Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech was effective and good enough to get voters to give him a closer look; but, it was far from great.
Critical lines sure to stick with voters include:
"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something."
"But tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him."
"But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office. America has been patient. Americans have supported this president in good faith. But today, the time has come to turn the page. Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us. To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations. To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be."
Perhaps the most pointed moment was when Romeny joked: “President Obama has promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet." He then looked directly into the camera and offered a stark contrast in a single breathe saying "my promise is to help you and your family.”
I had posted 10 things to look for in the speech and here is how Romney handled each:
1) Romney went into some detail about his personal life. Much of the final day of the convention was dedicated to telling the stories of his charitable and selfless acts of kindness outside public life. The candidate himself, spent only small moments in the speech talking about his family; but, when he did, he came across warmer than he has in previous public speeches.
2) There were virtually no specific policies that will help frame the 2012 political debate. Convention speeches from challengers rarely go into much detail, but Romney's was virtually empty of any. He laid out his 5 point plan for job growth, but only Mitt Romney could take a five point plan and make it into a drawn out explanation.
3) I don't think he passed the Commander-in-Chief test, tonight. There is still plenty of time for that; but, the speech didn't that allow Romney to demonstrate his grasp of foreign policy. Romney made no mention of American active duty military personnel in Afghanistan nor did he give any serious policy views on anything. He even skipped a guaranteed applause line for veterans now home from war. While the omission is not a serious blunder, Romney missed an opportunity.
4) Romney devoted a huge portion of his speech to pounding President Obama's record. Romney's tone was civil in this regard, more so than most in his party. Romney's point-by-point indictment of the President's first term was perhaps the most effective part of his speech. It laid an intellectual framework for independent voters who chose Obama in '08 to switch their vote.
5) Romney laid out his bumper sticker 5 point plan, but it is too long and complicated for a campaign. He needs to tighten it up.
6) The speech was mostly silent on social issues. No surprise here. Team Romney is hunting for independents and renegade Democratic voters and nothing scares them away faster than extra lines about controversial social issues.
7) The energy and stagecraft of Romney's entrance and speech were good, not great. The speech was fairly somber and did not leave room for as many applause lines as usual.
8) Romney largely defined himself as a family man and a businessman who is running for President to restore leadership where he believes it is lacking. He did not talk about his record as Massachusetts governor at all. He is betting that his Bain record on job creation will end up being a big positive even as it has been a drag on him so far.
9) As with many convention speeches, there was not a lot for independents to get excited about. If you were undecided going into tonight, this speech probably did little to sway you. It was far more effective among established Republicans. The big benefit to the speech is that independent voters learned a lot more about the candidate than they previously knew. He needs to turn around his image and this convention went a long way in doing that.
10) The final segment of this speech was a let down. He got the crowd cheering for his final lines, even though none of them were very emotional or electrifying. With a speech that ran until nearly 11:30 Eastern Time, there were probably more people watching the final 15 minutes than who watched the first half. Those final lines had a big audience and I don't think there was anything special in them.
Overall, I grade this speech a B. It was good enough to reintroduce the candidate to the country and fire up the partisan crowd while avoiding any major mistakes. That is good enough for a campaign this close in late August.
Filed under: National Goverment