It was a rather long address, but one that has some well-crafted moments. The fears that it would be an apology by the President of the United States for the free speech of an American citizen were either unfounded, or were addressed in revision once Drudge leaked the rumor.
Most speeches at the UN are pretty empty affairs, and this one lacks teeth just where teeth are most needed -- on the issues of Syria and Iran. Still, it's not weak, just non-specific about exactly when and what shall be done. As Israel has so often asked of late, what are our red lines? "Let me be clear" is not enough if it isn't followed by actual clarity.
Still, overall it wasn't nearly as bad as we were told it would be, and a few parts of the speech are very solid. Let us give credit where credit is due, on the occasion that the man was representing all of us to the world.
John Bolton is not happy with the speech.
Bolton's remarks aside, most of the reaction has been on one line: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Well, slander is a known lie about someone's character. Of course you ought not to speak known lies.
If you can defend the distinction between "debate" and "slander," there's no problem. The question is whether America will have the strength to defend that distinction.