TAMPA, Fla. — Is Ann Romney a “modern feminist” or a traditional, doting housewife? Even her own daughters-in-law couldn’t decide as they introduced her at a “Women for Mitt” event here Wednesday morning, painting her as both a new-school crusader for women, and an old-school instructor of household upkeep and pie-baking.
Their conflicting accounts reflect a broader struggle within the party to define the would-be first lady — they want to make Ann Romney all things to all women, whether that means she’s an ambassador to working women with whom she has little in common, or the “conservative ideal of a woman whose strength lies in running her home.”
One of the Romney’s daughters-in-law, Laurie, who is married to Matt Romney, said she is grateful to Ann for taking her under her wing, which included teaching her “to cook and she, more, even more importantly than that, she taught me to be a really good support to Matt and to not, to not always weigh him down with all the, you know, all the little hard things during the day but to be positive.”
Another daughter in law said Ann Romney taught her to “shop for heels.”
The honest, loving musings of five women who truly admire Ann Romney? Of course. But they belie the retro feel of her husband’s entire campaign, just like the unsubtle blaring of “My Girl” did as it punctuated Ann Romney’s Tuesday night “I love women!” speech.