TAMPA — Riding a wave of excitement from her prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention, Ann Romney on Wednesday reached out to two key constituency groups that have so far eluded her husband: women and Hispanics.
Romney was the main attraction at a women's breakfast that doubled as a campaign fundraiser. At a second lunchtime event, she talked about how much she admired Hispanic families and hoped that they wouldn't be duped into voting for President Barack Obama.
At the breakfast, all five of Romney's daughters-in-law — Jennifer, Andelyne, Laurie, Jen and Mary — shared stories about how she helped them become better wives and mothers. Mary said Romney taught her "not only to cook, but to shop for heels, to decorate a home, how to be brave in the face of trial and adversaries, and how to be a kinder and gentler wife and woman."
The breakfast crowd of about 500 also heard briefly from Janna Ryan, wife of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
She thanked the Romneys for welcoming her to the campaign and characterized the election as about "our families, our children, our future."
But the focus was on Romney, who said the women in the crowd understand what is at stake in the election because they are the ones who budget the finances and run their households.
"We're also the ones who love our children and our grandchildren, we are the ones that are not going to leave a legacy of debt to them for our recklessness from what we're doing in this generation," she said. "And that is part of the reason why I said to Mitt, 'You've got to do this again.' "
At lunchtime, son Craig Romney joined his mother at an event hosted by the Latino Coalition. Craig started out speaking in Spanish before telling the crowd in English about how mischievous he and his brothers once were. Craig spoke to about 200 people, talking about how much he loves his parents, and how his father is a man of integrity.
"Whether you agree or disagree with my father's policies, know that this is a man that you can trust," he said.
During her speech, Ann Romney said Hispanics have to work harder to counteract the message that they are better served by the Democratic Party.
"They are mistaken if they think they're going to be better off with Barack Obama as their president," she said.
Tia Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com or (850) 224-7263.