April 12th, 2012
02:43 AM ET
2 years ago

Democrat's comment about Ann Romney creates firestorm on Twitter

(CNN) – Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen generated instant bipartisan criticism Wednesday night for her statement that Ann Romney has "actually never worked a day in her life."

The reaction on Twitter from high level politicos was instant and virtually unanimous: Rosen had gone too far.

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Rosen: Ann Romney and working moms

Rosen's comment also prompted Ann Romney herself to make her twitter debut.

"I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys," Romney tweeted. "Believe me, it was hard work."

Rosen, also a CNN political contributor and a working mother, made her comments on CNN's "AC360."

"What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, 'Well, you know, my wife 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, adding that Romney "just seems so old fashioned when it comes to women."

Her comments drew instant criticism on Twitter from campaign advisers on both sides of the aisle, as well as one of Romney's sons.

Josh Romney posted that his mother "is one of the smartest, hardest working woman I know. Could have done anything with her life, chose to raise me."

The senior adviser to President Barack Obama's reelection bid also took to Twitter to distance the campaign from the comments.

"Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney," David Axelrod wrote. "They were inappropriate and offensive."

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter posted, "Families must be off limits on campaigns, and I personally believe stay at home moms work harder than most of us do."

Several press aides to Romney's campaign - Andrea Saul, Ryan Williams, and Amanda Henneberg - posted links tying Obama to Rosen, such as her appointment as a DNC adviser and her appearance at a White House event.

Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom wrote: "Obama adviser Hilary Rosen goes on #CNN to debut their new "kill Ann" strategy, and in the process insults hard-working moms."

Eric Erickson, a CNN political contributor and editor of a conservative website, appeared on the same panel as Rosen, and tweeted, "If raising 5 sons through breast cancer and MS isn't a real job, I'm not sure what is."

The comment drew criticism from a Republican member of Congress, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who posted, "Wrong. Being a mom is a full-time job."

Rosen explained her comments in a post on the social networking site.

"When I said @AC360 Ann Romney never worked I meant she never had to care for her kids AND earn a paycheck like MOST American women! #Truth," she wrote.

She later posted a direct comment to Romney.

"Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn't say you are his expert on women and the economy."

Also see:

Romney on Santorum: 'This has been a good day for me'

Louisiana governor endorses Romney

Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama


Filed under: 2012 • Anderson Cooper 360 • Ann Romney
soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. RasPutin

    Ooooh! So a woman who never had an economic worry in her life worked hard to raise 5 kids? There are single mothers out there who work 2 jobs just to keep a roof over the heads of herself and children, to whom a toothache in one of her kids can be an irrecoverable disaster. I bet Ann has always had people to do her housework and gardening, and if she didn't have a cook and caregiver for the children it wasn't because she couldn't afford one.

    April 12, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  2. ajois

    Ms. Hillary Rosen is right in a very specific way and she has later clarified about it. Ann Romney has gone on as working mother but has never really earned a paycheck to "support" her family. Hillary is cleatr about the distinction. I have lot of Mormon friends, majority of their wives are pretty much "assumed" to be housewife's and pretty much assumed to be giving nearly any number of children that their body can take till the maximum number of years that their body can tolerate. I still don't understand this compulsion. If the body (system) fails at some point, they go to China or India for adoption. Is it to populate Mormonism? Sure why not. If Muslims can, we can too. Back to point. Ms. Rosen is talking about "above and beyond" being the normal mother (being extran-normal mother with N-number of children is very normal for Mormons) with real paycheck, McDonald's, TacoBell....? When I find my lawn guy's wife working night shift to support her family with her husband making ends meet....that's totally different from having millions of dollars and raising children like raisins....

    April 12, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  3. rob

    So it's ok for a sitting judge to pass around racist cartoons starring the president, and for a congressman to call the president stupid in a tweet, and other antics, but when a woman makes a factual statement about the wife of a candidate there is a furious uproar. And this is the wife of a man who has a disastrous history of standing up for or even recognizing women as partners. Sad, but politics for the masses.

    April 12, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  4. Fearing for our future

    And Republicans are the elitist party ? Please, BOTH parties are out of touch. We need a 3rd, 4th and 5th choice for president.

