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Romney at the Bat

1:15 AM, Aug 30, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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The supporting cast did its job. Ann Romney and Chris Christie on Tuesday, and Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez, and Paul Ryan on Wednesday, all came through with efforts that ranged from good to excellent. They've loaded the bases. Now it's Mitt Romney at the bat. 

Mitt Romney

Ryan's bravura speech Wednesday night shows that good things happen when you have a candidate who knows what he thinks and can explain his thoughts cogently; speechwriters (Matthew Scully and John McConnell, according to the New York Times) who have the skill to capture that candidate's thoughts and voice, and to craft with him a speech with strong arguments, touching moments and deft stiletto thrusts; and a top aide (Dan Senor, it's been widely reported) who is empowered to put together and run a process that allows the candidate, his writers, and a few other trusted aides the ability to work together effectively despite the hubbub of the campaign.

Romney should be pleased with how things have gone so far this week. But the key test is of course still to come. If his own speech Thursday night (which has reportedly been produced under the tight supervision of top campaign strategist Stuart Stevens) is as strong as its predecessors, the Romney-Ryan campaign should leave Tampa in good shape.

Meanwhile, for those who want to re-live the highlights of the Ryan speech, here are some:

"I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression.  I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power. …

"They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left. …

"With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that. …

"An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.  The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it. …

"It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new.  Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind. …

"They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have. …

"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. …

"None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us." 

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