LITTLETON, Colo. – During a campaign stop for her husband today, Ann Romney proved again what an asset she is for the GOP nominee by outlining his strengths and trying to connect him to supporters on a human level.
She led off by relaying campaign anecdotes and observations made by some of the couples' 18 grandchildren who have been near-constant trail companions. One granddaughter, lamenting spending less time with her grandparents if 'Papa' wins the presidency, ultimately came around to the idea.
"I'll be happy if he wins and I'll be happy if he loses," Romney told the sun-soaked crowd of about 500 here. "So let's just make sure that Papa wins. There's other good reasons for Papa to win—Papa's got to win to save this country."
Romney also alluded to Wednesday night's looming debate between her husband and President Barack Obama.
"I can't wait for the contrast that's going to be made clear tomorrow," she said.
The Romney campaign has put on a full-court press in Colorado, a key swing state where polls currently show the Republican nominee trailing by an average of 3 percentage points, according to a tally at RealClearPolitics.com. The former Massachusetts governor headlined a rally featuring the endorsement of former Denver Broncos' MVP quarterback John Elway on Monday night, and popular conservative Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is scheduled to host another event on Wednesday morning.
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But Ann Romney's poised on-stage presence is rarely matched by other surrogates for her husband.
In telling the tale of a young boy whom Mitt Romney supported during an extended illness, she connected the experience to his reputation as a father and potential as a president. He took his boys to the hospital, Romney said, so "they learned by example. They learned that we don't talk, we go do."
"That is where Mitt is when someone's in trouble—he's there, he's by the bedside," Romney said. "Right now the country is in trouble. We need someone that cares, that truly understands what's going on with so many that are being stretched so thin."
And Romney even tackled the perception painted by the Obama campaign that her husband is uncaring and unable to identify with middle-class voters because of his privileged upbringing and vast business success.
"In Colorado, you know you need someone that has compassion and that has the capacity to understand what people are going through, to have the solutions and to get the job done," she said. "One thing I know about Mitt: He doesn't fail."
For Cathy Hansen of Littleton, Ann Romney represents more than just the words she said on stage, but also the socially conservative values she holds dear.
"Ann Romney is for marriage between a man and a woman, she is not for abortion, she is for life and she is for Israel," Hansen said.
After the event wrapped, Romney spent about 20 minutes taking pictures with the audience and signing autographs, offering up the most precious resource of all at this stage in the campaign—time.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.