AP News

Ann Romney talks family, faith in Florida


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ann Romney can't seem to stop talking about her five boys, even though they're hardly boys anymore.

Hours after her speech to the Republican National Convention, the wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned across the critical battleground state of Florida on Wednesday, talking about her sons, her physical challenges and, of course, her husband.

"Know that this is a man you can trust," she told about 100 people at a Latino Coalition luncheon. "Know that this is a man who will work hard for this country."

Romney started out at a "Women for Romney" fundraiser in Tampa, where she was greeted by former Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart, Janna Ryan — the wife of Romney running mate Paul Ryan — and her five daughters-in-law.

Romney said that when her sons were small, she prayed they would find good wives. She also joked that watching them raise her grandchildren was payback for the ruckus they caused growing up — continuing a theme she played up the night before in her convention speech about family, and her family in particular facing good times and bad, like many others across the country.

Mary Romney, who is married to son Craig, said Ann Romney was like a second mother, teaching her how to cook, shop for heels, and "how to be a kinder, gentler, wife and mother."

She added: "I only hope that one day, my boys respect and love me half as much as my husband and his brothers respect and love their mother. You should hear my husband pray for his mom and for her health. They adore her."

From there, Romney went to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where she shared her story of facing physical challenges from multiple sclerosis.

At the dedication of a hospital playground for special needs children, Romney, 63, said she learned of the importance of physical therapy after she lost use of her right side and had trouble speaking at the age of 49. She said she turned to physical therapy with horses to help her.

"It was a physical therapy of literally making your body work and pushing through some of the physical pain and pushing through some of the limitations," Romney said.

Romney was accompanied by more than a dozen daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Her grandkids played on swings and slides with children who were in wheelchairs, and had Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy.

"I can't believe it's you!" said 11-year-old Seth Morano, as Romney bent down to greet him in his wheelchair. Morano has cerebral palsy and gets muscle strengthening therapy.

Later, Romney attended the Latino Coalition luncheon with her son, Craig. She said it was important for Latinos to vote Republican in the Nov. 6 election because a large number of Hispanics own small businesses.

"He's been there. He's had to do it himself," Romney said. "He understands how to make an economic engine thrive."

Her themes resonated with Ramon Campos.

"I don't think we hear enough about family values at all," said the 31-year-old Campos. "She's a great partner for Romney and complements him nicely."

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Associated Press writer Michael Schneider in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.

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Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush


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