"You know, we can be poor in spirit," Ann Romney told Fox News' Neal Cavuto Monday night. "I don't even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow." Romney's comment came in response to Cavuto's question about the Romneys' capacity to understand the plight of average Americans, given their wealth. The statement was also in the context of a larger discussion about Romney's struggle with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.
The idea that she's poor in spirit and doesn't consider herself wealthy is a tough sell, considering Mitt earned about $42 million in 2010 and 2011 and has a net worth of about $200 million. Mitt has failed repeatedly to make himself appear like a regular guy, most recently when he said he doesn't watch NASCAR but has friends who own racing teams.
Standing alone, Ann's statement comes off as pretty ridiculous. But she was obviously trying to impress that she doesn't define herself by her wealth.
“How I measure riches,” she continued, “is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people that I care about in my life, and that’s where my values are and that’s where my riches are.”
In other words, she's much, much better at dodging questions about wealth, about not being out of touch, than her husband. And toward the end of the interview, Cavuto and Romney arrive together at the realization that maybe the campaign ought to use her more to humanize him.
Discussing Mitt's faith, she says, "[Mitt] doesn't wear religion on his sleeve, he just lives it." Which calls to mind Frank Rich's recent magazine column Who in God's Name Is Mitt Romney? concerning the former Massachusetts governor's "closeted Mormonism." Mitt hasn't opened up any more about his faith recently.
But whatever average, human experiences Mitt Romney has had, through religious work or otherwise, we may be hearing more about them through Ann Romney.
"That's my role and where I've been very important and valuable for Mitt, is to show another side of him," she said. "There's so many stories and maybe it's time for me to start sharing some of those stories, how I've seen Mitt dealing in relationships with people where he's really had to counsel them and help them and be there for them in a very real and tangible way."