TAMPA - In her prime time address to a packed house on the first night of the Republican National Convention, Ann Romney sought not just to humanize her husband but to set a straightforward, optimistic tone for the week and campaign ahead.
Speaking from a prepared speech for the first time this year, Romney tried less to soften Mitt Romney's edges and aimed to simply make her husband and her family, with their remarkable wealth and magazine cover smiles, seem real.
"Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts," Ann Romney began. "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.
"When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together. 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," said Romney, who has said in interviews this week that her multiple sclerosis has forced her to take time off the campaign trail.
"A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage. At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up."
Rather than telling the country that her husband is actual surprisingly emotive or funny, the woman who knows him best focused on his resume, offering an endorsement as practical as it was personal, if not more so.
"This is the man America needs," she said. "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!"AlertMe