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Ann Romney: 2012 Game Changer

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Ann Romney: 2012 Game Changer

Ann Romney at Victory Night

Scott Olson, Getty Images

Brief Background:

Ann Romney is the wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, and many conservatives view Ann as Mitt Romney’s “secret weapon” in his campaign for the presidency. The couple has been married since 1969 and together they have raised five sons. Whil raising her five sons, Ann wen to school first at Brigham Young university and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Harvard Extension School.

In 1998, Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She has worked to control the disease by combining a mixture of western and eastern medicine practices. Since her diagnosis, Ann has been a leading advocate for finding a cure for the disease and has worked with a number of charitable organizations who support the cause.

Possible Influence on 2012 Elections:

Democrat presidential candidates have long had active spouses campaigning with them, many with a great deal of success. Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Michelle Obama were all active extensions of their husbands’ presidential campaigns. Republican candidate wives have usually been more reserved on the campaign trail, often preferring to offer support from the sidelines but less likely to give a political opinion. Ann Romney, however, may prove to be one of the more active, vocal, and influential Republican women to hit the campaign trail in decades.

Ann Romney has been willing to step up to the plate and advocate for a stronger economy on behalf of her husband. While the presidential and vice-presidential candidates receive the most attention during the campaign, an active presidential spouse can add an important third level to a campaign as voters are essentially “electing” them into the White House as well. First ladies often rank among the most admired women in the country, and an effective campaigner could add that added dimension long needed on the Republican side.

Role as Stay-at-home Mom:

Ann Romney’s career decision to be a stay-at-home mom was thrust into the spotlight when a Democratic strategist stated that Ann had “never worked a day in her life.” The comment created a bit of a controversy as the claim seemed to dismiss the value of motherhood, and especially the value of a mother who forgoes a “career” to raise five children.

According to 2007 figures from the Census Bureau there are approximately 5.6 million stay-at-home-mothers in the United States. That number would actually reflect one of the largest voting blocs in the country. The controversy actually helped to boost the profile of Ann Romney, as Democrats were put on the defensive and had to distance themselves from the comments. The comment also underscores the conservative view that liberals look down upon women who prefer more traditional roles in raising children and family life.

The "War on Women":

One of the chief voter-retention strategies of the Democratic Party is to make the argument that Republicans are launching a “war on women.” In a possibly high-profile role in 2012, Ann Romney will quickly become one of the most visible female advocates of the Republican Party.

Democrats have long sought to portray conservatives as being “anti-women.” The gender-warfare attacks have recently included false claims the Republicans oppose birth control, in addition to long standing claims that conservatives want to “control” women’s bodies. If the Republicans want to counter the false narratives of the left they will need a number of vocal women to make the case and illustrate their absurdity. Ann Romney could very well become a welcome vocal proponent of conservative feminism and prove who is really launching a “war on women.”

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