Flashing Mitt Romney pins and American flags, donning dresses and cowboy boots, hundreds of women convened in a Loudoun County barn Sept. 7 to hear Ann Romney speak boldly about her belief that Mitt wouldn’t fail the nation if elected president.
Continuing on one of the prime messages from her speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Ann Romney promised the female-dominated crowd of roughly 450 her husband would turn around the nation’s ailing economy. In addition to painting her husband as a compassionate and devoted family man and successful business hawk, Ann Romney criticized President Barack Obama’s economic policies.
On creating jobs and bolstering the country’s economy, Ann Romney said her husband “knows how to do these things.” The presidential candidate made millions as a co-founder of Bain Capital, a financially successful asset management, venture capital and private equity firm.
“He’s done it, he’s proven it. This is his time, it’s his moment, because I believe in him, and because we believe in America,” she said to the crowd at Cavallo Farm in Leesburg.
Friday’s “Women for Mitt” event came just hours after the U.S. Department of Labor’s employment report showed the economy added 93,000 news jobs in August. That number was lower than the Obama administration had hoped and many financial analysts expected. With the slim jobs gain, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, though that dip was mainly attributed to more than 300,000 people giving up looking for work.
While Ann Romney, 63, said the weak economy has hit women harder than men, the Department of Labor report shows women had a slightly lower unemployment rate than men.
Ann Romney declared her husband and his vice presidential candidate, Congressman Paul Ryan, have a plan to improve the nation’s economy and grow jobs. She stopped short, however, of providing any specific policy details in her 12-minute talk.
The selection of the riding academy coincided with Ann Romney’s extensive history in the equine world. As a child, she said she considered herself a “barn rat,” meaning she was always hanging around in stables. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS, in 1998, she took up dressage – often referred to as “horse ballet” – for therapeutic purposes, a common aid for people suffering from MS.
“I feel right at home right now because I’m in a barn,” she said in Leesburg.
Riding and being around horses, Ann Romney recalled, brought her peace and a purpose in a difficult time; rekindling her passion for horses was a “speck of light” in a period of darkness.
Following Ann Romney’s remarks, local resident Kelly Quinn said she liked everything she heard from the potential first lady’s speech. When asked what proposals from Mitt Romney stand out for her, Quinn said “there’s so many” before listing simply “taxes and family and health care.”
Loudoun County Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) opened up the ceremonies, leading chants of “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt,” and reflecting on the Republican battle cry, “You did build it.”
“That term doesn’t only apply to business. Your efforts built the victories we had the last three years,” Volpe told the crowd, speaking of the 2012 GOP sweep of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors, the 2010 majority gain for conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and the 2009 state election that led to wins for Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Volpe made several religious references during the event, saying first she hoped it was a “good church-going crew” in the audience. Later, after referencing the “good book,” Volpe said “unlike some other folks, we like to pray around here.”
When asked Sept. 11 what was meant by those remarks, Volpe said she just “wanted to make sure nobody would be offended that we were praying.”
Other “Women for Mitt” speakers included state Del. Barbara Comstock, a top adviser for the Romney campaign in Virginia, Carolyn Stover, the wife of Congressman Frank Wolf, and former first lady of Virginia Susan Allen.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sept. 11, the presidential race continues to be neck-and-neck, with Obama ahead 49 percent to Romney’s 48 percent.
“Among a larger sampling of registered voters, the president received a four-point, post-convention bump, drawing 50 percent of the vote to Romney’s 44 percent,” Real Clear Politics reported.
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