The Ann Romney Monologues

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 12 2012 1:42 PM

The Ann Romney Monologues

Jennifer Rubin's interview with Ann Romney is a thing of wonder, a document for future historians of campaign contretemps to study, like Isaac Liebowitz's old receipts.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Self-negating premise! We learn that Romney "resists playing the victim," but we learn that in graf four of a nine-graf story about how she's weathering an insult.

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Physics-defying furtherance of the story! "Despite the public tweets from President Obama’s advisers and Rosen," writes Rubin, "no one has called her to apologize — not the campaign, not the White House and not Rosen." But Obama advisers David Axelrod and Jim Messina have tweeted that they disagree with Rosen, and Michelle Obama has tweeted that "every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected." Rubin's pointing out that people will run against Romney's husband have not called her personally to apologize for what somebody else said.

Talking points! We learn that Romney "pushed back against the notion that a presidential candidate should carve up the electorate and devise specific policies to win their votes." (Say what you will about the "war on women" talking point, but it was originally a criticism of Republican bills that regulated contraception.) We go on:

She said, “Mitt is of the opinion he is helping all men and women. If special things are needed [for women] I am sure he will address them.” She added the Romney mantra: “Women are hurting the most” in Obama’s economy.

High praise! We close with this:

This may be the first presidential campaign in which the spouse is more helpful than the VP.

The first? Laura Bush wasn't more helpful than Dick Cheney in 2004?

It’s hard to imagine Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) or even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) being as relentlessly on message, cheery and disarming. As difficult as it is for Romney to bond with voters, he has the benefit of a wife who is doing that better than any candidate on either ticket.

Do we... have any proof of this yet? Hilary Rosen's stupid comment has absolutely caused people who didn't notice Ann Romney before to discover her and side with her. But up to now, had she been bonding with voters in some noticeable, pollable way?

Doesn't matter, does it? This story is shaping Romney's public image; this sort of coverage makes her more likable.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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