POLITICS

Ann Romney Speech: Mitt Romney's Wife Addresses Republican National Convention (PICTURES, VIDEO)

08/29/2012 08:20 am 08:20:37 | Updated 30 August 2012

Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has spoken of a small village in Wales during her address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

"My dad got his first job when he was 6 years old, in a little village in Wales called Nantyffyllon, cleaning bottles at the Colliers Arms," she said. "When he was 15, Dad came to America."

anne romney

Ann Romney spoke of "love" following her husband anointing as the presidential candidate

The prospective first lady's speech came just hours after her husband was officially anointed as the Republican presidential candidate following the theatrical counting of the delegates from each state.

"I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us... I want to talk to you about love," said the 63-year-old.

To crashing applause, Mrs Romney attempted to provide a more sympathetic version of her husband, a man repeatedly criticised throughout the nomination process as being far removed from the regular Americans.

"Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts,” she said. “I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family.”

"This is the man America needs," Romney said.

"I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country," she said.

Despite the rapture of the audience, outside the convention centre the speech’s impact was less certain.

While the GOP hierarchy will be hoping that Mrs Romney’s presentation of Mitt as a loving husband will help bring undecided female voters into the fold, it’s a tough ask on the back of long-standing questions over Republican attitudes towards women, exemplified by the furore over Sandra Fluke earlier in the year, and more recently by Todd Akin’s disastrously-timed remarks about “legitimate rape”.

The fact that the Republican National Committee all but endorsed Akin’s remarks by ratifying an election plank that insists that abortion be made illegal, even in the case of rape, would have only solidified the GOP’s seeming hostility to half the electorate.

Romney's vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan has openly endorsed the same absolute position, despite dampening his views in recent weeks, falling in to line with the more moderate Romney, who believes in an exception for rape.

Either way, points of religion and abortion are not the Republican's battlegrounds of choice; Obama and the Democrats are most vulnerable on the economy.

Yet the task of making the multi-millionaire Romney look empathetic to working-class Americans suffering from the abject economic conditions brought about by the 2008 economic crash has been a constant test for the GOP publicity machine. Still, Ann did her best:

"This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard."

Whether the women in the critical swings states of Virginia and Ohio were listening is another matter entirely.

Republican National Convention 2012
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