Allow me to be defensive.  I don’t concede that Mitt Romney has lost the summer, as Carter suggests.  First of all, the summer isn’t over.  But it is near the end of the summer, and Romney is out-fundraising the incumbent president, and is no worse than 3-5 points behind in most polls, with the incumbent president below 50 percent.  That’s not what losing looks like.  That looks like the ingredients for an upset. 

Also, my old friend (and an able manager himself), Bob Shrum, implies in his piece in the Daily Beast that Romney doesn’t listen.  But nothing about Romney suggests that he doesn’t allow those around him to challenge his biases or tell him what they really think.  He’s never been thought of that way and I have never heard anyone say that about him before.  Even so, good managers know how to manage their clients’ fatigue, frustrations and even their anti-handler instincts to make sure they follow the script.  Romney does have good managers, but as with all campaigns, there were growing pains as he emerged from the primary. 

Overall, Romney’s in pretty strong shape.  He needs a VP rollout with no mistakes, to work on his own performance and to talk slower and be more direct.  He looks like a president, but he has to learn how to carry himself like one.