After a long, brutal primary campaign, a national convention truncated by a hurricane and three days of speeches and videos, Mitt Romney is now officially the Republican nominee for president.
Next week, after no primary and probably no hurricane but a comparable number of speeches and videos, Barack Obama will join him as the nation's other standard bearer in the campaign for the White House.
Soon enough Americans should have a clearer comparison of them and what they stand for -- Mr. Romney the challenger with running mate and Tea Party favorite Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, and Mr. Obama, seeking a second term alongside Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Romney's acceptance speech Thursday, preceded by a glossy video, was an attempt to introduce the nominee to those who had seen him only in Republican debates and political ads. What they saw was an articulate Mitt Romney, with management experience at Bain Capital, the 2002 Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. The picture was rounded out in the crafted image of him as a family man of faith and integrity who is personally kind and rooted in the values of his mother and father, the late Gov. George Romney of Michigan, and devoted to his wife, Ann, his sons and grandchildren.
Two holes, however, were left in the portrayal: his Mormonism and his undisclosed tax returns. He could have given in his speech a frank description of his faith and what it means to him. But he didn't. He also could have said that now that he is past the primaries, he will release more tax returns than the two years he has promised. He didn't.
It is hard to say how the convention played in terms of influencing voters. Mr. Ryan's misleading remarks about Medicare cuts; the Janesville, Wis., General Motors plant (which closed during George W. Bush's term, not Mr. Obama's) and the reason for the drop in the nation's credit rating could not have helped. The strain to showcase Hispanics and African-Americans in the overwhelmingly white party probably did. The division in the party revealed by dissident Ron Paul supporters may also bode ill for the GOP.
America will see how President Obama and the Democrats choose to project their image next week in Charlotte, N.C.