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Remark about Ann Romney’s work decried as uproar renews spotlight on women voters

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Ann Romney fought back Thursday after a Democratic consultant suggested she isn’t qualified to discuss the economy because she “hasn’t worked a day in her life.” The White House, in instant damage-control mode, declared that no one there was saying such a thing. Michelle Obama tweeted her personal support of all mothers.

With women’s votes expected to be crucial in November, the remark by consultant Hilary Rosen ignited an immediate uproar: attacks by Mitt Romney’s Republican campaign along with the disavowals from President Barack Obama’s allies.

Ann Romney, the Republican presidential contender’s wife, made her Twitter debut on Thursday in response to the contention she’d never worked: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

The consultant apologized later on TV.

In the meantime, the backlash to her comment was brutal and swift, crackling across Twitter, cable television and old-fashioned telephone lines. It appeared to have reignited the debate, at least for now, over choices many women make as they juggle motherhood with the work most need to pay bills, college tuition and a semblance of financial security for their families.

Michelle Obama tweeted, “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.”

President Obama also said candidates’ families should be off-limits in a political campaign, Bloomberg News reported.

“I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates,” Obama said in an interview with Iowa television station KCRG.

“There’s no tougher job than being a mom,” Obama said. “Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement.”

Though polls show Obama running ahead of Romney among female voters, Republicans are targeting married women and mothers for possible support in the election. The GOP tried to link Rosen to the White House, while Obama’s camp tried, sometimes awkwardly, to distance him from the fight.

It all started Wednesday night with Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Rosen had said. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing.”

On Thursday, Ann Romney noted on Fox News that her career choice was being a mother, and while she hasn’t faced financial hardship, she has confronted the ordeals of cancer and multiple sclerosis. Finally, she noted that her husband has said her work is more important than his as family breadwinner.

“He would say, ‘My job is temporary. … Your job is a forever job that’s going to bring forever happiness,” Ann Romney said. “Mitt respects women that make those different choices.”

By Laurie Kellman
The Associated Press

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Comments
  • comment avatar Anna April 13, 2012

    I worked in the legal industry full-time for years, and when I became a SAHM, I truly realized what FULL-TIME meant. It never ends, and you can’t go home, and if you have multiple children in a variety of ages like I do, dealing with all of them is like shifting a car from 1st to 5th gear over and over again.

  • comment avatar Christine April 13, 2012

    Get a grip on reality, Hilary Rosen!

  • comment avatar Ahdra April 13, 2012

    Don’t think she meant to discredit the work SATMs do. Just wanted to question how someone who never had to worry about paying an electric bill over buying groceries could relate to the economic struggles of “out-of-home” working women.

  • comment avatar Tami April 13, 2012

    Yikes is right! As a mother she should have known better than to make such a thoughtless comment…

  • comment avatar Kristy April 13, 2012

    Such BS. Yeah, raising 5 boys is a breeze?? I gave up my 9-5 to stay home and raise my kids, and as rewarding as that is, it’s also the hardest job I’ve ever had. A thankless, non-paying, never-ending job. It infuriates me when people say “you’re just a stay at home Mom?”. Clearly an ignorant thing to say. She can apologize all she wants, it’s out there and confirms what I believe in even more. I guess the only good thing to come out of this is that the SAHM’s out there will be sure to vote for the right person this coming election.

  • comment avatar Studio April 13, 2012

    Being a Mom is a hard job regardless!! I have 1 daughter, and when I was home with her its amazing how much you do in one day! Every mom is busy and doing her best to manage her family, whether your working outside the home or not. Its a crazy hectic stressful life, but your kids make it worth it. We should stop pointing fingers and just support each other! Being a mom is hard work, period.

  • comment avatar Sue April 13, 2012

    She was defending herself on CNN, good try!

  • comment avatar Chris April 13, 2012

    SAHM is SAHD is all the same; and my wife, as much as she loves our boys, would much rather go to a job than stay home with them. It is too hard for her, and those are her words. So… easy job? Not. It is our choice and we are lucky to have the choice. If you have the means to do it and you make that choice, people need to step off and mind their own business. And, “out of touch with economics, not knowing about the hardships of feeding your children and sending them to school…” Are you freakin’ kidding me? The SAH parent is actually MORE in touch with those things. That chick (Rosen) is a douche.

  • comment avatar Alison April 13, 2012

    I suspect the point was that having the option to be a SAHM because you have a family income in the millions is a very different experience than most of us have. I doubt she was invalidating the idea that being a SAHM is incredibly hard work.

  • comment avatar Lauren April 13, 2012

    All I am going to say about it is that if you have someone who can provide for you and your children, not worry about how to pay your bills, living expenses, etc, and you don’t have to pay a stranger to raise your children, then you should be truly grateful. Now, if you are a woman and choose to work and juggle a family, more power to ya! Being a mom isn’t easy either way…

  • comment avatar Jaime April 13, 2012

    Can I just say…Chris King actually used what I’d normally save for “street lingo” ;) rather appropriately here…IMHO, of course (Jaime speaking,) but seriously, the SAH parents get it. I’ve had to reprimand other people’s children more than THREE times this week…in love…but b/c parents weren’t around and they were acting inappropriately – and I live in a great neighborhood! It’s hard work and most certainly not glamorous, but how did our values become so twisted, ugh!?

  • comment avatar Angella April 13, 2012

    Regardless of her privileged background and being a mom, she has Multiple Sclerosis and with that challenge alone I don’t know how she keeps up with the family or the campaign!

  • comment avatar Gina April 13, 2012

    Being a SAHM is such a gift and I view it as my mission and calling, albeit a very challenging job. I also work outside the home one day a week. My concern is that someone would feel that it is appropriate to attack Ann Romney’s “work history” and knowledge of the economy. It’s just wrong for anyone to judge another person and attack them, especially when they do not know the person whatsoever. Is this not bullying?! Perhaps we should return to some of the “old fashioned” family values in this country. It just might not be such a bad thing!

  • comment avatar Jennifer April 13, 2012

    Being privileged does not equal less struggles or problems. It certainly does not mean that automatically raising a family is easy. I think until you have walked in another person’s shoes you have NO idea how their life is. Fairness does not equal sameness. And I am sure as Hilary is finding out… Ignorance does not equal bliss!

  • comment avatar Natasha April 13, 2012

    Everyone knows being a SAHM is one of the hardest jobs there is. I think this is only being used as a diversion tactic to keep people from thinking about the very anti-woman platform her own political party.

  • comment avatar Adhra April 13, 2012

    Agree. This was not about SAHMs. Its about relating to struggling parents who have multiple jobs and still can’t provide basic good to their children.

  • comment avatar Jill April 13, 2012

    The original comment Hillary made was as follows…

    “What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife [Ann Romney] tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Rosen said.

    “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 why do we worry about their future.” Rosen continued.

    When you consider that Mitt made $20,9MM last year Ann can’t relate. Just like I can’t relate to having breast cancer.

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