The speech caps a a week-long effort to re-introduce the former Massachusetts governor to the American people and make the Republican case to Americans ahead of the November election.
Romney's address comes after a primetime introduction by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio , viewed by many in the party as the future of the GOP with his Hispanic heritage and his ties to the Tea Party. There will also be a "TBA" mystery speaker. Clint Eastwood? Nancy Reagan? Buzz has built all week.
The Difference? Republicans More Likely to Have Dental, Possibly Family Support - 5:35 p.m. ET - ABC Pollster Gargy Langer writes on a new Gallup survey:
"Democrats and independents struggle more than Republicans do with access to basic necessities. Republicans are more likely to have health insurance, visit the dentist regularly, and have enough money for food, medicine, and shelter."
They note that this is largely about income and other socioeconomic measures - but not exclusively so. Analytical points of interest:"The fact that Republicans are in a better position on these measures… has potential political implications. Republicans, at least in theory, could be less supportive of government programs designed to focus on healthcare issues, for example, because they are more likely to have access to healthcare as it stands now.
"There appears, however, to be more than just demographic differences that divide the three partisan groups in terms of their access to necessities. Even when controlling for income and other demographic factors, Republicans still maintain an advantage over Democrats and independents, possibly suggesting a more robust social support infrastructure of family and friends."
What Will Romney Say? - Bain, Faith, Business - 4:45 p.m. ET - Michael Falcone has the outline:
The speech is divided into four parts: Romney's philosophical and world view; his biography; his disappointment with the Obama years; and his vision for the country.
Bain - "We know that the Democrats want to try to make Bain a negative for us," one Romney campaign strategist told ABC News. "It's not."
Faith - Romney's faith will also be front and center on Thursday night. Grant Bennett, a friend of Romney's and a fellow member of the Mormon church, will address the convention. And although Romney's religion will be a key part of tonight's program it's unclear to what extent speakers - including Romney, himself - will discuss faith, generally, rather than Mormonism, in particular.
Asked whether the word "Mormon" would be uttered tonight, the Romney adviser said, "I can't believe it won't be uttered in the faith section," but declined to say whether it will make an appearance in Romney's speech.
3 Balloon Drops and 'America the Beautiful' - 4:40 p.m. - From Michael Falcone -
Tonight's program will end with not one but three balloon drops as Romney, his wife, Ann and their family and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, his wife Janna and their family take the stage in successive waves.
Just before the final benediction led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, the singer Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus will lead the entire convention hall in singing "America the Beautiful."
Obama Campaign Shreds 'Lies' in Ryan Speech - 4:16 p.m. ET - Devin Dwyer reports:
One word describes Democrats' view of Rep. Paul Ryan's address Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention: "lies."
The Obama campaign is criticizing the GOP vice presidential nominee, backed by reports from independent fact-checkers that claim Ryan repeatedly took liberty with the facts.
"There's no delicate way to say this. Last night, Paul Ryan lied. Repeatedly, knowingly and brazenly," deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told reporters today. More here.
Romney, Ryan Pose for Campaign Class Photo - 4:11 p.m. ET - Emily Friedman reports from the convention floor:
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan greeted staff members on the floor of the RNC today. The staffers were ready to take a group photo and the nominee and his running mate drew a loud round of applause upon entering.
Romney and Ryan stood in the front row front and center, campaign manager Matt Rhoades standing next to the candidate.
Ryan joked as the photographer took photo after photo that he'd "like to blink sometime soon."
Before walking out Romney turned to his staff - nearly his entire senior staff as well as members of his advance team - and exclaimed, "Thanks, guys!"
Go Ahead, Barack. Make My… It's Clint! - 4:01 p.m. ET - A GOP source confirms to ABC's Jonathan Karl that Clint Eastwood, the actor, director and former Republican mayor of Carmel, Calif., will make a special appearance at the Republican National Convention before Mitt Romney speaks Thursday night. More here.
Meet the Director of 2016 - 3:52 p.m. - The anti-Obama documentary has been making millions at the box office. ABC's David Wright interviewed the director on Nightline. Dinesh D'Souza wants the film to be like a conservative "Farenheit 9/11."
D.C. Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law - 3:14 p.m. ET This will have some people talking at the convention. The federal c ourt essentially barred the law from taking effect, according to ABC's Ariane de Vogue:
In the weeks leading up to the election, the law - passed by a Republican-led Texas legislature - has gained particular attention as supporters said it was meant to protect voter integrity, while critics claimed it would lead to voter suppression. The Voter ID law requires people voting in person to provide certain government-issued photo IDs when the come to the polls.
… The law was passed in 2011, but was subject to approval by federal officials as required by the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Section 5 of the VRA requires certain jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination to "pre-clear" any changes to voting laws with the Department of Justice or a federal Court in Washington. Covered jurisdictions include 9 states and parts of 7 additional states.
