Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during the third session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 29, 2012. (ERIC THAYER/REUTERS)

As convention speeches go, Paul Ryan’s remarks Wednesday night are likely to get high marks for their effectiveness, even if the address took too many liberties with the facts. He did what he was expected to do: He offered plenty of red meat, played attack dog for the campaign and delivered a few zingers that will keep everyone talking at the after parties. (One of his most memorable lines: “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.” Ouch.)

But it was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s speech that was by far the most presidential. Statesmanlike, stirring and secure (she spoke from notes and reportedly didn’t use the teleprompters), Rice delivered a “serious speech about big things — better than red meat,” as former Reagan speechwriter David Gergen tweeted.

Amid one of the ugliest campaigns in memory, during a convention filled with speakers bashing the president and Democrats, Rice managed to (mostly) float above the fray. Whatever you may think of the Bush administration, or the role Rice played in its foreign policy, most would have to agree we could use more speeches like this one from our leaders. Below, we mark up Condi’s speech, looking for what made it stand out.

(Scroll through the full text of her speech, and click on the yellow highlighting to read my notes.)

What did you think of Condi’s speech? Leave a comment and share your take on how she did.

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