PALM HARBOR -- Ben Romney says it was an early Saturday morning routine: Mitt Romney would wake up his sons and head outside for yard work.
"Pretty much every week without fail, we were out in the yard doing some sort of project,’’ Ben Romney told Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday.
The Romney yard routine would be fairly unremarkable for most families. But as Mitt Romney runs for president — and tries to address a widespread perception that he doesn’t connect well with rank-and-file voters — Ben Romney and one of his brothers, Craig, tried to give delegates a glimpse of the candidate as a regular guy who is devoted to family.
The brothers’ appearance at a delegation breakfast came the morning after their mother, Ann, gave a prime-time speech to the full convention that similarly offered a personal view of Mitt Romney. Ben and Craig Romney praised their mother’s speech, which also was aimed at helping attract women voters.
"I’m glad she could paint a picture of my dad so people could get to know him a little better,’’ said Ben Romney, a physician who is in a radiology residency.
Ann and Mitt Romney, who will formally accept the Republican nomination Thursday night, have five sons. Ben Romney told delegates that the candidate taught values such as the importance of family, respect for his wife and hard work.
Craig Romney also touched on his father’s business career, tenure as Massachusetts governor and work running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
"Successes seem to follow my father everywhere he has gone, and I don’t think that is a coincidence,’’ said Craig Romney, who works in real estate in California. "
If Romney can connect better with voters, it might ease the perception that President Obama is the more likable candidate — an intangible that could be important in what is expected to be a close race in November. Also, Republicans are grappling with polls that show Obama leading among women voters.
Along with the Romney brothers, Washington Congresswoman. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, addressed the Florida delegates Wednesday. She said Republicans won the women’s vote in 2010 and that Democrats have gone on the attack to try to avoid a repeat this fall.
"To me, it was a political calculation that the Democrats made,’’ she said. "They knew they could not let that stand."
Also meeting with Florida delegates: Republican congressional candidate Ted Yoho, who in the GOP primary Aug. 14 beat longtime incumbent Cliff Stearns in north central Florida.
It marked the Gainesville veterinarian's first appearance at a state party function.
In his remarks, Yoho called debt the biggest national security threat and said the electorate is tired of career politicians.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.