October 20th, 2012
08:53 PM ET
6 years ago

Ann Romney shares her MS story with supporters in Florida

(CNN) - Ann Romney opened up about her struggles with multiple sclerosis while speaking Saturday with patrons at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shared some of her personal experiences when she met a woman who also suffers from the nervous system disease.

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"It was really tough on my balance," Romney said. "I couldn't figure out what was going on. That was sort of what was happening. I was trying to figure out what was going on, what was wrong with me."

Romney said she used to play tennis, but "when I got really sick I stopped playing so much."

"I was very coordinated and athletic, and all of a sudden I'm falling and tripping and losing my balance. And being so weak," she said. "And I was like, 'Something's wrong!'"

Romney, 63, is a survivor of both MS and breast cancer.

She was diagnosed with MS in 1998, and said in an interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger this summer that her husband was an important part of her efforts to regain control of her life.

"Even when I was as sick as that he would curl up in the bed with me," she said. "It was like he was gonna do anything he could do just to say, 'I'm here. You're OK. Just stay right there, and we'll be OK.'"

Mitt Romney also described the couple's meeting with a neurologist after Ann's symptoms became serious.

"It was very clear that she was flunking the examination. She couldn't stand on her right foot without falling over and things like that. (The doctor) stepped out and she began to cry and I welled up tears as well and we hugged each other, and she said, 'Something is terribly wrong,' and I said, 'Yes, but Ann, we can go through anything so long as it's not fatal,'" he recalled.

Ann Romney has said MS and breast cancer would be two of her priorities as first lady if her husband is elected.

Later Saturday, Ann Romney attended a campaign rally in Boca Raton, where her husband and President Barack Obama will meet Monday night in the final presidential debate.

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Filed under: 2012 • Ann Romney • Florida
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Carol Fairweather

    Anne. MS is a horrible condition for sure. I have a family member who has had it for 30 years and is now in a wheel chair.
    You are lucky that you and your husband are rich and can afford top notch treatment for this condition. Too bad your husband wants to repeal the Obama's affordable health care act...Your husband is shameless!!
    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 20, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. incredulous

    Here we go again. Every time Romney isn't doing well he trots out his wife and has her talk about her illness.

    Romney said on 60 Minutes that emergency rooms provide adequate health care. How does MS get treated in an emergency room?

    October 20, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. dachozen1

    I'm happy to hear you are better but I'm more concerned what your husband's policies will do to Americans. Is it ok for you to have healthcare during a devastating disease while denying others that may have same need? People just want the same security to have opportunity to be covered in case of an illness. It is the highest hypocrisy to tout your experience without supporting policies that would ensure others have same care.

    October 20, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. Mike

    Immediately following the debate, CNN cameras caught Ann Romney on camera. It could have been innocuous, but she seemed to be discreetly flipping off President Obama and the first family. She looked over at the first family, and then discreetly scratched her cheek with her middle finger while turning the cheek toward Obama.

    October 20, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  5. cecil burrow

    Oh my god, a rich person had to endure physical discomfort! Clearly she deserves to be first lady!

    October 20, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Al

    They're trying to relate.

    October 20, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  7. beevee

    Another MItt Romeny's tactic to gain the pity of the voters is using his wife's health condition. That is pitiful. The voters should think about how this will affect Romney's leadership himself not being mentally stable (according to his wife). Voters be mindful.

    October 20, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. SokrMom

    Too bad Ann Romney isn't running for President. She seems sincere. Her husband doesn't.

    October 20, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. imvotingforobama

    Oh boo hoo. She is lucky she is rich enough to afford treatment and medications. the 47% of "you people" who can't can just go suffer and die somewhere.

    October 20, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. Pam from Texas

    Sympathy card – much? I wonder what she'd have to say if she was without insurance. And that's what her husband plans to do to alot of Americans. If she was given a voucher no insurance company would come within a hundred miles of her. I feel for her and I hope she continues to do well in remission. But she has the quality care that she does because she has money. She'd never have to die "in an apartment" or go to an emergency room for care. She has the best that her millions can buy. Do you have any idea what just her horse upkeep is? Lots and lots. Remember what the Bible says about the "lesser of us". I don't believe her family knows too much about "us".

    October 20, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. nigel

    We don't care. All the money from Cayman couldn't help you!

    October 20, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. 2EEs

    Beautiful story. It's nice to see a family go through hard times and grow closer together.

    October 20, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. Nancy

    I want to barf. How disgusting to bring this up just a few weeks before the election.

