Paul Ryan's speech raises the bar for Mitt Romney

Paul Ryan's speech was very well received Photo: Reuters

Rarely has such a brilliant speech caused such concern. The Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan hit the ball out of the park, as they say here. Love or hate his politics, it was a devastatingly effective critique of President Obama. The Republican activists lapped it up.

So why the concern? The anxiety of party bosses is that Mitt Romney, seen as wooden, robotic, and remote, will struggle to match Paul Ryan's speech

There are plenty of Republican activists, having heard the first electrifying speech of the Convention, who are wishing that this was a Ryan-Romney ticket, not a Romney-Ryan. It raises the stakes for the speech tonight. Mitt Romney has multiple challenges:

  • He needs to close a gender gap, by appealing to undecided women voters.
  • He must reduce the "empathy" gap by showing that he cares about ordinary people.
  • He must persuade people he is a businessman who can rescue the economy and that he's not a corporate raider interested only in profit and in out-sourcing jobs.

It's a tough ask. The bar has been set high by Paul Ryan overnight. I'm not certain Mitt can do it. I've attended several Mitt Romney campaign rallies and they are uniformly dull.

Tonight when he gets to the stage he has to raise his game; he needs to give the speech of his political life. If he fails, there will be a serious case of buyers' remorse.