By Mary Kate Cary |
Mitt Romney had one critical challenge going into the convention in Tampa: appeal to the nation's undecided voter. Many would argue that it was essential that he play to the party faithful and energize the base but the fact is, this is a base that would walk 10 miles through a driving snowstorm to vote against Barack Obama; the faithful hardly need any more motivation. Yet, in almost every speech over three days, the speakers seemed to speak to the audience in the hall (composed of the most loyal party faithful) and ignore the more important television audience, that audience composed of those still wanting to be inspired and shown a vision for a better tomorrow.
Polls have consistently shown that the American people trust Romney to handle the economy and the deficit better than the president. And, on script, he played to his business biography by highlighting his years at Bain Capital, the Salt Lake Olympic Games, and as governor of Massachusetts, but, surprisingly, offered few specifics beyond his standard stump speech. The "jobs" challenge is structural in nature and will require multiple strategies to turn around. Mitt Romney missed a critical opportunity to offer specifics and left many wondering, "Where's the beef"?
Currently, polls show his biggest vulnerabilities are personality and depth of character: The American people find him less likable and don't believe he understands the cares of everyday Americans. In his speech and in the other speeches throughout the convention, consistent attempts were made to humanize him, but in the end, there was still a lack of warmth. There too was a lack of genuineness to capture the votes of those independents sitting at home wanting to see if this is the leader they want to have a beer with for the next four years.
Romney gave a solid performance, but on a morning where more people will be gathering around the water cooler and talking more about Clint Eastwood's speech than the nominee's, I'm not sure "solid" was good enough.
The opinions presented here are those of the author and do not represent those of Venn Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan firm.
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