Love was the theme of the night yesterday when Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, took the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa and talked about falling in love with Mitt many years ago and about the love they both have for America.
Her speech got rave reviews from commentators and went far in humanizing Mitt, a candidate who has been portrayed as a stiff, awkward rich guy with no sense of humor. After Ann was done with him, enthralling the crowd with tales of Mitt’s sense of humor and the many things he does without fanfare to help his fellow Americans, a much fuller, less superficial portrait of Mitt Romney had emerged.
“Tonight I want to talk to you about love,” Ann Romney said near the start of her speech. “I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country. I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it—the love we have for our children and our children’s children. And I want us to think tonight about the love we all share for those Americans, our brothers and sisters, who are going through difficult times, whose days are never easy, nights are always long, and whose work never seems done.”
Romney told the crowd that she can’t help but feel that women worry just a bit more than men about the family and the bills.
“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right,” she said. “It’s the moms of this nation—single, married, widowed—who really hold this country together. 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. You know it’s true, don’t you? You’re the ones who always have to do a little more. You know what it’s like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done…You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you…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!”
This is where Ann began to talk about her husband.
“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,” she said. “And that is where this boy I met at a high school dance comes in. His name is Mitt Romney and you really should get to know him. I could tell you why I fell in love with him—he was tall, laughed a lot, was nervous—girls like that, it shows the guy’s a little intimidated—and he was nice to my parents but he was really glad when my parents weren’t around. That’s a good thing. And he made me laugh.”
After recounting the rags-to-riches stories of both her family and Romney’s, Ann told the audience how the two of them struggled in the early years of their marriage just like everybody else and their marriage has been far from storybook—clearly attempting to counter any resentments that have built up in the American public about the charmed lives of the wealthy Romneys.
“We were very young. Both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage, and you know? We just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment,” she said. “We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen. Those were very special days. Then our first son came along. All at once I’m 22 years old, with a baby and a husband who’s going to business school and law school at the same time, and I can tell you, probably like every other girl who finds herself in a new life far from family and friends, with a new baby and a new husband, that it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.
“That was 42 years ago. Now we have five sons and 18 grandchildren and I’m still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance. 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.”
Ann spoke about the many ways Romney has worked hard to make life better for Americans.
“No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!” she said. “This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America!”