From “The filter: How the media will measure Mitt Romney,” Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, Politico:
“He seemed like a comfortable and accessible figure, if hardly an electric one; there was nothing distant or exotic about his performance or personal presence. By the end, he even showed a little punch — he finished strong, even passionately, by his standards. On the other hand, his nods to the suffering of struggling workers, such as a reference to the person who lost a $22-an-hour job and instead takes two $9-an-hour jobs to make ends meet, rang a little hollow. The reality is that Romney regularly interacts with few such people, and is far removed from this part of the economy.
“He managed to indict Obama without coming off as mean. He then made his case crisply for markets versus government, the essence of his political philosophy.
“One senses that talking with Romney might be a little like chatting with the boss at the company picnic — perfectly pleasant but a bit forced. He cleared the bar on this category, but will still likely want Ryan to handle the likability account.
“His policy substance was as thin as tissue paper…. Romney didn’t even get to any policy until the end of the speech. And even then he just announced a series of aspirations…supported by almost no detail or explanation of how he would achieve these wondrous results. Very weak.
“There were no surprises in this speech, which itself is a bit of a surprise, and disappointment. How could Romney and his writers not have even one trick up the sleeve?
“This absence highlights what may be the biggest weakness of Romney’s speech. He is behind in this race. It is Romney, not Obama, who needs to somehow change the dynamic in some major way, and it is hard to see how Thursday’s speech did this.
“His performance was fine, or even pretty darn good by Romney standards. That is probably not good enough in his circumstances.” Emphasis added.