Ann Romney has emphasised her husband Mitt's family values and the couple's love story in a crucial convention speech designed to humanise the Republican presidential nominee.
Mrs Romney used the biggest speech of her life, a prime-time address during the Republican National Convention, to tell Americans about her 43-year marriage.
She attempted to sell the idea that her husband's commitment to family, hard work and good deeds can help lead the country to a better place.
Speaking "from my heart about our hearts", the would-be First Lady told a packed convention centre in Tampa, Florida, that Mr Romney is "the man America needs".
"I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family... that one great thing that unites us," she said. "I want to talk to you about love."
The Romney campaign has been eager to promote the Mrs Romney, 63, as a conveyer of the family story, a mission intended to help 'humanise' her husband.
The former Massachusetts governor and multimillionaire private equity businessman is seen by critics as too stiff and aloof in interactions with everyday voters.
In speaking of their love story, Mrs Romney sought to show his compassion as a committed husband and father, especially during tough times.
"I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a 'storybook marriage.' Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once," she said, in reference to raising their sons.
"And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer."
Mrs Romney has been battling multiple sclerosis since 1998, and she successfully fought early-stage breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2008.
"A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage," she said, adding that "at every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others".
She said her husband's personal character would translate into a commitment to help all US residents.
"This is the man America needs," she said. "This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair.
"This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard."
Meanwhile keynote speaker Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, delivered a rousing address to the boisterous Republican audience.
"Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on the path to growth and create good paying private sector jobs again in America," Mr Christie said.
The Republican convention had kicked off earlier with the usual blend of political theatre despite Hurricane Isaac bearing down on New Orleans and threatening to cast a pall over proceedings.
The storm presents the candidate with a tricky challenge as he must tread a fine line between driving home his political message and showing sensitivity to voters in harm's way.
Mr Romney stands neck-and-neck with US President Barack Obama in national polls just 10 weeks before the election.