Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, suffered miscarriage

Married for 43 years, Ann and Mitt Romney have five children and 18 grandchildren.
Credit: Jim Rogash

Critics are likely to suggest it is a political exercise to pull at the heartstrings of voters after the wife of Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed she suffered a miscarriage 32 years ago. 

Mrs Romney had a miscarriage between the births of her fourth son, Ben, in 1978 and fifth, Craig, in 1981, according to a profile piece in the Associated Press. 

"It, too, was a boy, a source close to Mrs Romney confirmed," according to The Associated Press.

"The couple have never spoken publicly about their loss." 

The New York Daily News reported it was unclear whether the Romneys deliberately disclosed the details, or if the reporter learned the detail from another source, but pundits said it could help soften the Romneys’ image in the face of ongoing criticism that the wealthy couple is out of touch with ordinary voters.

"It humanizes them,” said Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio to the newspaper.

“They become more real people who suffered the slings and arrows of fate.”

London's Telegraph newspaper said the 63-year-old has won plaudits on the election campaign trail for her speeches and energetic style of campaigning, as well as sympthy for surviving breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Critics have painted her as the dutiful, starry-eyed wife, standing by her man.

The Huffington Post wrote the mother of five and grandmother of 18 has embraced the homemaker image that Hillary Rodham Clinton so openly scorned.

On the campaign trail, she's been filmed baking pies and serving her grandmother's Welsh skillet cakes on the media bus. 

Romney has spoken of his devotion to his wife of 43 years in numerous interviews.

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