Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Our take: As the climate of the presidential election is heating up and the candidates descend into name-calling and mudslinging, it is interesting to look back at the characteristics President Obama and Mitt Romney exhibited in their 2004 convention speeches. In this article, their speeches are examined to see if there was anything lasting said.

During Election 2004, Mitt Romney was a moderate Massachusetts Republican in his second year as governor. Barack Obama was an Illinois state legislator mounting what would be a successful bid for the U.S. Senate. They were relative unknowns on the national scene when asked by their respective political parties to give speeches at their national conventions. Romney's speech has been all but forgotten; Obama's keynote catapulted him to national attention.

The delivery of the Obama speech was superb. But all these years later, after hearing Obama's life story so many times, nothing about its substance seems particularly noteworthy.