October 2nd, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

Ann Romney: 'Dad' is always with Mitt at the debates

Washington (CNN) – In a candid and personal interview, Ann Romney tells CNN her husband's debate routine includes paying homage every time to a very important person in his life, his father, the former Michigan governor, George Romney.

Ann Romney tells CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger that "as soon as he gets on stage...he takes off his watch and puts it on the podium...then he writes 'Dad' on the piece of paper," at which point she becomes emotional because the elder Romney was a strong influence in both her and husband's lives.

Tune to CNN for Wednesday's presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

"And that's amazing, because he loves his dad, respects his Dad. Doesn't want to do anything that would not make his father proud... I love the fact that Mitt does that. So he writes that."

But there is more to the routine, she says. "And then he looks in the audience and he finds me. He has to find where I am. And– he just– he needs just that connection. And almost after every answer that he gives, he'll find me in the audience, to see, 'Was that good? Was that okay?'"

The full interview will run in the 7 p.m. ET hour on CNN Wednesday.

In the interview, Mrs. Romney says she tries to fill the role in the lead-up to the debates and during them that her family has dubbed for her: "the Mitt Stabilizer."

"I'm there for him. We're there for each other emotionally all the time. In the last 20 debates that we did in the primary– I felt that was my most important role."

Even on stage, she tells CNN, "there's an emotional connection that's happening between the two of us during the debate itself."

While the Republican nominee is getting plenty of advice from all corners, she tells Borger her advice to him is for him to be himself.

"He has to feel what he's gotta say, when he's gotta say it. He's gotta listen to his own instincts. And of course it's– he's gonna be getting a lot of advice. But he's gotta listen to his own instincts more than anyone else's and trust that."

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Filed under: 2012 • Ann Romney • Mitt Romney • Presidential Debate
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. kyphi

    George would tell him to release his taxes.

    October 2, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    He has to perform well, in this debate. He has to make people sit up and take notice.......or he may not get another chance, to get them to watch.

    October 2, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    perhaps if Romney were more LIKE his Dad and less like a panderer he would be leading this race and nobody would be on him about releasing more tax returns. Just saying......

    October 2, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    What? The magical undergarments don't work?

    October 2, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. jack johnson

    What would be funny is if someone found a vidio of George Romney telling about releasing his tax returns, and SHOWED IT DURING THE DEBATE in the background.

    October 2, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Athenaeus

    I doubt that Ann. GR was A Progressive. MR is... MR A Fascist. Go back to your life-of-leisure, bake some cookies, and STFU. Thanks!

    October 2, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. John the Historian

    I wonder if his polygamist ancestor's spirits are there.He needs to go to the planet kolob and await his 70 virgin wives like rapist Brigham Young or the 87 wives of rapist Joseph Smith. Maybe the archeangel moroni will fly him there with some 200 pound golden tablets.

    October 2, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Common sense grandma

    Kind of makes you wonder what "Dad" is doing while he's with him. Unless it was he that arranged for Romney to practice by debating total nut jobs and fruit cakes during the primary season.

    October 2, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    I wonder if the elder Mr. Romney will tell Willard to release the full 12 years of tax records. After all, HE is the one that said a few years worth could be a fluke.

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 2, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. jo58

    Yikes! Ann makes Mitt sound like a little boy who needs constant reassurance from his wife in his lifelong struggle to win his dead father's approval. This isn't what people meant by suggesting to humanize Mitt. This just makes him look like a woosie. If he needs to look to his wife after every answer in the debate, how tcould he possibly make decisions as President. Ann SHOULD be worried about his emotional well-being! Bless her heart, I think she is trying to warn us all and take care of her husband.

    October 2, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. Ambrose Smith

    Why doesn't he release his tax returns like dear old dad???

    October 2, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. PJ

    I bet he takes his watch off so he can see how much longer he has stand there but not get caught in a
    George HW Bush moment. Bush was caught looking at his watch and he appeared bored and ready to
    go home.
    Ann, give it up. You are trying waaaay to hard. Now we know why Mitt said during his little 47% speech
    that "we are using Ann sparingly so people won't get tired of her". Guess what, I'm tired of her.

    October 2, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. 200 TON HAMMER

    wow Mrs romney Thats Awesome your Dad Baby Sits Mitt romney So Awesome

    October 2, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. rosethornne

    It would be even better to have a big screen on the wall in Congress and show the liars directly contradicting themselves on tape.

    But yeah, the mittdaddy thing would be good....

    October 2, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Abdullah

    Seriously? Like anyone wants to hear this 'personal' drivel. If you're foolish enough to be swayed by some emotional silly story designed to manipulate you into feeling compassion towards this man, well, ignorance is bliss.

    October 2, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. thegoodolddays

    Good Grief. Sounds like something from a Hallmark Greeting Card!

    October 2, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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