Is Ann Romney saving her husband’s campaign? She just might be.

October 10, 2012

There's a bit of an Ann Romney boomlet happening in the presidential campaign at the moment.


The wannabe First Lady is guest-hosting "Good Morning America" today, less than 24 hours after penning a piece entitled "The Man I Know" for BlogHer and taking to Fox News Channel to defend her husband against attacks from the Obama campaign that he repeatedly lied in last week's presidential debate. “I mean, lied about what?” Ann Romney told FNC host Martha MacCallum. “This is something he’s been saying all along."

This heightened profile for Ann Romney -- as defender and humanizer (is that a word?) of her husband -- comes hard on the heels of a story in Politico detailing her increased role in the strategy behind Mitt Romney's presidential bid.

Wrote Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei:

"She felt the Obama campaign had dishonestly made her husband out to be something he is not, and was eager to see a more forceful response, especially one that played up his humanity. She wanted to humanize her husband; play up his charity; and showcase how in politics, business and life, he has tried to do the right thing, even when it was not popular."

Her opinions appear to carry serious weight. Already stories have cropped up on the campaign trail about Mitt Romney revealing more of his (for lack of a better word) softer side on the stump, and during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday night, he told a touching story about how he remembers his late father, George, before every debate.

There's also smart politics behind a more prominent Ann Romney. In brand new Washington Post-ABC News polling, nearly six in 10 Americans now view her in a favorable light -- a number that has soared in recent months even as those who regard her unfavorably has stagnated.

And those positive vibes toward Ann Romney extend to two critical subgroups: independents and women. Among independent voters, 58 percent see Ann Romney favorably, while just 28 percent regard her unfavorably.

Among women -- a group that Mitt Romney has struggled with amid an onslaught of negative ads funded by the Obama campaign -- Ann Romney is thought of favorably by 53 percent, while 32 percent view her unfavorably. That's a much healthier number than her husband's 46 percent favorable/52 percent unfavorable score among women.

Ann Romney cannot only serve as the single best surrogate in the "humanize Mitt" campaign, but she has credibility (and likability) with the two demographic groups he badly needs to make headway with over the next 27 days.

Add it all up and it means one simple thing: Expect to see lots (and lots) of Ann Romney between now and Nov. 6.

Romney says abortion isn't on his agenda: Romney confirmed that he won't be pushing the issue of abortion in an interview with the Des Moines Register's editorial board.

"There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney said Tuesday.

Romney's sister said in August that her brother wouldn't be curbing abortion rights, despite his anti-abortion rights position.

Now that the candidate himself has said it, it will be interesting to see whether there is an uproar in the anti-abortion rights community. There are lots of people who care deeply about this issue, and Romney saying he's not going to press the issue could cause some problems.

Fixbits:

Romney is winning independents -- by quite a bit.

Automated pollster SurveyUSA shows Nevada at Obama 47, Romney 46.

Obama's Big Bird ad gets four pinocchios and "pants on fire" from fact-checkers.

Jack Welch: Still not backing down.

NASCAR fans <3 Romney.

A majority of Americans, for the first time, say that the government shouldn't promote any set of values, versus promoting traditional values.

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg weighs in on Obama's poll slippage.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has hired the former lead spokeswoman for NBC Universal -- a hire that will have some chattering about 2016.

A new internal poll conducted for Rep. Martin Heinrich's (D-N.M.) Senate campaign shows him leading former congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) 55 percent to 42 percent.

Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel, ala Paul Ryan, accuses a journalist of putting words in his mouth. "Somebody's gotta put words in your mouth because all you do is talk in circles," said the journalist, who works for the Youngstown Vindicator.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reprises the ad in which he shot the cap and trade bill.

Washington GOP governor candidate Rob McKenna dances to "Gangnam Style" -- and actually doesn't do as badly as you might expect.

Must-reads:

"Election Truthers" -- Richard Hasen, Slate

"Can Obama Resist the Forces of Gravity?" -- Sean Trende, Real Clear Politics

"Democrats Learn to Love the Super PAC" -- Josh Kraushaar, National Journal

"Obama and Romney campaign hard for Ohio’s key votes" -- Bill Turque and Jerry Markon, Washington Post

"Cold calculus of Maine's 3-way race" -- Manu Raju, Politico

"WH race contested in far fewer states than in past" -- Thomas Beaumont, AP

"One Man Guides the Fight Against Gay Marriage" -- Eric Eckholm, New York Times

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Peyton M. Craighill · October 10, 2012