The man of the hour will finally take the stage tonight at the main event of the Republican National Convention. Mitt Romney will formally accept the nomination for president but the speech is also Romney's best shot so far at setting the tone for the rest of the campaign.
There is a lot riding on his 40-minute speech and it's clear the Romney campaign knows it needs to dispel the image his opponents have painted of him as a wealthy, out-of-touch politician.
Republican candidates still rely heavily on their base of support among white voters in their 60s and older. With tens of millions of viewers, Romney will be able to address the demographics his campaign most needs to reach.
“It will be my privilege to stand at the podium to accept the nomination,’’ Romney wrote in an email to supporters Thursday, asking for donations of $20.12.
‘‘And I will stand not just for every supporter, and not just for the Republican Party — I’ll stand for every American who believes our best days are ahead," reports the Boston Globe.
Republican officials are dispatching Senator Marco Rubio of Florida to speak right before Romney highlighting the need to reach out to Latino voters.
Wednesday, former Republican national chairman Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida warned that the Romney campaign needs to push even harder to win over Latino voters or risk being "relegated to a minority party," reports the Los Angeles Times.
Speaking at the same Tampa event as Martinez, Republican consultant Ana Navarro gave her own blunt opinion about Romney's level of support among Latinos.
“Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Many Republicans are passionately opposed to illegal immigration and Romney picked up support in the primaries by taking a hard line stance on immigration, playing even further to the right than some of his rivals including Governor Rick Perry of Texas.
How Romney addresses America's Latinos tonight will be a key indication of whether or not he can plan on more support come November.
Romney's religion also is a large question mark for many voters and it's unclear how he will address the issue in his speech. ABC News reports that a top Romney campaign advisor declined to say whether the word “Mormon” would be in his speech instead of the more general references to his “faith” and his “church” he uses more often.
More from GlobalPost: The global reach of Mormon faith
The Washington Post reports that Republican operatives said Romney is far better off embracing his Mormonism than running away from it and he would be wise to borrow phrasing from Paul Ryan's speech where he said that while the two men don’t share the same church, they share the same values.
Three days of saturated media coverage seem to have given the Romney/Ryan ticket a boost in the polls. A new Reuters-Ipsos poll released Thursday showed Romney with a slight lead over Obama, 44 percent to 42 percent, after starting the week down by 4 points.