Ann Romney, like many political spouses before her, has been called on to portray her husband's lighter side. But the portrayal has to seem honest for voters to buy it.
Reporters at the blog Stylite.com tracked down the shirt Ann Romney wore on CBS's morning show Monday – and found out it cost $990. We mention this only because we, too, were struck by Mrs. Romney's shirt. It had a very large bird across the front, and was unusually eye-catching and hip for a political spouse. It also made Mitt Romney, who was sitting beside his wife in his customary suit and tie, look somehow even more buttoned-down than usual.
In fact, the shirt almost overshadowed what Mrs. Romney actually said in the interview. Asked about popular misconceptions about her husband, she said she felt he had been wrongly characterized as "stiff" – when in fact, he was a "wild and crazy" guy.
"I still look at him as the boy that I met in high school when he was playing all the jokes and really just being crazy, pretty crazy," she told Charlie Rose. "And so there's a wild and crazy man inside of there."
Maybe she meant it in a Steve-Martin-and-Dan-Aykroyd kind of way.
This was actually just the latest in a series of "wild man" comments Mrs. Romney has made about her husband, in an evident effort to loosen up his image.
Earlier this month, in a radio interview, she responded to another question about Romney's perceived stiffness by saying: "I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out, because he is not!" She also called him "the life of the party."
Likewise, in a recent interview with "Entertainment Tonight," she called him "a very funny guy," and offered as proof: "He doesn't comb his hair when we are not going places."
Even as far back as December, Mrs. Romney was referring to her husband as "my most disobedient child," saying: “The five boys – can you imagine? – at the dinner table, they never behaved. And Mitt was the worst of all.”