Ann Romney vs. Hilary Rosen: Stay at Home Moms

Does a woman who has never worked have authority to speak about the economic struggles women in America face? According to Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen, no. Rosen appeared on CNN earlier this week and argued that Ann Romney shouldn’t be discussing the hardships women face since she is married to a wealthy politician and has not been employed.

“His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. 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,” Rosen said on Anderson cooper’s AC360. Rosen was immediately hit with criticism. Stay at home moms all across the nation stood up and fired back. Rosen attempted to clarify that she meant Romney should not rely on/ consider Ann to be his expert in regards to economic problems facing women.

Ann Romney stood up to fight for herself. “I know what it’s like to struggle. Maybe I haven’t struggled as much financially. I can tell you and promise you that I’ve had struggles in my life,” she said. She also created a Twitter account several hours after the AC360 segment and sent the tweet “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Her son Josh sent a tweet out shortly afterwards that read “@AnnDRomney is one of the smartest, hardest working woman I know. Could have done anything with her life, chose to raise me,” and her son Matt tweeted videos of her speaking on  a newscast.

Romney’s camp and Obama’s administration have been debating for sometime over the female unemployment rate. Immediately following the incident, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney worked to distance Obama from the comments of Rosen. Michelle Obama weighed in on Twitter, tweeting “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina also sent out a tweet that said “I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.”

The following day, Obama went on WCMH-TV in Ohio and stated, “It was the wrong thing to say. It’s not something that I subscribe to.” Obama went on to describe the efforts of Michelle and his own mother, and added “there’s no tougher job than being a mom.”

Romney supporters are coasting on the attention Rosen has received. “She did us a huge favor.  “Our female base doesn’t want left-wing feminists telling them how to live their lives. She’s healing our base for us,” a senior official in the Romney campaign told NY Daily News.

According to this Christian Science Monitor article, Romney must secure approximately 40% of the female vote to have a hope of beating Obama. Ann Romney has been a help to pull in the vote of married women and conservative mothers. Will this comment by Rosen push more people away from Obama and toward Romney? Or did Obama’s team do a good job balancing the boat? Only time will tell.

How do you weigh in? Was Rosen right to say that due to her lack of employment history Ann Romney is not qualified to speak on the economic hardships of women? Or did Rosen step out of line and insult stay at home moms?

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5 thoughts on “Ann Romney vs. Hilary Rosen: Stay at Home Moms

  1. Kelly says:

    There has been a disconnect between Romney and women voters. I am sure his wife was trying to help close that divide by getting out there and talking to women about the economic hardships they face. I don’t think you have to have been a working mother yourself to talk to working mothers and report back what they are telling you across the country. If Rosen had said something like Romney should be out there talking to women himself instead of sending his wife it might not have caused the same upheaval. Instead she chose to take a condescending jab at a woman that has raised 5 sons, survived breast cancer, lives with MS, and is campaigning to support the husband she believes in. Rosen went for a quick sound bite but touched on the Mommy Wars that have raged since the 70’s when mothers starting entering the job market in force. You can’t get away with snarky judgement like that anymore. Twitter makes sure you can’t.

    • Thank you for your comment Kelly. As I wrote this blog post, I was surprised to see the number of Twitter posts by officials in regards to the debate at hand. You are correct, Twitter has completely changed the way we discuss everything in modern society. I also think that if Rosen had presented her viewpoint in a different manner, it would have been received differently.

  2. Jules says:

    If Ms. Rosen is worried about the next generations in our country she is pulling for the wrong candidate. Her comment was “snarky” what a great word, thank you Kelly, but I also think:
    1) she was “snarkily” extrapolating on what has been one of the basic themes the Dems are using for the campaign: class warfare. Mr Obama talks about “fairness” and how the rich have “got to pay”. Then when Hilary tries to take a poke at a rich Mrs. Mitt, and all heck breaks loose, all the Dems recoil like she is a Typhoid Mary. Too ironic. I think her comment was ALL about portraying Mrs. Romney as a Marie Antoinette, but it backfired.

    2) I don’t know why everyone says the Romney’s are not connecting. I think we just need to get to know them now that the nasty Republican primaries are done with. These are honorable people and we need this man to help us with our economic troubles, Mr Obama seems to be doing exactly the wrong things, although I think he means well.

    • Thank you for your comment Jules. We live in a society were one ill-phrased sentence can do someone in, and I do believe that is what happened to Rosen. Her end goal made sense but her tactic seemed a bit off. Unfortunately in terms of this discussion, Rosen will likely only be remembered for this “scandalous” comment.

      I also believe it makes sense that Romney would turn his wife for guidance on the female population. I would expect any strong couple to act in the same regard.

  3. […] should the family members of the presidential hopefuls be left out of the argument? As you read in my post on April 12, Ann Romney was criticized by Democratic Consultant Hilary Rosen. Rosen did not think […]

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