Team Romney tries to focus Rosen controversy on the White House
April 12th, 2012
02:03 PM ET
2 years ago

Team Romney tries to focus Rosen controversy on the White House

(CNN) - The Mitt Romney campaign sought to further capitalize politically on the swirling controversy over the remark from Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life," by dispatching female surrogates to accuse Rosen of speaking for the White House.

Rosen, a well-known Democratic strategist and CNN contributor, has no official ties to the White House or the Democratic National Committee. But the group of Romney partisans saw that as a distinction without a difference.

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On a conference call Thursday with reporters, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rep. Kathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington and Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming tied Rosen to the current White House by pointing to her over 30 visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the president's first term in office.

The three elected officials were among six Romney supporters on the call who characterized Rosen's comments as "insulting," "unfortunate," "disrespectful," "terrible" and "belittling."

During an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, Rosen said Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, has "actually never worked a day in her life." The remark caught fire, receiving criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Rosen later apologized to anyone offended.

But Lummis suggested the Obama re-election team was using Rosen to advance their political message.

"Clearly they're using surrogate women, including Hilary Rosen who is a paid spokesperson to deliver messages about Republicans that the president does not want to deliver himself for fear of the backlash," Lummis said. "But quite frankly as someone who has visited the White House to advise on message over 35 times recently, clearly her remarks are reflective of the message that the political machine within the White House intends to put out."

The second term lawmaker said she did not think Rosen was "free lancing."

But Team Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were quick to criticize Rosen's statements. Senior adviser David Axelrod said he was "disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney."

"They were inappropriate and offensive," Axelrod wrote on Twitter.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina called on Rosen to apologize, while the first lady tweeted, "every mother works hard, and every women deserves to be respected."

Despite her advisory role in Democratic politics, the Obama campaign said she does not have a formal role in the Obama campaign or at the Democratic National Committee.

But the female Romney backers leveraged the incident to perpetuate a larger narrative from the campaign that the president's policies have disproportionately hurt women, a reaction to the Republican "war on women" charge from Democrats.

"And that's why they've [Democrats] created this whole war on women campaign. It's really designed to distract women from the real issues, to scare them and it's not going to work because it's a myth," Rodgers said. "So there's no war on women, by the republicans what is really going on is a war on reality by the democrats."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Kris Craig

    Looks like the Republican fake outrage machine is in full swing.

    April 12, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Ned

    Pack it in Mitt and Ann-nobody liked either of you for a long time. Rosen spoke out loud what everybody has been thinking for a long time.

    April 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    They're doing what? You gotta be Mitten me.

    They are way overplaying their hand. IF they were smart, the Romney campaign would take the win and quit while they're ahead. This is a sign of desparation, grasping at straws, and looking for anything that sticks.

    April 12, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Poor Little Mitt and his Little Lady have thin skins!

    April 12, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Blindersoff

    When did ken and barbie ever had a hard days work? The truth is Ann Barbie Romney, never worked a day in her life and Mitt Ken Romney hasn't worked for the last 8 years. A bunch of phonies.

    April 12, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Olivia

    My married children have made the sacrifice to have their wives stay at home with their children. It is a CHOICE not a luxury Mr. Obama. They all have college degrees, but chose to stay home. How dare you make this an issue. They sacrifice a lot to do this.

    April 12, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Just Say No to Flipper

    Umm, Rosen apologized and Ms. Obama has come out to defend Ann. Ms. Rosen's poor choice of words does not, however, excuse Ann from claiming to understand the experiences of average women when Ann has not lived any sort of normal woman's life. Full stop.

    April 12, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. rightytighty

    "The Mitt Romney campaign sought to further capitalize politically on the swirling controversy over the remark from Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life," by dispatching female surrogates to accuse Rosen of speaking for the White House."

    Great intro Gabriella, no one could possible accuse you of being a female surrogate for the White House.., hey?

    April 12, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    well we all know that when one Democrat speaks it's for the whole party especially Obama. Sorry Mitt but what you are trying to do is exploit an issue and using your wife as the prop. Funny though when a Democrat says something insulting or downright stupid someone in the party is usually quick to come out and condemn it, Republicans though are not so quick to do so......the name Allen West comes to mind.

    April 12, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    And everything they're saying is a lie.

    "Rosen works for the DNC" – NOPE. The DNC has a contract with Anita Dunn, who happens to work at the same firm as Rosen. Last time I checked, I wasn't doing any work for clients of other attorneys at my firm.

    "Clearly they're using surrogate women, including Hilary Rosen who is a paid spokesperson to deliver messages about Republicans that the president does not want to deliver himself for fear of the backlash," – NOPE. This is just made-up tinfoil hat conspiracy theory nonsense of the kind that people who are already decided on voting for Mittens believe and regurgitate on a daily basis anyway. They love this kind of accusation of "cloak and dagger" dealings. Feeds their paranoid delusions.

    "War on reality by the Democrats" – Sorry, but Mittens' talking points about Obama "waging a war on women" and his misuse of the statistics regarding unemlpoyment among women during Obama's presidency have already been debunked and labeled as false and misleading by independent fact checking organizations as well as experts.

