Ann Romney’s unexpected rock star status has the political arena buzzing about how her husband’s campaign will leverage her popularity in an election in which Michelle Obama — one of the most admired first ladies in history — will have an outsized and substantive portfolio.

Indeed, this 62-year-old grandmother’s contribution to Mitt Romney’s campaign could amount to the most relevant role a wife has ever played in a presidential effort — softening the edges of a flawed and awkward candidate who struggles to connect with voters.

As Romney closes in on his party’s nomination, Obama campaign officials and strategists view Ann Romney as a wild card in the fall campaign — a skilled and articulate advocate whose full power has yet to be unleashed. If she’s armed with a passionate vision for a Romney White House, the opposition believes she could emerge as a compelling surrogate for her husband around the country.

She has, in fact, recently begun targeting women – a demographic Republicans desperately need – talking about the economy and jobs. “I wish Ann, my wife were here,” Mitt Romney told a crowd in Wisconsin Sunday, flagging her efforts. “She’s going across the country and talking with women. We have work to do, to make sure we take our message to the women of America.”

Continue reading →