December 14 2011

Romney's Women

Karin Agness

 

Don't worry, this isn’t a post about a scandal.  This week, the New York Times ran a story about Ann Romney’s increasing role in her husband’s campaign, Campaign Sends Romney to the Rescue. Ann Romney.

But with her husband’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination suddenly endangered by Newt Gingrich, Mrs. Romney is being deployed with a growing sense of urgency to do what her husband has been unwilling or unable to do this election season: offer voters a compelling, three-dimensional portrait of Mitt Romney.

As the Romney campaign has tried to regain ground, Mrs. Romney, 62, has appeared, over the last week, at four events in Iowa, New Hampshire and Washington, offering what she calls “the other side of Mitt that you never hear about.”

In the process, she is drawing attention to a potentially powerful asset in a race against the twice-divorced Mr. Gingrich, especially in conservative states like Iowa: the Romneys’ unblemished marriage of 42 years.

She is painting a more complete picture of her husband, focusing on his character, commitment and love.  She is bringing her husband, who is often characterized as robotic, to life.

This brings up an interesting question about the role of wives, or now spouses, in presidential politics.  What is the proper role of the spouse of a candidate?  We have seen, but not heard much from Callista Gingrich.  Charlotte wrote about her.  Anita Perry is speaking at various events for her husband.  I don’t even know the name of Ron Paul’s wife and couldn’t pick her out from a crowd.  Marcus Bachmann seems to have been more of a liability this far.  I wonder who has been particularly effective.

Besides the more visible role Mrs. Romney is taking, Mitt Romney had another conservative woman speak out for him this week, Christine O’Donnell.  O’Donnell officially endorsed Romney on Fox News’ “Hannity.”  She said,

But I think there are certain tie breakers and I know that in making my decision I might be hurting some people but I think infrastructure and executive experience are important, and for that reason I’m endorsing Mitt Romney

This one surprised me both in terms of who was making the endorsement and the timing of it.

I wonder if these things come in 3s and if so, who will be the next woman to speak out for Romney.

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