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Filler: Mitt Romney's message is clear, but details are still missing

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addresses the Republican

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Aug. 30, 2012) Credit: AP

So, after three days and nights the Republican National Convention, what did we learn?

Marco Rubio is a very good speaker, with a huge future. Chris Christie is also a rising star, with a very old-fashioned message of self-sacrifice unusual in today's climate. Ann Romney is the new Republican sweetheart, and Condoleezza Rice is, if anything, more respected and beloved in the party then when she left office.

The party also made a real and concerted effort to court both women and Hispanic voters, crucial moves, but moves that may not have any effect if the party's policies continue to make a majority of both groups unhappy and uncomfortable.

You simply will not be able to win the presidency in America without tremendous support from those two constituencies in the future.

As for the candidates, both Ryan and Paul acquitted themselves well, smooth speakers who are confident in their message. That message itself was clear in its aspirations, but not so much in the method by which they'll be achieved.

Romney did more tonight to explain his plan, with his five points toward prosperity, but even those were more goals than blueprints. The strategy here was an election plan, with no thought to governing, and the idea was the same throughout the convention.

Pound Obama. Pound unemployment. Pound the deficit.

Fair enough, they are real problems.

But swing voters may want to hear more about what Romney will do differently before they reject Obama.

The grade for the convention overall? B, I think.

That, at least was what I got from an occasionally warm but rarely hot crowd of Republican devotees. Romney can win this election, but he's going to have to do more than he's done so far, to convince the swing voters not to vote against him, and perhaps, to convince some Republicans to get off the couch and vote for him.

Your plan, Mr. Romney. You have to share it if you want to win, and we haven't heard it yet.

11:16 p.m. - He's talking about Iran now, and saber rattling.

Romney says He will give friends more loyalty and enemies like Russia's Putin more trouble. Is Russia an enemy again?

Getting the call and response going. But the audience is a little confused on some of the questions.

As it ends, the excitement is not all that high.

The balloons aren't coming yet, until Ryan gets up there. And here they come, balloons, I've been waiting for that since Saturday.

But this place is quiet. Cue confetti. And loving children and grandchildren.

11:09 p.m. - He's talking about protecting life, honoring marriage, guaranteeing freedom of religion.

Global warming joke, from a guy who once believed in it. But his point is he just doesn't care about it. Because he's going to concentrate on families. Hunh?

11:06 p.m. - Romney's assault on Obama is effective, after all the nation is in bad economic shape and Obama is overseeing the economy.

His delivery is smooth, his...wait, he says he has a plan to create 12 million new jobs. Say it. Say it, 5 steps.

Energy independent by 2020, with more drilling and stuff. Education, skills training, school choice, etc. New trade agreements. Cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget. Champion small business, lower taxes, simply regulations, rein In health care costs, repeal and replace Obamacare.

10:57 p.m. - Very quiet clapping on the applause lines now, until he hits a good lick on Obama.

We aren't going to be getting any sense of his plan for America tonight.

Will we ever, before the election? I'm not picking on Romney, I just want to hear the plan. I love Republicans. I vote for Republicans more than half the time.

But what's the plan?

10:53 p.m. - The one thread holding it all together is respect for women, and Romney wisely, as other speakers have, gives a shout out to Ann and collects his due clapping.

10:50 p.m. - I don't yet know what this speech is about. Nor do the people around me.

He's hitting some good lines, but it's not all tied together.

10:46 p.m. - The floor is going wild on the applause lines, the upper levels less so.

Boy, he has an odd delivery. When he pauses on applause lines, he has this look on his face like he's waiting to be patted on the head by his mother.

10:43 p.m. - Romney trying to press on and the chants start again.

It's ridiculous, to not let him speak and interrupt this way.

10:42 p.m - Flashbulbs going off everywhere as he talks about American optimism and enumerates the freedoms that make the nation great.

This has been an incredibly immigrant focused convention for a party that opposes a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the country.

A protester on the left of the stage being taken out as her shouts are covered by crowd chanting USA USA.

But she's not quitting.

10:38 p.m. - There is applause, but it's not overwhelming. Except in front of the cameras.

But the do roar when he accepts the nomination.

Okay, tell us what you're going to do if elected, now's the chance.

10:35 p.m. - It feels like this is taking a little too long, people are ready to hear him speak.

And up the stage he comes, oops, no, not yet.


10:34 p.m. - Just heard the first real chants of Mitt Mitt Mitt. And out he comes, to a mixed ovation, some standing, some not.

Shaking hands on the floor of the arena, man of the people style, while they change the podium on the stage.

10:30 p.m. - I think Rubio's is the best pure speech of the convention so far: polished, emotional, evocative, and on point.

It is near time for Romney, and Rubio is getting the crowd up one more time.

10:26 p.m. - Rubio's message is being well delivered and well received.

He's very strong on God, as the source of our freedoms and rights.

I've never entirely understood that, in the sense that it implies God has given so much less to people in lands that aren't free. My freedom certainly doesn't come from government, I agree. But it does come from a social contract among people, and unwillingness of individuals to accept anything less than freedom.

10:22 p.m. - Rubio points out Obama is a good person, father, husband. But says he's a bad president.

I've really seen very little Obama hatred this week, much less than I expected. It's about the economy, not the man, for these delegates and attendees.

10:18 p.m. - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, now, much beloved here. But I'd hate to follow Eastwood.

He's leading with Cuba, where his parents emigrated from, asks for prayers for its freedom. He has a really nice delivery.

Lane Filler blogged the first half of the evening as Taylor Hicks, former Olympians and BeBe Winans warmed up the crowd. Click here to read his earlier post.