TAMPA, Florida — As the campaign’s charter jet made its way from Boston to Tampa Tuesday morning, Ann Romney came to the back of the plane to offer a preview of the speech she was hours away from delivering at Republican National Convention — and handicap her performance a bit.
She offered few details about the substance of the address, saying only that it would be a “heartfelt” reminder to voters of “how important this election’s going to be.” But she did say the format of the address wasn’t her favorite.
“I think a lot of you have been covering me long enough and you know that I’ve never gone off a written text,” she said. “To this is a unique experience for me, to actually have something written because I’ve never used it. No one has ever written a speech for me, I’ve never given anything off a sheet, and I did say it’s going to be pretty, pretty tough to actually write a speech that I feel I can actually give.”
She added, “I’ve never spoken with a teleprompter either. I don’t like it.”
To communicate the same sincerity she does on the stump, she she’s spent she’s spent a lot of time tweaking the speech with the speechwriter Stuart Stevens.
Mrs. Romney was masterfully playing the role of the candidate’s wife, passing out homemade “Welch Cakes” to reporters —an old recipe of her grandmother’s that she has since improved upon — and joking about what she is going to wear on stage.
“The funniest thing of all is that Stuart Stevens, who wears his shirts inside-out, is advising me on what dress I should wear tonight,” she said.
Asked later what advice he gave the would-be First Lady, Stevens quipped, “I think I have a future in this…. The question is, did she listen to my advice?”
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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