Ann Romney said Wednesday she felt welcomed and energized when she stepped onto the stage here at the Republican National Convention to introduce her husband, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to millions of Americans watching on television.
“It felt like the beginning of real new possibility,” she said in an interview with the Tribune-Review. “An opening that so many people in the hall are already aware of, to millions of Americans that have not given it enough thought,” she said of her introduction to the personal side of her husband, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
The most important reviews of the speech came moments later from her five sons and daughters-in-law and their 18 children, who greeted her with tears and hugs. As she detailed the night before, family comes first for the Romneys.
“You know that kind of love and support that you get from your family? Well, it was that kind of reaction," she said. “And I was like,` Oh it was OK then?' ”
“The grandchildren tackled me at the end, just tackled me.”
The interview occurred a few hours before U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was scheduled to address the nation for the first time as the GOP vice presidential nominee. After 18 months of campaigning, Ann Romney said she feels confident and encouraged about her husband’s chances of taking the White House.
Earlier in the day, Ann Romney and Janna Ryan, the wife of his running mate, teamed up to head a “Women for Romney” fundraiser. She later attended a Latino Coalition lunch, where son Craig Romney addressed guests in Spanish and described his father as “a man you can trust.”
“Mitt’s message is resonating. I think that the pick of Paul Ryan for vice president reinforces the fact that we are serious about the future of this nation and we are serious about the problems and that we are facing,” she said.
The optimism contrasts with the difficult feelings after the unsuccessful campaign of 2008 when Romney lost the GOP nod to U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. McCain lost the general election to Barack Obama.
“After the last campaign I certainly thought this wasn’t ever worth doing again,” she said. “And yet when it came time to reconsider doing it again, I really recognized that it was the nation that was at stake.
“There are a lot of good people out there that are sacrificing for this nation, we could go through a tough campaign,” she said. “For goodness sakes there are soldiers in Iraq and all across the world that are protecting our liberties, I could put my personal life aside and just do what needed to be done for this country.”
Ann Romney said she has not identified one specific issue she might support as First Lady; she said at-risk youth, breast cancer and Multiple Sclerosis research are her causes.
“I cannot imagine not continuing to do those things,” she said, “They have been my heart and my passion for so long.”
Ann Romney is a breast cancer survivor whose MS is in remission. She blushes when asked about being an inspiration to those afflicted with health issues.
“That is so touching,” she said, her eyes welling up with tears. “I am feeling buoyed by so many people praying for me. It is astonishing to me how universal that is in this country.”
Ann Romney would not identify the woman she thinks is the most inspirational First Lady. She mentioned Barbara Bush and Laura Bush, the spouses of Republican presidents. She also mentioned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.
“The role a First Lady plays is very important. It’s a real symbol of strength and there have been some very incredible First Ladies with strong and resolute qualities to be admired,” she said.
This story was published in partnership with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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