Tales from the Trail

Obama, Romney celebrate tough, compassionate mothers

By Eric Johnson
May 14, 2012

In two Mother’s Day videos posted to their respective websites, the campaigns working to re-elect President Barack Obama and his likely Republican adversary Mitt Romney packaged the top women in their ranks as strong-willed but compassionate moms who played outsized roles in raising the children of the men vying for the job as leader of the free world come November.

The Romney campaign reprised family videos to highlight the household challenges faced by Ann Romney, who as a tough, doting mother grappled with five rambunctious boys — as well as multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. Ann compassionately disciplined the perceptually quarreling Tagg and Matt, the video notes, and served pancakes to Ben, who needed to be fattened up.

“She is an authentic person,” Tagg says in the video. “You know who she is when you meet her. She doesn’t put on airs. She doesn’t try to be something she’s not. She doesn’t try to measure what she is going to say to gauge how you are going to react. She just says what she thinks.”

Ann Romney, who has taken a more active role helping her husband court women voters on the campaign trail, made her debut on the social networking site Twitter in mid-April by reproaching a Democratic strategist who said Ann had “never worked a day in her life.”

“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys,” Ann Romney, 62, said in her tweet. “Believe me, it was hard work.”

Mitt is shown only in inter-video montage photos and the nearly four-minute video does not mention the former Massachusetts Governor’s record involving women or mothers, nor does it clarify his position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the equal pay law Obama signed in 2009 as his first official bill. Romney won’t repeal the law, his campaign said, but it stopped short of saying whether Romney would have signed it if he were in Obama’s shoes.

The Romney campaign’s tribute focuses on the private moments of a large family interacting close to home and regales viewers with private, if innocuous, childhood memories.

Watch:

The Obama campaign video, by contrast, praises Ledbetter and the Affordable Care Act, the administration’s signature and contentious legislative achievement, as working toward full equality for women.

Obama, who figures prominently throughout most of the two and a half minute video,  says his mother taught him compassion and empathy and Michelle admirably combines love with limits in the Obama household, which the video eschews in favor of footage and photos of Obama and Michelle on the move, on the trail, or in the limelight.

“Michelle is the best mom I know,” Obama says.

Watch the Obama campaign video here:

Photo credit: Screenshot/MittRomney/YouTube

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