Taking it to the max
In the event, it felt more tactical than evangelical.
Alex Salmond knows extremely well the constituency that is roused by stirring talk of freedom.
Mostly, they are already supporters of the party he leads.
He also knows full well that, to secure a referendum featuring independence, he has to persuade others, firstly at Holyrood, to endorse such a ballot.
Have a glance at the White Paper online - but it is a substantive government document, drawn up by broadly the same civil service team who produced the initial consultation paper published when Mr Salmond first took power.
It canvasses what Scotland does/might look like under four scenarios: the status quo, limited further devolution as per the Calman Commission, devolution max and independence.
Building upon already published Government papers, it tests these four options against issues such as the economy, energy, defence, foreign policy, benefits.
It will come as no great surprise to regular readers of this blog that the SNP government concludes that independence provides the best option for improving Scotland's economy and building her standing in the world.
The clue lies in the ambition which they have pursued since they were founded seventy plus years ago.
Back to that tactical element, though. Mr Salmond has delivered his share of rousing rhetoric on independence.
He knows the buttons to press. In government, however, he would rather make progress than speeches.
Hence the explicit pitch at the close of the White Paper to others who favour alternatives to indepence.
Intriguingly, as disclosed previously on this site, ministers don't think that Calman quite fits that template.
They note, correctly, that those advocating Calman (or its variants) do not intend themselves to subject it to a referendum.
If we are, though, to have a multi-option referendum (independence versus enhanced devolution), then Mr Salmond suggested that Calman might work, if his rivals argued for it.
However, as forecast here, he appeared notably warmer towards the option of pitting independence against what he called devolution max.
For two fairly obvious reasons.
One, it would mean that the fallback position would feature more clout and thus would be more appealing to Nationalists.
Two, it might be conceivable that the Liberal Democrats might be tempted, in future, to subject their preference for devo max to such a multi-option plebiscite.
Not now. Certainly not now. Tavish Scott is resolutely opposed to such a ballot in 2010, arguing that it would be a costly waste of time in a recession.
Mr Salmond's tactical hope is that things could change after the next Holyrood elections in 2011.
What if, he imagines, the Lib Dems have posited devo max in their manifesto for those elections?
Could that form the basis for a coalition deal - or a compact to hold a plebiscite?
Maybe, maybe. Although Mr Scott sounds notably hostile, describing Mr Salmond as leading "a minority SNP with a majority ego".
Still, nothing stays the same forever. As of today, therein lies the SNP strategy.