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.