With the GOP jittery, Romney faces the test of resolve

The next few days are going to try Romney’s patience and determination. The media is focusing incessantly on Obama’s relatively small move upward in the polls, with some of the coverage bordering on outright celebration. That, in turn, is spooking some already anxious Romney supporters who fear that Romney is going about it all wrong. They’ll offer lots of advice: Be tougher about this, more assertive about that, showcase this issue, downplay that one. Romney’s belief in the wisdom of his course will be put to the test.

Meanwhile, Republican nervousness is spreading and threatens to turn into a stampede. For months, GOP strategists have told themselves that no president since World War II has been re-elected with an unemployment rate above 7.2 percent. But some are beginning to wonder: What if Obama can do it? …

Other conservatives accuse Romney of retreating from the boldness he showed by picking Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. After a brief stretch of a broader, more energized campaign, they say, Romney has reverted to his natural cautiousness, and the campaign is slowing down as a result.