Byron York of the Washington Examiner will join a John Locke Foundation panel discussion next month to preview the November election. In the meantime, you might enjoy York’s take on the tweaks Mitt Romney has made recently to his campaign message.

Romney, these critics say, has spent a lot of time criticizing Obama and touting his own resume. All well and good, the critics say, but what is he proposing to make things better?

“It doesn’t require a different set of policies,” a well-known Romney supporter said in another interview Wednesday. “I think that a much more positive message is there to be delivered.”

Talk like that has virtually consumed some Republican circles in recent days. But it was made more urgent at midweek by the arrival of a new poll from Quinnipiac and the New York Times that seemed to suggest many swing state voters simply don’t believe the economy will improve, no matter who is elected president. For the moment, they’re giving the edge to Obama because they think he empathizes with their plight more than his Republican opponent. For Romney, the critical task is to convince those voters that things can get better, and that he can make it happen.

The GOP complaining left some Romney backers a little baffled. Of course he has a plan; what about that famous 59-point economic blueprint? And what about the proposals he laid out before the Republican primary in Michigan? The candidate has put forth lots of ideas, they say.

But critics, and probably some voters, wanted something more digestible — something between the oversimplicity of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and the overcomplexity of Romney’s 59-point dissertation.

So on Thursday, the campaign rolled out “Mitt Romney’s Plan for a Stronger Middle Class,” which boiled down nearly every domestic policy proposal Romney has made to just five points: energy independence, education, trade reform, deficit cutting and a plan to “champion small business.”