    But hey, I guess based on Mittens' campaign's reasoning here, uit is now undeniable that the whole Etch-A-Sketch comment by someone who actually IS a Mittens surrogate and is directly and publicly working for the Mittens campaign was "clearly...reflective of the message that the political machine within the [Mittens' campaign] intends to put out."

    April 12, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. RealityBites

    Obama is only upset with Rosen because she just threw a wrench into his wage the dog war on women. Declaring a nonexistent war on women for political gain is soooo shallow...

    April 12, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    "They are way overplaying their hand. IF they were smart, the Romney campaign would take the win and quit while they're ahead. This is a sign of desparation, grasping at straws, and looking for anything that sticks."
    --------
    And Obama is still blaming Bush. Point taken.

    April 12, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    And you know what? How many struggling single and other mothers out there heard Rosen's comment and immediately recognized the parallels between Mittens' out-of-touchness and the out-of-touchness that leading the carefree, privileged life of luxury that Ann Romney has led as a result of her husband's money? It wasn't "crap...I need to go buy some beans and franks on the way home to feed the kids" in the Changeling's household...it was "which Cadillac should I drive to get the kids to soccer practice after the maid is done serving them breakfast"? Hopefully, at least, the maid was not an illegal for pete's sake.

    As for twisting it all into an attack on stay at home moms..bullcrap. Ann Romney doesn't even fit the mold for the vast majority of them either. Besides, which one of her several homes are we talking about here?

    April 12, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Peace

    What Rosen said was not wrong. Taking care of kids is responsibility and NOT A JOB.

    April 12, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. gr8usa

    OK – stop the fake outrage. First, Ms. Rosen is speaking for herself (remember she was on team Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary). Everyone in the Obama camp has come out against her statements and called for Ms. Rosen to apologize to Ann Romney. Second, the only people even remotely qualified to seem outraged over a comment about a political spouse are those who haven't attacked Mrs. Obama. Goodness, where was the outrage over the attacks about her job, her anatomy, her Let's Move initiative, etc.... Third, we do need to have a discussion about what working class and middle class mothers (working in our outside of the home) have to deal with. Most of us don't have the luxury of housekeepers, nannies, and multiple homes, but we make it work...and let me tell you, it's exhausting! Let middle class women speak for the needs of middle class women!!!

    April 12, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Bill, NY

    Hey Romney, The truth truly hits home eh?

    April 12, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Olivia wrote:

    My married children have made the sacrifice to have their wives stay at home with their children. It is a CHOICE not a luxury Mr. Obama. They all have college degrees, but chose to stay home. How dare you make this an issue. They sacrifice a lot to do this.
    ---------------
    Wow. Don't let facts and reality get in your way.

    It is also a *choice* to raise 5 kids *and work* at the same time, which is not the choice Ann Romney made.

    April 12, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Sophie SLC

    Ann Romney never had much of a choice, because the Mormon Church guilt-trips women into dedicating their lives to staying home and having babies. LDS church leaders have over the years blamed every social ill from divorce to drug abuse on working mothers.

    April 12, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. SafeJourney

    Unfortunately, the repubs lack critical thinking skills on this one. This issue is being politicized by Republicans – period. Mitt Romney presented his wife as an expert on women's economic issues. It is clear she is not – she may be a great mother, and wonderful wife and is probably a great human being. But, she is clearly NOT an expert on economic concerns of the average woman.

    April 12, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    Olivia

    My married children have made the sacrifice to have their wives stay at home with their children. It is a CHOICE not a luxury Mr. Obama.
    ----------–

    glad to hear it Olivia but what did Obama say? Mrs Obama defended Ann Romney. And since Rosen is not affiliated with the WH or the DNC, her comments being denounced by the Obamas is good enough.....unlike Mittens' surrogates handled the Rush's "sl-t" comment

    April 12, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Debbie

    Nice deception and twist but Rosen should never have apologized and sorry to hear the White House caved. It is a GOP war on women, as it is Republican's who are initiating laws on contraception, aborition, transvaginal probs, etc. Few if any Republicans rebuked Rush. GOP Issa panel on a veiled religion/contraception did not have one woman Rabbie or Bishop. Not to mention that is was a panel on religion and yet only Jews and Christians were on the panel much less a female. It is the GOP suggesting women are focused on the economy and jobs as if women lack the ability to focus on issues of the economy, jobs and their rights of privacy and reproductive health at the same time. Romney can pivot, twist, decieve or Etch a Sketch but the war on women comes from the GOP. Rosen should have not apologized as staying home and raising children is not a career. It is a choice to not work. Raising children is the responsibility of mothers AND fathers regardless if they have careers, choose to not work, or have no job.

    April 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens will always be a lying POS.

    April 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Texas dude

    Olivia, you may want to direct your comment to Ms. Rosen not President Obama. Beside Ms. Obama has already come out in support of Ms. Romney, what are you gripping about?

    April 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I cannot believe that Libertarians, baggers, birthers, bigots, members of the NRA, McCarthyists, Birchers, and members of the patriot militias, think that billionaires need an additional tax break safety net. They seem to be doing all right.

    April 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Bill

    Romnet really needs some new advisors. These willy-nilly attacks with no direction or thought makes them look even more foolish.

    April 12, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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