Mitt Romney is arguably one of the least known presidential candidates since the inventions of radio or television. Last night his wife Ann, took the stage in hopes of conveying to America who Mitt Romney is as a man, a father, a husband and a candidate. But actually there’s a little more to it.
Presidential candidates have long known their campaigns can benefit from a likeable spouse. Of course, the opposite is true. A candidate can be harmed by a negative perception of a spouse. Add to this that often these spouse’s are not politicians. They aren’t used to giving speeches or interviews or having reporters surround them day after day barking questions — some specifically designed to trip them up. This is an environment that would cause most of us to stumble. So, the spouse of any given candidate has to sell the candidate as well as herself / himself. A likeable spouse can create buzz, yes, but it is not without risk.
As it turns out, Team Romney had no reason to worry.
Ann Romney is credible. She demonstrated she is more of an American mom or grandmother than a politician’s wife. Not only did she shed some light on Mitt Romney but she also had a conversation with women. There will be detractors, no doubt, because no speech can satisfy everyone. Could she have spent more time discussing her husband? Probably. But with two months until the election there is time for the campaign to fill in some more details.
The important thing is she discussed American values in a convincing way. Sure, she’s rich. But isn’t it really just Obama, who has millions himself, that says being rich is a bad thing? How credible is that? Don’t we all want to worry less about money? Isn’t that part of the point of getting the economy going?
Mrs. Romney didn’t try to hide from this. She threw it out there with a heavy dose of reality. “It’s true that Mitt has been successful at each new challenge he has taken on. 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? Do we send our children out in the world with the advice, “Try to do… okay?”
And discussing the obstacle women face with a poor economy, “It’s all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things — the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder.” she said with a pause. “We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy answers. But we’re not dumb enough to accept that there aren’t better answers.”
It was the best line of the night.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, “I think that was the single most effective political speech I’ve ever heard given by a political wife,” Hume said.
Last night, Ann Romney shed some light on her husband. And she sold herself.
She successfully accomplished her mission.
What do you think?
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