Ann melted American hearts, but has she changed the game?
She spoke about her miscarriages, her multiple sclerosis and the breast cancer she has overcome
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Thursday 30 August 2012
By universal consent, she was fabulous. In her crucial speech to the Republican delegates and all America, Ann Romney came across as warm, affectionate, engaged, and – above all – normal. She even managed to sound spontaneous, although modern political conventions are scripted to the nanosecond.
If anything, she was too good. "Ann Romney is so gifted at politics," wrote the TV critic of The New York Times, "she may actually make her husband look a little bad."
The Boston Globe, another paper not noted for its sympathy for things Republican, hailed her performance as "the best convention speech by any candidate's spouse – and certainly the most important".
The question is, will she make a difference? Many convention speeches have been hailed as sensations, but scarcely endure a news cycle. There have been exceptions – such as Barack Obama's unforgettable keynote at the Democratic convention of 2004. Whether Ms Romney has changed the game will be apparent in two stages. The first will be in her husband's poll numbers – whether her loving tribute to him will make him more real and accessible. The second will be evident on election day: whether Mitt Romney can win back some of the women voters who currently prefer Mr Obama by 20 per cent or more.
In her speech, as cheering delegates waved placards proclaiming "We love Ann" and "Women for Romney", she pressed all the right buttons. She spoke directly but not cloyingly about her miscarriages, the breast cancer she has overcome and the multiple sclerosis she fights to control.
Women were especially affected by the country's economic problems – and Ms Romney, despite her wealth and privilege, made clear she was a member of the club. "If you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men," she said. "It's how it is, isn't it?" Mothers always had to work that little bit harder to keep things going. "It's the moms of this nation – single, married, widowed – who really hold this country together."
But there were limits to the effusiveness. She produced no humorous, mildly indiscreet anecdote that would have helped "humanise" her husband. Nor did she say a word about abortion, let alone seek to soften the Republican party's uncompromisingly hostile stance on the issue which makes many women reluctant to support it.
- 1 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea transfer collapses: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the word become popular?
- 4 Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
The man who sold Minecraft to Microsoft for £2.5 billion says it's made him miserable
Nazi 'gold train': Fire engulfs suspected location of vehicle
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...
£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...