To hear Republicans tell it, President Obama, the candidate of "Winning the Future," has struggled to lay out a plan for the next four years.
Indeed, Obama's stump speech has more to do with the past, defending what he's done in four years and safeguarding against a potential Romney presidency.
Obama argues that his policies are responsible for bringing the country back from the "worst economic crisis of our lifetimes," he kept his promise to end the Iraq War and wind down the conflict in Afghanistan, and he is protecting the country's economic security by boosting renewable energy and reducing oil imports.
But what comes next?
Some Democrats say that, now more than ever, Obama has to give voters more than a defense of his presidency, but a clear plan for economic growth if he gets a second term.
The problem for Obama has been exacerbated by a Romney debate strategy that has focused nearly exclusively on keeping Obama on his heels defending his record as president over the last four years.
Particularly in the first presidential debate, some Democrats believe that Obama missed a critical opportunity -- when he had a captive audience of millions -- to make his case for a second term.
"He certainly didn't do any of it in the first debate. But he did more of it in this [second] debate," said Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, senior vice president of Greenberg Quinlan and Rosner. "People are looking for him to say something about how the future is going to look. There may be an opportunity in the debate and within the final bit of advertising to do that."
A Greenberg Quinlan and Rosner study conducted for Democracy Corps before the second debate by Stan Greenberg and James Carville, two veterans of President Bill Clinton's political operation, made the case that Obama should get bold and specific on policy. It highlighted an Obama campaign ad featuring actor Morgan Freeman that focused nearly exclusively on the past.
"Every president inherits challenges," Freeman said in the ad. "Few have faced so many. Four years later, our enemies have been brought to justice, our heroes are coming home, assembly lines are humming again."
By comparison, the report pointed out, Romney's ad focused on his plan to create jobs.
"Let me tell you how I'll create 12 million jobs when President Obama couldn't," Romney says to the camera.
"I don't think he has to have a 15-point plan, but I think he needs to have something," Anna Greenberg told ABC News. "It's reassuring and it has to have a sense of dealing with the cost of living, people's ability to get an education. It has to reflect and understanding of the struggles that they're experiencing."
The issue of who has a plan for the country's future has become an integral part of Romney's talking points.