    April 12, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  5. Trueworkingmom

    Mitt Romney should know was a candidate that by making his speech which includes his wife that he is now bringing his wife to scrutiny. Do I, as a true working mother, believe that Ann Romney understands being the economy as a mom? Rosen is not attacking Ann as a mother, but when you add the economy, Mitt should not have merged the two. They did not have to worry about student loans. Pretty sure that their kids went to expensive private schools. Also pretty sure that their kids did not have to work to pay for tuition which my kids will. Even on two incomes, what my kids will experience will be significantly different than what the Romney kids have gone through. Let's be realistic and honest, Ann Romney has not worked full time AND balanced the motherhood. Let's also be honest that there is something out of touch with the Romney's when they say that they don't consider themselves wealthy. When you have a $100 MILLION trust fund for your kids, let's be honest! Instead of arguing the truth about Rosen statements, the Republicans should try to be understanding because most of the working families understand what her statements meant. Instead by putting this into spotlight as a negative (ohhh, the democrats are attacking a mom by saying that she did not "work") the Republicans are in fact, alienating true working moms who knows the Romney reality is different than most working families.

    April 12, 2012 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  6. Reine

    Dems war on stay at home mothers. How nice. What's next? Hilary is trash & Ann is much admired around the USA. I was both & just because you are a stay at home mother, doesn't mean you don't know what's going on in the world around you. Hilary is an ignorant fool but thinks herself as so much more knowledgeable than Ann but by attacking her, it shows what kind of person she is.

    April 12, 2012 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  7. Michael E. Maus

    Romney is trotting out the "plain cloth coat" argument. Governor Romney's wife Ann has worked through the issues of her life with the benefits of great wealth, and like her husband she has lived in an elitist bubble.

    April 12, 2012 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  8. JP

    So Ann Romney was a stay at home mom. So what? Good for her. Stay at home mom's can have opinions on the economy too – we are just as smart and capable as anyone else – and we vote!!! Not to mention that having to raise a family on one income makes us a pretty frugal lot. Balancing budgets? Reducing spending? Eliminating waste? Yeah, we know a little bit about that.

    April 12, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  9. hawksteel

    The democrats just love to make political plays on the Romneys as a way to deflect voters' attention away from Obama's dismal record. They cannot win the election on that record. So these Obama surrogates are doing their best to distract voters from the real issue facing America – poor economy, large deficits, high unemployment, and rising gas prices.

    April 12, 2012 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  10. mrdeshon

    I agree Ann Romney has NEVER held a job outside her home, as well as, cleaned her home,made all 3 meals,& prepared her family for the next day. Many American mothers do all this & work another job. Most never have a day off in ANY given year! All do it without the convenience of having a super rich spouse to rely on. She is from a place of privelege in our society. She has never HAD to do any of this. She is NOT a working mother of 5,nor has she ever been.

    April 12, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  11. Miguel

    If she can tell us the price of a milk or toilet paper then I'd be happy to consider her a stay at home mom, Otherwise put your nanny on twitter.

    April 12, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  12. tffl

    Although perhaps phrased badly (and I'm not even sure of that), the point seems valid. Romney has no innate feel or understanding of the economic issues facing most Americans (since he has never faced them), and his wife similarly has no feel or understanding of that or specifically of the issues facing most American women, particularly those that are single wage earners or are part of "two income by necessity" families . "Working hard" in the sense of being a homemaker may well be a lot of labor (though I wouldn't be surprised if the Romneys have had domestic help during most of their marriage) but that is different than "working" in the sense of being significantly (or totally) responsible for the family's economic well-being, which she has never been. For that matter, both came from at least relatively well-off families (both attended the same very fancy prep school and later Harvard), and he became very well paid effectively immediately after leaving college, and massively well paid within a relatively small number of years, so neither has ever really experienced economic hardships (or even middle class existence). None of the responses from those attacking Rosen's comments address these issues, they merely attack the comments as an assault on Ann Romney. That makes for good sound bites, but doesn't really combat the apparent fact that if Romney is getting his input on "women's economic views" from his wife, he really isn't getting terribly relevant input...

