Ann Romney invokes Barbara Bush in pitch to women

October 24, 2012

Ann Romney in Florida. (Ed O'Keefe/Washington Post via Instagram)

WINTER PARK, Fla. -- How's this for presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attempt at wooing women voters: A once-possible first lady introduced the possible future first lady, who used the words of a former first lady in her campaign speech Wednesday.

Ann Romney visited this ritzy neighborhood outside Orlando Wednesday afternoon as part of a three-stop tour along Florida's critical Interstate 4 corridor, which stretches from Tampa to Orlando.

Romney, appearing with two of her 18 grandchildren, was introduced by Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who lost his presidential bid in 2008. During her remarks, Romney recalled a recent campaign fundraiser attended by former first lady Barbara Bush.

Romney said the wife of George H.W. Bush "is just like you see her on television. She is just as frank; she is just as outspoken; she is just as lovable. And she was introducing me at a fundraiser and all these people had come and had given money, and she was chastising all them, saying, 'You haven't done enough! You need to do more!' And I said, 'Only Barbara Bush can do that.'"

During the fundraiser, Romney said Bush called this year's election "'the most important election in my lifetime.' And I was really struck by that, because I thought, is that amazing, that this woman, who is not young -- I think she's 86 years old -- was the wife of a president and the mother of a president, and she said that this was the most important election of her lifetime."

In addition to Cindy McCain, Ann Romney was preceded on stage by former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who earned some of the biggest applause of the afternoon when she reminded the crowd that Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal the 2010 health-care reform law.

Ed O'Keefe is traveling across Florida this week for "5 in 5," a five-day look at five competitive House races. Read his reporting at 2chambers.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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