Ann Romney moves from 'disaster' campaign debut in 1994 to 2012 spotlight

Published: Thursday, April 12 2012 12:36 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann walk through a square while campaigning in Concord, N.H. Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.

Associated Press

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Although Ann Romney is in the spotlight today following the Wednesday remarks of Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, a 2007 New York Times article shows how the stay-at-home mom has grown into the role of a politically savvy spokeswoman.

Jodi Kantor of the New York Times spotlighted Romney, chronicling her 1994 debut as a political wife and calling it "somewhere between a disappointment and a disaster." Since then, Romney has become the human side of her husband's campaign, telling stories about her family, pulling out photos of her grandchildren and talking about her struggles with multiple sclerosis.

And Romney wasn't about to take Rosen's criticism lying down.

"I know what it's like to struggle," she said on Fox News Thursday morning. "Maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as other people have. I can tell you and promise you that I have had some struggles in my life."

A New York Times blog post breaks down Romney's work outside of the home, citing her work at her father's company, which manufactured heavy machinery for the maritime industry, as well as her work teaching cooking classes and volunteering with Boston-area charity and advocacy groups.

First lady Michelle Obama weighed in on the debate Thursday as well, saying on Twitter, "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected."

"We have to respect women in all the choices they make," Romney said. "Raising children, it's for me the most important thing we can do. . . Mitt said to me more times than you can imagine, 'Ann, your job is more important than mine.'"

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