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

    HENNINGER: Yes, I think the big winner out of this convention was the Republican Party. And they did a very good job of presenting themselves. And it was in fact a reaction to the negative propaganda that the Democrats had -- they had to answer it.

    GIGOT: Right.

    HENNINGER: It turns out they really have a great group of younger politicians. They're reform minded. Governor Martinez of New Mexico, a wonderful story. And so, I think that --

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: She was a revelation.

    HENNINGER: All of the parties try to hit and appeal to the middle class in America, and the Republicans showed they're no longer the parties of bankers and real estate developers and country club types. It looked like real Americans.

    GIGOT: Kim, was that a big part of their strategy?

    STRASSEL: It was exactly their strategy. And I think a certain amount of credit needs to go to Mr. Romney here. Conventions can be very biographical and hagiographic on the guy in question. they wanted to highlight the deep bench that the GOP has here, talk about the reform policies going on out in the states and present a party itself that's ready to get down to business and institute new ideas. And that was certainly what they were aiming for.

    GIGOT: Wasn't there a strategy goal, too, Kim? For example, in Ohio, which has seen falling unemployment. They need to point -- Obama is going to try to take credit for that. Romney needs to point out, look, this is a Republican governor whose policies are helping a great deal with that.

    STRASSEL: That's absolutely right. They're going to be drawing a clear distinction between those things that they believe their Republican governors have done, the budget reforms they've done, education reforms they've done, and helping the economy, and then making the argument, to the extent that the states aren't doing better, that it's Obama's fault.

    GIGOT: Briefly, Dorothy, Clint Eastwood?

    RABINOWITZ: Clint Eastwood, I thought he hit it out of the ballpark. Whatever anybody says. He put him up there --

    (CROSSTALK)

    RABINOWITZ: But let me say something else. Even that renegade, Arthur Davis, who became --

    GIGOT: Artur Davis.

    RABINOWITZ: Artur Davis. He was magnificent. And when you get a minor bit player enhancing all of the performances there, that's a good thing.

    GIGOT: Yes. Clint Eastwood, kind of an independent-minded voter, just making up his mind they need to fire the president.

    When we come back, now it's the Democrat's parties. What President Obama and his party have planned for Charlotte. Will it be enough to convince voters to give him for more years?

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    GIGOT: With Tampa behind us, all eyes turn to Charlotte, North Carolina, where President Obama and fellow Democrats make the case next week for four more years.

    Jason, what do you expect to hear next week out of the Democrats?

    RILEY: Well, first, Paul, you're going to hear the phrase Romney-Ryan so often, you'll think it's one word.

    (LAUGHTER)

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: Because of the Ryan budget?

    RILEY: President Obama wanted to run against Congress. With a Congressman on the ticket, he is certain to do that.

    But essentially Obama's strategy has been, I inherited a mess, but for my stimulus and other policies, we'd be in a bigger hole, and why give the ball back to the team that put us in this mess in the first place. And I think you'll hear variations on those themes throughout the week.

    GIGOT: What about, Dorothy, the questions Republicans raised again and again of collapsed expectation, unfulfilled promises, all the grandiosity of four years ago, and now we're stuck with this mess? How do we respond to that?

    RABINOWITZ: I think he can do the same -- use the same strategy he's been using now, which is to say, it's not there. We have accomplished this, we've had --

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: We've made this amount of progress?

    RABINOWITZ: Yes, we did build this essentially, and then ignore that we've been opposed by every level by the Republicans. They have been in the way. And that kind of defiance in my view, defiance of reality, which will be their answer. they will say, we have done this.

    GIGOT: Kim, one of the big targets for the Democrats, do you think? Jason mentioned the Ryan budget, that's will be a target. What about the tax plan of Romney?

    STRASSEL: Yes, you're going to see three things, a class warfare argument that the tax policy is in, the Obama argument which we've seen that Romney is just a corporate raider. He wants to strip money from the middle class and give it to rich friends. You'll see a big Medi-scare attack on the Ryan reforms for Medicare and Social Security. And you'll see a big attack on the Republicans vis-a-vis women. And again, these arguments that they are almost like Todd Akin in Missouri.

    GIGOT: They will have so many women on stage, I'm surprised you haven't been invited to appear.

    (LAUGHTER)

    They'll make this such a central theme.

    What about the image of the Democratic Party and the image of the Republicans?

    HENNINGER: The Republicans convey a positive image of themselves. I don't think you're going to see that next week. This is why. The Obama Democrats essentially were the party of the Democratic left and they captured the party from the Clinton centrists. The essence of the Democratic left and Progressives is to complain about American society. They see it as a place of victims and people shafted by the system. And I think --

    (CROSSTALK)