The pandering and somewhat desperate to make America like her husband speech that Ann Romney gave couldn’t hold a candle to the performance delivered by First Lady Obama last night. Each wife took the stage in an attempt to humanize their husbands, but only one speech was successful.
Ann Romney’s attempt at I feel your pain was this line, “We were very young. Both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage, and you know? We just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen. Those were very special days.”
Instead of conveying empathy, at best, Mrs. Romney’s statements highlight just how out of touch she and her husband are with what people are going through right now. At worst, this was a load of bull that didn’t bother to mention that she and Mitt weren’t poor. They spent their college years living off of investment income.
In contrast, Michelle Obama was able to talk about the daily life of the Obamas just a few years ago, “Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys … Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma’s house … and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both.”
What was most telling about Ann Romney’s speech was what it didn’t say. Her speech lacked the little warm personal details that would help people understand and like Mitt Romney the person. Ann Romney’s speech read like a letter of recommendation.
Contrast the stiff trust me, Mitt will do a good job delivery of Ann Romney with what Michelle Obama had to say about her husband, “You see, even though back then Barack was a senator and a presidential candidate … to me, he was still the guy who’d picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door … he was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a Dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.”
Those are the sort of details that wife a would/might find charming when she looks back on her earliest moments with her future husband. What Michelle Obama shared with America was real. It wasn’t a letter of recommendation. It was a look at the inside of a man from the vantage point of the person who knows him best.
Ann Romney’s speech focused on how Mitt Romney and only Mitt Romney was responsible for his success, but Michelle Obama countered the Romneys myth of the self made man, “And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity … you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
Michelle Obama showed the country what a real First Lady looks like. Mrs. Obama spoke from the heart and through the perspective that she has gained over the past four years. Ann Romney’s perspective might not exist outside of the bubble created by her wealth.
What we learned from Ann Romney’s speech is that she thinks her husband is a great guy, and that we should just trust him. Michelle Obama’s speech took the traits of the man and showed why they make him a good president. Michelle Obama talked to the country, whereas Ann Romney’s speech cynically painted a half picture for voters.
First Lady Obama gave a speech by which all other spouses will be measured, and when that test is applied to Ann Romney she fails miserably.
Ann Romney may think she is entitled to the White House, but Michelle Obama showed exactly why she belongs there.