8:46 am ET
My “Morning Joe” Take on what unified the Ann Romney and Chris Christie speeches:
“One of the things that, in listening to the conversation, that occurred to me that links the speeches is this notion of being a strong leader. Mitt Romney is never going to be seen as more likeable than the President by the public at large but both Ann Romney and Chris Christie talked about him as strong, talked about the Republican Party as strong and dealing with the challenges we face today. And that is a contest he can win. And that’s one thing we like in our presidents. We want someone who’s a strong leader. She said, in closing her speech, that’s the theme of Chris Christie’s talking about the Republican form of governance.”
Watch it above.
Don’t get me wrong, the President will have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks to remind people of his moments of strength as a leader, including around September 11. And Romney has had more than his share of campaign trail moments that have come off as somewhat weak, a theme Chicago drives whenever it can.
But Republicans believe they have an opportunity to push this message, and they will continue to do so going forward. They will focus, as Ann Romney did, on the elements of Mitt’s “personal” strength. And they will emphasize their argument that Mitt will be a principled reformer with results who will tell hard truths to the public on big issues.
Bill Clinton is a big believer in the importance of projecting strength in politics. Republicans are in the unusual and uncomfortable position of entering a general election not dominating the national security debate, so they have to look for other areas to make the case that Romney is stronger than the incumbent.