Ann Romney's Big Week
So Mitt Romney is it. And since he’s now the presumptive GOP nominee, America naturally takes the opportunity to look to his wife, Ann, to learn more about the potential First Lady. And there’s still a lot to learn. A poll released this week by Quinnipiac University found that 64 percent of registered voters don’t know enough about her to form an opinion; 25 percent view her favorably compared with 9 percent who do not. The Romney campaign hopes she can court the female vote, since he’s currently 19 percentage points behind President Obama in those numbers.
And Ann Romney got her big opportunity last week when she stepped into the spotlight — and into the Twitter fray — to respond to Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen’s remarks that Romney had “never worked a day in her life.” Ann Romney tweeted for the first time: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” and in so doing set off a spin cycle of political coverage about the merits of stay-at-home-motherhood vs. mothers who work in jobs for salaries (or, you know, minimum wage). Given, Rosen had left her with a wide open door, then laid out a welcome mat that said “please tread all over me.” But in the week since the brouhaha broke, with more attention being paid to her every word, it’s now evident that she needs to be careful what she says, or else she’ll come off just as out of touch as her husband. Never mind the fact that Romney himself has said that poor women shouldn’t stay home with their children because they should have the “dignity of work.” Ann herself undid some of her momentum when she was caught saying that “It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” to a room full of fatcat fundraisers in Florida. Ann backpedaled in an interview with Diane Sawyer, saying that the “present” was a conversation about the economy (oh, just my size!) and then chose the poorly worded statement, “it’s our turn now,” to suggest that Obama and co. start packing. Democrats pounced, saying that the birthday present comments were dismissive and out of touch with the American public. Which, when you consider the fact that she her birthday party this week was thrown by Donald Trump and also featured an elaborate horse cake, does help remind everyone that, oh yeah, she’s rich. Her economic worries are far different from the rest of us.
Ann Romney is a breast cancer survivor and has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, two things that may cleave her to the female population — but with Mitt’s tenuous stance on Obamacare, one wonders whether she’ll be willing to tread into that debate. Ann is known for her ability to humanize Mitt, which, given his robotic tendencies, leaves her with hands full. It remains to be seen how else she’ll help shape the debate.