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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ann Romney And Chris Christie “Speak Out” At Convention

Ann Romney, wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Ann Romney, wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Reporting by the Associated Press

Ann Romney Says America Can Trust Her Husband

Meet Mitt Romney’s sweetheart.

Making her national debut, Ann Romney swept onto the stage at the Republican National Convention late Tuesday night and delivered a forceful defense of her husband’s character and values – and made an all-out play for the critical women’s vote – in a speech designed to introduce the country to the man she knows better than anyone.

“I love you women! And I hear your voices,” she said, wearing a red, belted dress as black-and-white photos of her family flashed on a giant screen above her head.

She touched on her struggles with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. She defended her husband’s work ethic, saying, “I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success.” And she told the crowd about what she says she has learned about her husband after 43 years of marriage.

“This man will not fail,” she said, as the crowd in Tampa Bay Times Forum erupted with cheers and gave her a sustained standing ovation.

Her pitch was aimed squarely at women who are raising families. “If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it?” she said. “It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.”

And Mrs. Romney defended her husband’s wild success in business, offering a character testimonial to counter Democratic attack ads that have worked to paint her husband as wealthy and out-of-touch.

“Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point,” she said. “And we’re no different than the millions of Americans who quietly help their neighbors, their churches and their communities. They don’t do it so that others will think more of them. They do it because there is no greater joy.”

The goal of her carefully crafted speech: Help people understand the warm, personal side of her husband, a longtime candidate who has sometimes struggled to connect with voters – and who isn’t nearly as well-liked as his opponent, Democratic President Barack Obama.

“Tonight, I want to talk to you about love,” Mrs. Romney said.

The woman whom Romney often introduces as “my sweetheart, Ann Romney!” has played the role of humanizer for months now. Together, she and Mitt Romney have five children and 18 grandchildren who range in age from 16 years to just a few months old. She has appeared onstage often with her husband, who’s obviously more at ease when she’s by his side.

They met in high school, kept in touch while he served as a Mormon missionary in France, married young and had five children. On Tuesday, she emphasized how their struggles shaped their relationship.

“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a `storybook marriage,”‘ she told the crowd. “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.”

Mrs. Romney has never appeared before a crowd the size of the one gathered at the convention. The speech was viewed as so critical by the campaign that it moved her appearance, originally scheduled for Monday, a day later after the networks announced they wouldn’t cover the first evening’s events live.

“I’ve never gone off a written text. So this is a unique experience for me,” Mrs. Romney said as she and her husband flew from Bedford, Mass., near their home, to Tampa on Tuesday morning.

Mrs. Romney suggested she played a significant role in shaping her speech.

“I did say it’s going to be pretty, pretty tough to actually write a speech that I feel like I can actually give, and so I had a lot of input in this, I must say,” she told reporters. “And a lot of tweaking where I felt like I was getting what I really wanted to say from my heart.”

Romney’s campaign is trying to show more of the two of them together – and emphasize their love story as an essential part of his biography. When Romney did an interview for “Fox News Sunday” ahead of the convention, the couple also invited anchor Chris Wallace to their lakeside home in New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney flipped pancakes on a griddle and Mrs. Romney, son Tagg, and several of his grandchildren looked on.

When the pair sat down for a long interview with CBS News, they drove an hour out of their way to the Birmingham, Mich., movie theater where the couple used to go on dates as high school students.

And on Tuesday night – wearing bright red in part because, her spokeswoman said, “Mitt voted for it,” – she turned those early evenings out into a pitch for why voters should back her husband this fall.

“He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance,” she said.

Christie’s Blunt Style Tested In Convention Speech

With a rowdy fist-pump, blunt and brash New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lit a fire Tuesday night under the Republican National Convention, labeling Democratic President Barack Obama part of the complacent status quo.

“It’s been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we’ve stood silently by and let them get away with it,” the first-term Republican governor said with a rock star’s rasp during the keynote address. “But tonight, I say enough.”

His mission was to make the case against Obama and fire up a convention delayed in its start by a tropical storm.

