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Ann Romney: Most Valuable Speaker

| Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

TAMPA

No disrespect intended to Mitt Romney or running mate Paul Ryan but the MVS (Most Valuable Speaker) at the Republican National Convention was Romney's wife, Ann.

Her job was much like a baseball player getting on base with a hit or walk to set up the cleanup batter.

The reason her speech was refreshing is it was vastly different from most political speeches. It was political, sure, but much of it was personal and “from the heart.”

“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,” Mrs. Romney said. “That's a good thing. And he made me laugh.”

Normally, the Mitt Romney we see isn't a barrel of laughs.

She talked about the early days of their 42-year marriage where they ate a lot of tuna and pasta and were happy with minimal furniture and belongings.

The speech was effective because Mr. Romney at times can appear robotic; it's difficult to get a sense of what he's really like.

“The best part of Ann Romney's speech was about her marriage,” said Mary Lou Doyle, an alternate delegate of Chester County and a GOP consultant. “She said it was not a fairy-tale marriage. It's a real marriage.”

And she reached women by talking about how women almost always do the extra things to run a household or run a family.

“You know it's true, don't you?” she said. “You're the ones who always have to do a little more.”

It was difficult to keep in mind that she has battled multiple sclerosis and breast cancer yet still raised five boys, Doyle said.

Nonetheless Juan Williams, a Fox News liberal contributor, wasn't buying it. Ann Romney seemed like a “corporate wife” who really couldn't relate to the struggles of ordinary women, Williams said on the air.

“(Williams) was way off base,” Doyle said.

Ann Romney personalized her husband, who doesn't like to talk about things he does to help people and charities. She also spoke of his dogged determination.

Whether you like or dislike Mitt Romney, love or hate his policies, those are traits that a president must have.

Ann Romney was the sleeper among the GOP speakers. Sure, Condoleezza Rice delivered as did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and especially Ryan. But they are pros, political pros, except for Rice, the former secretary of State and ultimate policy wonk.

Ann Romney did speak from the heart. Talking about women doing more than men to run households might even be controversial to some. But, generally speaking, it is true.

Ann Romney set the stage for her husband on the final night of the convention. She got on base and scored a critical run.

Brad Bumsted is the state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media (717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com).

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