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

    GIGOT: Right.

    RILEY: And they were not there just because they were women. They were up there because they were women who agree with Mitt Romney's policies.

    GIGOT: Dan, to get back to your original point with the policy, here is my problem with the speech. I didn't hear how he would improve the economy. There was so much biography and discussion of other things that he didn't really focus on policy issues except at the end, almost as an afterthought. and we listed the five priorities. He didn't defend his tax plan or tax reform or make a class against class warfare. Next week, in Charlotte, you're going to see the Democrats run through that hole. And they did not inoculate themselves on that.

    HENNINGER: Yes, Paul. And not only that, but next week, in Charlotte, President Obama is going to give his acceptance speech and reiterate his policy proposals. He plans to spend money to pay for people's education. He's going to pay for health care when you need it. We may not disagree with that, but these are specific policy ideas --

    GIGOT: Right.

    HENNINGER: -- directed at a very anxious electorate and it has to be countered with something from the Romney campaign.

    GIGOT: This is what that I think that swing voters want to hear very tangibly. They know Mitt Romney -- certainly they know now, Mitt Romney is a hell of a guy. What they want to know is, how is she going to improve their lives.

    RABINOWITZ: And they -- they get hints of him, when they see the choice he makes in the speech. Do we really have to know how it feels to see all of your children in your bedroom with the wife and how glorious it is and how you would like to relive all that? That kind of choice, of spending personal exposure time, instead of how are we going to get those. How many millions of jobs have you promised? That's the question.

    (CROSSTALK)

    RILEY: I think a lot of this Romney speech was aimed at Independent voters in those swing states. He wanted to assure them it's OK to have buyer's remorse about voting for Obama four years ago. It doesn't make you a bad person.

    GIGOT: And that's a good strategy, but the missing agenda, I think, is a risk.

    Still ahead, if Mitt Romney's job was to make the case for his presidency, Paul Ryan's was to make a case against a second Obama term. Did he get the job done?

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The man assumed office almost four years ago. Isn't it about time he assumed responsibility?

    (CHEERING)

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    GIGOT: The Republicans vice president nominee, Paul Ryan, had his turn in the spotlight Wednesday night and used to deliver a withering attack on the Obama presidency.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    RYAN: I've never seen opponents so silent about their record and so desperate to keep their power. They've run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. It began with a financial crisis. It ends with a job crisis. It began with a housing crisis they alone didn't cause. It ends with a housing crisis they didn't correct. It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now, all that's left is a presidency adrift.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    GIGOT: So, Kim, Paul Ryan's big introduction to the American public. How did he do?

    STRASSEL: Well, conventions always devote one evening to going after the opponent and usually the vice-presidential candidate does that. What the GOP had in Paul Ryan is he has a certain optimistic delivery that made him come across as very devastating rather than mean.

    Just to get back to the last discussion, his other big job for the evening was to layout some of the policy issues and distinctions between the two campaigns. It would have been nicer to have had that for Mr. Romney as well, but to the extent that was Paul Ryan's job, he also did that effectively.

    GIGOT: Well, but, Kim, I heard that on Medicare, there was a real attack on the Obama care and Medicare, but I didn't hear any defense by Ryan from the tax plan, for example. No case for tax reform. He didn't make a pro growth case, economic case, as much as I know he believes in person.

    STRASSEL: Yes, and that's the real issue that they're going to have to address this fall. So far, it's been a lot of doom and gloom news, saying we're on the wrong path and we've got to fix things. They've got to start pivoting and talking about the real way out of this hole is getting an economy that grows again and brings in the tax revenue to help with the spending issues.

    GIGOT: Jason, what else struck you about the week?

    RILEY: First of all, Ryan gave the speech at a convention. In my view, he hit it out of the park. Anyone who didn't know he was a serious person knows now. I don't think he's going to fade in the spotlight like Sarah Palin did four years ago.

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: He's a long-distance runner.

    RILEY: I think that Chris Christie also gave -- the New Jersey governor gave a very powerful speech.

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: Not everybody agrees with you on that one. In fact, most people disagree. They think he blew it.

    RILEY: I think his point on Obama's leadership, the unwillingness to say no, is a liability in a leader. And Obama is unwilling to treat voters like adults. I think he drove that point home. And I think it's a very effective attack on Obama, more effective attack than saying Obama is in over his head.

    GIGOT: Dorothy, what else -- who impressed you the most among the non-Romney actors here?

    RABINOWITZ: Among the non-Romney actors, Marco Rubio. Actually because I got to see he did in one minute, in terms of personal revelation, what Romney could not do.

    GIGOT: What he did in 20 minutes.

    (LAUGHTER)

    RABINOWITZ: Yes. Exactly that. Yes, they say he's not presidential for a few minutes, but you can see the ease and the naturalness with which he discusses his identity and the magic of being in America, and the parents -- I won't quote it. But anybody who was not transported by the combination of things he talked to, and that toughness of his, which never becomes impossibly rude, but is unassailable as a weapon.

    GIGOT: One of the themes this week, Dan, seemed to be the rehabilitation of the Republican party, or maybe rebranding is the better way to put it, with younger people on stage, with a more diverse group of people, and with governors who projected -- basically said, here is our record. We're creating jobs, we're making the change, we're doing things. And so, this -- these Democratic attacks that basically say, look, you're just an attack party. That's not true, look at our record.