TAMPA---As Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney prepares to deliver his keynote speech on Thursday night to complete the Republican National Convention here, speech writers nervously anticipate it's reception.
Joshua Gilder, a former speech writer for conservative icon Ronald Reagan, says you can't underestimate the importance of the acceptance speech.
"These speeches are critical as this is really the first time anyone in America is paying attention," he says. "You have to define yourself and you have to define your opponent. You have to do it in such a way that it breaks through all the static out there."
Gilder pointed to vice presidential nominee Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's speech as an example of an effective convention speech.
"You can't just speak politics and policy," Gilder says. "You want to come on as someone with a larger vision and as someone with a real understanding of peoples' lives and the human condition. Plus you have to do that in sound bites and you need to wrap-up the policy with humor."
Gilder says he thinks Romney is poised to deliver in his culminating address, if he can embrace his true character.
"He needs to relax into his role," he says. "They want to know that his basic values and there's no question with Romney. But it's not just character and it's not just policy, it's wisdom."
"A politician's impulse is to blur distinctions and to go towards this elusive middle ground voter who doesn't make up his mind until the Monday before the election," Gilder explains. "People, especially in a situation like that, need clarity."
And despite the fact that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Tea Party-powered official who has consistently elictrified the conservative electorate is speaking just before Romney, Gilder says there's no chance the nominee will be overshadowed.
"You can't really outshine the candidate," he says.