COMMENTARY: Ann Romney’s Startling Admission

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  • For once, I agree with Ann Romney.

    I'm also concerned about Mitt Romney’s emotional fitness for the White House.

    "I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being," Ann Romney said in a startling admission during an interview last week with a Nevada television station.

    "I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness, in his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy,” she said. “So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it."

    The “emotional part of it?” What exactly is Ann Romney trying to tell us?

    Romney’s acknowledgment of her husband’s potential mental distress comes at a critical moment in the campaign:  Wednesday’s much-anticipated face-to-face debate between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama where an estimated 50 million viewers may tune in.

    I get seriously concerned about Romney’s intellectual capacity when I hear Romney wondering out loud about why airplane windows don’t open in flight.

    Last week, when Romney was asked about his wife’s plane making an emergency landing in Denver after the cabin filled with smoke, Romney offered this stunning bit of stupidity.

    "When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no — and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem," Romney said.

    I also get concerned about Romney’s mental readiness for the presidency when he gets caught on a secret video telling wealthy donors that “47 percent” of Obama’s supporters think of themselves as “victims” who are “dependent on government” and don’t take personal responsibility for their lives.

    "[My] job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said. “I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

    The hidden video reveals Romney's deep-rooted contempt for those Americans who are poor, middle-class and struggling to make ends meet.

    On Wednesday, in the first debate between Obama and Romney, the GOP nominee must convince undecided voters that he has the intelligence, the experience and the quick decision-making skills to lead the nation. He must also overcome the widely-viewed perception that he’s an out-of-touch billionaire who can’t relate to the everyday financial problems facing millions of Americans.

    And most importantly, Romney must assure voters that he can put Americans back to work and restore economic growth. It’s an uphill struggle for Romney who each week promises to re-boot, recalibrate and re-organize his campaign.

    "The burden in many ways is heavier on Romney," Wayne Fields, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told The Huffington Post. "What we see right now is an uncertainty about whether he's ready for the job."

    But according to a new Washington Post poll and a CNN poll taken Monday, the race between Obama and Romney is neck-in-neck with 49 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for Obama and 47 percent saying they would vote for Romney. And according to a CNN/ORC International poll, neither candidate appears to have an edge on the economy, which remains the top issue on the minds of Americans.

    So what should Americans expect from Wednesday’s debate?

    Expect a few “zingers” from Romney, the kind of one-liners the Romney campaign is hoping will make headlines on Thursday morning and put a dent in Obama’s political armor.

    Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki mocked Romney for reports that his team has been preparing “zingers and special lines” for months.

    “That is not what the president’s focus is on,” Psaki told reporters this week. “He wants to speak directly to the families of people who are on their couches at home, having snacks, drinking a beer, drinking soda, whatever it is, and tuning in for the first time. That’s who he is speaking directly to.”

    Romney will be academically prepared for the debate since he’s been cramming  consistently for weeks, but can Romney shed his stiff demeanor and keep his composure when Obama unleashes his criticism? The Obama campaign hopes to unnerve Romney since Romney has a tendency to sometimes fly off the handle when rattled.

    For Obama’s part, Americans may hear more concise answers, less professorial and long-winded responses – answers that are more to the point and perhaps even more conversational. Also expect Obama to hit Romney on the secret video scandal.

    It’s a good strategy. Voters don’t want lectures – they want honest explanations to real issues by candidates who understand their concerns.

    So with this critical debate facing Romney on Wednesday and with serious questions surrounding Romney’s foreign policy diplomacy and his ongoing campaign gaffes, why would Ann Romney introduce her concerns about Romney’s “mental well-being” to millions of voters?

    The Romneys – and Ann in particular – often sound like a couple that’s cracking under pressure.

    "Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring," Ann Romney said during an exasperated interview with an Iowa radio station.

    But what’s the up side to her recent comments? Was Ann Romney’s unusual admission cleared by the campaign? Was it a calculated strategy? Or was she just speaking from her heart without notes?

    It does beg this question: Were Ann Romney’s remarks about her husband’s “mental well-being” deliberate or inadvertent?

    We may never know the truth, but there is one thing I know for sure: I totally agree with Ann Romney’s concerns about Mitt Romney’s emotional steadiness and I’m glad she brought her apprehensions to our attention.
     

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