TAMPA, Fla. — In her speech Tuesday evening, Ann Romney‚??s job in part was to humanize her husband — to show a more personal, intimate side of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with anecdotes about his family life and the couple‚??s journey prior to his years of running for president.
She delivered on all that was asked of her and more. But first, she tackled one of the most hard-to-reach demographics for Romney‚??s campaign — women voters. President Barack Obama led in the demographic 56 to 43 percent in 2008, and has sought to extend his lead by aligning himself with Planned Parenthood and airing campaign ads attacking Romney for his pro-life stance on abortion.
Ann Romney stressed that she identified with the women of America, from single working mothers struggling in a hard economy to those struggling with the everyday challenges that come with raising a family or being part of one.
‚??They‚??ve said to me, I‚??m running in place and just can‚??t get ahead,‚?Ě she said. ‚??There‚??s a collective sigh from moms and dads across America who just want to make it through another day. If you listen closely, you‚??ll hear the women sighing a little more than the men.‚?Ě
At some points–as when she spontaneously shouted ‚??I love women!‚?Ě–Romney‚??s efforts to connect seemed almost too overt, a clear plea to win over the female vote. But when she started to describe her husband, beginning with their meeting at a high school dance, she truly hit her stride, sincerity echoing in her voice.
She described a softer view of Romney than the caricature of wealth and elitism embraced by the media — instead, painting a self-made man from humble roots, whose father was a carpenter who never got a college degree. She recalled living with Mitt in the salad days, when she was in her early 20s and he was in business and law schools.
‚??We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish … Those were very special days,‚?Ě she said.
Life had been far from a fairy tale for her and Mitt, Romney said.
‚??I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‚??storybook marriage,‚?Ě Romney said. ‚??Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer. A storybook marriage? Nope, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.‚?Ě
Turning attention to Mitt Romney‚??s record outside of the political arena, Ann Romney briefly discussed his caring nature and habit of helping others in his private life.
‚??From the time we were first married, I’ve seen him spend countless hours helping others,‚?Ě she said. ‚??I’ve seen him drop everything to help a friend in trouble, and been there when late-night calls of panic came from a member of our church whose child had been taken to the hospital.‚?Ě
This view of Romney will be reinforced Thursday night. Before Romney receives the Republican nomination, members of Romney‚??s church and a trio of Olympic medalists he aided through management of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics will share their own stories about how he helped them.
Ann Romney closed her speech on a crescendo as she challenged those who opposed Romney because his hard work and discipline had paid off.
‚??It’s true that Mitt has been successful at each new challenge he has taken on,‚?Ě she said. ‚??It amazes me to see his history of success actually being attacked. Are those really the values that made our country great? As a mom of five boys, do we want to raise our children to be afraid of success?‚?Ě
True, Romney had risen to the top of his game. But, Ann said, ‚??he built it.‚?Ě
She ended with a solemn promise that her husband would approach leading the nation with the same care and resolve that he had applied to every other life challenge.
‚??No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!‚?Ě she said.
As Mitt Romney appeared in person to escort his wife off the stage, the crowd roared.