last night when she thanked “People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters and sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.” Against the backdrop of a press- and chattering-class fueled story about an enduring split between die-hard Hillary backers and Barack Obama, it was a deft political move.

Watching Michelle, I couldn’t help but think that she might also have given a shout-out to Condoleezza Rice. Isn’t it likely that Americans, accustomed to seeing an assertive African-American woman on TV every night for the past seven years, are more comfortable with Michelle Obama as a result? After Michelle’s speech, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC were marveling at the fact that six years ago, it would have been hard to imagine an African-American family up on the stage as a possible first family. For that, the Obamas may have Rice to thank.

As a side note, I noticed that, as of now, the Secretary isn’t speaking at the Republican National Convention, though she did in 2000. Given an opportunity on CNN in July to publicly endorse John McCain, she declined to do so even as her name was being batted around as a vice presidential pick. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said yesterday that Rice “has made clear who she intends to vote for and that would be Senator McCain,” but I’m not sure she has said so explicitly. She has said nice things about Obama, and this strikes me as less than a ringing endorsement of his rival:

Look, I’m a Republican, all right? Sen. McCain is a fine patriot, and … he would be a great president. But there’s something to be said for fresh blood. And I know that there are a lot of very good people who could be his vice president.”

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