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Ann Romney rallies husband’s supporters in Henderson

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Leila Navidi

Ann Romney waves with her son Matt Romney and his wife, from left, Laurie Romney, son Nick Romney, 12, and daughters Mia, 8, and Chloe, 12, at a campaign rally inside the Henderson Convention Center on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Updated Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 | 6:09 p.m.

Ann Romney stumps for Mitt

Ann Romney stumps for her husband and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.

Ann Romney Speaks in Henderson

Ann Romney speaks at a campaign rally inside the Henderson Convention Center on Monday, October 1, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Would-be first lady Ann Romney made her second speech in less than a week in Nevada, urging voters to change the course for America by electing her husband, Mitt, as the country’s next president.

In a 12-minute speech Monday afternoon before a pompom-waving audience estimated at 1,000 people at the Henderson Convention Center, Mrs. Romney cited continuing drags on the economy — Nevada’s unemployment rate and the continuing housing crisis — in asking voters to turn their thumbs down on President Barack Obama and his record after nearly four years in the Oval Office.

“If it’s that kind of record, I think it’s time to fire the coach,” Mrs. Romney said.

Standing in front of a “Women for Mitt” sign, Mrs. Romney shared stories of her husband’s compassion and character while selling him as the right man for a “turnaround.”

“He is prepared, he is compassionate and he is competent, and that is what you need to know before you go and vote,” she said.

Mrs. Romney has been sharing more personal stories of the former governor of Massachusetts, relaying anecdotes designed to demonstrate her huband’s character, rather than attempting to convey policy points.

Obama continues to enjoy a sizable lead over Romney on the question of who is the “more friendly and likable person.” In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday, 62 percent of voters named Obama while 29 percent chose Romney.

Pam Finlayson, a family friend of Romney’s, told the crowd the story of her prematurely born daughter and how supportive the Romney family was. Finlayson said Mitt Romney visited their daughter in the hospital and made Thanksgiving dinner for them one year. Finlayson also spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Mrs. Romney also shared the story of Mitt Romney helping a boy who was suffering from leukemia to write his will.

Obama won Nevada by 12.5 percentage points in 2008, but Nevada polls show Romney and the president running much closer.

The president is staying in Lake Las Vegas for three days this week as he prepares for the first debate on Wednesday. In a press conference Monday Jen Psaki, Obama’s traveling press secretary, acknowledged Nevadans have seen the worst of the recession.

“Nevada has gone through a challenging time economically, more challenging than many other states in the country,” she said. “I think that’s probably hard for people in the state to swallow, that things haven’t moved more quickly and haven’t moved as quickly as they would like. You know they haven’t moved as quickly as the president would’ve liked either.”

Psaki said Obama continued to propose new ways to help underwater homeowners and he is “bullishly committed” to doing more.

Mrs. Romney also serves as the campaign’s ambassador to female voters, a voting bloc Republicans have had some difficulty winning over this election cycle. Polls show Obama leads among women in Nevada by as much as nine points. Nationally, the Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama leading Romney by 18 points on women’s issues.

One of Mitt and Ann’s five sons, Matt Romney, introduced his mother.

“My father is doing this because he loves America, he wants to serve and he wants to give back,” Matt Romney said. “And he knows at this point in history, with our country needing a turn around, he’s the man to do it.”

Australian singer Jamie O'Neal warmed up the audience before Mrs. Romney's appearance. U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, who is running for re-election against Democratic challenger John Oceguera, served as the master of ceremonies, introducing speakers including Becky Harris, candidate for State Assembly District 21, and Paul Anderson, candidate for State Assembly District 13.

Earlier in the day Mrs. Romney visited Henderson’s C.T. Sewell Elementary School with Matt Romney and his family.

Mrs. Romney read Dr. Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" to 25 kindergarten students during the visit.

Mrs. Romney’s appearance came less than a week after a campaign rally in Reno and a day after Obama rallied an estimated 11,200 supporters at Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas. Romney and Obama both are seeking the six Electoral College votes from Nevada, which is seen as a swing state and a key to victory in November.

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