With the Republican Party under fire of late for what critics say is a “war on women,” Ann Romney was all about “Women for Mitt” at Hudson Gardens in Littleton Oct. 2.
The bleachers behind her were full of women in Romney T-shirts. Every speaker was female except Denver Bronco Eric Decker. He introduced his fiancee, country singer Jesse James, who sang the national anthem.
There were free “All moms work hard” bumper stickers passed out to a mostly female audience, and pink Romney T-shirts for sale.
“Her speech was encouraging, hopeful. It just gives me hope. I'm a little nervous right now, for them,” said Dawn Reitmair, gesturing to the five small kids she had in tow — all hers, including two sets of twins.
The appearance came the day before Ann Romney's husband, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, held his first debate with President Obama at the University of Denver.
Coloradans are getting used to being known as a battleground state in presidential elections, and the south metro area in particular has been getting a lot of attention. Michelle Obama spoke at Arapahoe High School in Centennial in June, Mitt Romney was at D'Evelyn High School in Jefferson County last month, and both candidates have made stops throughout the state.
Residents don't seem to mind the attention.
“I love Ann Romney,” said Sally Pitts of Centennial. “I'm here just to support her and let her know that we're here and we care and we're part of the team.”
Steve Seda of Jefferson County said he hoped Romney would talk about minority issues at the Hudson Gardens rally. He said his family in Puerto Rico doesn't hear much about matters that concern them.
“But I don't think I'm going to hear that today,” he said.
He was right. Romney spoke for about 15 minutes, and spent about the same amount of time shaking hands with very excited audience members afterward — flanked by Secret Service, of course.
While breaking no news, Romney told fond family stories. She related the story of her immigrant great-grandfather, who took his son to work in the coal mines at age 6, forgoing school and likely illiterate, she said.
“How extraordinary that his granddaughter is standing here today,” she said. “You all have those stories. That's the America that brought so much to so many. … That promise is dimming.”
Introducing Romney was Angela Lawson, who said she voted for Obama last time but has since switched parties.
“Like other people, I was mesmerized by what he was supposed to be as a leader,” she said. “But as we got into his presidency, I changed my mind.”
Douglas County Commissioner Jill Rapella said she needs Mitt Romney in the nation's capitol.
“(Douglas County) has been doing everything that's similar to what Mitt Romney wants to do on the national level,” she said.
Amy Atwood, a candidate for Colorado House District 28, addressed the women in the audience directly.
“Ladies, when we all vote, we don't just make history, we change history,” she said.