Mitt Romney is stepping up for the most important speech of his Republican presidential campaign, to an audience of millions, after a rousing warm-up from a running mate who vowed the days of dodging painful budget choices will end if voters toss President Barack Obama from office.
Having grasped the nomination on his second try, after years spent cultivating this moment, Romney will use his speech Thursday night to introduce himself to a large portion of voters and claw for advantage in a race that could scarcely be any closer. As part of that introduction, Romney appeared prepared to discuss his Mormon faith in more direct terms than usual, a direction signaled by running mate Paul Ryan on Wednesday night in several allusions to the duo’s differing religions but “same moral creed.”
The Wisconsin congressman, a deficit hawk who’s become the party’s darling since joining the ticket, offered a prime-time testimonial setting up Romney’s turn on the stage in the Republican National Convention‘s finale. If history is a guide, viewership of Romney’s speech — and Obama’s address to his Democratic convention next week — will be surpassed only by the audience for their coming debates.