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Ann Romney campaigns at Wright's Gourmet House in Tampa

TAMPA — Ann Romney swung through town Wednesday, greeting the lunch crowd at Wright's Gourmet House in South Tampa and chatting with volunteers.

"Don't you just feel it — just feel like it's going to happen," she said of husband Mitt Romney's chances on Nov. 6.

Dressed in a white silk blouse and light blue pants, Romney hit the popular lunch spot on S Dale Mabry Highway with daughter-in-law Mary Romney (wife of youngest son Craig) and grandsons Miles, 3, and Parker, 5.

Ann Romney spoke for a few minutes with a table of volunteers, thanking them for doing "extraordinary things" for her husband's presidential campaign.

She said that the more time they spend on the trail, their sense of responsibility grows.

"We are deeply, deeply touched because we know people are hurting out there," she said. "We're really feeling so responsible for millions of people, millions of women."

"We hear their voices," she said.

Volunteer Ana Young, who makes phone calls and signs at the Romney campaign office on Gandy Boulevard, told Romney, "We need a new beginning. We think you are the new beginning."

Wright's owner Jeff Mount said the campaign stop came together quickly.

One of his managers told him on Monday, "Hey, the Secret Service is here — they want to see you," Mount said.

He's gotten several calls over the years from candidates promising to make a stop at the restaurant started by Mount's grandparents in 1963. But campaign demands always intervened.

"What I like about Mrs. Romney, she's the first one that actually showed up," Mount said.

In the crowded dining room, Romney was joined by Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain, and Kerry Healey, the lieutenant governor in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney served as governor.

Ann Romney said it's offensive to her what the Obama campaign says about her husband's attitudes about women's rights, then asked Healey to weigh in on the subject.

As governor, Healey said, Mitt Romney "went so far beyond equal pay for equal work."

"He listened to women's voices. He was a family-friendly governor," Healey said, adding that as president, Mitt Romney would be "a good example for all employers."

Ann Romney sipped Diet Coke at the table but never had a chance to eat the chicken caesar salad she'd ordered. She took it — and her grandsons' grilled cheese sandwiches and banana cream pie — in a takeout bag.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@tampabay.com.

Ann Romney campaigns at Wright's Gourmet House in Tampa 10/24/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:27pm]
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