Very effectively, Ann Romney directly appealed to women -- and proudly claimed the title of mother and wife. Perhaps her most effective political point was her observation that we're not stupid; we know there are no easy answers . . . but we're smart enough to know that there are better answers than the ones we're getting. To me, that had great intuitive appeal.
But above all, she talked about love . . . the capacity to use the eyes of the heart to see what's really going on. That's a theme that should have great appeal with moms, as that's what they do every day, in a different way, with each child. They understand Mrs. Romney's ultimate point: That in the end, love's what actually makes a real life. (It's also worth pointing out that Mrs. Romney presents a stark contrast in almost every way to the current First Lady.)
After Mrs. Romney's softer speech focused on love, Governor Christie's address centered on truth -- perhaps the other most important responsibility of a good mother. Just as a mom's foremost responsibility to a child is to love him/her, her other primary responsibility is to be honest -- to tell (and teach him/her to tell) the truth. If you don't, you're not doing your job. Key moments of the governor's talk -- especially his expressed wish that his children get to live in a second American century and his affirmation that we care more about future generations than our own current, creature comforts -- were perfectly calibrated to resonate with a mother's heart.
Whether consciously or not, both speeches were well positioned to speak to the responsibilities and concerns of moms -- Mrs. Romney in a soft way, Governor Christie a little more toughly. No, it wasn't the overt pander fest to which both parties sometimes stoop in an effort to woo the female vote . . . but perhaps because of this, it was -- to my mind -- highly effective.