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New Yorkers say Ann Romney stole the show

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ann Romney's Tuesday night speech at the Republican National Convention kept the crowd buzzing today at the New York delegation breakfast.

Women especially seemed thrilled with her speech, although men said she was the star of the show as well, outshining New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the keynoter who still won plenty of praise for making the case for replacing President Barack Obama along with some criticism for talking too much about himself.

"I connected with her," said Jennifer Walter, the wife of New York State Assemblyman Ray Walter of Amherst. "As a wife, as a mother, she really made a connection."

Lisa Grey, who is running for a State Senate seat from Staten Island, said Mrs. Romney's speech stood out for how it could change public perceptions of the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney -- who, polls show, trails Obama by double digits when pollsters ask which candidate is more likable.

"She humanized Mitt Romney," Grey said. "For people who didn't know him, she showed what kind of person he is."

Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards said Mrs. Romney went a long way toward countering the Obama campaign ads that offer a false and damning portrait of the GOP nominee.

"He's not what he's been portrayed to be," and Mrs. Romney showed that, Edwards said, adding: "Hers was the most powerful speech of all."

But Christie's was plenty powerful, too, Assemblyman Walter said.

"I think Chris Christie is a real star," he said.

Others privately grumbled that the bombastic New Jersey governor didn't mention Romney until deep into his speech, instead focusing on his own New Jersey story.

But any criticism of Christie paled in comparison to the praise for Romney.

"How about Ann Romney last night?" House Speaker John Boehner told the New York delegates this morning. "This was the biggest speech of her life, under the most difficult circumstances. And I thought she just did a marvelous job."

As for Christie, Boehner termed his speech "very, very commendable."

In this video, former New York Gov. George Pataki praises Ann Romney's speech and discusses his own plans to possibly campaign for the Romney-Ryan ticket:

— Jerry Zremski

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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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