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America Loves Ann, Ann Loves Mitt
Blog by Morgan Farra:
Happy Wednesday from Tampa, Florida!
In the week leading up to the convention I attended classes and seminars devoted solely to analyzing the campaign process and discussing tactics and strategies used in a presidential bid. Much of what we discussed was the importance of “likability” in a national race and the struggles that Mitt Romney is facing in developing a personal image that exudes warmth. The argument is not that Romney should be someone he isn’t, but it is vital to his success that he capitalizes on his family-man persona and the extreme support his wife continues to receive from the Republican party- especially if he plans to contest Barack Obama who, although his economic platform is questioned, his loving and warm, charismatic persona is adored. With that, it was no surprise to learn that on the schedule for the convention would be a speech from Ann Romney, Mitt’s adoring wife. Our small class discussions as well as large seminars continued to discuss the importance of Ann’s address in softening Romney and aiding his image as a warmer candidate. The expectation was that Mrs. Romney would speak of the days they fell in love after the school dance, the honeymoon phase of their marriage, the blossoming of their family, and the partnership they have sustained throughout the test of time. Last night, Ann graced the crowd with her presence and everything from her authentic laughter to her bright red dress exuded warmth; however, the address failed to make me feel any sort of meaningful connection with Romney as a person.
The focus was on the Romney family value of success, but that wasn’t what the crowd needed. The American public needs to know that Romney is a man of compassion, capable of warmth; instead, Ann constantly referred to her husband as Mitt Romney. In my opinion that is not the image of love – I don’t know about anyone else but my parents don’t call one another by their full name. I understand that she was addressing a national audience but her husband is a national celebrity – she could have afforded to call him Mitt avoiding critics like myself from questioning how heartfelt her remarks were. To be clear, I am not arguing that Ann and Mitt don’t feel the deepest of love for one another, I am simply suggesting that it would have come across as more natural if Ann referred to her husband as Mitt. Ann spoke of the economic struggles of women, the hardships of parenthood and the need for economic growth and won the hearts of the crowd, but didn’t necessarily sell the crowd on the family-man version of Romney.
After Romney greeted Ann on stage, they walked hand-in-hand back to their seats to watch Chris Christie and hope he didn’t set off any fireworks that could prove deadly to the Romney ticket. Luckily, Christie kept his Jersey attitude in check and delivered a powerful speech to close out the evening.
Tonight the highlight of the event will be Condoleezza Rice- I’m trying to score a ticket to see her speak in person! I’ll let you know if I have any success in doing so, keep your fingers crossed for me!