By Jessica Huseman
If anyone doubted the charge that the Romney campaign was planning to use Ann to make Mitt more relatable, all they have to do is read the transcript of her speech at the Republican National Convention.
The news has long speculated that the campaign would use Ann to soften Mitt’s image and reach out to women. Given tonight’s ad libbed, “I LOVE YOU, WOMEEEN!” (Draw out the “e” for me, please), and appeal to mothers everywhere, that prediction seems to be falling into place.
About “moms,” she said:
“You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises. I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better! And that’s fine. We don’t want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It’s all the little things — that price at the pump you just can’t believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. 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. 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.”
Romney said those “better answers” have come in the form of “a boy she met in high school.”
That, if you ask me, is the biggest appeal the Romney campaign has made to women so far.
In a Daily Beast article published today, Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said that “Americans are hungry for more information about Mitt Romney,” and that “Ann Romney opens up a door” to information about him as “a devoted father, a husband, a grandfather.”
Tonight’s speech, which spoke at length about the Romney’s love story, family and past struggles seemed to sate that hunger. Rarely does Mitt talk about himself, which has made him seem distant and cold. The Romney campaign, as per its own leaders, are counting on Ann to fill that gap.
A gap, which recent polls will tell you, badly needs to be filled.
Romney has stubbornly fallen behind in polls among women since the start of the election. In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, half of voters said differences between the parties on women’s issues will be a major factor for them come November. But when asked which candidate voters thought would do a better job on women’s issues, Obama led Romney by 16 points.
Romney’s support overall from women is also trailing the current president’s. Only 43 percent of registered women voters support Obama, while 51 percent of men support him.
But, in an even bigger gap, Obama leads Romney 61-27 percent in seeming more friendly and likeable. Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to open up seems to be biting him from behind.
“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 in her speech, spinning his reluctance in talking about himself into a slight against Obama.
Even armed with that zingy one-liner, she decided to talk for Mitt about their personal story. Talking about their love, she rejected the idea that they have a “storybook marriage.”
“In the storybooks I read, there never were long, long rainy afternoons with five boys screaming at once. And those books never had chapters called MS or breast cancer,” she said. “What Romney and I had was a real marriage.”