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Ann Romney's speech will evoke her heart and family ties

August 28, 2012|By Robin Abcarian
  • Ann Romney gets a little stage direction during a sound check inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum several hours before she speaks at tonight's session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Ann Romney gets a little stage direction during a sound check inside the… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

TAMPA, Fla. -- As expected, the speech that Ann Romney is to deliver this evening is heavy on appeal to emotion, based on her role as Mitt Romney’s wife, the mother of his five sons and the grandmother to his 18 grandchildren.

In an excerpt released by the Romney campaign several hours before she was to take the stage around  10 p.m. EDT on the first full day of the Republican National Convention, the aspiring first lady invoked her family, their strong bonds and her husband’s generosity of spirit.

“Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts,” the 63-year-old wife of the Republican nominee will say. “I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight I want to talk to you about love.”

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Her speech contains a paean to her father-in-law, George Romney, to whom she grew close when he helped oversee her conversion to Mormonism at a time when her future husband was away, first at college, then on his two-year mission to France: “Mitt's dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter. He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.”

The Romneys, who have been married 43 years, have often been described as having a strong marriage, but Ann Romney will seek to correct misperceptions as she alludes to some of her well-known health struggles: “I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage.’ Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer. A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.”

People often say that Ann Romney is her husband’s best character witness. This evening, her speech will seek to convey the sense that Mitt Romney has spent a lifetime helping others.

“At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance has helped lift up others,” she will say.  “He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.”

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Ann Romney, who said earlier today she was nervous about using a prompter for the first time, will close with an appeal to voters: “This is the man America needs. 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.

“I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. 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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robin.abcarian@latimes.com

Twitter: @robinabcarian

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