I think theoretically a candidate talking about faith and religious freedom who is articulate and polished would stand to benefit from a well delivered speech with a huge amount of national attention. But this is a particular candidate with a particular problem–or he wouldn’t be giving The Speech — with a particular critical segment of voters, Evangelicals, who play a critical role in a must win state. So its success will need to be measured by whether he is able to reach that audience, not make his problem worse and indeed impress them to the extent that he gains back voters from Huckabee. It is possible to do that, but a tall order. And of course, most people won’t see or hear The Speech but will get their news from coverage by outlets that are already asking whether Mormonism is a religion or a “cult.” Meanwhile, Huckabee is spending his time bonding with Evangelical pastors. Can Romney pull it off? Of course but I understand after less than 24 hours of coverage why many of his advisors were counseling against it. UPDATE: The comparison between Romney and Huckabee here is startling–you wonder if this had gone better if The Speech would still have been needed. I agree with Rich Lowry on Huckbee’s weekend performance as well.
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