RNC Dispatch: What We Learned From Mitt Romney's Acceptance Speech

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers his nomination acceptance speech.

Mitt Romney is coming for you, disappointed Obama voters. The Paul Ryan pick looks to have consolidated the base around the Romney ticket, and he’s ready to make a play for the persuadable middle. “Hope and change had a powerful appeal,” Romney said in his nominating speech. “You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him.       

At the same time, the Romney campaign is doubling down on the narrative of American decline under Obama. “To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right,” Romney said. “I am running for president to help create a better future.”

Romney’s saying the M-word now, but he’s still downplaying its difference. “We were Mormons,” he said bluntly in his speech, and explained that there weren’t many in the Michigan neighborhood where he grew up. But, he said, “my friends cared more about what sports team we followed than which church we went to.”

The Romney campaign knows where he’s weak. Before Romney’s speech, the campaign rolled out a powerful series of testimonials aimed at answering his vulnerabilities. A parade of business owners testified to the ways that Bain Capital and Romney had helped them. Romney’s lieutenant governor ticked off policy highlights from his tenure in the Massachusetts statehouse. And, most strikingly, after downplaying his religion through the campaign, fellow Mormons took the stage and offered moving accounts of Romney’s service and intimate counsel during times of trial.