Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, dropped by the Islas Canarias restaurant on Tuesday to talk to local Republican women, weaving a message that was both personal and political to a partisan crowd of supporters.
The women arrived at the Cuban restaurant near Southwest 137th Avenue and Coral Way to show support for the Republican presidential contender, some wearing Romney campaign stickers on their lapels. Some wore T-shirts sporting the campaign slogan “Believe in America.”
Romney arrived at 2:15 p.m. and was escorted to the dining hall adjacent to the restaurant, where she commended the mothers in the room before beginning an informal speech. She addressed about 50 women of all ages, speaking about her well-documented struggles with multiple sclerosis and cancer, her role as a mother, and what it’s like to be the wife of the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
Ann credited her strength amid health troubles to the support of her husband. “He was the one that gave me hope,” she said. “You want someone like that with good character who will do the right thing at the right time.”
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She spoke proudly of her role as a mother of five and grandmother of eighteen — a job she says her husband sees as more important than what he does.
The remark, which drew warm applause, was a reminder of the controversy last April when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen criticized Ann Romney as a stay-at-home mother in a CNN appearance.
In her 20-minute speech, Ann Romney echoed her husband’s main talking points on the campaign trail. “We care about bringing back a strong economic vitality,” she told the crowd.
The visit to Miami is no surprise. Romney and President Barack Obama have made frequent trips to court Hispanic voters in Florida, one of several swing states in this year’s presidential race.
Romney ended her chat by individually greeting each of the women who came to support her. The conversation inside Islas Canarias after the event was less about politics and more about the charisma and style of the potential first lady.
Nancy Andrade, who owns the restaurant, said she was thrilled to have Ann Romney “talking issues, woman to woman.”
The event was organized by State Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, who later tweeted a photo of her and Romney at the restaurant with the headline: “Introducing the future First Lady of the United States: Ann Romney.”