Ann Romney's speech lives up to expectations

TAMPA -- Ann Romney spelled it out right near the top of her speech: "I want to talk to you tonight not about politics and not about party."

Instead, her mission was to present to voters a softer and warmer side of her husband, something that polls show isn't apparent to many Americans.

"I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country," Romney said, adding "I know this good and decent man for what he is, warm and loving and patient."

The Romney campaign sees the candidate's wife as one of his most effective surrogates and expectations were high. She lived up to them.

Romney also used the speech to portray herself as an ordinary women, regardless of her family's wealth.

"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," Romney said, describing their early years together. "Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen."

Did she do what she needed to?

"A powerful speech from Ann Romney," said CNN's Wolf Blitzer, chief anchor of the network's coverage of the convention.

CNN Chief Political Analyst David Gergen said, "Ann Romney added to the vote that Mitt Romney is already likely to get. That was very, very important. Ann Romney's speech has a chance to be remembered for a long time."

CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, anchor of "State of the Union," agreed, saying "I think Ann Romney gave a speech people will remember.

CNN contributor and former George W. Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, "She gave speech from a mom's point of view. Moms can understand" what she was saying.

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