Two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent ode to his wife, Ann, wasn't subtle. Using the publishing platform Medium, he wrote an open letter to his wife of 45 years, topped with a photo of himself taken around 1968 on a mission trip to France. Inside a heart drawn in the sand, Romney declared: "I love Ann."
Wives of politicians have always had an important private role, especially in their husbands' decision to run and during subsequent campaigns. But the current slate of GOP presidential hopefuls have been smartly celebrating their wives' influence more publicly.
Politicians' spouses increasingly have been freed from standing dutifully behind the lectern at campaign events. They have been tasked with actively rallying for causes and giving stump speeches, often apart from their candidate partners, and they've needed to adopt more of a vocal, public image.
As the GOP battles the narrative that it doesn't help women, it makes sense for Republican candidates, or potential candidates, to trumpet their wives' influence. Take former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who told the Associated Press on Tuesday that his wife, Columba, was "supportive" of his potential 2016 bid. Notoriously publicity-averse, Columba has had some donors and supporters worried that she might convince her husband to sit the presidential election out.