Tonight, Mitt Romney makes his first nationally televised prime time speech to accept the Republican presidential nomination.
It will be watched by millions (though not as many as normal thanks to some pre-season football games).
No matter the size of the audience, it will be Romney's formal audition for the role of President of the United States.
Here are a couple things to watch and listen for in tonight's speech:
1) How much will Mitt reveal about his personal life. His Mormon faith is central to his life and value system. He needs to talk about it forcefully as well as other elements of his core motivations.
2) Will there be any specific policies that totally reframe the 2012 political debate?
3) Can he pass the Commander-in-Chief test by demonstrating a firm grip on foreign policy? He needs to explain his view on the appropriate use and application of military force. Further, Romney will have to lay out some world-view so that we understand what he sees when looking at global issues.
4) How much time with Romney spend pounding Obama's record. If Paul Ryan's speech is any indicator, it will be more than half the speech.
5) Will Romney's economic and energy plan finally get a bumper sticker name? Will he elaborate on the specifics in those plans.
6) Will Romney address social issues and gun control?
7) How energized with the hall be? If Romney's speech is flat or he fails to raise his voice to the level of excitement that hall expects, it will come across very bad at home.
8) How will Romney define himself: As a businessman? A comeback artist? An economic expert? A man or faith and family?
9) Can Romney make a case to independent voters that his leadership style will be more effective than President Obama's?
10) Pay close attention to the last 5 minutes of this speech. These are often the critical moments that will either serve as a memorable call to action or a flat, poorly delivered punch line on a speech. The final moments of an acceptance speech usually rise above partisanship and draw out the emotion of the audience. Romney has struggled to do both recently and he needs the final moments of this speech to be the best he has ever delivered.
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