…The case has been of interest to election law experts because not only is Abbott defending his state's voter ID law, but Texas is also challenging the constitutionality of Section 5.
Convention Ratings - Who's Watching? - 3:00 p.m. - From the AP:
The first night of the Republican National Convention drew an estimated 22.3 million television viewers, the vast majority over age 55.
The Nielsen ratings company said Wednesday that the audience, spread over nine TV networks, was down from the 23.1 million who watched the first full night of the 2008 convention, which nominated John McCain to run for president against eventual winner Barack Obama. Seven networks showed the 2008 convention, with CNBC and Current TV the newcomers this year.
'I accept your nomination' - 2:44 p.m. ET - A C-SPAN mash-up of every nominee since Reagan:
Obama Praises Romney's Adherence to Religion -2:31 p.m. ET - Devin Dwyer writes about a new Obama interview in Time in which the president says he appreciates that Romney "seems to walk the walk" when it comes to participating in Church. Obama referred to his own Christian faith. But he didn't quite use the 'M' word - Mormon - to describe Romney. Two high profile GOP convention speakers - Mike Huckabee, who is evangelical, and Paul Ryan, who is Catholic, referred to the fact that Romney attends a different church than them during speeches Wednesday night. Most Americans, according to a recent PEW poll, don't have a problem voting for a Mormon, but it is interesting to hear Barack Obama talk about it, perhaps subliminally contrasting his faith with a religion largely unknown to most Americans. Of course, that same PEW poll found only half of Americans - 49 percent - think Obama is a Christian.
Read Dwyer's report on Obama's interview with TIME:
"He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined. And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private equity guy," Obama said in an interview with TIME magazine ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week.
"I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church," he said.
The personal praise for Romney - and rare mention of his religious practice - goes beyond what Obama has publicly offered heretofore on the campaign trail. He regularly refers to his rival as a patriotic family man, even though he vehemently disagrees with his policies.
"My expectation is that there will be some popping of the blister after this election, because it will have been such a stark choice." - More from that Obama TIME interview.
Vote: Who is GOP's Mystery Speaker - 12:16 p.m. ET -
"Because if it was a mystery speaker, it wouldn't be a mystery anymore." - 12:08 p.m. ET - Romney adviser explaining why campaign won't talk about the mystery speaker. Read the full story from Chris Good.
Rubio is Part Attack Dog, Part Uniter - 11:18 p.m. ET - ABC's Arlette Saenz has this profile of Marco Rubio, who will introduce Romney at the convention:
Rubio, 41, is part of the new wave of young, diverse Republicans who are on display at this year's convention. The Florida junior senator, who is considered one of the GOP's most electrifying speakers, is expected to add to the chorus of testimony touting Romney's personal and leadership qualities as the GOP works to woo undecided voters, including women and Latinos.
Rubio, whose family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the 1950s, experienced a meteoric rise within the GOP ranks during the swell of the Tea Party movement in 2010, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, a seat he's held for less than two years. Many believe Rubio's calls for rising above petty politics, and his growing popularity among the GOP faithful, coupled with his youth and Latin roots signal a potential presidential bid of his own down the line.
Rubio is part attack dog, part party uniter, all while touting his Cuban descent and family's story of achieving the American dream. Romney has even taken to incorporating Rubio's American dream narrative into his stump speeches.
Here's his conversation with George Stephanopoulos from Wednesday morning:
Fact Check: Paul Ryan Misleads on Stimulus, Medicare, GM Plant - 10:02 a.m. ET - The AP has a thoroughly researched look at several claims from Paul Ryan's convention speech that didn't tell the whole story. They looked at Ryan's claims about the economic stimulus as an example of political patronage, his dissection of Medicare, and his mention of a GM plant that closed in his hometown.
GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts during the Republican convention when he attacked President Barack Obama's policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit. His running mate, Mitt Romney, was expected to speak later Thursday in the convention's culmination.
AP's first example:
RYAN: "And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."
THE FACTS: Ryan's claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.
In addition, Ryan's own plan to remake Medicare would squeeze the program's spending even more than the changes Obama made, shifting future retirees into a system in which they would get a fixed payment to shop for coverage among private insurance plans. Critics charge that would expose the elderly to more out-of-pocket costs.
Jeb Explains How Republicans Are Being 'Stupid' - 8:00 a.m. ET - Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and brother and son to former presidents talked this morning to George Stephanopoulos on GMA.
Bush, who will speak at the convention tonight, argued that Paul Ryan was right to so prominently feature his plan to alter Medicare for future generations. But he defended his recent comment that Republicans are being "stupid" on issues like immigration, where they are focused so entirely on border protection instead of economic growth. Take a look:
Wednesday Rewind: Ryan and Condi - 7:55 a.m. ET - Here's a re-cap of Paul Ryan's conservative manifesto and Condoleeza Rice's plea for education reform from Wednesday night: