Even before she concluded her address at the GOP convention by telling America “You can trust Mitt,” the verdict was in: Ann Romney’s speech had “killed it.”
American women heard Tuesday night from a mother of five boys, a cancer survivor and MS sufferer who told the nation: “If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men.”
Britt Hume of Fox News termed it “the single most effective political speech I’ve ever heard given by a political wife.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos dubbed her address at the GOP convention “a love letter to America’s Moms.”
CBS’s Bob Schieffer was even more gobsmacked.
“Wow,” he exclaimed. “That was one heck of a speech.”
But the real impact of Romney’s address may ultimately be measured not by its impact on the male talking heads who dominate TV news, but rather on the women of all backgrounds who toil in the shadows, sacrificing for their families, and carrying life’s burdens each day with silent dignity.
Those women may well determine who serves as the next president of the nation.
Ann Romney made it clear she was speaking to them when she announced the topic of the speech she gave on the second night of the convention: Love.
“You're the ones who always have to do a little more,” said Ann Romney, speaking to the women in her audience.
“You know what it's like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work, and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done.
“You know what those late-night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they're doing.
“You know what it’s like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly.
“You are the best of America. You are the hope of America.
“There would not be an America without you,” she concluded, basking in rousing applause from an adoring GOP convention audience.
Women from different walks of life told Newsmax that Romney's frank discussion of the daily challenges that U.S. women face had brought them to tears. They remarked that finally someone in American political life understood their concerns.
Author and columnist Nancy French, an alternate delegate who co-founded the “Evangelicals for Mitt” organization along her culture-warrior husband David French, told Newsmax that the speech had brought her to tears.
“That was so great!” French rejoiced. “She killed it. What a woman!”
She added: “My phone was lighting up throughout the entire speech from my friends back in Tennessee who said, ‘I love this woman. I love their family. And I’m enthusiastically going to vote for them.’”
But it wasn’t just Republican convention-goers who found the speech noteworthy. Susan MacManus, the University of South Florida political science professor and analyst, told Newsmax that it may help close the Romney campaign’s “gender gap” problem — the 6 to 7 point lead that President Barack Obama enjoys among female voters according to recent polls — by attracting women who otherwise might not have much interest in politics.
“It’s really important for Republicans to try to make more inroads with women voters,” the pundit told Newsmax. “She certainly did that repeatedly, talked about the fact that women don’t have it easy in this country raising kids or working, and the economy has made their lives more difficult. That’s certainly a message that can resonate with a lot of working women.”
Added MacManus: “It was the kind of speech that a lot of women who would not be normal followers of politics might be drawn in by. And of course that would be very important to the Romney campaign.”
GOP strategist Bay Buchanan, who recently released “Bay and Her Boys,” a book detailing her travails as a conservative single mother, described Romney’s address as “absolutely spectacular.”
“She clearly feels a great love and empathy with women from every walk of life,” Buchanan told Newsmax. “It was remarkable. It was a truly remarkable speech.”
Buchanan said the speech brought to mind her own challenges as a professional American woman raising a family under adverse circumstances.
“There’s something women have in common, and what she was talking about really was the truth of the matter,” she said. “I just thought it was truly remarkable. She’s a star, she’s just a star.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer, who told Newsmax she found the speech “pretty inspirational.”
“Tonight, I think, was really special. She really was inspirational to many people, I’m sure men, but especially women and young girls,” Kremer said.
Tomorrow, the GOP’s courtship of women continues, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez taking the podium.
For women voters struggling to hold their families together in the face of high joblessness and economic doldrums, the clear message seemed to be: Rest assured, your voice is being heard loud and clear.
“I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years,” Ann Romney told her audience. “But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:
“This man will not fail.
“This man will not let us down.
“This man will lift up America!”
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