    April 12, 2012 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  13. Pat Arnold

    So nice to see that Hilary has discovered that she admires Ann Romney now, following outrage at her remarks. According to a CNN article by Rosen she apparently believes that the 'firestorm' was actually 'faux anger' by right wing individuals, She could not be more incorrect. Hilary Rosen is guilty of buying in to the left's "War on Women" nonsense, and yet she herself has the gall to wage war against a woman who has survived both MS and Cancer. Are all CNN commentator's cut from this hateful cloth, or just her and Morgan?

    April 12, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  14. jaywrightsstd

    I just woke up, so im a little groggy, but i dont see whats so wrong about what she said

    April 12, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  15. Vinny

    It may be distasteful; nevertheless, it is true.

    April 12, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  16. jtbananas

    If that's what she wants to do; ie, stay at home to work, then she has the right to do it but I question her sincerity when she's out there campaigning for her husband and spewing nonsense about women's issues of which she is immune and has not had personal experience. Both she and her husband are out of touch with physical labor efforts due to their lifestyle of hoarding cash without physical effort. By running around politicing with your mouth and calculating money hoarding schemes is not physical labor the rest of the 99% are required to endure to raise their own families.

    April 12, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  17. ronjayaz

    ""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, adding that Romney "just seems so old fashioned when it comes to women." I see nothing but truth in the above statement.And she shud have to disclose how many servants worked for the Romney household and how many diapers she ever changed in her life. From never having had an earned income (MR's own confession for 15% taxes) to AR's ""I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys," Romney tweeted. "Believe me, it was hard work." Boys are
    the easiest of kids to raise, esp. when U have servants running around the house. The Romney's are what the Repubs have been saying abt poor people, they're too lazy to work, they just want welfare.

    April 12, 2012 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  18. jesselcairns

    Well, she's right. It's a lot easier to be a full-time mom when you have the kind of financial backing that Mitt brings to the table.

    April 12, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  19. BART

    Not sure why there is controversy here. What was said is 100% truth. While Ann Romney was "staying home to raise five boys" How many maids did she have? How many drivers did she have? How many nannies did she have? How many personal chefs and personal assistants and landcsapers and pool boys? She doesn't know one Iota about what it's really like to raise kids or have a job or have any of the struggles 99% of the country have every day.

    April 12, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  20. ronjayaz

    ""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, adding that Romney "just seems so old fashioned when it comes to women." I see nothing but truth in the above statement.And she shud have to disclose how many servants worked for the Romney household and how many diapers she ever changed in her life. From never having had an earned income (MR's own confession for 15% taxes) to AR's ""I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys," Romney tweeted. "Believe me, it was hard work." Boys are
    the easiest of kids to raise, esp. when U have servants running around the house. The Romney's are what the Repubs have been saying abt poor people, they're too lazy to work, they just want welfare."

    April 12, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  21. jim Allen

    An unfortunate remark but certainly not surprising coming from the Obama campaign. The Republicans "war of women" they are trying to sell to the American public is a total sham....this incident just supports that fact.

    April 12, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  22. Shorn

    Um, sounds like the comments were accurate. Mitt was the son of a governor. He's never worked. Ann has been with Mitt since 1969. I'm pretty sure she had a lot of help raising their children. So, what's the problem with the comments? Mitt and Ann aren't real people – they haven't worked. They haven't lived pay check to pay check. They don't have the slightest idea what you and I are up against in the real world. I care as much about them as they do about me, which is to say not at all.

    April 12, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  23. NamePamma

    Too much
    Typical liberal has no idea
    Probably "worked" in government all her life

    April 12, 2012 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  24. ronaldgrimes

    I think Rosen has put her foot in the back of her mouth.

    April 12, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  25. The viper

    There is nothing about the Romney lifestyle that compares to the average American female life. Try raising 5 kids with no husband and no health insurance for your breast cancer and MS. This is what is really happening in this country. If she thinks what she did was hard, try doing it without ALL that money. Rosen was spot on. Wake up America, Romney's life is nothing like ours!

    April 12, 2012 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
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