By SUSAN HAIGH
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Ann Romney told a crowd of enthusiastic Connecticut Republicans on Monday that she believes her husband has the right message to win the Democratic-leaning state in November.
Romney predicted that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s message of fixing the economy and getting people back to work will resonate with the state’s voters, especially women.
“Even in this state, with that kind of message, with that economic message, with women that are caring about the economy, with all of us caring about deficits, that we can win,” she told hundreds of Republicans, who gathered for the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner on the eve of the state’s presidential primary. Romney is expected to win easily.
The event was expected to raise about $300,000. State GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said about 800 tickets were sold and that it would likely be one of the most financially successful fundraisers for the state party, crediting Ann Romney’s growing popularity, reaction to how she was recently criticized by a Democratic strategist for being a stay-at-home mom, and how her husband recently all but clinched the Republican nomination. Labriola said ticket sales rocketed about 10 days ago, leading to Monday night’s sell-out crowd.
“There’s a growing belief within the party that we are in the midst of a turn-around story here in the Republican Party in Connecticut,” Labriola said.
Ann Romney spoke for nearly 20 minutes, providing a glimpse into her relationship with her husband and their decision to have him run for president a second time.
She described how only one of the couple’s five sons originally wanted Mitt Romney to run again, and how she had her own reservations.
“It’s such an emotionally draining thing to go through. And the person that you’re fighting for, that you love, that you cherish, you know that they’re being maligned at times, you know they’re being misrepresented at times, you know that they’re not getting the proper treatment at times, and yet, here we go again,” she said.
Romney said she ultimately agreed to support her husband’s second bid for the White House after he promised her that if he was elected president, it was not too late for him to make a difference, help the country “turn things around,” and that it worth going through another campaign.
“He said, `No, it’s getting late, but it’s not too late,”’ Ann Romney said.
She said she didn’t need to know anything more. “If you can fix it, you must do this,” Romney said she told her husband.
Republicans and Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have come to Romney’s defense recently after a Democratic operative, Hilary Rosen, suggested that she’s unqualified to speak about the economy’s tolls because she’s “never worked a day in her life.” At Monday night’s event, Romney spoke of the challenges she experienced raising five sons without outside help for much of that time and running a household. She said her husband was very supportive of her choice to be a stay-at-home-mother.
“He would remind me all the time that my job was more important than his,” she said. “He didn’t just say it, he believed it.”
Romney also told the crowd about of her bout with breast cancer, as well as multiple sclerosis, a disease that challenges her today on the campaign trail.
“The days are long, the road is hard, the trials are there and I never know when this little grey cloud that’s over my head … (is) going to start raining on me again,” she said, referring to her MS. “But I also believe that we’re here for a purpose and that Mitt has been prepared and has done things in his life that will serve him so well for the next huge job that he has.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)