After we reported yesterday evening that Ann Romney was being touted on the Values Voter Summit lineup alongside Paul Ryan, the Romney campaign moved quickly to distance her from the event. They first disputed our report, which was entirely accurate and based on the Values Voter Summit website, and then denied that Ann Romney was ever planning to speak there in the first place.
It certainly seemed to strike a nerve. Apparently a gay-bashing conference is just fine for Paul Ryan but off-limits for Ann Romney.
That begs the question of why Ann Romney was listed in the first place. As I wrote yesterday, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were listed for weeks on the speakers page, as were many others. When Cardinal Dolan made it clear that he would not be attending, his photo was removed. Ann Romney, however, was never listed on that page.
With the conference less than a week out, the Family Research Council posted the schedule and pushed highlights to daybooks for press planning purposes. And suddenly there was Ann Romney closing out the kickoff session with Paul Ryan.
An FRC spokesman told Buzzfeed that Ann Romney had been invited but was not confirmed. I, for one, find it hard to believe that FRC pushed out Ann Romney’s name to the media without, at the very least, an understanding with the campaign, but we can’t know for sure.
What we do know is that Ann Romney declined the invitation, perhaps as recently as last night, and the Romney campaign went into overdrive to distance her from the event. Late last night, her name was removed from the conference website.
Meanwhile Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are still speaking on Friday.