As South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley commented before she relinquished the stage at the RNC, Ann Romney is the perfect balance between strength and grace. The big hype leading up to her speech was that it could afford Republicans and Team a chance to showcase Mitt Romney’s softer side, to humanize him and to demonstrate just how kind and funny he can be. And boy, did she ever:

…Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.

I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight I want to talk to you about love. …

Mitt’s dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter.

He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.

When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together. …

I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a “storybook marriage.” Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer. …

A storybook marriage?  No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage. …

At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others.  He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up …

This is the man America needs. …

I can’t tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment: This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America!

She covered Mitt Romney’s long history of doing kind and charitable things for others without taking credit for himself; she touted his smashing record of turning everything he touches into a tale of success that lifts up others around him; and she regaled us with stories about love, about their marriage, and how they grew up together and relied on one another. She was charming, she was both stern and demure, and she made excellent points about the nature of philanthropy, family, and hard work. In my opinion, the speech was a resounding success in terms of communicating what Republicans hoped it would — and for a final surprise, Mitt actually came out on stage when she finished to thank her with a hug and a kiss. I was downright moved, my friends.

Here’s the full transcript, video to follow.

Update: Click the image to watch. Fantastic.

Update II (Ed): Here’s the speech, embedded here in two parts:

This was the speech of the night.

Update III: Updated to the single clip.