    October 20, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Steve Fuller

    Two tough things to go thru in life. My dad had MS, I saw him deteriorate from it over his adult life, it is a terrible, frightening disease. Even if Mitt Romney doesn't get elected, I hope her story brings a greater awareness to MS and gets people involved. Be thankful every day for your health and try to get involved in some way with a charity of your choice, it really does help.

    October 20, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Josie

    Well, at least she didn't have to ever work a day in her life. I know a woman with MS who still has to work 16 hrs everyday to afford to put her kids through school, while all Ann needs to do is teach her dumb horse to prance.

    October 20, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. godsawesomevoice

    It's terrible that Anne Romney had to go through this, and I don't mean to minimize her experience, but it's worth pointing out that she went through MS treatments assured of the best medical care that money could buy. At no time were the Romneys in danger of bankrupting themselves as a result of her medical care. At no time did they have to chose between important medications and food or rent. At no time did they have to worry about being denied treatment based on a "pre-existing condition," nor did they have to face hitting the "donut hole," ending their access to prescription medication. With quality care and free from the pressure of having to pay for her treatment on her own, Anne Romney was able to conquer this terrible disease.

    That's all the rest of us want, and Mitt seems determined to deny it to us. Quality medical care should not be a privilege of the rich. It should be the right of every American.

    October 20, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. Justjean

    I hope Ann's listeners can spare a little sympathy and concern for middle class citizens with MS and breast cancer who will have hope in 2014 with the full implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act..but only if her husband fails to be elected or fails to do what he said he would do. Voter should also consider the children already helped who will surely die before their parents eyes if the Act is repealed. They should consider the elderly who will once again have a donut hole to pay for...and worse for those who will be 65 in 10 years,

    October 20, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. NameRJ

    For some intuitive driven reason I really do not believe Ann Romney's story about her having MS. What is this, the vote for my husband out of pity for my nonexistent demise? What a nauseating pile of horse excrement! What she describes as MS sounds like an advanced stage of the disease. If she is so stricken with MS to the degree she claims how does she manage touring the country making afternoon gossip talk show events?

    October 20, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    And yet she would see others with these diseases be prayed upon by insurance companies as she supports her husband's platform and threat to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.. Not everyone has a millionaire husband to see them through a health crisis. No doubt her insurance coverage is top-rate.

    October 20, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. JJ

    Ah yes. Another attempt to whitewash the image of Lord and Lady Romney. They're friendly, down-to-earth 1%ers just like all the other friendly, down-to-earth 1%ers.

    October 20, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  21. steven

    She made 15.4 million in her hush fund with the Detroit bailout, but is married to a man who could have cared less for the 1 million jobs that would have been lost if his wishes of having the auto manufacturers file for bankruptcy and reorganization.

    Her offerings of "feeling our pain" in making sacrifices is having to, which she said, essentially dipping and liquidating portions of their stock portfolio when on their Mormon mission trip in Paris, France.

    She dealth with MS? Boo flipping hoo. The 47% is calling a waaaaaaaaambulance for you. If her MS had gotten worse, she'd have been okay. They have an elevator for their cars. Surely they'd have had devices to accommodate your own self.

    October 20, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  22. Rednip

    One thing that she didn't mention was the cost of her health care, nor the fact that her 'pre-existing condition kept her from getting health insurance. A Google "health insurance multiple sclerosis" has for it's third link the webpage created by The Multiple Sclerosis Association gives the following advice, one should note just how bad the options really are. Next year thanks to Obamacare, it will change for the better, unless Romney is able to fulfill a campaign promise.

    Keep Covered, Stay Insured Two federal laws, known as COBRA and HIPAA , are specifically designed to help people insured in group health plans maintain their coverage and continued eligibility for health insurance if their current coverage ends.

    Finding Lower-Priced Prescriptions No single insurance policy, program, or discount card is likely to include every prescription drug you may need. To find the best prices and services, you should take some time to identify any and all the options available to you.
    Appealing a Coverage Denial or Limitation by your Health Plan includes ‘how to’ information about filing an appeal when a health plan denies or limits coverage for something you need.

    October 20, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. Robert

    She also bought horses that cost 6 digits and cost $77,000 a year in maintenance for her MS therapy. How many MS sufferers could afford that? I can't wait until her husband in taking care of my health care.

    October 20, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. socialjustice

    And yet she would see others with these diseases be preyed upon by insurance companies as she supports her husband's platform and threat to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. Not every one has a millionaire husband to help them through a health crisis. I'm sure her insurance coverage is top-notch.

    October 20, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. Paul Ernest Show

    We feel for you Ann, but we don't feel your husband has the character to be president. You should be happy you have a filthy rich Romney to pay your health bills, but those of us who don't have much rely on Obamacare.

    October 20, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
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