TAMPA, Fla. — Ann Romney’s warmth and appeal, on full display in her convention speech Tuesday night, is being touted as the Ginzu Knife of Republican politics: There’s nothing it can’t do.
Despite a slate of Latino Republican speakers at the convention, former George W. Bush Cabinet member Mel Martinez, told an audience in Tampa Wednesday that it might be Ann Romney who actually does what her husband’s campaign hasn’t been able to so far: rally the Hispanic vote.
Romney’s speech was pitched directly to women, in keeping with Romney’s role on the campaign trail as Mitt Romney’s female ambassador. Both women and Hispanics have polled heavily in favor of President Obama.
But Martinez said Ann Romney’s speech can block another major leak in the Romney campaign coalition. Martinez and the other prominent Hispanic Republican on the panel, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), criticized their party for its sometimes harsh rhetoric about immigration (found, for example, in the current party platform) and other issues that they said have turned off the Hispanic electorate to the GOP. Both men said the Romney campaign will probably improve its lot with Hispanics when its general election funds are released after the convention ends, suggesting more Spanish-language advertisements and media appearances.
But Marinez singled out Ann Romney’s speech as a factor that will get the attention of Hispanic voters.
“A mother and wife speaking like she did, I think it appeals a lot to Hispanic women,” Martinez said.
He said that the personal anecdotes Romney told also reach out to Hispanics looking to claim their piece of the American Dream.
“That story that Ann Romney told last night about tuna and pasta and the basement apartment,” he said. “The aspirational hopes of every Latino in this country is that someday they can be the millionaire.”