Ronald Kessler reporting from Tampa, Fla. —
President Obama may be the celebrity president, but Ann Romney showed at the GOP convention that she is the new star.
Unlike Obama, who has offered mainly broken promises, Mitt Romney’s wife came across as genuine. Unlike Obama, she was not divisive. And unlike Obama, she embraced success and offered real hope that this country can be turned around by the man she has known since she was 15 years old.
. “This man will not fail,” Ann Romney said. “This man will not let us down.”
She explained one reason the public does not know about Mitt’s efforts to help others. As noted in my story, "Matt Romney: Dad’s Modesty Masks His True Character
," Romney refuses to boast about such incidents as his rescue of a 14-year-old girl who was within days of dying from an overdose of the recreational drug Ecstasy.
“You know,” Mitt Romney has told me, “we met so young, and fell in love so young, that in some respects we’ve grown up together. Ann was just turning 16 when we went on our first date. I was 18. And so we both changed in various ways over the years.”
In fact, back then, “She was very shy, was not comfortable speaking in front of groups of people for instance,” Mitt said. “We enjoyed our conversations together, she was very open with me. But she was not someone who was comfortable in the limelight.”
As time has gone on, Ann has “become more assertive, more willing to express herself to large groups of people, and people see her as an extraordinarily forthright and authentic individual, which she is,” Romney said. So,” he said, “I see her as being as beautiful as she was as a little girl and also even more eloquent and more effective in speaking her mind.”
In fact, if it were not for Ann Romney, Mitt might not be running for president. Just before Christmas 2010, she broached with her husband the subject of running again. After the previous failed effort, Mitt had decided he would never run again, and Ann had said so publicly. But now she told Mitt, “I think you need to run again.”
Mitt was resistant.
“Let’s talk to the pros and cons,” he said as their five sons and their wives listened at the Romney’s home in La Jolla, Calif.
“This is not a matter of pros and cons,” she said. “You just have to do it.”
“Her view was that the people in the race were all good people,” Mitt Romney has told me. “But they did not have the experience to actually turn the country around, and they might not have the distinctive background that it would take to win the election and replace the president.”
As Ann Romney explained, “It was my feeling that he was the right person to do what was necessary to turn the country around. I felt very strongly about that.”
While they both knew the primary contests would be difficult and that beating President Obama would be an uphill battle, Ann told Mitt, “You can’t look at that as to how you decide. You have to look at what would happen if you actually could be the president. Would you be able to do things that are going to be necessary to turn the country around.”
Romney’s answer was yes.
“Then there’s no question what you have to do,” Ann Romney said.
With that, Romney decided he would run again for president.
“Ann is Mitt’s life partner and is probably his closest and most trusted adviser,” says Beth Myers, Romney’s senior advisor and chief of staff when he was Massachusetts governor. “They talk about everything all the time, and her counsel is the counsel that he values most.”
Mitt Romney may have selected Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate, but his real running mate is the star of the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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