Campaign Spot got some pre-speech hype but took it with a grain of salt. There was no announcement and no annoucement of an annoucement date. As for the actual speech, Jonathan Martin describes it as “sober-verging-on-somber” talk about the challenges — national security, economic, and government competency– facing the country, but lacking “specific solutions.” Once a candidate he will be directly facing others who have both diagnosed and offered solutions to what ills the country. The latter is generally what wins over voters — a vision of how to make things better. That is what turns a “downer”(one audience member quoted by Martin) speech into a message of optimism and determination.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey comments: “Thematically, Fred will have no problem running a campaign on these principles. Once he declares, he will have to put these into specific policies, and as quickly as possible. He may also need to find ways to cast these policies in a more optimistic light, even while hitting Republicans with some cold truths about our standing at the moment, as he did in Indianapolis. People appreciate honesty, but Reagan didn’t get elected by mourning in America. ” (Ed seems to think there is some testing the waters prohibition on Thompson speaking about specific policy solutions; I disagree (he’s blogged on federalism and could easily blog on tax policy, for example) but find his analysis otherwise on the mark.)