Ann Romney, wife of the Republican Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney, took on her husband’s Republican critics head-on last week. In an interview with Radio Iowa , Mrs Romney admonished fellow Republicans who have pummeled her husband for running what they considered an incompetent campaign. It was a fallout of reactions about Romney falling behind President Barack Obama in polls. She had a simple message for them — “Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring”
This is not the first time Mrs Romney has made a cringe-worthy comment. After Mitt Romney accepted the Republican nomination late August, Ann told CNN that “women want to see the grown-up take over” the White House. She also once lamented in an interview with CBS that the Obama campaign has a “kill Romney” strategy. She said they are trying all they could, to destroy Mitt Romney.
Wives of Presidential candidates are rarely used as attack dogs in campaigns and Ann Romney’s attack on her husband’s Republican critics and the Obama campaign is already making some pundits hold their breath. Political spouses rarely mention their husbands’ opponents by name, especially when it is not about something complimentary. It could rob off negatively on likability before the American people. This is precisely why politicians do not use their wives as attack dogs. Instead, candidates’ wives are normally used by the campaigns to humanize their husbands and appeal to fellow women.
One person who will sure never go the same path, which Ann Romney went last week, is the First Lady, Michelle Obama. She has worked overtime for more than four years as the First Lady of the United States to erase any negative image of her still in the mind of a few people and maintain a squeaky-clean image. It seems it is yielding fruits as she is viewed favorably by a large majority of Americans
Mrs Obama is never known to have even mentioned Mitt Romney or his campaign by name this election season. Instead, on the campaign trail, she talks about all the positive aspects of her husband’s policies and why the President needs to be given another four-year term. She rarely even makes contrasts with what the opposition has to offer but squarely focuses on what her husband has to offer.
Mrs Obama has been very sensitive about whatever word she utters in public after Republicans and Democrats roundly criticized her in February 2008 for saying “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback”. She has also fought to shelve any semblance to an angry Black woman image which critics have tried to label her with.
Hence, It would have been exactly unthinkable for Michelle Obama to directly attack her husband’s critics and tell them to — get in the ring — like Ann Romney did last week, without a major uproar. It would also have been out of character for Michelle Obama to attack Mitt Romney at any point in time by name.