Commentary Magazine


Re: The Importance of Ann Romney

I agree with Jonathan that the most important role Ann Romney will play tonight is helping to humanize Mitt, and tell the personal stories about him that he’s either been too modest or too uncomfortable onstage to talk about himself. From the excerpts released by the Romney campaign, it sounds like that’s exactly what Ann plans to do (h/t Playbook):

“Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts. I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight I want to talk to you about love.”

“When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together…I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage.’ 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…At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.”

“…This is the man America needs. 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. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard. 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!”

The delivery of the speech will, in some ways, be more important than the content. Of course she’s going to say wonderful things about Mitt; she’s his wife, and he’s running for political office. But Ann Romney has been such a key surrogate to her husband throughout the campaign because of her demeanor; where he’s been awkward and stiff, she’s been charming and genuine. That’s what her task will be tonight.