Like a coach before a football game, Christie implored the thousands inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum to rally behind GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan.

“Everybody stand up. There’s no time left to waste,” the outspoken former prosecutor shouted.

Judging by the thundering cheers inside the arena, Christie hit his mark. That outspoken style made him a Republican Party star and helped earn him the plum, prime-time speaking gig.

He rocketed up the GOP ranks in 2009, winning the Democratic-heavy Eastern state the year after Obama was elected and establishing a reputation as confrontational to big labor and public employees. Early in the GOP nominating campaign, Republicans uninspired by Romney aggressively urged Christie to seek the nomination.

New York delegate David Shimkin said he admired Christie’s frankness. “He doesn’t seem to have a filter. A lot of candidates don’t do that,” Shimkin said.

As keynote speaker, Christie was tasked with making the prime-time pitch for Romney, who remains something of a mystery to voters even though polls show him locked in a close contest with Obama.

Christie considered running for the nomination himself but months ago decided to endorse Romney, who made a personal entreaty for Christie’s support as the GOP primaries were getting under way.

Christie on Tuesday waved off a published report that he had turned down an offer to be Romney’s running mate because he didn’t think Romney could win in November.

“Not only do I believe he can win, I think he will win,” Christie told “CBS This Morning.”

Temperamentally and stylistically the opposite of the buttoned-up Romney, Christie acknowledged in interviews that the former Massachusetts governor has work to do to close the sale with some voters, especially women.

“Mitt Romney’s going to have to win this campaign. He’s going to have to let the American people see who he is,” Christie said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” adding that Romney’s choice Ryan as his running mate had brought more energy to the ticket.

After he toppled Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009, national Republicans embraced Christie for his tough talk on fiscal matters and for taking on public employee unions, especially teachers. Web videos of Christie berating teachers at town hall meetings quickly went viral, giving Christie a large national audience. Critics dubbed him “Gov. YouTube,” suggesting he was more interested in getting publicity for himself than for improving New Jersey’s finances.

Democrats warned that viewers shouldn’t buy Christie’s claim of a “Jersey comeback.” They pointed to economic data showing the state still grappling with weak employment and high property taxes.

“Chris Christie is taking the stage in Tampa tonight to talk about his favorite topic: himself,” state Assemblyman John Wisniewski told reporters during a conference call before the speech. “Gov. Christie’s record in New Jersey is certainly not a model for our nation, and the people in Tampa should know that.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and a likely 2016 presidential contender, went further, saying he expected Christie to deliver an “angry, Don Rickles keynote extolling the virtues of their candidate, Mitt Romney, who had one of the worst job creation rates in the nation.”

Guest:

  • Karen Tumulty, columnist for the Washington Post
  • Chris Ingram, a Republican analyst and columnist for the Tampa Tribune

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Elisabeth West

    So Ann Romney is warm, accessible and a good speaker. As a woman, that doesn’t change the fact for me that the Republican party platform and the policies that Romney/Ryan represent and espouse are harmful to the progress that women have made in terms of their healthcare choices. To expect women to ignore the very real restrictions that Republicans want to impose on women’s contraception and other healthcare access is to believe that women can be fooled by pretty words. Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  • kcf

    Interesting that ‘stirring up the base” involves basically telling them lies….

  • Sharonvictor

    Oh! Which American woman does Ann Romney REALLY represents, with full time maids, full time gardeners, a clothing budget which is the average americans yearly income and 5 sons who have NEVER served in the Military..Oh and How many cars & houses???My son has MS and struggles to pay for his meds..does Ann Romney?Sharon Victor

  • dialyn

    I’m not terribly impressed by Anne Romney’s story. Yes, she has had health problems, but she’s also had the money to buy first rate medical care which the Republicans would like to deny to other people.  I believe the “tough” message is that if you can’t afford to get ill, then just die.  Don’t get sick unless you are a millionaire.  Yeah, that works for me….and how do I do that at this late stage in my life? Yeah, she had five screaming sons but I bet she didn’t manage the brood all by herself.  Sorry, I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about her trials and tribulations. The Romney family was never poor and really has no clue what additional stress to health and child rearing is a lack of resources.

