Mitt Romney, speechwriter-in-chief

And not just a tinkerer. Mitt Romney is a deadline-pushing tinkerer whose mantra is that no speech is finished until after it’s delivered. Romney takes extensive notes in his journal, peppers his aides with questions about specifics and transmits speech versions back and forth to his advisers late into the night…

An English major in college, Romney is a voracious reader and is particular about the words he utters, advisers say. He obsesses and fine-tunes, for speeches consequential and trivial, on airplanes and in hotel suites. A business executive close to Romney said the candidate approaches speechwriting as he would constructing a persuasive essay.

So it is that as Romney prepared to deliver the most important speech of his political career Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, he spent months reading past nominating and inaugural speeches (including President Obama’s) and biographies. By the middle of last week, as the guts of the speech were coming together, he asserted, in a conversation with an associate, “I still have to write it.” On Friday, Romney told talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, “Mine is still a work in progress, kind of early stage.”