'This Week' Extra: The Roundtable's Pre-Show Thoughts

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Before "This Week" Sunday, we asked our roundtable participants to tell us what they are looking forward to discussing. Here are their pre-show thoughts.

Romney's RNC: Empty Chairs and Empty Rhetoric

Like many things the Romney campaign has staged, I bet most people expected a flawlessly-executed 60 minutes of Romney's personal story and a hard sell of substantive policy prescriptions to back up the vision for the country the American people so desperately need to hear from him.

Instead, the American people got a speech most notable for what was missing.

There were few of the misleading statements Paul Ryan inserted into his speech, no mention of the combat war our nation is currently engaged in, no vision for the future, no defense of his central policies and, in case you missed it, no one sitting in that chair that was brought on stage.

Ryan's speech left Romney on unsteady footing after declaring a half-dozen half-truths on Wednesday night. And after harsh criticism calling Ryan's trustworthiness into question, Romney had little room to mislead with his words.

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On substance, Romney's failure to defend or even explain his plan to cut taxes for the wealthy left the American people without what should be a healthy policy debate. A debate the President had and won in 2008, but one which Romney should engage again if he's going to win.

Romney's acceptance speech was the first in over half a century that made no mention of the war our nation is fighting. No mention of the importance of providing for the heroes who are and who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But beyond substance, the tone of Romney's speech was backward-looking, rather than forward-leaning. Romney banked too much on nostalgia and not enough on vision. Building a bridge to the past didn't work for Bob Dole - can't imagine it's going to work for Mitt Romney.

It leaves Democrats an opportunity to capitalize on forward momentum and a chance to frame Mitt Romney's policy proposals in a way that he missed.

- Bill Burton, Senior Strategist, Priorities USA Action

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