Thompson's voice was not strong. It sounded as if he were struggling with a cold. Of course, while this happens to all candidates, it doesn't help recent criticisms of his campaign.
Though he grew stronger throughout the speech, his opening remarks -- and the vibe in the hall -- did not convey the excitement one would expect from a top-tier candidate's speech.
There was one moment, however, where I saw his full potential. Talking about his young family, he referred to himself as "not so young." It was a self-deprecating remark, and he seemed to be sincerely talking straight to the listener.
Probably because of the audience, he talked a lot about issues such as the defense of marriage amendment and partial birth abortion. While this is the right audience for this, these issues also serve to remind folks that he's been out of the game for more than a decade.
0ne of Thompson's biggest applause lines came when he mentioned Supreme Court Justices. Because he helped get John Roberts confirmed, this is an especially strong area for him.
For the most part, his speech goes from one glittering generality to another. It's almost as if one were to pull out several of the most often used Republican lines, and put them onto a speech.
But a personal line at the end saves the day. Fred said he is often asked what he will do right away if he were elected, and that the day he is elected, he will go into the Oval office and ask God to give him wisdom and strength.