Thursday morning I attended a Woman for Romney luncheon honoring Ann Romney and Janna Ryan. The attendees were still buzzing about Ann’s speech the night before. There was a moving tribute video to Ann, with old pictures, family movies and vignettes of each of her five sons speaking glowingly about their mom. Mitt introduced Ann via video and had the room laughing when he said the Delegates in Tampa were going to fall so in love with Ann they might nominate her instead of him. He quipped that if Ann were the nominee he did not imagine the media would be calling upon him to “humanize” her. Ann was introduced by her five daughters in-law. They each shared how Ann had welcomed them into her family. Josh’s wife Jen shared a funny story about going into labor on Christmas Eve and Ann bringing the whole clan to the hospital to eat a Christmas dinner of vending machine food as they awaited the birth of her newest grandchild. Then Ann spoke, welcoming Janna Ryan to the campaign trail, thanking all the women for their support and telling stories of raising a family of five rowdy boys with a husband often away for work. Sharing that when days were really rough, Mitt recognized that she had the tougher and infinitely more important job and that while his job was temporary raising a family is forever.
The speaking line-up at the convention was outstanding. We heard from John McCain, Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman and Mike Huckabee. Then came Condeleeza Rice. Her story about being a young girl who could not get served in a restaurant because of the color of her skin to becoming Secretary of State was inspiring. She is one of my personal heroes and I am awed by her achievements. Paul Ryan finished the night and he had the joint rocking. I especially loved his description of Mitt’s iPod music selection as being similar to the music we often hear in elevators. Ryan’s playlist starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin. Despite their different tastes in music, their vision for the country is the same. Ryan introduced his mother as his role model. After her husband died when Ryan was 16, she had to essentially start over and work to provide for her family. Her story of perseverance was extremely moving. His call for people to join him and Mitt in their efforts to right the course of our nation was met with deafening applause.
The speeches ended and the party began with Kid Rock performing an amazing show. He brought some Michigan energy to Tampa. He sang my favorite song “All Summer Long” and the Romney/Ryan anthem “Born Free.” The crowd was dancing and everyone enjoyed the party. I made it back to my hotel at 2:00 am exhausted. There will be time for sleep later.