The nation has met Barack Obama’s Mitt Romney. If it’s going to meet Romney’s version of himself, it will happen this month, or not at all.

It was supposed to start last month, with picked-up ad spending and a foreign trip built around a choreographed Olympic moment. But the foreign trip fell flat amid distractions at every stop, and Democrats continued to break through with their assault on Romney’s transparency and business record…

Republicans are complaining about Democrats’ campaign tactics, while Democrats are talking about a topic they much prefer to defending the Obama economy. Reid doesn’t need defenders for his real message to penetrate, and Romney’s refusal to release more than two years’ worth of taxes keeps the issue open for exploitation…

The vice-presidential choice is of particular importance because it remains the only big move Romney has that President Obama doesn’t.