Were Rosens comments offensive and "off limits", or true and on target?Ann Romney rejects Democratic pundit?s claim that she ?never worked a day in her life?
By Philip Rucker
The rhetorical war over women between President Obama and Mitt Romney escalated Wednesday night as Romney?s wife Ann launched a Twitter account to personally respond to a Democratic pundit who had dismissed her knowledge about the economy by saying she ?never worked a day in her life.?
Ann Romney visits Georgia's Romney campaign headquarters in Atlanta on Thursday, March 1, 2012. (David Tulis - AP)
Hilary Rosen, a political consultant who advises the Democratic National Committee, questioned on CNN Wednesday night whether Ann Romney understands the economic issues facing women.
?His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,? Rosen said on Anderson Cooper?s ?AC360? show. ?She?s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we ? why we worry about their future.?
Two hours later, Ann Romney debuted a new Twitter account, @AnnDRomney, and wrote: ?I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.?
One of the Romneys? sons, Josh, tweeted: ?@AnnDRomney is one of the smartest, hardest working woman (sic) I know. Could have done anything with her life, chose to raise me.?
The tweet by Ann Romney, who has battled multiple sclerosis and is a popular force on the campaign trail, drew a quick reaction from the top brass of Obama?s reelection campaign, who roundly condemned Rosen?s remarks.
Within minutes, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted: ?I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.?
David Axelrod, Obama?s top strategist, tweeted: ?Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen?s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.?
And Stephanie Cutter, Obama?s deputy campaign manager, tweeted: ?Families must be off limits on campaigns, and i personally believe stay at home moms work harder than most of us do.?
On Twitter, Rosen did not apologize, but wrote several tweets trying to explain her comments, saying her point was that Mitt Romney should stop saying on the campaign trail that Ann is his guide to the economic problems facing women because ?she doesn?t have any.?
Rosen tweeted at Ann Romney, saying: ?I am raising children too. But most young American women HAVE to BOTH earn a living AND raise children. You know that don?t u?? Later, Rosen tweeted again at Romney: ?Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn?t say you are his expert on women and the economy.?
Wednesday night?s tweets are the latest example of how Twitter has emerged as a new battlefield in presidential politics.
The comments also underscored the political fight underway over the support of women voters, as Obama and Romney this week have stepped up their efforts to court this prized constituency.
The swift and strong responses from Obama?s campaign team speak to how damaging it could be for the Democrats among independent voters if they are seen as dismissive of stay-at-home moms.
In 2004, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, was forced to apologize after saying that she was unsure whether First Lady Laura Bush had ever held a ?real job.?
Does a non working (or never having worked) woman have a place in the discussion of todays economy? Further, do you believe that Obama (and others) swift condemnation of the remarks were because they really believe that the comments were wrong, or because they are working to show that they support SAHM's amongst the independent crew (which is what I am, incidentally, an indep SAHM).
I think if Romney is putting his wife out there in the campaign as a source of his economic information, then people have a right to critique that source. I don't personally agree that SAHMs or people who haven't held positions with a paycheck automatically have no contribution to economic discussions, but it doesn't bother me that some don't value the input. SAHP are still a large economic spenders, often controlling or having large influence on the family budget...that definitely warrants some consideration. But at the same time, I can see where Rosen is coming from in regard to not thinking Ann would be a good representative of working women and those struggling financially. It's fine for Rosen to hold that opinion and that comment to be made, IMO. I am fine with family being off limits, as long as the candidates keep references to their participation in future presidential decisions out of their campaign spiel.
If Romney hadn't brought her into it, it would have been "off limits" and offensive even if it was true and on target. I don't see how she could possibly understand what the normal woman is going through since their financial circumstances are vastly different from most families; just like almost all politicians.
She (and all SAHPs) should have a place in the discussion of the economy, but it is kind of scary (to me) that someone who might become the President of the US would consider having someone who hasn't worked and has never worried about money as their guide to the economic problems facing women .
I think all of the swift comments were showing their support of SAHPs.
I think there should be a word to seperate the work that a person who gets a paycheck does and the work that a SAHP does. Obviously raising 5 boys (or just 1) is not a bon-bon eating, soap opera watching, spa pedicure getting type of job, but it is true that she has never had to deal with the issues facing most mothers today (even the SAHM's). Most of the SAHM's I've known also struggled financially and had to make a *LOT* of sacrifices to both parent's retirement accounts, vacation opportunities, and day to day living.
Laurie, mom to:
Nathaniel ( 10 ) and Juliet ( 6 )
Baking Adventures In A Messy Kitchen (blog)
ITA with the bolded, and think that Rosen made a big mistake making it a SAHM vs WOHM thing. I actually think that due to ROmneys career Ann may have a lot more economic knowledge than the average woman, regardless of whether that woman is working or not. To make it a SAHM thing VS WOHM thing is stupid, just because someone popped out some kids and is a kindergarten teacher or a cartoonist or a waitress in no way means that they know squat about the economy. Likewise, because someone isn't or hasn't worked doesn't mean that they have no valid or valuable input into issues regarding the economy.
I think that she would have a lot more support and a lot less backlash had she made it a privilege vs. non privilege thing. It would have been hard for anyone to have disagreed with that. I think that Mitt using Anne, in general, shows exactly how out of touch he, and the entire party, are with women voters. Its why I left the party.
If Romney had said "So and so will be my guide" and it was a non-family member, they would have been analyzed and scrutinized....so in that sense, no i don't think she is off limits just because she is his wife.
As for the comments themselves? I pretty much agree with what has been said already. Being a well-to-do SAHP doesn't mean she can't have valuable input into the subject matter, its all about how much she values seeing herself in the role and the effort she puts into it. But i can also agree with the point that she is lacking some perspective that would be pretty valuable in that role.
I think the condemnation is a combination of both things. I think the dems genuinely believe that her comments weren't right...they were poorly phrased which sends the wrong message, something they don't believe. And of course they want to reinforce that they support SAHM's. Since Rosen's words were poorly phrased, i think a little damage control is reasonable.
As an aside, since they were bolded...i think Cutter's words were equally inflamatory. I don't think there was any reason to get into the "who works harder than who" game.
Cecilia Marie 1/10/10
Photo By Anne Schmidt Photography
As far as Mrs. Romney not not having experience with the money problems of most Americans, neither does Mrs. Obama. That does not mean that either of them do not know how to make financial decisions. I would say running a large estate is a job in it of itself. Even though I am a SAHM I do all of the shopping, so I do have a part in today's economy.