Mitt met and mastered his Mormon moment, it seems. There are hundreds of responses (see this T&S post for a nice selection). Here are a few worth considering. Neuhaus at First Things wrote, "It was a powerful speech powerfully delivered." Yes, it made quite an impression on many viewers and readers. It sounded presidential, not a feature always on display in the rough-and-tumble primary season. Neuhaus also mentions Romney's use of the term "political religion." I reviewed a whole book on that topic a while back.
Get Religion posted "Do reporters skip Mitt's faith now?", which has excerpts from several Utah newspapers. The post used the Utah excerpts to show that it was well noted in Utah that Romney didn't really say much about Mormon doctrine or theology, although there is more in the Jesus paragraph than first meets the eye. The post raises an interesting point: Reporters have been clamoring for a "Mormon speech" by Romney for months; now they have it. What do they do next? Clamor for another one because this one wasn't detailed enough? Start clamoring for other candidates to give similar speeches outlining their view of religion and government with some comments on their own religious convictions and the view of the denomination with which they are affiliated? Now that religion has entered the presidential dialogue so explicitly, where does it go next? Is Huckabee the next candidate on the religious hotseat?
Finally, there are several liberal responses (such as this NYT editorial) that question Romney's references to Kennedy's earlier speech defending his Catholicism, essentially saying, "Mr. Romney, you're no Jack Kennedy." Well, I hope not -- we don't need another Bay of Pigs fiasco, which could do us much more harm in the world of 2007 than it did in 1961, etc.
But more to the point, the articles criticize Romney because Kennedy was willing to banish religion from the public square. They seem to think the "wall separating church and state" metaphor is in the Constitution. No, it didn't enter Supreme Court jurisprudence until 1947, in Everson v. Board of Education. It has been controversial ever since and vies with other views of the relation between church and state every time a religion case comes before the Supreme Court. I imagine that topic may emerge in the inevitable presidential debates that we'll be treated to in 2008.