Mitt Romney takes the stage Thursday at the Republican National Convention to make his case for why he should be elected the next president of the United States.
The Republican Party nominee will address those at the convention in Tampa, Florida and millions watching on television, following days of speeches by party heavyweights aimed at showing how he would govern differently from President Barack Obama.
The speech also will give Romney - a one-time venture capitalist and former governor of Massachusetts - a chance to introduce himself to voters who may have paid little attention to the presidential election process until now.
The Republican challenger says he can boost the country's sluggish economy with lower taxes and less government regulation. But Obama, the Democratic incumbent, says a Romney presidency would result in a return to policies that led to the country's worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
Nationwide voter surveys show the two candidates in a virtual tie 10 weeks ahead of the November 6 election. Voters say they think Romney would be better suited to fix the nation's economy, but they like Obama more.
Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Wednesday night promised an end to "excuses and idle words" when it comes to the economy, if Romney wins.
Ryan told the convention that "fear and division" is all the Democratic party has left, chastising Obama and his fellow Democrats for spending the past four years blaming others for problems instead of finding solutions.
Ryan said he and Romney will "meet serious challenges in a serious way," but he warned the country's economic problems are so big that there is not much time to fix them.
The 42-year-old lawmaker has energized conservative activists, even though he has been criticized for his proposals to impose deep cuts in social programs.
In the state of Virginia Wednesday, President Obama called the Republican convention a "pretty entertaining show," but said voters will not hear Romney or other Republican party officials offer "a clear, serious path forward."
The Democrats will hold their convention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
Mitt Romney, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) and Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades pose for a staff portrait on the steps of the stage at the Republican National Conventionm in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan wave to delegates after speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012.
Mitt Romney hugs his grandchildren after his speech, August 30, 2012.
Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair on the final night of the convention, August 30, 2012.
The Republican National Convention main stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (B. Allen/VOA)
The Texas delegation reacts to speeches at the convention. (J. Featherly/VOA)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addresses the crowd, August 29, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
Ann Romney hugs her husband after she addressed delegates during the second session of the Republican National Convention, August 28, 2012.
Montana delegates on the floor of the convention. (J. Featherly/VOA)
Dona Poelman from Racine, Wisconsin accessorizes her shirt at the RNC.
Delegates cheer as an image of Mitt Romney is displayed during the opening session, August 27, 2012.
Texas delegate Clint Moore and the rest of Texas delegates fashion their cowboy hats on the floor.
Men prepare food in a protest camp called "Romneyville" outside the convention center.
Delegates on the floor watch speakers during the second session. (J. Featherly/VOA)
Delegate Sol Grosskopf from Shawano, Wisconisin wears cheesehead hat on the convention floor.
Convention goers pause in the prayer room.
A sudden, heavy rainstorm surprises protesters outside near the convention center.
A worker walks down the aisle to collect trash on the floor at the convention.