Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the US presidency, is to address the party’s national convention in Tampa, Florida as he officially accepts its nomination to run for the post.
Romney’s campaign hopes the evening ends with the US audience feeling closer to the candidate, whom critics have painted as distant and elitist.
His highly anticipated speech is expected to be both personal and political, and include new and unfamiliar stories.
“It will be a clear vision of a Romney presidency, and very much from his heart about America, and why he wants to be president,” Stuart Stevens, campaign senior strategist, said earlier this week.
Among the topics expected to be addressed are Romney’s Mormon faith, including a stint as a Boston church leader.
In a nation where eight in 10 people identify themselves as religious, Romney must convince the public that his Mormonism will not have a negative impact on his leadership.
With July poll stating that nearly one in four Christian Evangelical Protestants saying they are uncomfortable with a Mormon president, Romney will also have to convince the US electorate that his faith will not alienate him from more mainstream voters.
Coming off the heels of Wednesday night’s address by Ryan which stated that “America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney,” advisers hope the speech will provide a “clear vision” of what a Romney presidency would look like.
Ryan’s rousing endorsement came a day after Romney’s wife emphatically stated to a standing ovation: “No one will work harder, no one will care more.
“No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live.”
With polls showing both candidates running even in a race that is still too close to call, Romney’s ability to illustrate how his administration would differ from incumbent Barack Obama, will be key.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday showed the two men tied at 43 per cent each.
But an ABC News/Washington Post poll carried out ahead of the convention found that just 40 per cent of Americans viewed Romney “favourably overall”, while 51 per cent saw the multi-millionaire businessman as unfavourable.
The Republican candidate is however topping Obama in campaign donations, and the weakness of the US economy, with an 8.3 per cent unemployment rate, gives him an argument for change.
So far, the Republican ticket’s economic policy has hinged on tax cuts and deregulation of industries, that Romney says would rekindle growth and keep taxpayer dollars flowing into the Treasury.
He also wants to reform expensive government programmes, such as Medicare health insurance for seniors.
Romney previously lost the Republican primary race to Senator John McCain, who went on to lose to Obama in 2008.