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The election is now in Romney’s hands

Thursday night is a turning point in the 2012 presidential campaign, as its focus shifts from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney, who is scheduled to address the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Presidential campaigns are a referendum on the party in power. John McCain's biggest barrier to the presidency four years ago was President Bush.

The president's campaign has been less than spectacular.

The magic from 2008 is gone, as he squandered his political treasure on a failed stimulus and the most unpopular domestic program since Prohibition.

The people have decided on Obama. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Obama with 46.8 percent of the vote.

Voters may have decided to a large extent on Obama, but they have not decided yet on Romney. It's up to him to make his case.

When Obama speaks to the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, N.C., the president will attack Republicans as being out-of-touch extremists who want to return to the 1950s; Democrats have said that since 1980.

The president cannot rest on his laurels because he has none.

His $787 billion stimulus is a monumental failure. Smaller stimuli in 2011 and this year also failed.

His promise to cut the deficit in half when it stood at $450 billion annually is a joke, as federal deficits now top a trillion dollars a year,

I do not want to alarm anyone, but nearly 10 percent of the national economy consists of money borrowed by the federal government.

The Democrats' signature domestic policy - Obamacare - is loathed. More than two years after passage, more than half the people want it repealed.

How bad is it?

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, once took to the House floor to formally object to calling this health insurance plan "Obamacare" because she felt it insulted the president.

Having decided on Obama, voters now turn to Romney.

If Romney does well over the next 10 weeks, not only will the undecided voters swing his way, but more Republicans will go to the polls and more Democrats will stay home.

Otherwise, Obama will get a second term.

Romney's downside is that he is handsome, rich and from Massachusetts. Thus, he reminds people of John Kerry.

But Jack Kennedy also was handsome, rich and from Massachusetts.

Democrats rejoiced when Romney selected Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.

Nearly a month later, that choice looks wise. Romney learned from the mistakes of the convention eve selections of Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, both of whom were instantly savaged by the press.

Romney rolled out Ryan the right way, giving his running mate the lead while standing beside him.

The image of Romney and son - Ryan is the same age as Romney's eldest - serves the ticket well.

Selecting Ryan tricked Democrats into firing up their Mediscare machine - only to have Ryan brush it off by pointing out that Democrats swiped $716 billion from Medicare to finance Obamacare.

The question every four years is not "Are you better off today than you were four years ago," as Jimmy Carter asked in 1976 (Ronald Reagan asked the same thing four years later) but rather, "With whom will you be better off four years from now?

Romney's speech on Thursday will begin to answer that question.

Surber may be reached at



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