Mitt Romney's convention acceptance speech called 'humanizing,' 'solid,' 'generic'
Pundits and commentators called Mitt Romney's speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention "well-delivered" and "steady," saying he did what he needed to do as he accepted the GOP's presidential nomination.
"The thing about Romney: He does deliver," BuzzFeed's Ben Smith tweeted. "This is the speech he needed to give. Doesn't blow it away, but does what he needs to do."
CNN's Candy Crowley said the speech was "solid and businesslike," while Fox News' Brit Hume called it "a solid speech" but "not a great speech," and The Daily Beast said it was a strong, solid, well-delivered and well-received speech while being safe and unadventurous.
"There's an old saying that you campaign in poetry, you govern in prose," Chris Wallace said. "I'm not sure it ever soared into poetry . . . but it was a workmanlike job, and it certainly got the job done."
During MSNBC's coverage of the speech, Lawrence O'Donnell said it was a very effective presentation and probably the best speech that Mitt Romney had ever given. Chris Matthews said Romney's tribute to his mother was "wonderful," his tribute to stay-at-home women was "wonderful" and "very compelling politically" and his tribute to American free enterprise was "positive and wonderful."
In his speech, Romney needled President Barack Obama for a 2008 victory speech where he said, "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet," Romney said. "My promise is to help you and your family."
Matthews called the riff "anti-science" and "really know-nothing," while The New York Times' Nick Kristof tweeted that the speech "esp troubled me by mocking rising seas/climate change. The dismissiveness was appalling."
At Breitbart, Ben Shapiro called the same line a "rhetorical nuclear bomb on Obama's failed hope-and-change aspirations."
One of the main goals of the convention, Romney aides said beforehand, was to humanize the candidate and introduce him to voters. Testimonials from members of Romney's congregation when he served as an LDS bishop, along with videos of his family, speeches by family members and stories of his mother and father helped to push that goal forward.
During his speech, Romney himself grew a little teary when telling how his father would put a rose on his mother's bedside table each day.
"That is how she found that the day my father died. She went looking for him because, that morning, there was no rose," Romney said. "My mom and dad were two partners — a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example."
"Romney doesn't like talking about his personal life and family. But it works," Ari Shapiro of NPR tweeted. "Example: That story about his father and the rose. Powerful."
Romney's speech showed that he can rise to an occasion, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post wrote, and it also allowed voters to see a side of him that was "compelling and heartbreaking."
The stories of an elderly couple, the Oparowskis, who told of Rommey's visits with their dying son, and Pam Finlyason, who told of Romney coming to offer comfort for her premature daughter, "did more than anything we've seen (or are likely to see) in revealing the true Romney," Rubin said.
"The testimonials and personal stories, coupled with (a) terrific bio video, helped introduce Romney — humanize him, really — in a way that a speech by a polished politician could not," Matt Lewis wrote at The Daily Caller. "We already know Romney is competent, but this emotional connection was the missing ingredient lacking in his quest for the presidency. My guess is Thursday night went a long way toward completing the mission."
"Democrats will underestimate the impact of this speech on America's heartland at their peril," CNN's Piers Morgan tweeted. "It's hitting a lot of the right buttons."
David Gergen of CNN tweeted that it was a "surprisingly quiet speech," "humanizing," and a speech that allowed Romney's decency to come through. The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo tweeted that Romney was "killing it," while Charles Krauthammer said it showed a deeply personal side of himself while also being intensely nationalist.
Not everyone was impressed with the speech, however. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow said it was "slashing and negative" when Romney criticized Obama, while Matthews called it a Cold War speech meant to rabble rouse and saber rattle and O'Donnell said Romney's statements on Iran would be hard for swing voters to support.
"I think that speech was . . . fine," The Washington Post's Ezra Klein tweeted. "It's hard for me to imagine the voter whose mind it changed."
"Romney speech subtext: I'm Generic Republican," Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog tweeted.
Despite the criticisms and muted praise thus far, Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post called the speech a winner, saying "It was a speech that checked the boxes Romney needed to check."
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