STAMFORD — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, knows what it’s like not to cross the finish line, and it’s not a position she wants to be in again.
“I know one thing for certain, I’m never going to do that again,” Ann Romney told a room full of more than 800 Connecticut Republicans Monday.
She said the former Massachusetts governor laughs and reminds her she said that after giving birth to all five of their sons.
The 63-year-old grandmother who has endured her own battles with both breast cancer and multiple sclerosis said she was one of the only ones, along with one of her sons, who wanted Mitt to run again this year. She said the family was trying to figure out the playing field — who would run and what states could they win — but the only thing she wanted to know was, if you get the nomination, and if you beat President Barack Obama, “can you fix it?”
“I need to know, is it too late? Has America gone over the proverbial cliff?” Romney asked her husband many months ago.
Romney said his response was “It’s getting late but it’s not too late.” The line received a round of applause. She said that’s all she needed to hear.
Romney talked about what a great husband she has and how he stood by her when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “He kept encouraging me and loving me and telling me that none of those things that I actually did physically to take care of the house, and the kids, and the bills and all the things which — some people think I didn’t work,” she trailed off to a room full of applause.
The remark was a response to comment by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen who said a that Romney “never worked a day in her life.” The statement set off a Mommy war.
“I know what it’s like to finish the laundry and to look in the basket five minutes later and it’s full again,” Romney said. “I know what it’s like to pull all the groceries in and see the teenagers run through and then all of a sudden all the groceries you just bought a few hours ago are gone.
“I know what it’s like to get up early in the morning and get them off to school, and I know what it’s like to get up in the middle of the night when they’re sick and I know what it’s like to struggle and have those concerns all mothers have,” Romney said.
She said she appreciated the response she got from all the women around the country following Rosen’s comment.
She said she made a choice to stay at home and be a mother and Mitt “would remind me all the time that my job was more important than his.
“And that his job was temporary. That mine was going to bring forever happiness,” Romney said.
Romney remained focused on her personal story during her nearly 20-minute speech and steered clear of talking about policy or strategy.
But she ended on a political note. Romney said she knows her husband is going to win this election because when she talks to the women at the rope lines of campaign events they’re talking about the economy and deficits.
“All of them feel as though we are at a turning point and if we don’t act now it’s going to be too late,” Romney said.
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr., who introduced Romney, said ticket sales were around 400, which is typical for the event. But in the last 10 days it sold out. He attributed the higher-than-usual turnout to Romney becoming the presumptive nominee and Rosen’s “specious attacks” on Ann Romney .
“It plays into this fictitious claim that Republicans are waging a war on women, which is completely bogus,” he said citing the unemployment figures amongst women passed out by Romney’s campaign staff at the event in Hartford
The Prescott Bush dinner, which is the Republican party’s largest fundraiser of the year, helped the party raise about $300,000.
“It conveys tremendous enthusiasm for our party in this election cycle,” Labriola said.
But it’s uncertain if that enthusiasm will translate into voter turnout for tomorrow’s Republican primary.
Av Harris, spokesman for the Secretary of the State, said the office wasn’t making any official projections of how many Republicans would head to the polls Tuesday. But with Romney the presumptive nominee, he didn’t anticipate it would be a very high percentage.
Harris said turnout for Republican presidential primary races hit their high-water mark in Connecticut during the 1980 election. That year, Ronald Reagan defeated George H.W. Bush for the GOP nomination. In Connecticut, 43.3 percent of registered Republicans voted in that primary.
In 2008, during the last GOP presidential primary, 36.7 percent of Connecticut Republicans voted.
“We’re not expecting anywhere near that this year because it’s not a competitive primary at this point,” Harris said.