Last night, vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan and Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took the podium at the Republican National Convention.
Rice delivered an articulate and stirring speech. She exhibited the foreign policy knowledge that many believe Romney lack and spoke seriously and skillfully about the problems facing America. Unlike Ryan’s, her statements have garnered little criticism.
Last night marked the congressman from Wisconsin’s first foray into the campaign in front of millions of potential voters simultaneously. His genuine ambition and enthusiasm for what he does couldn’t help but shine through. He spoke about his budget plan and discussed at length Romney’s successes in business, Olympic planning and governorship. He also paid particular attention to his much discussed plan for Medicare. The speech was very well received by the audience at the convention. His personal story was interwoven with a strong critique against Obama that riled up the crowd and earned praise from Republicans at the convention and across the country. No one can deny his rhetorical skill and the effectiveness of the speech.
However, critics note a determined lack of accuracy and use of subtly twisted truths. Factually, they argue, the speech just didn’t cut it. Among their concerns is the blame he puts on Obama for closing a General Motors factory in his hometown in Wisconsin, when actually the plant was closed in June 2008 under the Bush administration. Obama did neglect to reopen the plant, but that distinction, among other factual inaccuracies, has upset many.
Have the inaccuracies irrevocably hurt the campaign? Did he successfully sell his ideas, or did he give you reason to pause? How well did this noted policy wonk do at reaching out and connecting on a personal level? Has your opinion of the man changed? What about his discussion of his budget proposal and Medicare? How will he stack up against “say it ain’t so” Joe Biden come debate season?
Lou Jacobson, Senior Writer for Politifact and the Tampa Bay Times
Mark Barabak, Political Correspondent, Los Angeles Times