Minutes after her husband got off the stage in New Hampshire launching his bus tour, Ann Romney got back on the bus and took to the Pennsylvania airwaves where the bus will stop Saturday. She said that if her husband makes it to the White House, the causes she will champion as first lady will be breast cancer and multiple sclerosis research, as well as help for at-risk youth.
"I obviously care about breast cancer awareness and research as well with multiple sclerosis and research and trying to find a cure, but beyond that I've also worked with at-risk youth," Romney told Sue Henry on WILK radio in Scranton. "And I think you can almost think there's an umbrella that covers all of that, which is the ability that we all have from our experiences that we've had with our life to be able to pay back and give back and say this is my time now to put out a helping hand for those who are most in need and so that certainly is going to be part of what I think I will be doing and I'm fairly confident by the way that Mitt is going to do quite well in November and he will be president of the United States."
Romney was diagnosed with MS in 1998 and although she has had periods of more severe symptoms, she now says most of her symptoms are in remission an d she uses horseback riding as a form of therapy. She admits she still suffers from fatigue because of the disease and said today she is "very, very careful with my health and making sure that I take the proper rest and [I'm] not on the trail every day with Mitt."
She was diagnosed with a non-invasive form of breast cancer in January of 2009 and that is also in remission after treating it at the time with radiation. Romney said she has "walked down a very rocky path in my later years in life," which has given her a different perspective, one she will bring to her role as first lady if her husband is elected.
"One thing it has done to me its taught me how many people are going through difficult times in their life," Romney said. "And how many people are going through crises and it doesn't have to be a financial crisis, or a health crisis, it can be the loss of a loved one or someone else so I hope what I bring is an ability to have more understanding for those that are suffering and recognizing there we are all on this journey together… and so I would love to think I would be able to be able to do something like that and be a compassionate voice and sounding board and love for those that are suffering."
At the same farm in Stratham where her husband launched his presidential bid last June, Ann Romney introduced her husband, kicking off his five-day, six-state bus tour. Dressed in a floral dress with a pink belt she said "it is unbelievable how many people out there are so frustrated with the economic outlook of their lives with the job losses they are suffering through. … They are feeling pinched in every single way and I'm hearing it from everyone."
Romney has been called the "secret weapon" on the trail because of her ability to connect with voters, especially women, which at times does not come as naturally to her husband. In the short introduction, as well as the interview, she reached out to female voters, telling her stories of them on the trail.
"What I hear from women, they are talking about jobs, they talking about the economy, they are talking about deficit spending," Romney said before her husband spoke. "I know there are so many women out there looking, watching. … Hope is on the way."
In the radio interview, she was asked about one person or moment on the trail that has made the biggest impression on her. She said it's something she hears from women every day, including on the rope line she just left, and she repeated that hearing from women praying for her is what touches her the most.
"I hear it every single day and I hear it I don't care how big or small the group is there are women that come up to me, give me a hug … [and] say they are praying for me," Romney said. " I am just so touched by it and there are universal strangers who are reaching out giving me a hug and say they are praying for me because they know I have had my own struggles.
"Women are that way: they are compassionate, they are caring and they know what they can do best, which is offer a prayer."