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Ann Romney speech: Did she help women voters warm to Mitt? (+video)

Ann Romney, speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday night, made one of the campaign's strongest pitches yet to women voters, a demographic with whom it is badly trailing.

By Staff writer / August 29, 2012

Ann Romney addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday night.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Tampa, Fla.

Ann Romney's job Tuesday night, according to pretty much everyone, was to "humanize" her husband and to show the softer side that voters rarely see.

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Ann Romney's job Tuesday night, speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., was to 'humanize' her husband and to show the softer side that voters rarely see.

So it was no surprise that Mrs. Romney focused on matters of the heart – she used the word "love" 14 times in her speech – and talked about their high-school romance, the struggles the couple has overcome, or why, as she put it, "you can trust Mitt."

"This man will not fail," she told her audience, emphatically, at the Republican National Convention here. "This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America."

Mrs. Romney also made one of the campaign's strongest pitches to women voters, a demographic with which it's been struggling.

"I love you women!" she yelled, early in her speech, to raucous applause. "And I hear your voices."

Dressed in Nancy Reagen red, smiling broadly, Ann Romney gave a solid performance during her first big moment in the national spotlight. She looked nervous at first but seemed to relax as the speech went on – and as she moved to the subjects she's most comfortable with: her husband, her marriage, and why she believes he can fix America.

She recalled the high-school dance where she first met Mitt, before launching into some of the struggles they've had since:

"I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a 'storybook marriage,' " Romney said. "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."

In an effort to answer critics who say Americans can't relate to the couple's privileged life, Romney talked about all the pasta and tuna fish she and her husband ate when he was a grad student, how hard Mitt worked for his success, and what he does to help others.

"Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point," she said, in another crowd-pleasing line.

It was harder for her to achieve authenticity when she spoke in more universal terms, about "our brothers and our sisters who are going through difficult times." She cited single dads, working moms, and parents who lie awake "wondering how they'll be able to pay the mortgage or make the rent."

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