Reporter's Note: The convention is over and I am riding in a black Ford Expedition with two of my fellow newsies back to D.C. And, of course, writing my daily letter to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on the conclusion of your big convention. I was about to say the “successful conclusion” but I guess we won’t know if that was the case until November. Your speech seemed to be well received in the hall by all of the true believers, but let me tell you, where I was sitting with a focus group in a nearby room, it was…well, the term lukewarm comes to mind. We assembled about 30 undecided voters, most of whom said they were pure independents. A few professed slight political leanings, and of those voters, more tended Republican than Democratic.
Still, overall the whole group made it clear that they like you, they believe you are honest (or at least as much as anyone believes a politician is honest. Ha!) and they believe that you genuinely want to do good things. But as you ripped through your speech, by and large, your big applause lines did not lift them very much.
As I watched their reactions based on the little dial meters they held throughout your address, they remained tepid no matter how much the rhetoric soared. Let me state again: These are people who show no real affection for Mitt Romney, who would like to have a reason to re-elect you (because, again, they like you,) but the just can’t find it.
In a nutshell, they think you want to do a good job, but they doubt if you have the ability. Maybe it’s because of the political opposition, maybe it’s because of the times in which we live, maybe it is an alignment of the stars. But for the group I was with, the very kind of people you need, “hope and change” are just words now. They need specific details and a clear plan.
I know this may not be fun to hear, but I’m just telling you what I saw and heard among the people who will probably decide the election, once the partisans on the left and right have roared with all their fury.
Call if you can.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with