Ann Romney upstages Chris Christie

Nominee's wife was most convincing when it mattered most



Ann Romney’s convention speech was very strong, though somewhat uneven. The weakest and most contrived stuff came early in the speech when she did the “just girls” bit trying to overtly and generically appeal to women.

“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. […] 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…”

Or this:

“I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!

But her speech was the strongest – and most convincing — when it mattered most: when she spoke personally about her husband as a man, emphasizing his work ethic and determination:

“No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!”

“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.”

She was deft at discussing his record of business success:

“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.”

Here is how she addressed their wealth:

“As his partner on this amazing journey, I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success. He built it. He stayed in Massachusetts after graduate school and got a job. I saw the long hours that started with that first job. I was there when he and a small group of friends talked about starting a new company.  I was there when they struggled and wondered if the whole idea just wasn’t going to work.  Mitt’s reaction was to work harder and press on. Today that company has become another great American success story. Has it made those who started the company successful beyond their dreams? Yes, it has.”

And at one point she slowed down, and emphasized: “This is important. I want you to hear what I have to say… Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.”


Her speech didn’t have much time to sink in, though, since no sooner had she finished giving her speech on the theme of “love,” New Jersey governor and potential presidential aspirant, Chris Christie, took to the stage and brushed off all the love stuff in his own speech:

“The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love. Now, of course, she was talking about women. But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever. I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.”



Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.