Ann paints glowing picture of her ‘soul Mitt’

The Colorado Statesman

LITTLETON — On the eve of the first presidential debate, the Romney campaign unleashed what some have called its secret weapon in a bid for the voters who could swing the election in this battleground state. In her first public campaign appearance in Colorado this year, Ann Romney on Tuesday told hundreds of supporters gathered for an outdoor rally at Hudson Gardens that her husband has the qualities to fix what ails the country.

“One thing I know about Mitt, he doesn’t fail,” she said. “I can’t wait to get him in that position to be able to get this country turned around again.”

Ann Romney stands with three of her 18 grandchildren at a Women for Mitt rally on Oct. 2 at Hudson Gardens in Littleton.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Flanked by three of the couple’s 18 grandchildren, a beaming Romney painted a glowing portrait of the man introduced as her soul mate, her partner in numerous trials, from raising five rambunctious sons to helming the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and leaving the state of Massachusetts on firmer financial footing after a term as governor.

State Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella and Lakewood legislative candidate Amy Attwood await the arrival of Ann Romney after each spoke to a crowd gathered for a Women for Mitt event in Littleton.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“Right now, the country’s in trouble. We need someone that cares, that truly understands what’s going on with the middle class that’s getting stretched so thin,” she said, adding, “In Colorado, you know you need someone who has compassion and that has the capacity to understand what people are going through and has the solutions to get the job done.”

Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker introduces his fiancé, country singer Jesse James, to sing the national anthem at a Women for Mitt rally in Littleton.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

The rally was one of several recent “Women for Mitt” events in the state aimed at winning over women voters, who make up 52.6 percent of the active electorate in Colorado and are tilting toward President Barack Obama by a 10-point margin nationally, according to current polls compiled by TPM’s Poll Tracker.

Republican National Committeewoman Lilly Nuñez beams after Ann Romney thanked her for her hard work at a rally on Oct. 2.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

In addition to Romney, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton and legislative candidate Amy Attwood spoke at the rally, which got off to a thunderous start when Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker introduced his fiancé, country singer Jessie James, to sing the national anthem.

“Ladies, when we all vote, we don’t just make history, we change history,” said Attwood, a Republican vying for an open state House seat in Lakewood against Democrat Brittany Pettersen. She told the assembled Romney supporters to reach out to “one other woman, one of your friends, and ask her to vote for Mitt Romney.”

It’s a person-to-person campaign the Colorado GOP has been cultivating all year, said state chairman Ryan Call, who called Romney “so down-to-earth, so warm,” adding, “She’ll make a great first lady.”

“If we’re going to be successful in the election, it has to do with individual women talking to their friends, their neighbors — each person in every neighborhood taking responsibility for talking to their friends and encouraging them to vote, to vote for the kind of change we need in America,” Call said

The direct appeals can help counter what Call charged was a Democratic effort to use “supposedly women’s issues as a wedge” to “distract and divide the electorate.”

The Obama campaign and its backers have hammered a message that Republican candidates want to ban abortion and back plans that could outlaw certain types of contraceptives and a TV ad in heavy rotation in Colorado this week plays a video clip of Romney saying, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”

Call said that Colorado women won’t be fooled.

“You repeat the lie enough, and that’s the message that gets through,” Call said. “So our job and our challenge is to emphasize the things that Gov. Romney will do, to help make it easier for Colorado families to make ends meet, to help folks find jobs, to help improve the quality of education, to talk about the issues that really are important.”

“These other divisive issues — when we’re facing $16 trillion in debt and a system in Washington that’s broken — these other issues are just a distraction,” Call continued. “And they’re being raised by the Obama campaign because they can’t talk about their own record, so they’re trying to do things that distract and divide the electorate and really misrepresent the views of the Republican Party and the Romney campaign in substantive ways.”

An Obama campaign spokeswoman told The Colorado Statesman that the president is the candidate with the right policies for American women.

“From signing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to the historic health reform he championed, which will prevent insurance companies from charging women more than men for the same coverage and which allows women access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations without a co-pay or deductible, he has proven he is a strong advocate for women and a defender of the issues that are important to them and their families,” said Clo Ewing.

“Mitt Romney refuses to say whether he would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, and he’s ready to hand over decisions about women’s health coverage to their employers,” Ewing said. “American women can’t trust Romney and the Republicans to stand up for them — on their health, or on the economy.”

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com