One down, one to go.
In Tampa, Republicans dodged a hurricane, survived Dirty Harry and crowned Utah's adopted favorite son.
It was a good week for Mitt Romney as he articulated arguments why his business background makes him the better man to get the U.S. economy moving, and, with help from his wife, Ann, and five Mormon friends, revealed a personal side that Americans hadn't seen.
Polls have Romney running neck and neck with President Barack Obama in the wake of the GOP National Convention, including in the swing states that will determine who wins in November.
Now it is on to Charlotte, N.C., and the Democratic National Convention. As Salt Lake Tribune Washington reporter Matt Canham explains in his setup story, Obama finds himself in a much different place than where he was in 2008.
Then the agent of change, now he must defend the status quo. A remarkable speaker and communicator, the president faces a much different, and much harder, task: explaining why he is the leader who should continue to navigate choppy economic waters.
Two visions: One of less government, less regulation and more faith in our economic system; another in which government takes more of a protective and proactive role in matters of the economy. Of course, the stark differences between Romney and Obama extend to national defense, social services and health care, education, the environment and beyond.
In the lead-up to the conventions, Tribune reporters have told how these two men, with their divergent visions, have come to be where they are. Before Tampa, Thomas Burr, our other D.C. reporter, looked back to Romney's political roots, the impact of his parents, George and Lenore Romney, and their own failed political bids Â for the presidency in 1968, and for the Senate in 1970.
Burr went on to recount how the 2008 campaign and the early primary contest for 2012 steeled Romney's message: It's the economy, stupid.
Canham's story on Obama takes a similar historical tack, recounting the convention of 2004, when a young state senator from Illinois made an indelible and inspirational impression, and then on to 2008, when he made history.
Of course, the targets were bigger four years ago: a dangerously unstable economy and an outgoing Republican president prone to faux pas. Now he's the president, one who can point to real accomplishments passing a health care bill and taking out Osama bin Laden among them but still saddled with a labor-pained economy.
In reporting on these conventions, it's hard to get past the bluster. Thursday night, Romney promised to deliver 12 million jobs if elected, without one word about how he would do it. Paul Ryan, the vice presidential candidate, had fact checkers working overtime to dissect his misleading comments on Medicare and the economic stimulus package in his convention speech.
Expect similar charges and countercharges when Obama and Vice President Joe Biden take the stage in Charlotte.
The Tribune's strategy has been not only to report what happens at these conventions, but also to place these candidates in context, to tell readers how they arrived where they are, and how their pasts could determine their fate in November, and, beyond that, the fate of the country.
We're entering the homestretch of Election 2012. Time to start (really) paying attention.
Terry Orme is a managing editor at The Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.