TAMPA—A few hours before Ann Romney's prime-time speech to the Republican National Convention, excitement was building in the crowd at the prospect of hearing from a woman one delegate described as a Nancy Reagan for today who has "made motherhood honorable again."
Ann Romney's mission was to warm up her husband's sometimes aloof image, soften some of the edges honed by months of Democratic attack ads, and help win over up-for-grabs voters with a speech reaching well beyond the cavernous convention hall.
Her fans had no doubt she would succeed.
"She is like the Nancy Reagan of the 21st century," said Melissa Gay, a delegate from Tennessee.
Gay was originally a Rick Santorum supporter, but she voted unanimously with the rest of the state's delegates to nominate Romney tonight. Gay said she relates to Ann Romney because she also chose to be a stay-at-home mom. "She's made motherhood honorable again. Still, in the 21st century, people look down on people who want to stay home and raise their children. And it's the greatest job on the planet."