Thursday, August 30, 2012

Liveblogging Romney

Mitt Headroom

7:38 p.m. PT: Got to love the playlist gags, though I'm surprised Ryan mentioned '70s artists AC-DC and Led Zeppelin instead of Gen. X artists.

7:40: The day's immigration theme continues. Will this and Rubio's speech help the GOP get right with Hispanics?

7:43: Feeling the middle class's pain: "You took two jobs at nine bucks an hour." Gas bill hitting $50 (but what exactly are you going to do about that, Mitt?). Good line: "I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed." Take that, Rush.

"I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer." John F. Kennedy is first presidential reference, as usual in acceptance speeches regardless of party. Hey, I remember that night in July 1969: Neil Armstrong's "soles on our soul." A great way to work him into the speech.

7:46: George Romney's working class background. "My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we attended." A natural, easy delivery, verging on the mawkish; but that's okay. "Every day my dad gave my mom a rose," until the day he died, when there was no rose. Killer story. His voice is cracking -- as he segues quickly into a play for gender equality as he goes transparently to work on the gender gap.

7:50: Life wasn't easy as a trust fund scion. It's important to connect and personalize. His tribute to Ann is touching. But what are you going to do?

7:52: Republicans know that Obama can't tap into his faith story this way.

7:53: "If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now, when he's President Obama?" This is Karl Rove's playbook: Treat Obama with respect; more in sorrow than in anger; acknowledging the excitement of his election. He's right about Obama's inexperience, though not that Obama really thinks that jobs come from government.

7:55: Oh, those hardscrabble Bain days! And then there was the $25 million IRA. Weird reference to not investing LDS money and risking hell. OMG: The Episcopalians' Church Pension Fund invested with Bain Capital, resulting in a lot of "happy retired priests," almost none of whom, Romney no doubt realizes, will vote for him. He's showing a certain puckishness.

8:00: "Except Jimmy Carter, and except this president": He's had his mind on 1980 for a long time.

8:02: "These [suffering Americans] aren't strangers. These are our brothers and sisters." Indeed. So if you're elected, we'll be watching the safety net shredding in the first Romney-Ryan budget.

8:04: Twelve million new jobs. Great! I'm listening. Energy independence by 2020? I've heard heard that before, beginning with Nixon. Skills training? Great -- but you segued immediately to school choice, which has nothing to do with retraining workers, which will cost money. Will Ryan spare any? Free trade? Okay, but then more jobs lost to cheap-labor countries. Investments disappearing? That's not currently a risk in a low-inflation environment; and the stock market has roared back under Obama. Reducing taxes and streamlining regulations. Replacing Obamacare to fuel economic growth? Disconnect. Why didn't you repeal Romneycare in Massachusetts to encourage job growth?

8:07: "Life," marriage, freedom of religion. Social issues get a 30-second sentence.

8:08: Ridiculing Obama's concern about climate change and global acceptance. "My promise is to help you and your family." I'll say this: He's got impeccable timing. He's smooth and confident, and his speech is perfectly modulated to address his problems (women and Hispanics) and exploit his advantages (poor economy).

8:10: Nixon wouldn't like two minutes on foreign policy. Grudging credit to Obama for killing bin Laden. Brief reference to an old enemy, Iran, and Romney's new enemy, our friendly rival Russia. Ritualistic Cuba-bashing to help in Florida; I was unaware that Obama had gone soft on the Castros. He's wrong that Obama threw Israel under the bus and wrong to continue to ignore the Palestinians.

8:12: Good peroration on "that united America, so strong that no nation would dare to test it." But "the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator?" No: We were endowed by our Creator with the rights. You don't endow rights.

8:14: Good, effective speech; probably the best he could have done.

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