It's all about the message, and the message is simple.
Voters, it's time you gave Mitt Romney a second look, because you'll like what you see: a Mr. Fix-it who can fix the economy.
That will be the unified theme of the now three-day infomercial otherwise known as the Republican National Convention, which originally had been set to begin Monday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
However, Republican officials abruptly announced plans Saturday night to scrap the first day of the convention, bowing to the threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaac, churning toward Florida.
"Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," party chairman Reince Priebus said in an emailed announcement that followed private conversations involving Romney's campaign, security officials and others.
The announcement said that while the convention would officially be gaveled into session on Monday as scheduled, the day's events would be canceled until Tuesday.
That meant Romney's formal nomination would be postponed by a day, from Monday to Tuesday, but the balance of the four days of political pageantry and speechmaking would go on as scheduled.
After a week of distractions -- ranging from Rep. Todd Akin's infamous comments about "legitimate rape" to the tropical storm that looked like it might become a legitimate hurricane -- Republicans will now present a three-day television spectacle aimed at getting back on message and boosting Romney, who is locked in a tight battle with President Obama.
"The convention allows the nominee to set the table for the campaign by telling his or her story," said Michael J. Hook, the Lancaster native and Washington consultant who was assistant deputy convention manager for the 1996 GOP conclave in San Diego and a consultant to the 2000 edition in Philadelphia. "In Gov. Romney's case, it will be about his success in business, his policies, and his vision for the country."
Romney's convention comes after Democrats spent weeks pummeling him on the airwaves, in ads that made the former Bain Capital management whiz look like the bane of the nation's existence -- a job-cutting outsourcer who won't show the nation his tax returns.
Now, though, it's Romney's turn to show himself as he sees himself: a successful leader who has turned around companies, the 2002 Winter Olympics and the State of Massachusetts, where he served as governor for four years.
The convention version of Romney will look like a problem-solver who can pull the nation out of the economic doldrums that have lingered since the last time the Republicans convened, in St. Paul, Minn., in 2008.
Romney will enter the convention with specific goals, said Anthony H. Gioia, a top national fundraiser for the Republicans and a former ambassador to Malta.
"You want to energize the base, articulate the message, and expose it to the general population," Gioia said. "It's all about how Mitt Romney's experience, background and views would be a positive development for the country."
The now three-day extravaganza will build toward one central event: Romney's acceptance speech Thursday night -- which, Republicans leaders said,
Most Popular Stories
- NSA Defends Global Cellphone Tracking Legality
- Top Websites for U.S. Hispanics
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Saab Gets Back into the Game; U.S. Auto Sales Soar
- Apple Activates Customer-Tracking iBeacon
- Dell Offers Undisclosed Number of Employee Buyouts
- 2013 Tech Gift Guide: iPad Mini Still Hot; Chromecast a Great Low-Cost Option
- A Biography of Jonathan Ive, Apple's Creative Chief
- Authorities Close to Deal with JPMorgan Chase over Madoff Response