Ann Romney played the role of the political wife Tuesday night when she went on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to promote her husband’s candidacy for president.
The wife of Mitt Romney — and possible First Lady, if he wins the election Nov. 6 — also talked about her personal struggle with multiple sclerosis (for which she was diagnosed in 1998), and gave a diplomatic answer when Jay Leno asked her what she thinks of the current First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Leno asked Mrs. Romney for her own take on the controversy that swirled around her husband last week after a videotape surfaced from a private campaign appearance last May in which the GOP candidate seemed to disparage Americans who accept some sort of government assistance — a number he estimated at “47 percent” of the population.
Ann Romney answered that the videotape gave a distorted impression of her husband. “It’s a very frustrating thing,” she said, “because you try so hard to get your message out and you try so hard to let people know … You know, this is a guy that I know cares. This is a guy that cares for the hundred percent and you don’t like those things to get misinterpreted. … We care about the hundred percent and I’ve seen this guy through his entire life do the most extraordinary things. And the thing that I notice … There’s two things about Mitt: That he cares and he’s competent.”
Of her MS, Mrs. Romney said she “believes” she is in remission. She indicated that the symptoms appear only rarely for her, but she did disclose that she experienced “one minor flare-up after the primary” (though she didn’t specify exactly when that was). “I’m holding strong and hoping to give hope to others who are suffering,” she said.
“Something in my job I find amusing,” Leno said to her. “You and Michelle Obama are more popular than your husbands. Have you met Michelle Obama?”
“She’s great,” Mrs. Romney said. “Love her. She’s a beautiful woman, strong woman and doing a great service for this country.”
Later in the conversation, Mrs. Romney likened the possible election of a Mormon — her husband — as President of the United States to the historic significance of Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president.
“On a serious note, talk about the significance, if he gets elected, being the first Mormon president,” Jay said. “How is that?”
“Well, you know, I love the fact that we have the first African‑American president,” she said. “That means to me that we’re leaving prejudices behind. I would hope that if Mitt were elected, we would see more of the same, that prejudices are left behind.”
Jay also asked Ann Romney this cheeky question: “Would you say [Mitt] is frugal or cheap?” He asked the question just after she said the reports that she and Mitt love to shop at Costco are all true.
“Cheap!” she said of her husband, laughing. She then revealed that, when they leave the house, he takes the unusual step of turning off the hot-water heater.
Later, after she’d left the stage, the evening’s next guest, Seth MacFarlane, remarked to Jay: “You made Ann Romney laugh! Nobody’s ever done that before!”