Mayor Nutter, after being both bumped and allegedly promoted from last Wednesday’s Democratic National Convention speaker schedule to Thursday, gave a speech just before 7 p.m., which is almost prime time. Oddly, it ended just 4 minutes and 36 seconds later. Mostly about public education, Nutter’s speech was highly anticipated in the local and national media, but few mentioned his performance afterward. Here are three takeaways from the mayor’s speech to America.
1. He got off on the wrong foot.
The irony was biting as Nutter got on stage and spoke of public education— one of the many aspects he has hit Republican Mitt Romney on in the past, specifically when the mayor taunted the presidential contender during his visit to a school in West Philly. But look at our own school district’s recent track record. As it happens, we are losing public money, workers and schools to a system that’s been failing for decades at both the city and state levels. This is not necessarily the mayor’s fault. But he didn’t exactly play to his strengths when he started the speech with an education lesson.
2. Was this really a promotion?
When Twitter started blowing up with announcements of Nutter getting bumped, it looked huge. After all, he was now set to speak the same night as Obama. Nutter even called the change “way beyond anything that I could have imagined.” Then, the text of his speech showed up in my inbox, at 513 words. I figured, or at least hoped, it was just an excerpt. It wasn’t.
3. Someone had to have muzzled him.
If there’s one thing we can tell about Nutter, in his year-long journey carrying Obama’s water in Philadelphia, it’s that he has, well, feelings about Romney. And they are not good feelings. In previous appearances and press calls, Nutter has called Romney, “a joke”; said the Republican candidate has “never seen a Latino that he didn’t want to put out of the country”; and “wants to get rid of police officers, firefighters and teachers all across the United States of America.” He even said Romney “cries crocodile tears” when he gets attacked by Democrats. Nutter’s rhetoric on Thursday featured very little of that tenacity and even fewer Obama talking points he sticks to when on CNN and MSNBC. Instead, it was more a “we’re all in this together” talk—partly to show off his street cred (as he spoke of his family and his childhood in West Philly) and partly to separate the philosophies of the two major parties.