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"If my wife was here, she'd feel for you, she really would." (Jim Young/Reuters)
Ann Romney's visible role in her husband Mitt's campaign is expanding, with Mitt apparently hoping to deal with his deficits in warmth, relatability, general humanity, and above all, appeal to women by outsourcing that role to his wife. For instance, campaigning in Wisconsin, Mitt said:
[...] I wish Ann were here, my wife were here, for a lot of reasons, I wish she were here. But I wish she were here to answer that question in particular. She says that she’s going across the country and talking with women, and what they’re talking about is the debt that we’re leaving the next generation and the failure of this economy to put people back to work. [...] And the, my goodness, what the president has done, with regards to this issue on health care, he came in and said, look, under Obamacare, we’re going to tell the Catholic church that it has to violate its religious conscience...
In other words, not only does Romney think Ann is an effective campaigner, he believes so strongly that his wife makes him look more likeable that he should invoke her before attacking President Obama and taking the side of the Catholic bishops over women's access to birth control. He needs her to soften himself just so he doesn't look mean and anti-woman. The merits of this belief aside, his campaign faces a dilemma: If Ann is an effective campaigner, perhaps more so than Mitt, she should be on the road on her own. But, according to Tagg Romney:
“You can tell when she’s off the trail for too long — my dad has got some sharper edges. He’s a little less patient. … She’ll say, ‘Oh, don’t sweat it, you don’t need to worry about that,’ and distract him. We always call her the dad stabilizer. He needs to be with her.”

Added a senior campaign official: “It’s something we weigh all the time. He’s just a better candidate when she’s around.”

So ... what we've been seeing of Mitt is him at his campaign-trail best? And if they send Ann out to campaign separately, he will be less patient and appealing? Ha ha ha ha ha. Please! Send Ann out from now to November. I want to see what howlers Mitt comes up with in that time if what we've been seeing up to now is his A game.

Even if the Romney campaign could resolve that dilemma, where the premise of Lois Romano's Politico article, "Ann Romney is the Romney Democrats fear most" really breaks down, though, is on the evidence. Ann Romney might be warmer and more personally popular than her husband. But if she's supposed to be bumping up his support among women, and has been increasingly tasked with doing so in recent weeks, we have to question the success of that strategy given that her husband's polling among women has cratered since mid-February.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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