Tales from the Trail

Ann Romney’s horse, trainer headed to Olympics

A horse partly owned by First Lady candidate Ann Romney will be representing the red, white and blue in London this summer after almost certainly qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in dressage, “the highest expression of horse training.”

Rafalca, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, and California-based trainer Jan Ebeling came in third in the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, New Jersey, on Saturday. That almost guarantees the pair a spot on the team, which has five dressage spots.

Mrs. Romney, the wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, was reportedly at the qualifying event as her husband campaigned on the backroads of Pennsylvania. The couple embraced on the tarmac upon arrival in Scranton, PA, on Friday, before Ann Romney sped away in an SUV and Romney boarded his campaign bus.

Mrs. Romney credits riding with helping her to manage her symptoms from multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 1998, and has said she sometimes slips away from the rigors of the trail to ride and relax. She has competed in amateur and professional dressage competitions.

“Riding exhilarated me; it gave me a joy and a purpose. When I was so fatigued that I couldn’t move, the excitement of going to the barn and getting my foot in the stirrup would make me crawl out of bed,” Romney told the Los Angeles Times this year.

Obama, Romney celebrate tough, compassionate mothers

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.”

Republicans ride “Mommy Wars” to bank, if not ballot box

 

The flap over Ann Romney’s stay-at-home mom status may or may not help overcome the yawning gender gap between her husband and President  Barack Obama. But Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his Republican party, are looking to at least make a few bucks off the latest edition of the “Mommy Wars” — and perhaps keep them going with some well-priced goods.

Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen started the fracas on Wednesday night when she tried to make the point on CNN that Ann Romney, who has been deployed by her husband’s campaign to appeal to women voters, may not understand the economic challenges faced by most American women. Probable Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a former private equity executive with a personal fortune of up to $250 million.  But she slipped by saying that Mrs. Romney, a 62-year-old mother of five sons, had “never worked a day in her life.”

Mitt Romney’s campaign, which saw his ratings among women take a dive as Republican presidential candidates sparred over abortion, contraception and other divisive social issues, seized the moment. Ann Romney took to Twitter for the first time to say she had worked hard raising her sons. And party notables, including former first lady Barbara Bush, took to the Twitterverse and airwaves to dispute Rosen, who eventually apologized, as Democrats, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, said they disagreed with her statement.

Romney sons stump for their “extraordinarily cheap” father in Iowa


Tagg Romney calls voters from New Hampshire campaign headquarters, December 29, 2011.

By Eric Johnson

Undecided Iowa voters wondering just how Mitt Romney managed to salvage the cash-strapped and fraud-wracked Olympic games in 2002 and leave it with a rainy-day fund of roughly $100 million, should ask his son, Tagg.

“My dad is extraordinarily cheap,” said Tagg, 41, who stumped for his dad at a boisterous “Rock the Caucus” event at a high school outside of Des Moines.