—Introduce the vice presidential nominee. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was unknown to most Americans when Romney selected the energetic young, GOP policy wonk as his running mate. Over the past two weeks, Ryan's controversial budget proposals — and conflicts with Romney on policy matters — have dominated the political debate. Democrats have fueled that fire. Romney — and Ryan — now get a second chance to make that first impression.
—Convince independent voters he's their ally. Romney heads to his convention with 41 percent approval among independent voters, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Romney, a Republican who won the governorship in liberal Massachusetts, will almost certainly need to boost that rating among these voters, since they are the ones who often decide elections, if he is to have any chance at toppling Obama.
—Fire up the base. Romney was never the first choice of cultural conservatives, and some still eye him suspiciously because of his reversals on issues they hold dear, such as abortion and gay rights. But the convention gives him a chance to promote the parts of his record that appeal to this powerful bloc of voters, who help knock on doors and make phone calls. His selection of Ryan, a hero to the right, already has started to help him further this objective.
—Prolong his "bounce" of support into the fall — if he can manage to create one. Deadening it will be part of Obama's job one week later.
An AP News Analysis
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