Overall impression: There’s very little to object to in this speech; I thought the text was mostly vanilla and watching the delivery didn’t change my opinion much. Maybe this needed to be in front of Iowa voters as some recommended, or maybe even before a hostile crowd, creating a sense that Mitt was taking on anti-Mormon bigotry head-on. A sense of being “in the arena.” After the build-up of “The Speech” for three days, the actual delivery could have used a bit of drama.
I had said earlier that I was hoping for a bit of anger or indignation in this speech; the fact that he gets asked about his religion in just about every interview really does reflect an unfair and ugly obsession on the part of some. (I know it’s absolutely not his style, but if he said, “the next guy who asks me about my underwear will be invited to kiss what’s underneath” he’d get my vote immediately.)
Maybe it was the problem of watching online, but it didn’t seem like the strongest delivery I’ve seen from Romney. The speech was well-crafted for what it was – an effort to touch on his faith, without delving into details – but we’ll have to see if it was enough to settle the issue. I’m skeptical, but I’ve been wrong before.
Other reactions seem brighter than mine: Ramesh thinks Romney forgot a point, Kate gives it a rave review, Bill Bennett seems underwhelmed, and Mona Charen calls it “perhaps the best political speech of the year.”
I think my three-inch by three-inch web window didn’t translate the emotion very well.