TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ann Romney shared with her fellow Republicans and the nation the family side of the man she met at a high school dance more than four decades ago, saying she wanted to talk from the heart about her husband, Mitt Romney.
Making her national debut in a speech to the Republican National Convention, Mrs. Romney offered a different glimpse of her husband Tuesday night, who can come across as stiff to voters.
She spoke about their 43 years of marriage, and how they stood together through tough times, including her battles with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer, while raising five sons and now enjoying 18 grandchildren.
With her husband listening from back stage, she told a cheering audience that theirs is not a storybook marriage but a real marriage.
Excerpts from Ann Romney's convention speech
"Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.
"I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours.
"Tonight I want to talk to you about love."
"Mitt's dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter.
"He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.
"When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together."
"I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a "storybook marriage." Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer.
"A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage."
"At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up."
"This is the man America needs.
"This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.
"I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:
"This man will not fail.
"This man will not let us down.
"This man will lift up America!"