Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to be heading for defeat in the White House race until his wife Ann intervened to soften his image.
Romney's wife is hitting the hustings as an impassioned advocate for her husband.
Ann Romney is also playing a key behind-the-scenes role in resurrecting the Republican candidate's flagging White House hopes by steering a high-stakes strategy overhaul to present a 'moderate Mitt', it has now emerged.
According to The Telegraph, convinced that his campaign was heading for ignominious defeat, Ann Romney and her eldest son Tagg staged a make-or-break 'family intervention' with the candidate's closest advisers just before the first presidential debate, according to leaks from within the camp.
Their message to Romney and his advisers was simple-the candidate should "be himself" and his team should let "let Mitt be Mitt", the report said.
They wanted Romney to open up with more personal anecdotes in his speeches, to soften his harsh tone on social issues and to remind voters of his days as governor of Massachusetts when he struck deals with the Democrats who controlled the state legislature, most notably on health care reform, the report added.
Convinced by his wife, Romney rolled-out the 'moderate Mitt' persona in the Oct 3 debate in Denver, with immediate effect.
He came across as both personable and presidential in an assured performance that clearly caught Obama off guard and ill-prepared, the report said.
"Ann has always been a very good character witness for Mitt, but now you can see her influence at work in this change of emphasis in his campaign style," said a senior Republican strategist.
Since the Romney campaign changed tack, Obama has struggled to regain his footing, despite a welter of Democrat attacks on the Republican candidate as a deceitful liar.
Ann Romney not only played a key role in this shift of style.
She has also at time adopted a more caustic tone in her role as his defender-in-chief, lambasting his rival's aides for "poor sportsmanship" for claiming her husband lied in the first debate, the report added. (ANI)