In an attempt to draw fresh faces and new energy to Mitt Romney's 2012 race for the White House, his wife, Ann, will take a more public role, the Romney campaign announced.
The Romney campaign plans to enhance Ann Romney’s role on the campaign trail starting next month, according to The Associated Press. This is good news for her fans. On Ann Romney’s Facebook page, admirers are already calling her the "future first lady,” saying, "She is a role model for young people in America."
But the extent of Romney’s involvement in her husband’s campaign is questionable. Although Ann Romney has been through one presidential bid with her husband before, health problems seem to threaten her involvement in the 2012 race.
On her 2007 website, Ann Romney, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, described her early experiences with the disease as a series of unexplainable trips, stumbles and bumps. However, she managed her symptoms well enough to become a fixture in Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign. Following the election, she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. According to a press statement, Ann Romney underwent a lumpectomy.
Still, Mitt and Ann Romney both confirm that she is "healthy.” Ann Romney still has MS, but manages it through a combination of traditional and eastern medicines, Mitt said.
As for the campaign, Mitt Romney said his wife was more excited to rejoin the campaign trail than he was. "She's convinced I gotta run," he told CNN in a February interview.
Campaign advisers are also convinced that Ann Romney's influence can boost Mitt’s campaign.
Mitt Romney is currently trailing frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the polls. Unlike Romney, Perry is an evangelical who touts his blue collar, working class roots. Ann Romney hopes that she can help people see her husband as more than a wealthy businessman.
"The personal side; for me that's a very important role that I can fill … trying to explain how we function as a family and how he is as a person," she told a GoUpstate video blogger.
Some, however, have been critical of her earlier efforts. There was pushback after Mitt Romney appeared at a NASCAR racing event wearing a Bass Pro shirt and Gap skinny jeans purchased by wife Ann.
"It's sort of contrived," says Brendan Steinhauser, a leading organizer for Tea Party group FreedomWorks. "I've seen the whole flying Southwest thing. It's just not believable."
Ann Romney does, however, do a convincing job portraying Mitt Romney as a great caregiver, husband and family man to social conservatives.
Speaking of her husband's response to her MS diagnosis, Ann Romney told CNN, "I know Mitt as a person, a very good person. I've also seen him as a leader. I, for one, would like for him to lead this country, as president of the United States."