The vote is six weeks from Tuesday and the former Massachusetts governor trails President Barack Obama both in national polls and, more importantly, in eight of the nine crucial swing states that will decide the election.
Efforts to claw back some ground on the incumbent since Obama received a significant boost from the Democratic Party Convention at the beginning of the month have fallen into disarray due to a series of campaign missteps.
After rushing to judgment over Obama’s response to the anti-Islamic film that spawned protests in the Muslim world, Romney was embarrassed by a secretly-recorded video in which he wrote off almost half the electorate as “victims” who were dependent on government handouts.
“The Romney campaign has to get turned around,” respected conservative columnist Peggy Noonan wrote on Friday. “This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant ‘rolling calamity.’”
A Romney reset effort begins in earnest with a campaign event on Sunday evening in Colorado before he flies east to the key states of Ohio and Virginia and drops in on New York to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative.
He will seek to get the message back to the economy — the president is vulnerable due to stubbornly high US unemployment — and portray himself as the more prudent fiscal manager who can lead America to a brighter future.
Running mate Paul Ryan kicks off a “Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class” tour on Monday across Rust-belt Ohio, where an average of the latest polling shows Obama ahead by more than four percentage points.
Under the US system, each state is awarded a certain number of electoral college votes and on election night a candidate needs to reach the magic 270 figure to emerge victorious.