Last night was the moment Republicans had been fretting over since the end of the primary season. Mitt Romney delivered his case for the presidency not just to the GOP base, but also to the widest audience of potential voters yet. Well, how did he do?
The main criticisms of Mr. Romney are typically that he is stiff and awkward and light on details for his policy plans, and his speech seemed an attempted remedy to that. Romney teared up twice when discussing his parents and children, giving voters a rare glimpse at the more personal side of the candidate. He even mentioned Mormonism by name, when in the past his campaign has avoided discussing his religion. His critiques of President Obama came in the form of relieving the public of their duty to vote for him, and he didn’t really offer concrete examples of how he’d change policy. So was it enough?
The other notable speech came from Florida Senator Marco Rubio who talked about American Exceptionalism and the opportunities this country affords all who live here. To illustrate, he spoke of his parents, both immigrants from Cuba, and even quoted his dad in Spanish. Did his message make any inroads with Latino voters, a group the Republican party needs to win over? How did both speakers fare when it comes to accuracy in their statements? Did Romney’s speech contain rhetorical fireworks, or was it more of a dud?
And what about Clint Eastwood’s surprise appearance? Some thought his “empty chair” bit was clever; others found it baffling. Did his performance help or harm Romney?
David Mark, Editor-in-Chief for Politix.com and author of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning
Glenn Kessler, Washington Post reporter who writes “The Fact Checker.”
Lisa Mascaro, Washington reporter for the Los Angeles Times