Ann Romney on 'Good Morning America': How'd she handle burning cookies?

Ann Romney was the focus of several 'GMA' segments, interviewed other guests, and cooked. There’s some evidence that she is a driving force behind the revival of her husband’s prospects.

Ida Mae Astute/ABC/AP
This image released by ABC shows Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney during a cooking segment on 'Good Morning America,' Wednesday, Oct. 10, in New York. Romney served as a guest co-host on the popular morning show.

Ann Romney served as co-host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday a.m. At least, she was the focus of several segments, interviewed other guests, and cooked. Whether that makes her a co-host or a super-special normal guest is something network producers may argue about.

In any case, whatever her role, how did she handle it? She’s not as practiced at appearing on TV as is first lady Michelle Obama, after all.

As is normal in these situations, she seemed to do fine. The show staff should do its best to make her look good, after all: Ratings are at stake, as well as future guest spots if her husband wins the presidency. We say “should” because there were a few glitches. The stove in the "GMA" kitchen seemed to be a Democrat, for one thing.

Mrs. Romney began her appearance standing in the kitchen baking her signature Welsh cakes. When host George Stephanopoulos threw the shot over to her, he asked her to talk about the background of the cookielike goods.

“They’re burning.... I’ve got a cookie emergency. The griddle’s too hot. But I’m here. I’m making Welsh cakes,” were her first words.

She recovered quickly and ran through her spiel: Her Welsh grandmother had taught her how to make them, and now she was teaching her own grandkids. Her grandfather had gone to work in Wales at age 6, while her grandmother ate the cakes every afternoon at 3 p.m.

Her other notable turn was outside in Times Square, where she helped interview a Paralympian equestrienne named Becca Hart. Ms. Hart said her horse Lord Ludger (also present) had helped her maintain health in the face of crippling illness.

Romney, who has multiple sclerosis, agreed that riding has healing powers.

“I’m right at home now. This is my most favorite place to be, with a horse,” said Romney.

OK, then – does all this help her husband’s candidacy? We’d say absolutely. There is nothing like a compelling spouse to humanize otherwise stiff and/or remote politicians. See “Michelle Obama,” above.

Ann Romney’s own popularity is rising. Since April, her favorability ratings have gone up 12 percentage points, making her more popular than Cindy McCain was in 2008.

And there’s some evidence that Romney is a driving force behind the sudden revival of her husband’s prospects. Prior to last week’s debate, she and son Tagg intervened to push for a new and softer approach, according to a lengthy account in Politico.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t potential pitfalls in some of the things Mrs. Romney is bringing up. Take the Welsh cakes. Her grandparents are a nice story, but what about her parents? Is she avoiding talking about them? Her father was a wealthy industrialist, after all. That didn’t come up on "GMA." Nor did her days at Kingswood, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich., school so lavish it’s used as a background for auto commercials.

The horse might be more problematic. Is it a reminder of Mrs. Romney’s own love for dressage, an expensive riding sport?

Of course, it’s possible the Romney campaign has decided that the dressage thing is a positive. We’re sure they’ve polled about it, and if voters reacted badly to reminders that Mrs. Romney likes to ride, there is no way she would be appearing on morning TV next to a horse whose first name is Lord. It could be that voters see it as revealing a positive aspect to her character. She’s obviously passionate about the subject.

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