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    Chris Christie needs to SHUT UP ALREADY.  Unemployment Rates and Crime Rates are going UP in New Jersey which indicate his Polices are FAILING.

    Kelly Ayotte is horrible speaker.  I had to shut it off.  Non-plausible applause lines rang hollow.  Doesn’t she know that there is no such thing as a truly successful restaurant in Concord, NH? There are restaurants that are keeping their heads afloat by not paying their employees and that is not indicative of a successful business.  I’m glad they didn’t open a second ungrateful labor intensive business!  If the citizens of NH were lucky he’d close the first one and let someone who respects their workers open up in their stead.

  • Phil Brett

    Your commentators say that Obama’s spending hasn’t impacted the economy.  That’s categorically untrue.  And what do you suppose Simpson-Boles would make of either Romney’s tax plan or Ryan’s tax plan–both of which will substantially increase the size of the deficit.

    • Gloriaed47

       Better read today’s WSJ and you’ll get your answer as to Romney’s tax plan.  Obama is a novice and a socialist to boot.  Are you on the hand out?  Only dependent folks like that man who bows down to Moslims and denigrates our great country.  We The People will succeed in bringing this country back to what made us great originally.  We shed blood of our best and young to spread freedom  and Obama removes the bust of W. Churchill from the White House.  How can anyone be easily bought to support the traitor to our values.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMQ4MWMDE7SNAZ7F2R65J5M4GY Stuart

    As for Christie being a leader, he isn’t. He’s a bully. A leader is out front, cheering people on and  giving them encouragement. A bully pushes from behind, jeering at everyone who doesn’t think his way. Just listen to Christie talk at one of  the people who don’t share his views. Is calling someone a jerk and telling them they just need to shut up sound like a leader? A leader listens to opposing views so he or she can learn something, a bully just talks over them. Which one is Christie.

    • Gloriaed47

       Sometimes “loud mouths” and “empty heads” use phony questions as a manner of criticism and challenge — far from sincere quest for knowledge.  Christy, as previous prosecuter, knows how to “read” such people and knows how to go to the gutter if he has to to deal with them.  However, I wrote before about his oratory style which I do believe should be softer….yet, when it comes to handling “smart ass’s” in a crowd, he has my blessings to smack them down.

  • Philip Brett

    If Romney and Ryan continue to lie about Obama’s “removing the work requirement from welfare” why should we believe them on anything else.

  • sustobey

    I thought ann romney did a fabulous job with her speech, painting a portrait of herself as a real woman who has weathered personal challenges aplenty and deserves kudos for her spirit and successes as a wife, mother and grandmother. dang! I hoped and expected less! how does this woman, with much to admire, put up with her husband’s and her tea party republican extremists’ demeaning, controlling notions about women’s bodies and women’s rights to personhood???  Is she a mannikin?  a terrific actress? awash in decades of kool-aide? I just don’t get it.

  • Beryl Minkle

    When Chris Christy and others at the Republican Convention repeat distortions and lies about President Obama and his policies it is disturbing to hear news commentators dismiss this as “just stirring up the base.”

    When did we totally lower our moral compass so that lies are acceptable This includes playing edited versions of President Obama’s own words do that he sounds like he is saying business owners didn’t build their own business! He didn’t rGeally say that!

    The Republicans under Bush bragged that they create their own reality. It seems thus is one part of the Bush legacy they are willing to embrace.

  • Tncanoeguy

    Republicans are tired of the partisan politics in Washington and want a leader who will unite people…interesting.  Did they ever give Obama a chance?  

    • Gloriaed47

       What?  Four years is not enough?  We have a bunch of socialists in the administration who believe that all they have to do is “bribe” the electorate and appeal to “envy.”  We were “have nots” many years ago, and through hard work and sacrifice are now “haves.”  Jealous?  All you have to do is work hard, stop drinking all your money, educate yourself by reading “good” literature and good newspapers, etc.  Stop sitting on your rumps watching TV all day/evening long and WORK 60 hours a week and spread your wealth around by “employing” folks not making them dependent on hand-outs. 

