White House hopeful Mitt Romney will vow to "restore the promise of America" by creating jobs Thursday in a prime-time pitch to US voters as he accepts the Republican presidential nomination.
"What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn't take a special government commission to tell us what America needs," he will say, according to excerpts. "What America needsv, is jobs. Lots of jobs."
The former Massachusetts governor will tell Americans that Barack Obama has failed to deliver the "hope and change" he promised and that the country must elect him instead to save an economy crippled by wrong-headed policies.
Romney's elevation to official challenger to Obama in the November election comes more than five long years after he launched his first White House bid and with the race neck-and neck and dependent on a handful of key states.
His convention address aims to generate enough campaign momentum to slingshot out of Tampa and through the 10-week dash across battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, any of which could decide the race.
After trailing for months, the multimillionaire former venture capitalist has recently drawn even in national polls with Obama, an incumbent saddled with a sluggish US economy and stubbornly high unemployment.
Romney has touted his business acumen, arguing that he has the skills necessary to steer America back to prosperity, but he trails Obama badly in terms of likability and can come across as stiff, awkward and out of touch.An ABC News/Washington Post poll carried out ahead of the convention found that just 40 percent of Americans viewed Romney "favorably overall" while 51 percent view him as unfavorable.
That's considerably worse than Obama, who enjoys a 50-47 percent rating, and Romney's are the lowest favorability ratings of any major party nominee at the time of the convention since at least 1984, the pollsters said.
As part of a carefully choreographed image makeover at the convention, the Republican challenger used his wife Ann to display his more human side and his own speech promised to have touchy-feely moments, according to the excerpts.
"My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all -- the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would be, and much less about what we would do," he is due to say.
Wrapped inside his message was also a targeted pitch at the women voters who could prove decisive.
"My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example," he will say.
"When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, 'Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?'"
But the overriding narrative of Romney's speech was that Obama had had his chance and failed, the American economy is flagging and the president is to blame. Vote for me and I will turn things around.
"Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama?" he asks.
"You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him.
"Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us. To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations. To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be.
"Now is the time to restore the promise of America."
Clint Eastwood, who has endorsed Romney, will take the stage as the mystery surprise speaker before the candidate is introduced, adding a touch of Hollywood stardust to the climax of the Republican jamboree.