Romney is Republican hope
Mitt Romney picked up the official nomination of the Republican Party Tuesday as his wife made an impassioned plea to voters to see her husband through her eyes. And like him.
Romney won the nomination expectedly at a roll call of delegates on the opening day of the Isaac-truncated Republican party convention here, six years after he first set in search of it.
Celebrations broke out. But they paled in comparison to the excitement Ann Romney whipped up later in the day.
"You can trust Mitt," she said
"He will never fail you."
From the moment she took the stage in a radiant red dress, she had the floor, cameras flashing throughout her speech, broken frequently by rapturous applause from the audience.
"She was great, wasn't she?" said a woman delegate, hurrying off the Tampa Times Forum.
The Republicans had found their star in Ann Romney, a 61-year-old homemaker who has emerged as the human face of her seemingly cold and businesslike husband.
It was her job at the convention to re-model her husband into a likable, trustworthy average joe in an average marriage with an average woman, who he met at a dance 42 years ago.
"You really should get to know him," she said.
Mitt Romney has trailed President Barack Obama in every likability poll, while leading on questions on who voters think is better equipped to bring the economy around.
"Romney has looked too analytical and business-like," said Ken Taylor, a Republican from Indiana, "in the process he has looked too distant and remote."
Brian Katz, a Republican from Ohio, disagreed. "When you are in a room with Romney, you realise he is like everyone - not the distant leader."
The Romney campaign has moved lately - too late, some believe - to fix that problem by also projecting the candidate as a warm and caring husband and father, essentially with the help of Ann Romney.
Ann Romney makes for a compelling story. A good-looking grandmother of 18, who has a ready smile, a striking dress sense, and has overcome Multiple Sclerosis.
"Her speech should do the trick," said Katz.
She understands more than anyone else where her husband is lacking: he has failed to connect, with even his own party.
Some convention speakers like Rick Santorum and Chris Christie made no attempt to hide it.