Was Romney's Religious Speech a Smart Marketing Move?

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Mitt Romney delivered his religion speech this morning. You can read it here.

I'm sure some will find it distasteful to throw the term marketing at a religiously themed speech, but let's be honest here. Romney gave this speech only because Republican consumers have expressed some worries over his religion. And winning the presidency is ultimately about how one markets himself or herself.

So was the speech a success? There are a number of very strong lines. This one is my favorite: "Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it." It certainly shows any of the religiously minded out there that Romney is not afraid of his convictions. And it brings to mind recent waffling and pretzel-twisting logic offered by candidates such as John F. Kerry. Further, with Mike Huckabee likely to lose some serious ground due to some very Michael Dukakish behavior, Romney's speech may have been perfectly timed.

But I have problems with the speech -- namely Romney's ridiculous assertions that there can be no freedom without religion, the resulting insinuations that nonbelievers aren't even worth being discussed and his obviously biased and wrong-headed reading of the Founders' relationship to religion. It's no coinicidence that he mentions neither Thomas Jefferson nor James Madison (though he does mention in passing the "religious test" clause). So I can't quite bring myself to give him a homerun here.

But perhaps the readers of this blog can chime in with their opinion. Was the speech a hit or a miss. And keep in mind that Romney's target audience consists of voters in the Republican primary, ranging from libertarians to the religious right -- and not New York City liberals. If you had to look at it from a purely marketing perspective, was the speech a success or a failure?

UPDATE: As Simon Owens points out, Romney uses the word "Mormon" only once during his entire speech.
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