      • Legbild

        With all due respect, do you honestly and sincerely believe your response demonstrates intelligence when it intones or suggests that unless one is a Republican, they are as you describe?   Your suggestion that all people. but Republicans do nothing, but are corrupt and want the government to hand them a pay check is just the sort of egocentric attitude and lack of thought that made me leave the Republican Party.   Who were the ones that said, if they only got a tax cut, they would grow the economy and create jobs, something they say the government has no money and should not spend money to do (even though the same people that make such claims seem to have no problems going into debt for war.)   Where has the private sector been and isn’t their unemploying people and lack of action to re-employ people all the more reason people are unemployed and in need of assistance that only the government and the people that support the government doing so in the absence of the recipients of tax cuts keeping their end of the bargain, seem merciful enough to do?   How about instead of telling others to hire someone, the people that said they would with the tax cuts they got do so and demonstrate their claims that the private sector is where jobs should come from.   Was it the government that caused the Great Recession or crooked and irresponsible people with lots of “business experience”?   How can one  fire and lay off thousands of people and send their jobs off to another nation’s economy or not hire people back, but hoard cash and take huge bonuses, paychecks and benefits for themselves, then complain that the president is not creating jobs and improving the economy?

  • Gloriaed47

    I was prepared to be disappointed with Ann Romney, but expected to be pleased with Gov. Christy’s speech.  (1) I was very pleased with Ann’s good speech and obvious sincerity.  I would be proud to refer to her as our “First Lady.”  (2)  As to Gov. Christy:  I don’t mind “blunt” but I do mind “coarse manner.”  Gov. Christy has done an exemplary job in N.J.  and for this he gets my utmost respect.  Further he is no doubt a “good” person in every way; but I wish he would develop a little more refinement.  Use good vocabulary, and refrain from angry posture/remarks.  He was on guard last evening, but the roughness comes through.  However, he gets my respect too for good job and good person.

  • DanS

    I thought Ann Romeny was a disinginueous their trials & tribulations.  She said they ate off of an ironing board when Mitt was in college.  He was priviledged and a millionaire then.  I went to college on a Pell Grant and working part time, living in the college slums.  For my MSCE, I lived in a 30′ travel trailer, spent all the money I had and borrowed the rest.

    I repsect her medical condition, but what if she had MS and breast cancer and no insurance or a $100MM 401(K) to fall back on.

  • Legbild

    Just how is Governor Christie telling people the “hard truth” by ignoring when the economic mess we’re in began and who has increased the debt immensely while making the “hard” decsion to push a tax cut while putting wars on the credit card of taxpayers?   This dishonesty is why I left the Republican Party

  • Kim Fletcher

    I find it sad that the discussion about likability vs. respect is being so casually treated. If, in fact, the American people cannot discern between who might be the more credible candidate to address the issues facing this country and merely are going to vote for who they like, the future does not look good. The “average American voter” needs to get educated.  Otherwise, we can “like” the president as our country goes down in flames….

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       “The “average American voter” needs to get educated. ”

      Unfortunately that is nearly impossible. With all the spin, half truths and outright lies, lack of definite and specific plans,  etc. There is no place to get the whole picture, facts (ALL the facts and ONLY the facts) of each candidate’s position.

  • http://twitter.com/FyjW Frances Y J Wheeler

    Why was Ann Romney’s outfit described?  Alternatively, why wasn’t Chris Christie’s sartorial choice noted? I’m a fan, but I found the reference to Ms. Romney’s attire unnecessary and irritating.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Christie ripping on Obama at the RNC convention. Preaching to the choir. Might as well tell it to the dog.

    Figure it  out. If you want your candidate to win, your time is better spent putting your efforts into telling those NOT already planning to vote for him/her what attributes and plans they have that will improve THAT person’s life. And if they are not already pre-disposed to your candidate, ripping the opposition isn’t likely to gain favor.

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