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Analyzing Romney's RNC speech

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Mitt Romney
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney acknowledges delegates before speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

In Mitt Romney's biggest moment of the 2012 campaign Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, the GOP candidate for president railed on President Obama for his sweeping inspirational ideas for the country and his failure producing the results he promised. 

"How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?" Romney said. "Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama? 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."

Charlton McIlwain, associate professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University, joined The Daily Circuit live on Friday from Tampa.

"One of the things that Romney did really well last night was sort of create this impression that in 2008, the country was behind (Obama), we left that election with good will and good faith," he said.

Looking ahead to the Democratic National Convention next week, Obama and his party will have the task of making the argument that Republicans blocked his vision from becoming a reality, McIlwain said.

Democrats "have to hammer in that the day after the Election Day, even before Election Day, the folks in the Republican Party and Congress were plotting to make failure a probability for the Obama administration," he said.

Romney's speech last night set the Democrats up for a counterargument.

"This president can ask us to be patient," Romney said. "This president can tell us it was someone else's fault. This president can tell us that the next four years he'll get it right. But this president cannot tell us that you are better off today than when he took office."

Jim, a caller from St. Cloud, said he calls himself an average independent voter. So far, he hasn't seen anything from Obama or Romney to sway his vote.

"Unless something is revealed at the DNC shortly, the last four years, if that's a preview into the next four years, I think I know which direction my vote is going to go," he said. "Unfortunately, I don't think I am going to be happy with either decision... As an independent voter, I just don't feel either party is coming up with a solution."

This leaves Obama an opening for his speech next week, McIlwain said.

"When we came into this convention, I think a lot of people were lowering expectations for Romney," he said. "We're not going to like him; he's not going to win over the American public with his personality in one night. What he has is going to be he is the man with the plan. So we were listening for that big plan of 12 million new jobs. And he came out last night and gave us about five little points, but no plan. No specifics whatsoever. And that was supposed to be his big distinguishing mark. I think Obama does have a little room in saying, 'I'm actually the one with the plan and here it is.'"

Thomas Whalen, Boston University social science associate professor, also joined the discussion. He said Obama's speech next week won't make a big difference in swaying votes.

"I think conventions overall are pretty much overrated; they're dinosaurs at this point in their existence in this 24/7 media age we live in," he said. "What's really going to make a difference here, where independents like the caller are going to really make up their minds, is during the debates."

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