Convention planners are scrambling to now to remake the schedule, after announcing late Saturday they would delay the opening until Tuesday because of the threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaac. Officials claimed they are operationally ready for the convention, but the possible disruption from the storm creates unexpected problems for an event that has been months in the planning. Until the storm passes, no one can say with certainty what to expect the first days of next week.
Romney’s campaign has three objectives for the week: making the case as to why Obama has failed in office, offering an alternative to the administration’s policies and demonstrating why Romney is uniquely suited to the challenges the next president will face.
Democrats will try to distract from Romney’s convention, but Romney’s team intends to take full advantage of what four nights of speeches offer.
The convention will fill out what is still an incomplete biography of the candidate. “We’re going to tell the whole story,” said a senior Romney adviser, who declined to be identified in order to describe the goals and plans. “The whole thing.”
Romney has defined himself as a businessman who understands the private sector. Obama’s team has defined Romney as a vulture capitalist more interested in profit and jobs-and a politician with something to hide in his tax returns. That has sullied Romney’s image in the eyes of many voters.
There is much more that Romney’s team wants to say about his biography: his days at Bain Capital, certainly, but also his one term as governor of Massachusetts; his role in turning around the 2002 Olympics; his family as the center of his life; the role his Mormon faith has played in his life; and the role he has played through his church in helping others.
This story will be told through speeches, testimonials and videos; by friends, family acquaintances, Olympians and politicians — and by Romney, himself, when he takes the stage on Thursday night. Convention planners will use various high-tech bells and whistles to enhance the storytelling. Each night, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will outline the program — to give continuity and clarity to the messaging — a new twist to a convention schedule.
Romney will have the biggest audience of the campaign to date: His advisers estimate that more than 35 million people will tune in Thursday night for his speech and that even when the major networks aren’t broadcasting, 10 million or more will be watching on any given night on cable, PBS and C-SPAN.