Ann Romney: 1994 campaign liability, 2012 campaign star

When the 4,000-word feature was published in the Globe under the headline, “Ann Romney’s Sweetheart Deal,” it was full of ammunition for the Kennedy machine. The article showed her fretting about her figure — “I’m thin, but not 117 pounds, so I’m not as thin as I should be” — and recalling “living on the edge” as a married college couple, getting by on nothing but their American Motors stock. In perhaps the most damaging revelation, Ann confided that, in 25 years of marriage, she and Mitt had never had an argument.

“Isn’t that strange?” she asked the reporter innocently. “It’s like people might think there’s something wrong with our relationship.”

The pundits pounced. One columnist referred to the Romneys as the “wax couple,” while local radio hosts sneered at their too-perfect marriage. As is often the case in Boston, the Globe got the goods, but the Herald made the point with its blunt, memorable headline: “Daughter of Privilege Knows Little of Real World.”…

To this day, some Massachusetts conservatives believe that Thomas, the author of the devastating profile, was being coached by his Democratic strategist wife. (Thomas did not respond to requests for comment). In any case, the story dealt a major blow to the campaign, and helped draw a caricature that would follow Ann Romney’s husband for the next two decades: That of the out-of-touch Ken doll with no grasp of life outside the Barbie Dream House.