The Washington Post

Is Ann Romney's health a political liability?

In an interview on Fox News Thursday evening, Ann Romney talked about her experiences with serious illness: breast cancer, for which she was treated in 2008, and multiple sclerosis, with which she was diagnosed in 1998.

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks to supporters during a campaign stop in Milford, N.H., Friday, June 15, 2012. (Evan Vucci/AP)

In his introduction to the segment, Fox’s Bret Baier suggests that some have questioned whether Romney’s medical issues might become an issue should her husband, presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney, be elected in November.

Romney has apparently beaten her breast cancer, and despite occasional flare-ups, she seems to be managing her MS – which is of the relapsing/remitting, not the steadily worsening progressive variety. She says her health problems have strengthened her as person, making her more empathetic toward other people.

Romney says that the strength she drew from her spouse and sons carried her through the tough times after she was diagnosed with MS. Asked whether her husband could be expected to provide such support again if she suffers a relapse while he is serving as president, she said the couple had been through tough times before and would get through them together in the future.

Other first ladies have suffered serious illnesses while their husbands served as president: Betty Ford, for instance, was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy soon after Gerald Ford took office in 1974.

Do you think Ann Romney’s medical issues would likely become a liability – or a distraction -- to her husband should he become president?

As an aside, here’s an interesting look at the potential health benefits of Mormonism. Ann and Mitt Romney are Mormons.


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