There are things that Mitt Romney says -- like why windows don't open on jetliners or his notorious comment on the 47 percent of America -- that he can't take back and can't explain to the public or the media's satisfaction.
That's when the campaign brings in Ann Romney, the candidate's wife, defender and translator. While her comments often don't directly address the issue of what her husband said, her plea for reason and appeal for compassion usually works to douse the flames.
Here are just a few of the fires Ann has sought to smother so far.
|On Opening Airplane Windows:|
The Situation: Ann Romney's charter plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Friday after an electrical fire filled the cockpit with smoke.
Mitt's Comment: "When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no — and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem," he told the Los Angeles Times.
Ann's Defense: "It's his way of making light of how worried he is about me," she said Tuesday during the Tonight Show after Jay Leno asked about Romney's window remark. "It's his way of dealing with the panic of knowing how dangerous this was."
|On the 47 Percent Fiasco|
The Situation: Video of Romney speaking to a group of high-dollar donors during a closed-door fundraiser in Florida was clandestinely taped and posted online Sept. 17.
Mitt's Comment: "All right, there are 47 percent who are with him [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
Ann's Defense: "It's a very frustrating thing because you try so hard to get your message out," she told Jay Leno a week after the videos were posted. "You don't like those things to get misinterpreted as to what, why we're running and how strongly I believe and how important it is to what Mitt can bring to this country."
|On Campaign Mishaps|
The Situation: The Romney campaign had a rough three weeks. There were rumors of discontent within his top advisers. There was the 47 percentvideo . And then polls showed the GOP candidate's support slipping in key battleground states.
The Comments: Peggy Noonan, a speechwriter for former President Reagan, wrote in a Wall Street Journal Column that it was "time for an intervention." The New York Times said "a palpably gloomy and openly frustrated mood" had crept into the Romney campaign.
Ann's Defense: "Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring," she told Radio Iowa last week.
|On Mitt's Tax Returns:|
The Situation: Pressure had been mounting for months for Romney to release more than just two years of his tax returns, intensifying after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid charged that Romney had not paid any taxes for a decade. Those calls increased after word spread that Romney had requested "several years" of tax returns from his potential vice presidential picks.
The GOP nominee eventually released his 2011 tax returns on Sept. 21.
Mitt's Comment: "My view is I've paid all the taxes required by law," Romney told ABC's David Muir in July.
Ann's Defense: "There are so many things that will be open again for more attack," Mrs. Romney told ABC's Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" when asked about releasing tax returns. "And you just want to give more material for more attack. And that's really, that's just the answer."
She added, "And we've given all our people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how — you know, how we live our life."
|On Seamus' Rooftop Car Ride:|
The Situation: The 20-year-old tale of the Romney family dog enduring a rooftop ride atop the family's station wagon was first reported during the GOP candidate's first presidential campaign in 2007. But the story of Seamus' 12-hour road trip inside a dog carrier strapped to the car's roof blew up during the Republican primary this year, with Romney's opponents using the story to paint Romney as uncaring.
Mitt's Comment: "This is a completely air-tight kennel, mounted on the top of our car," Romney told Fox News, in a clip that his GOP rival Newt Gingrich used in a January attack ad. "He was in a kennel at home a great deal of time as well. It was where he was comfortable."
Ann's Defense: "The dog loved it," Ann Romney told ABC's Diane Sawyer in April. "He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks."