This post originally appeared on Slate.
(CBS News) TAMPA, Fla. -- Ann Romney gave. What's not deeply appealing about a woman who has struggled with illness and miscarriages and emerged with grace? Surely the day that Ann and Mitt Romney stood in the doctor's office and heard her diagnosis, they didn't think she would be onstage the way she was tonight. She said she hasn't lived a storybook marriage because she and her husband have faced hard knocks. But isn't that what a storybook marriage is? A love that can withstand everything?
But was it a great political speech? I'm not so sure. It depends on what your previous feelings were about Mitt Romney and if you watched it on television or are going to hear about it later.
Thirty-two percent of those who participated in a recent CBS poll said they didn't know enough about Mitt Romney to form an opinion. If any of those voters were watching tonight, this was the kind of introductory message the Romney campaign will be delighted to have them hear.
It was a two-part speech. In the first part, Ann Romney tried to show that she understood women. At one point she said, "I love women!" No mistaking that. More powerful, perhaps, were the little details she offered that showed she knew what women of all socioeconomic backgrounds live with every day. She talked about eating tuna fish and pasta as a newlywed. She described how women have to keep the household in their head no matter what they do: how they're the one who has to remember the number for the emergency room doctor or stay up late to help the kids finish their book reports.
Having laid the predicate, she dove into the real task: testifying for her husband. "His name is Mitt Romney and you really should get to know him," she said. She didn't really do much to tell us about him though. There were no stories you could hang your hat on. She mostly asserted that he was wonderful and testified to his ethic. "No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!" That line received the loudest applause of the entire speech.
If Mitt Romney's problem is that voters don't think he's authentic enough, listening to a woman testify to her authentic adoration certainly conveys authenticity on the object of her devotion. You can't feel that way about a robot.