Could Mitt Romney have done any better today? No, its that simple. The only criticism of the speech I could make was that the microphone did not allow the words to resonate and echo within the room – a small touch that might have made the message connect with the viewer even more. Other than that, it was perfect. Romney did everything he needed to do. He made it clear that his religion is not a political issue in his view, he stressed the importance of faith in America, and he highlighted the links between faith at the birth of our nation, and faith today. Listening to the reaction on C-SPAN, it was overwealmingly positive, crossing lines of religion, political beliefs, and gender. The only people who did seem to have a problem were those who seemed to have a problem with faith in general – and most of that group came off as complete loons (C-SPAN abruptly ended a call from a man trying to tell people that Mormons were on a mission to take over the country). Time will tell whether or not this helps Romney in those critical first states of Iowa and South Carolina, or even nationally, but if the early reaction is any clue, it will:
Fmr. GOP Presidential Candidate Pat Buchanan:
“This was a tour de force, and it was delivered before perhaps the largest audience Romney will have for any speech before the January caucuses and primaries. It will be the subject of editorials and columns in coming weeks. And it is hard to see how Romney does not benefit hugely from what was a quintessentially “American” address.
With this speech, Romney has thrown on the defensive his main rival in Iowa, Mike Huckabee, the Christians’ candidate who, when asked if Mormonism is a cult, left the impression it might well be. “
Dr. James Dobson:
“Gov. Romney’s speech was a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy. His delivery was passionate and his message was inspirational. Whether it will answer all the questions and concerns of Evangelical Christian voters is yet to be determined, but the governor is to be commended for articulating the importance of our religious heritage as it relates to today.”
Conservative Radio Host Rush Limbaugh:
“Frankly, I thought what we saw today, folks, was a Republican candidate for president giving an inspiring speech. It was an inspiring speech about American values, including religion. Mitt Romney did this because he has been relentlessly attacked as something less than a true American. I watched this. I had seen some excerpts from the speech published before he made it. I thought he was inspiring, folks. I think he set exactly the right tone and I am stunned by some of the criticism I am seeing of this speech, particularly on some conservative websites. “He didn’t include atheists; he didn’t include agnostics; he didn’t say and reach out to Hindus.” I don’t understand it. Of all things to take from this speech that Romney gave today, that he didn’t reach out to atheists and didn’t reach out to agnostics, is beyond me. I thought he showed today his ability to confront, to articulate, to persuade, and to lead.”
Political Analyst Fred Barnes:
“But there should be no mistake about this: He made the most of the opportunity the speech gave him. It was a very impressive speech.
One reason is Romney addressed his faith more directly than either he or his aides had suggested he would. They indicated he’d give a high-toned address on the role of religious faith in America and the obligation for tolerance of all faiths. He did more than that.”
Radio Host Kevin McCullough:
“In this zinger – he sums up all he needed to say. It’s the basic jist of “you have nothing to worry about” but with some meat on the bones of it. By far the strongest, most direct, simple to understand note of unification he could pronounce in the speech!”
“Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst. On every level it was a masterpiece. The staging and Romney’s delivery, the eclipse of all other candidates it caused, the domination of the news cycle just prior to the start of absentee voting in New Hampshire on Monday –for all these reasons and more it will be long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver.”
“For the first time in this campaign, it’s long already, I heard greatness this morning.”