He looked and sounded the part: "The speech, delivered with soaring rhetoric and an air of authority, had elements that appealed to those who want a strict separation of church and state and to those who yearn for more religious values in what Romney called 'the public square,' " The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos writes.
"Yet the speech was aimed at neither of those groups -- or any particular coalition or bloc -- but rather at all the people of the United States. With its breadth of spirit, it was the most presidential moment of the 2008 campaign."
It was a deep, complex speech, with varied audiences. "Romney was equally emphatic in arguing that religion has a place in public life," Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post.
"Saying that the doctrine of separation of church and state has been carried too far, he said some people and institutions have pushed to remove 'any acknowledgment of God' from the public domain."
The Speech put all eyes on Romney in a way few other candidates can hope for, making him ABC's Buzz Maker of the Week.
The Des Moines Register's Shirley Ragsdale: "Most conservative Christian political activists and pastors who studied Mitt Romney's speech on Thursday addressing his Mormon faith agree it was something he had to do.
But few said it was strong enough to change the minds of evangelicals -- a powerful force in Republican politics." Rev. Frank Cook, pastor of Union Park Baptist Church in Des Moines, told Ragsdale that Romney "was doing the Potomac two-step around the issues that concern many evangelicals."
"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech on faith was powerful and convincing, analysts said -- sincere, effective, hit all the right notes," the Los Angeles Times' Miguel Bustillo, Stephanie Simon, and Mark Z. Barabak write.
"But will it help Romney, a Mormon, win over the key voting bloc of conservative Christians? The broad consensus: probably not."
Former Bush faith-based official David Kuo sees a "one-paragraph gaffe" in Romney's efforts to emphasize beliefs he shares with evangelicals.
"In that single paragraph he blew his chance to slam the door on the pastor-in-chief idea because he was, consciously or not, making the theological argument that Mormonism was basically a part of historic Christianity," Kuo writes on his Beliefnet.com blog.
"It is, in the judgment of most liberal and conservative Christian theologians, not a part of historic . . . Christianity."
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. agrees: "With those words, Romney legitimized the most fundamental test being imposed on him in some evangelical Christian quarters. He was telling them he deserved an 'A' on the religious exam they cared about most."
AP's Ron Fournier isn't sure that any speech can address the central concerns about Romney's candidacy: "Beyond explaining or defending his faith, aides said, Romney needed a high-profile event to show that he has a moral and political core that he's not somebody who will say or do anything to get elected."
He highlights this passage: "Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world." Fournier: "This from a man who campaigned for governor of Democratic-leaning Massachusetts as a supporter of abortion rights, gay rights and gun control only to switch sides on those and other issues in time for the GOP presidential race."