Making her national debut, Ann Romney swept onto the stage at the Republican National Convention late Tuesday night and delivered a forceful defense of her husband Mitt’s character and values — and made an all-out play for the critical women’s vote — in a speech designed to introduce the country to the man she knows better than anyone.
“This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can’t be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair,” she said about her husband. “This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.”
According to Reuters, Mrs Romney said her husband has attacked every challenge he has faced – from reviving the struggling Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 to helping her battle multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.
“At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance has helped lift up others,” said Romney, 63. “He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.”
Ann and Mitt met in high school, kept in touch while he served as a Mormon missionary in France, married young and had five children. On Tuesday, she emphasized how their struggles shaped their relationship, writes ABC News.
“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage,'” she 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? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.”
Ann Romney spoke directly to the women among whom Mr Romney badly trails President Barack Obama in opinion polls.
“It’s the moms of this nation – single, married, widowed – who really hold this country together,” she said. “We’re the mothers, we’re the wives, we’re the grandmothers, we’re the big sisters, we’re the little sisters, we’re the daughters.” Breaking from her script, she added: “”I love you women!”
Her speech was directed squarely at women who are raising families.
“If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it?” she said. “It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.”
She also defended her husband’s wild success in business, offering a character testimonial to counter Democratic attack ads that have worked to paint her husband as wealthy and out-of-touch.
“Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point,” she said. “And we’re no different than the millions of Americans who quietly help their neighbors, their churches and their communities. They don’t do it so that others will think more of them. They do it because there is no greater joy.”
Mrs Romney, the mother of five boys, is one of Romney’s best surrogates and has been at the forefront of his campaign’s efforts to present the human side of the former Massachusetts governor.
“I can’t tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment: This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America,” she said.