Tampa, Fla.— Ann Romney joined family members and Paul Ryan’s wife Janna at a breakfast the morning after her convention speech aimed at wooing female voters. The event was a tribute to the woman who wants to be the country’s next first lady and a victory lap after what supporters are calling her knock-it-out-of-the park address Tuesday evening.
Wearing a pink dress, she again appealed to the female voters her husband so desperately needs, but she also had help: She was introduced by both Janna Ryan and all five of her daughters-in-law. Mitt Romney introduced his wife via a video that touched on the joke everyone watching her speech last night knows: She should be doing the talking.
“I keep reading about how this week is supposed to be my big moment, but I only get to be in Tampa for one night. And then I looked at Ann’s schedule, and, well, the phrase ‘While the cat’s away the mice will play’ comes to mind? By the time I get to town, the delegates may have decided to nominate Ann instead,” Romney said. “Do you think if Ann were the nominee, the press would write stories about how my job is to humanize Ann? I don’t think so.”
It’s rare that any of her daughters-in-law speak publicly, especially in front of an event with press, but it’s a rarer event to get all five that live all over the country together.
Each one stood up praising their mother-in-law, thanking her for teaching them how to cook or “shop for high heels” and repeating that they loved her as much as their own mothers. Andelynne Romney, married to Ben, used a word for her mother-in-law not often described to Mrs. Romney: feminist.
“One thing I really love about Ann is she’s a really modern feminist,” Andelynne Romney said. “She’s kind of the 21st century woman. She is so comfortable in her own skin, and I promise that’s for real. I feel like being a stay-at-home mom myself, one who wants to go back to school, one who’s making long-term choices in my life that being part of this family, anything is possible and I have such an amazing role model to follow.”
This was one of the first times Janna Ryan had a chance to speak publicly, after shaking her head ‘no’ to take the microphone at her husband’s roll-out two weeks ago, and she made it brief, talking for less than two minutes. Also dressed in a pink dress, she thanked Ann Romney for “her friendship,” calling it an “unexpected blessing in this campaign.”
The Women for Mitt breakfast was a fundraiser, and Romney welcomed her new partner on the trail, saying she “feel[s] a little responsible for her because it’s like she has just been thrown into this firestorm.”
“I’ve been kind of building up to it for a while and as Cindy knows,” Romney said, referring to Cindy McCain in the audience, “it takes a few years to get yourself up to speed and accept all the stuff that’s going on and all the things that are being thrown at you. She is a strong woman and she is a beautiful woman, and I am so excited.”
She called her husband and Ryan the “dynamic duo.”
“Paul brings energy, intelligence and extraordinary knowledge of the budget, and probably knows it inside and out almost better than anyone in this country,” Romney said. “So we are honored to have him by our side. And we will be thrilled when they take office and start really getting this country back on track.” Romney said life has been coming at her “like a firehose” recently and at the end she was surrounded by many, possibly all, of her 18 granchildren clamoring for hugs.
Besides Cindy McCain, her daughters-in-law and Janna Ryan, there was another surprise guest in the audience: Miriam Adelson. She’s the wife of casino billionaire and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, and ABC News spotted her leaving the Women for Mitt breakfast.
Dressed in her signature look of baggy pants and rhinestone-studded glasses, she said with a smile that she doesn’t “talk to the media,” but she said her trip to the RNC has been “wonderful.” As for Ann Romney ‘s speech today: “Yeah, I enjoyed it. It was wonderful,” she said before leaving.