Published August 29, 2012
The Republican National Convention enlisted the help of the first lady of Puerto Rico on Tuesday to help target two major voter blocs at once: women and Latinos.
"I am the proud mother of 20-year-old triplets, a practicing attorney, a proud Latina, and a die-hard Republican!" Lucé Fortuño said in accented English during her short introduction speech for Ann Romney.
Democrats have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women” that disproportionately affects Latinas. They point to presidential nominee Mitt Romney's plan to get rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and his efforts to persuade religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraception.
Ann Romney addressed love and family in a nearly 30-minute speech where she discussed meeting her husband, the former Massachusetts governor, for the first time, her battle with MS and breast cancer, and the importance of mothers.
"It's the moms of this nation—single, married, widowed—who really hold this country together," Romney said. "It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right."
The night would be about Ann Romney, but her message would be about her husband, vowing he "will not fail." She spoke from the perspective of mother, daughter, and wife as she portrayed the candidate as someone who "was not handed success," someone "you should really get to know."
"It has been 47 years since that tall, kind of charming young man brought me home from our first dance," she recalled. "No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney."
While both Ann Romney and Fortuño spoke of marriage and raising a family, they did not address public health issues facing women.
Meanwhile, Republicans have focused their attacks on the bad economy and the turmoil it has caused in women's lives.
Republican Luz Weinberg, Vice President of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, or NALEO, is still hesitant about her own party's women's health issues and the effect that cuts to organizations like Planned Parenthood would have on Latinas particularly.
But she said the speeches were "a good first step" in the GOP's push to win over more Latina support.
"They did a good job appeasing concerns and reservations that I have with my own party over their stances with women's health issues," she explained. "I think bringing in Fortuño was a key move."
Rosario Marin, who served as U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush, said Republicans “hit it out of the ballpark” and that the message to women was "genuine."
"I think Ann really connected with the challenges women face when raising a family," Marin said from the convention floor. "Latinos can understand raising 5 kids more than anybody else – we tend to have large families."
Now, it's Mitt Romney's turn.
"I need to hear from my candidate," Weinberg explained. "It was great to hear from the women, now I need to hear from the guy."