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News Analysis: Romney to make biggest speech of his life at GOP convention

08-31-2012 05:40 BJT

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Republican challenger Mitt Romney is set to give the biggest speech of his life Thursday night as he accepts the Republican Party's nomination for presidential candidate.

All eyes will be on the former governor of Massachusetts as he attempts to woo viewers in a bid to present himself as a better choice than current U.S. President Barack Obama.

His main task will be not only to present himself as someone with a plan for the future, but to connect with the millions of Americans who are expected to tune in to the nationally televised speech.

The latter will be the tough part, as the 65-year old can come across as boring, stiff and dry. Compared to Obama, a gifted orator who can connect with his audience perhaps better than most presidents in history, Romney will have an uphill climb.

He will also be tasked with shaking off the image that team Obama's attack ads have attempted to craft -- that of a heartless uber-capitalist who has always known privilege and who is incapable of understanding the plight of the average American amid ongoing high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

Still, some analysts noted that politicians can improve their game with time. Former president Bill Clinton, considered a gifted speaker, spoke in front of a restless crowd champing at the bit for him to finish what was seen as a tediously long keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

But Clinton learned from his mistakes and four years later became an accomplished orator, noted Mike Franc, vice president for government studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Romney may improve in the same way, Franc said.

"Tonight is a lot about Romney just introducing himself,"said Franc, adding that the average American still knows little about the man who aims to take the White House. "This is his debutant ball. He's coming out and showing himself to the American people."

"In a way this is his first impression, and (he) has put a lot of thought into what he wants that first impression to be," he said.

Much of the speech is expected to hit the broad themes and how he would approach those challenges. He is unlikely to give the level of detail that, say, a president would in a State of the Union Address or while launching a new initiative, which would be misplaced in nomination acceptance speech, Franc said.

So far, Romney's main message has been the economy, although much of it has been blaming Obama, just as Obama blamed his predecessors, to the chagrin of voters.

Voters want Romney to do more than just run as the anti-Obama candidate, said Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell, adding that voters want the challenger to address his future plans.

Romney, however, has his work cut out for him.

Over the last century, only five incumbent presidents have lost, which puts the onus on the challenger to talk about the future.

While Americans are tired of the blame game, getting voters to oust the president means the challenger must work hard to outdo Obama, who remains very well liked despite the floundering economy, O'Connell said.

According to an analysis released by Gallup polling company on Thursday, Romney still has a lower favorability rating than Obama, 48 percent to 53 percent, in the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Aug. 20-22.

"While this gap is down from his double-digit favorability deficits against Obama at times over the past year, any deficit in favorability could be an obstacle to victory for Romney, and thus will be important for him to try to rectify via this week's convention or during the fall campaign," Gallup said.

 

Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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