Republican candidates: This holiday season, the wives are working overtime.
With the holiday season, and its family themes, in full swing, Republican candidates' spouses are making the rounds on the campaign trail and the airwaves.
In a new ad touting her husband’s Christian values, Anita Perry – in eye-popping royal blue – tries to make the case that Rick Perry’s family and American roots are as deep as those of the giant tree towering behind her.Skip to next paragraph
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“When Rick’s tour of duty as a captain in the Air Force ended, he returned home to farm with his dad and asked me to marry him,” she says of her high-school sweetheart.
It’s one of several political ads making the rounds this week featuring Republican candidates’ wives. And spouses have hit the campaign trail too, chatting with voters as they munch on pizza or practice target shooting.
On Wednesday Mitt Romney tweeted: “My wife Ann is a remarkable woman – she has been my biggest champion....” and he included a link to a new ad full of black-and-white photos from their family life. In it, Ann Romney says in part: “You can never predict what kind of tough decisions are going to come in front of a president’s desk. But ... if you really want to know how a person will operate, look at how they’ve lived their life.”
Newt Gingrich and his wife (she’s decked out in royal blue, too) put out a happy holidays ad Dec. 19, complete with soft music and images of candles aglow. “Is there anything more inspiring than American towns and neighborhoods brightly lit for the holidays?” says the perfectly quaffed Callista Gingrich. Then candidate Gingrich says that it’s a reminder “of the fire of freedom that burns bright in the America we love.”
“Campaigns are about policy and character, and the family comes in for the character part,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. “It is a softer side of the campaign, but one that can have a bite in some cases.”
An earlier Romney ad featuring his marriage of 42 years, for instance, is designed to contrast him with Mr. Gingrich, for whom Callista is the third wife – a relationship that started as an extramarital affair.