DES MOINES, Iowa — What's next for Mitt Romney? The Republican presidential nomination finally in hand, he will spend the next three months trying to undercut President Barack Obama on the economy while portraying himself as Mr. Fix It for a nation with stubbornly and painfully high unemployment.
Romney also faces key decisions between now and his acceptance of the party's nomination in late August in Florida: Where should he compete most aggressively? Who should be his running mate?
At the same time, he must dive anew into fundraising and work to win over voters who are distracted by their own summer plans and day-to-day pocketbook worries — while withstanding Obama's attacks on his own claims as a jobs creator.
Not that Romney is publicly sweating the hurdles that come with being the little-known challenger to a personally popular president.
"People will get to know me better," Romney told Fox News in an interview that aired Wednesday, the day after he sealed the GOP nomination with his primary election victory in Texas.
Romney spent Wednesday in California, plunging into a week filled with fundraisers and efforts to unite Republicans after a divisive primary season. Already he's proven adept at both, hauling in enough cash to cut into the advantage that Obama has while getting most of his former Republican rivals to close ranks around him.
Those efforts — and the turning of his primary campaign into a general election operation — have been his prime focus. He's making only a handful of public appearances for now, but aides say they expect the campaign to ramp up to a full sprint by July 4. Romney has said he plans to take a week off around the holiday.