Ann Romney Reveals Mitt’s Debate Ritual

by | October 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM | General

Romney debates during the 2012 primaries. Ann Romney gave a detailed description of her husband's debate ritual to CNN Tuesday. (AP Photo)

In an interview leading up the presidential debate showdown in Denver, Ann Romney revealed to CNN her husband’s debate ritual – citing her experience in some 20 previous debates with his GOP rivals across two primary seasons.

His first move?

In a habit that may be aimed at avoiding a mistake made by George H.W. Bush, Romney is quick to get his watch off his wrist and onto the lectern.

“It’s a cute thing … the first thing that he does is he takes off his watch and puts it on the podium,” Ann told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

The senior Bush infamously checked his watch as a voter asked him a question during a 1992 debate with soon-to-be president Bill Clinton. But, with his watch safely out of sight, Romney won’t be caught seeming like he’d rather be somewhere else.

With that out of the way, Ann said Romney is quick to make eye-contact with her – something he repeats after answering each question. She sees that moment as her opportunity to lend support to her husband.

“That’s my role for Mitt, especially when he’s going through such a difficult time, I’m there for him,” she said. “We’re there for each other all the time.”

But, if the ghost of George H.W.’s gaffe follows Romney onto the podium, another spirit looms much larger.

Former Michigan governor George Romney, the candidate’s father and also a one-time presidential hopeful, has featured prominently in election season profiles as a chief mentor and inspiration to the GOP nominee. He passed away in 1995, several months after Mitt Romney’s failed bid to unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Seeming to get choked up, Ann explained how her husband scrawls ‘Dad’ on a piece of paper just before the debate kicks off.

“And that’s amazing, because he loves his dad, respects his dad. Doesn’t want to do anything that would not make his father proud,” Ann told Borger. “I love the fact that Mitt does that. So he writes that.”

Watch a clip of the interview here.

The full interview is scheduled to run at 7 p.m. ET live on CNN.

For full coverage and a live broadcast of the debates through CNN on XFINITY, click here.