Mitt Romney spoke in Ohio for a third of the time the president took. It was a livelier and more focused message than President Obama’s rambling address, as this clip shows
Certainly, Romney has an easier argument to make: The economy is till lousy; Obama borrowed and spent a ton of money; and let’s try a less government-focused approach.
But there are also a couple of advantages which Romney has. For one, the speech, like many of his, doesn’t have a written text — and you can tell. He comes across as more conversational. Second, Romney has a theme. As he said today, “We can either continue on the path to become more and more like Europe, bigger and bigger government or we can once again have a nation that leads the world.”
While the president is on constant defense — honest, I don’t think government can do everything — and is at pains to describe his accomplishments and the specifics of a second term, Romney can develop a linear argument. His speeches therefore follow a sort of road map: 1) yes, Obama inherited a mess; 2) but his policies are dragging us down by excessive reliance on government borrowing and spending; 3) so, let’s try something else, namely adopting policies that restrain government and give fuel to the private sector. Sometimes Romney mentions a few specifics, while at other times he aims higher with a thematic approach. It’s workmanlike and avoids self-indulgence (e.g. playing professor, talking too long). In that sense his medium — shorter, livelier, forceful — is the message: Take the CEO or the pontificator.
The reaction of the press corps to Obama was chilly. (“All of these points have already been featured in the president’s other recent speeches. Between the pre-speech hype from the campaign, the lack of new material and the overall length of the speech, reporters were clearly dissatisfied with [the] end result.”) Maybe if Obama took some tips from Romney, namely speak less, get a theme, and restrain his ego, he’d get better reviews.