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Ann Romney Opens Up About Illness; Calls MS Diagnosis ‘My Darkest Hour’

Ida Mae Astute/ABC(NEW YORK) -- In an unflinching and emotional interview, Ann Romney opened up about the despair she felt when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 14 years ago, confessing to ABC's Robin Roberts that she found herself in a "dark hole."

Romney, wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, called the time following her diagnosis "my darkest hour" and confessed that she "ripped up all the pictures" taken of her at that time.

In the interview, which aired Thursday on Good Morning America, Romney said her illness has gone into remission. She said she drew inspiration from friends and family, and hoped she could inspire the people she met on the trail.

"Now I can relate to someone who's going through a really hard time. ... I can say I know what you feel like.  I know how hard it is," she said.

Romney, 63, who said her husband has yet to pick a running mate, also used the interview to take a few jabs at President Obama.

"I'm not surprised," she said of an Obama campaign attack suggesting that her husband had committed "a felony" by signing Securities and Exchange Commission documents related to his work at private equity firm Bain Capital.  "I believe it was beneath the dignity of the office of the president to do something as egregious as that.  To attack someone on that level is, I believe, beneath his dignity."

Romney said an attack ad featuring her Olympics-bound dressage horse "makes me laugh."

"It's like, really?  You know there's so many people out of work right now," she said of the ad, intended to suggest that Mitt Romney "dances around" releasing old tax returns.

Romney said her husband had not released back returns because he fears it would just become fodder for more attacks from the Obama campaign.

A mother of five grown sons, Romney has won praise from supporters for her poise, and has been called Mitt Romney's "secret weapon."

Much of that goodwill has arisen from her speaking candidly about how she overcame breast cancer, her MS diagnosis and the depression that followed.

"It humbled me," Romney said of her MS diagnosis.  "It crushed me to dust."  Romney credited her recovery to her "passion" for horses, including using the animals in her physical therapy.

She said her husband would not have sought the Republican nomination if she'd remained ill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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