Byron York
A look at the Republican presidential candidate's schedule of public events shows a remarkably relaxed pace for a man who says this election is critical to America's future. Here's what Mitt Romney did on the trail in mid-September:

He had one public appearance on his schedule Monday, Sept. 17, a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.

He had one appearance scheduled the day before, an airport rally in Pueblo, Colo., but it was canceled after a small-plane crash there killed one person.

Romney had no public events Saturday. On Friday, Sept. 14, he attended a single rally, at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. On Thursday, he attended a single rally, at a park in Fairfax, Va. On Wednesday, he was scheduled to hold a single campaign event at his headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., but instead appeared at a hastily organized press conference to denounce President Obama's response to the embassy crises in Libya and Egypt. On Tuesday, Romney had one event, a speech to the National Guard Association convention in Reno, Nev. And on the day before that, another single rally, in Mansfield, Ohio.

Romney's light schedule of public events "has its own body language," says Pat Caddell, the political consultant best known for his work on Jimmy Carter's 1976 and 1980 campaigns. "It doesn't strike you as a campaign in the greatest crisis this country has faced. ... (Romney) comes off as passive."

If he's not on the stump at the height of the campaign, what is Romney doing? After all, Barack Obama, when he's on the trail, usually manages to hold at least two public events each day, and he's supposed to have a full-time job.

Romney, a busy and industrious man, isn't goofing off. Privately, campaign aides point to the heavy burden of fundraising imposed on candidates since Obama blew up the system of publicly financed campaigns in 2008. Keeping up with the president in the money race takes up a lot of Romney's time.

Aides also stress that Romney is not the only person campaigning for the Republican ticket. Running mate Paul Ryan is out on his own most of the time, as are, occasionally, Romney's wife, Ann, and his five sons.

But the fact remains: Mitt Romney is the man running for president and has to make the case for himself. As the top of the ticket, he draws the most attention and news coverage. Holding more events means more coverage, which means more voters see Romney.

Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner