Charlie Cook contends that "Mitt Romney’s speech tonight is enormously important—arguably more so than the debates or anything else that is likely to happen between now and Nov. 6":
[U]nlike Reagan in 1980, Romney’s challenge isn’t about his intellect or command of issues, hurdles that he can easily clear with a strong debate performance. Romney’s test is more personal. Voters began this week feeling like they didn’t know him. For whatever reason, his campaign is just now getting around to attempting to establish a personal connection between Romney and the public. That connection cannot be made in a debate; the format doesn’t lend itself to it.
Romney desperately needs to leave Tampa having created that relationship.
(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stands at the podium for a soundcheck with stage manager Howard Kolins during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. By Win McNamee/Getty Images)