Rich Galen

In case you were wondering, Fox News Channel won the ratings war for the 10-11 pm slot Wednesday night when Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez and Paul Ryan delivered their speeches.

Fox, according to Deadline.com, pulled a high of 8.2 million viewers during the hour which not only led the other cable news networks, but led all networks.

NBC was second overall with 4.14 million; ABC had 2.85 million; CBS was fourth with 2.55 million viewers.

MSNBC edged out CNN with 1.44 million viewers to 1.34 million.

I did the addition for you: 20.5 million viewers total. That's down about 17 million from Sarah Palin's speech four years ago.

We'll have to wait and see if the Dems' convention suffers similar drop-off.

The main part of the night started off with an extremely powerful video history of Mitt Romney that included photos and video of him as a boy and young man; and video of his boys teasing him.

Time should be purchased on cable channels all over the country and that video run in a continuous loop between now and November 6.

Clint Eastwood led off the 10 O'clock hour sort of ad-libbing his way through an "empty chair debate" with an invisible Barack Obama. Reporters were tweeting that the TelePrompTer was blank.

I thought it was a little jarring - maybe a lot jarring - but I suspect that Eastwood demanded he perform without a net or he wouldn't do it at all; and I further suspect it played pretty well outside the press filing center.

Marco Rubio was next and was as smooth and polished as Clint Eastwood was gruff and rumpled.

He returned to the well-crafted, well-delivered phrases. Listing a litany of Obama's ideas, Rubio said:

"These are tired and old big government ideas. Ideas that people come to America to get away from. Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America."

Toward the end of his remarks, he reprised the stories of Condoleezza Rice and Susana Martinez when he remembered his father, a bartender.


"A few years ago during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar at the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who had worked for many years as a banquet bartender.

"He was grateful for the work he had, but that's not the life he wanted for us.

"He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room."

In fact, I thought Marco Rubio's introduction of Mitt Romney would have been a better Keynote Address than Gov. Chris Christie's speech Tuesday night.

Then - the main event.


SIDEBAR I

The campaign did not release the full text of Mitt Romney's speech until after it was concluded.

I concluded that was so the Democrats couldn't run a full "fact-checking" campaign as he was delivering it.

END SIDEBAR I

Romney came up an aisle shaking hands along the way in a very thinly veiled nod to the way the President enters the House Chamber for a State of the Union Address.

Romney started by reminding the delegates of the hope generated by the election of Barack Obama four years ago. He then listed all the elements of American life that we hoped would be improved, but have been disappointed.

He put those failures squarely at the feet of the President.

In mid-speech his voice quavered as he told a story about his mom and dad and a rose:

"Mom and Dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist - because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That's how she found out what happened on the day my father died - she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose."

It seemed to happen again when he talked about waking up in the morning to find five boys asleep in his and Ann's bedroom.

After a litany of the bad things that will continue to happen if Obama is re-elected like


"His plan to raise taxes on small business won't add jobs, it will eliminate them; His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China."

SIDEBAR II

Audiences never know quite how to react to that technique. Last night the delegates first cheered each item; then realized they should be booing them, and so did.

END SIDEBAR II

Romney began a list of items he and Paul Ryan would strive to accomplish like being energy independent by 2020, and to create 12 million new jobs and so on.

But, a better construct, I thought, - maybe the fulcrum of the whole campaign - was when he said

"President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans, and heal the planet. I promise to help you and your family."

He ended the speech on an emotional high


"If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny.

"That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight."

This was as good a speech as Mitt Romney can deliver. He is not a great orator, and won't become one.

But, he does have a clear vision of what he believes he can accomplish, because he's done it before.

Romney met the test.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the text of Marco Rubio's and Mitt Romney's speeches and a Mulfoto of the day.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.