Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Mitt Romney's Thursday night speech at the Republican National Convention will allow the Republican candidate to break through a "shy" exterior and speak directly to voters, House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.
"He is a very shy guy. He is a humble guy. He doesn't like to talk about himself. That's who he is," Boehner told CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash. "But I've known Mitt Romney for a long time. Decent, honest, hard working guy. And I think Thursday he'll have a chance to reintroduce himself to the American people."
Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker, catch the latest updates from the GOP convention on CNN's 2012 Conventions Live Blog, and check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator to game out your own strategy for November.
The convention in Tampa, Florida comes one week after Rep. Todd Akin sparked an uproar over comments he made about rape and pregnancy. Many top Republicans sharply rebuked Akin for the remarks, as Democrats used the comment to once again pound the GOP for waging a so-called war on women.
"I made it clear that I disagreed with those remarks," Boehner said. "I thought they were wrong and frankly I thought they were harmful. Their views don't reflect the broad views of the Republican Party."
Any talk of a problem with women in the Republican Party, Boehner said, was weighed by Democrats' struggles attracting male voters.
"The Democratic Party has a problem with men," Boehner said. "If you look at this, we've had this gender gap, Democrats have had with men, Republicans with women, over the last 20 years and it's something I think both parties have to pay attention to and clearly we do as well."
Romney arrived in Tampa on Tuesday morning, and is expected to formally accept the GOP presidential nomination in a prime-time speech Thursday evening. Many Americans have yet to begin tuning into the presidential election, making his convention speech an essential element in his bid to attract voters.
Boehner said Tuesday that the speech would be Romney's first chance to speak for himself, rather than be defined by either his Republican primary rivals or by President Barack Obama.
"He's been locked in this Republican primary and then locked into this battle with the president," Boehner said. "And as a result people have all different kind of views of him. So I think Thursday night is clearly an important speech for him and I think he'll have a chance to reintroduce himself to the American people, most of whom are just paying attention now."
The Ohio Republican, who will preside over Tuesday's session of the GOP convention, said his speech would center on the issue at the top of voters' minds: the economy.
"Clearly it's all about the economy," Boehner said. "The president's policies have failed and made things worse and as a result he's ended up turning to the politics of envy and division."