The highlights of the first night of DNC speakers were Lily Ledbetter, Kal Penn, Deval Patrick, and the HILARIOUSLY ALL CAPS-y Ted Strickland.

But the breakout star was San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, whose biographical speech marked him as a Texas Democrat to watch. He struck a highly moderate tone—you kind of have to, if you're a Texas Democrat—but he also made the case for a social safety net, and he got one of the night's biggest dings on Mitt Romney, with his sarcastic dismissal of Mitt Romney's suggestion that students borrow money from their parents to start their own businesses:

But nobody could top Michelle Obama, whose speech started off a little generic but quickly transformed into the kind of speech that sets the tone for the days to come. Without mentioning the Romneys, Obama trashed them as out-of-touch, and she framed herself and President Obama as struggling middle class Americans. It was a speech that managed to relentlessly attack the Republicans without using a negative word. It was the best speech we've heard so far out of both conventions, and it left just about everybody stunned:

And after the jump, you can find the biggest non-Obama surprise of the night: A loving tribute to Ted Kennedy that transforms into a lively lambasting of Mitt Romney using debate footage of a Kennedy/Romney matchup. Republicans tried to pretend on Twitter that this video was disrespectful of Kennedy's memory—as though Republicans suddenly care about being respectful to a Kennedy—but the truth is that Teddy would've loved the video. It was just the kind of sly politicking that he lived for.