• With: Dan Henninger, Dorothy Rabinowitz, Jason Riley, Kim Strassel

    This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," September 1, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," Mitt Romney's big night. The GOP's nominee makes his case to the American people and gives us a glimpse of the campaign to come.

    Plus, from Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio to Condoleezza Rice, the other big moments from the RNC.

    And as President Obama gets set to make his case for four more years, our panel previews next week's Democratic convention in Charlotte.


    MITT ROMNEY, R-FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans --


    -- and to heal the planet.


    -- My promise is to help you and your family.



    GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, bringing down the house with that line in Tampa Thursday night. There's no question it was the most important speech of his career. So how did he do and what did it tell about the campaign to come.

    Let's welcome the Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; editorial board member, Dorothy Rabinowitz; Political Diary editor, Jason Riley; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.

    Dan, one of the main goals of the convention was to improve the image of Mitt Romney with Independent voters, undecided voters. Did they accomplish that?

    DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST, DEPUTY EDITOR: They most certainly accomplished, Paul. They have proven, I think, with all of these testimonials from people, that Mitt Romney is a good person, a great guy, and even a caring businessman.

    Now, this is a political event. So, why did they spend so much time doing that? They did that because the Obama campaign and Democratic surrogates had spent the previous four months --


    GIGOT: And $100 million.

    HENNINGER: Dumping $100 million worth of TV commercials saying precisely the opposite. The Romney campaign has brought themselves back to even in the image wars with President Obama. What only skimmed in his speech were the policy wars.

    GIGOT: I want to get to that, but let's talk about that speech.

    HENNINGER:  As a result of that, the campaign is going to pitch forward and going to be decided in the debates and the hundreds of millions of TV ads.

    GIGOT: What about the speech itself, Dorothy? Did it -- it obviously was 50 percent auto biographical by the candidates himself, following all the testimony from other people, many very moving and revealing and very informative. Did he spend too much time on biography?

    DOROTHY RABINOWITZ, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: I think he did, but he does that anyway. And I just want to say that I think he should leave the gender gap alone for a couple of months. After Election Day, he can take it up.

    The real issue is that we saw the speech in pieces. Some of it was very good. Some was very moving. That was when he moved out of the biography. He had one other line that they could have used and that was the line where he said I'm going to begin my president with a jobs tour. President Obama began his presidency with an apology tour.

    GIGOT: You like that apology tour?


    GIGOT: What about, Jason -- there's been a lot of discussion about the understated quality of the speech. There weren't any great rhetorical lines and no Greek columns.

    JASON RILEY, POLITICAL DIARY EDITOR: it was good, but underwhelming. And I suspect that might have been by design. We saw in the opening clip, Romney contrasting Obama's grandiosity, rhetorical grandiosity with plain spokenness. Obama says he's going to heal the planet. I just want to help you and your families. I think that's what he's going for and he succeeded.

    GIGOT: Kim, I want to get to a point here, getting to Dorothy's point about the gender gap and appeal to the women's votes and get your response.

    Let's show that.


    ROMNEY: As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff. Half of my cabinet and senior officials were women. And in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.


    GIGOT: Kim, is that the way to win over more women?

    KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: I think it is. The Romney campaign does not want to spend days getting pulled into these Obama diversionary arguments about women's pay and contraception. At the same time, they can't simply not respond to this because those attacks have hurt him among women. So, the strategy which you saw this week was to instead just show how silly these attacks are, to highlight that this is a guy who has surrounded himself with talented women and to also show his personal side, his five children, his wife, and to give a sense that he knows some of the ordinary, average concerns of working moms and others.

    GIGOT: Jason?

    RILEY: I agree with what Kim is saying to some extent. But the right can't criticize the left on politics and then practice it in the way that we saw Romney doing there. The best way for Romney to respond to whether there's a war on women is to put strong women up there, like he did on stage, testifying to what Romney thinks about the world and his policies and how he's going to help the entire country and women. And we saw Condi Rice and Susanna Martinez up there.