“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” a gleeful Ann told the backyard full of Florida fat cats, sounding “like a political tactician,” as Garrett Haake, the NBC reporter on the scene, put it.
It’s important when you act the martyr not to overplay your hand. If you admit out loud to a bunch of people — including Haake, who was on the sidewalk enterprisingly eavesdropping — that you’re just pretending to be offended, you risk looking phony, like your husband. (It also doesn’t fly to tell Diane Sawyer that your dog “loved” 12 hours in a crate on top of the car or that it’s “our turn” to be in the White House.)
The candidate, meanwhile, continued to look phony by presenting a completely different side of himself to the wealthy Palm Beach donors who came in fancy cars to eat snapper and hear a snappier Mitt.
Rather than making bland pronouncements or parsing patriotic songs, as he usually does, Mitt gave a more specific vision of a Romney White House, including the possible elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which his dad once led, and vivisecting the Department of Education. He also talked about ways he might close tax loopholes for the affluent — another matter he hasn’t been too detailed about — to pay for his cuts in tax rates.
Mitt offered a different view of the value of working parents in January when he talked about how he changed welfare rules as governor of Massachusetts:
“I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, well, that’s heartless. And I said, no, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It will cost the state more providing that day care, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”
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