Mitt Romney’s forceful debate performance on Wednesday night went a long way toward refuting the view of the former governor as a gaffe-prone, awkward speaker. He was nimble in his arguments. He seemed clear-headed and competent — more like the Romney that Massachusetts voters remember from the mid-’00s than the more recent, harsher candidate trying to appeal to the right wing.
Romney’s sudden relaunch puts the presidential race back where it was before the conventions, when Democratic attacks and Romney’s own statements began to tarnish his image. It clears the way for the more principled contest that seemed likely when Romney chose Representative Paul Ryan, the GOP’s chief budget expert, as his running mate.