Watched it on TV. Haven’t seen the pundit’s reactions yet, and I should probably wait to let the thing sink in before I render my own final verdict.
My initial reaction, though, is that he nailed it. He was certainly more passionate and sincere than I’ve ever seen him, very near tears at a number of points. He seemed very much like a human being. Indeed, he seemed like a President of the United States. He had a gravitas that I hadn’t seen before – he didn’t look like a bloodless CEO.
As for the content of the speech, it’s hard for me to judge. He made the right promises – interesting that he said his oath “on the Bible” would be his “highest oath.” Thought it was a little risky to say we’re all “children of God,” as that plays into a Mormon theological criticism. I initially thought he was going to avoid using the word Mormon, and I’m glad he didn’t. He didn’t try to downplay his faith at all, although I didn’t expect him to, and he looked like someone with real convictions, which is not how he often appears in debates.
There was a bit of an implicit assumption that those who reject him on the basis of faith are bigots, but it appealed to the better angels of our nature, in the sense that he included evangelicals and others in the “great symphony of faith.”
All in all, I don’t know if he or anyone else could have done any better. The question still remains, though – is it enough?