Romney Uses His Wife As Crutch With Women Voters — Here’s Why That’s A Problem
11:30 am, April 11th | by Laura Donovan
There’s no doubt in my mind that presidential candidate Mitt Romney and wife of more than forty years Ann have a solid, enviable relationship. But like Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who argued in a Tuesday piece that “[o]utsourcing the job to his wife isn’t going to solve [his] problem with women voters,” I know the former governor’s reliance on his spouse to gain him points with women can only take him so far.
Romney, who became the likely Republican contender on Tuesday after Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, has a tendency to defer to Ann when probed on issues pertaining to women. Last week, he was asked about the gender gap and said twice that he wished Ann could have been present to take the question. This, Marcus says, is an example of Romney’s “unfamiliarity with the territory of gender,” which also comes through in Ann’s new video titled “Family.” The ad features old photographs of the Romney clan back when the five sons were just little boys, and Ann quips that she often feels like husband Mitt is her sixth son because of his wild spirit:
“I hate to say it but often I had more than five sons. had six sons, and he would be as mischievous and as naughty as the other boys. He’d come home and…everything would just explode again.”
Marcus says the clip isn’t cute but rather a Romney deterrent. Pinterest using Ann, who has been referred to as “the Romney Democrats fear most” as well as the “dad stabilizer” by the Romney kids, may be resonating with some women, but runs the risk of turning them off.
As Marcus points out, Romney could be doing more to connect with females, and that requires thinking outside the box and not having Ann do the work for him, even though it’s nice to see her get so involved with the campaign:
Even as Mitt was playing a bit role in his wife’s video, Obama was hosting a “White House Forum on Women and the Economy.” In an unstated yet unavoidable contrast with stay-at-home mother Ann Romney, Obama described his wife as “the woman who once advised me at the law firm in Chicago where we met” and related how Michelle Obama, after their daughters were born, “gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career.”
In the end, the numbers tell all, and a new Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that Obama is beating Romney by 57 percent to 38 percent among registered women voters. The same poll also shows that Romney is ahead of Obama 52 to 44 in popularity with male voters, but given the difficulties of ousting a seated president and the size of the gender gap, Romney must go the extra mile with women if he really wants to win this thing, and that will entail ridding himself of the Ann lifeline for once.