The Democrats will be feeling a little flatter today then they expected to feel on Thursday morning.
The convention was a modest success: the presentation and staging was superb, and superior to that of the week before. It scored two big prime-time hits in Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton's speeches, and there were quite a few minor highlights too, like the guard of honour, Gabby Giffords and (for some of us at least) Joe Literally Biden. The themes of the week were marshalled and delivered with discipline.
But then, last night, Barack Obama delivered a wet towel of a speech, and on Friday morning came a jobs report that only an optimist would describe as mediocre.
That Obama's speech was less exciting than his wife's or his predecessor's wasn't a surprise. It's harder to make a great speech when you're the candidate and particularly when you're the president, with a record to defend. You can't make too many jokes for fear of seeming unpresidential, and nor you can you have too much fun slashing your opponent to pieces. Neither is this the moment to offer original thinking about the country's future. No, your primary job is to deliver a list of promises (if you're the challenger) or achievements (if you're the incumbent). Lists are generally pretty dull.
But even discounting for that, Obama's speech was poor. It didn't tell a compelling or moving story about where America was when he came to office, and where it is now. It contained no good jokes, and no memorable lines. It didn't soar, or give you a glimpse of the speaker's soul. Obama didn't even mention healthcare, which he surely considers his greatest achievement. I know it doesn't poll very well. But isn't he proud of it?
It was a speech that meandered without direction, and one that seemed ruled by fear rather than ambition; thus critics from both his right and left might argue that it encapsulated the failings of his presidency.
Delivering it, he was stiff and ponderous and didn't seem fully present, somehow. His teleprompter technique isn't what it might be. There were some very odd stresses, and swallowed words. It's hard to make a good convention speech when you're the candidate. But it's surely not impossible.
Will any of this make a difference? Probably not. I suspect the Democrats may yet get a small bounce, comparable in size to Romney's. But the fundamentals of this race haven't changed. It remains Obama's to lose. But this week, with a little more verve - and a little more luck - he could have won it.