ST. LOUIS -- In his quest for the Republican nomination for president, Mitt Romney faced off against one rival who carries a pistol while jogging and another who stopped for target practice on the campaign trail.
Romney, however, has had trouble demonstrating familiarity with hunting and firearms. His sometimes tenuous relationship with gun owners, which will be in the spotlight when he addresses the National Rifle Association Friday at its convention in St. Louis, reflects a theme that has long nagged at Romney's candidacy.
While he cultivated an heir of inevitability in the GOP race, Romney has not inspired much enthusiasm among grassroots conservatives. Also, he has found it difficult to shake the perception that some of his views are carefully calibrated for the moment.