April 24th, 2012
01:04 AM ET
3 years ago

Ann Romney defends her role as stay-at-home mom

Stamford, Connecticut (CNN) - Ann Romney, Monday night, defended her role as a stay-at-home mother and described herself and her presidential candidate husband as a couple in touch with women concerned about the economy.

Appearing at a GOP dinner in Connecticut, Romney acknowledged the controversy stirred up weeks ago by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen who criticized the mother of five for having not "worked a day in her life."

"We are grateful for the response that we got from that and appreciative of recognizing that women have choices in life, and some choices are not all the same, but we value everyone's choice that they make in their profession," Romney said.

She added her husband, Mitt Romney, treats her as "an equal partner" and supports her role in their family.

"He would remind me all the time that my job was more important than his, that his job was temporary, that mine was going to bring forever happiness. And he believed it, he didn't just say it, he believed it," she said.

Romney appeared acutely aware of the perception fueled in part by Rosen's comments that she may be out of touch with American women.

"I didn't have help for many, many years. As a matter of fact, I didn't have any help at all until the fifth baby was born and I had emergency surgery when he was four months old and I was in bed and realized that I couldn't take care of five small boys with Mitt working so hard, I needed a little extra help," she said. "[I] know what it's like to get up early in the morning and to get them off to school and I know what it's like to get up in the middle of the night when they're sick, and I know what it's like to struggle and to have those concerns that all mothers have."

Romney shared anecdotes about being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and later with breast cancer. She described the solace she feels in receiving prayers from so many people on the campaign trail.

"And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that because the days are long, the road is hard. The trials are there and I never know when I have this little grey cloud that's over my head, when it's going to start raining on me again, and I do need everyone's prayers," she said.

Romney delivered her impassioned speech on the eve of a number of Republican primaries, including Connecticut, where she addressed the Prescott Bush Sr. Awards Dinner.


Filed under: 2012 • Ann Romney • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania • Uncategorized
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Edward

    I think that attacking Romney as a "severe conservative" is a mistake because it sounds like political rhetoric whereas calling him what he is, an opportunist that will say anything to win, is more potent because it gets to the core of his character. If swing voters don't feel they can trust Romney they will not vote for him. If the Obama campaign calls Romney a severe conservative then the easiest way to nullify such an attack is to call Obama a severe liberal, that puts them on even moral ground, which is bad. People will vote for someone they're unsure of rather than someone they are unsure of, Bush proved that. Who knows, in this climate people might want a severe conservative. The untrustworthy line of attack is most resonant above all because it's true and doesn't come off as political as the severe conservative charge. Letting voters know that Romney is an opportunist is too good a line of attack to pass up because it's an attack that Romney cannot deny. I hope the Obama campaign realizes that in a match vs a severe conservative and a severe liberal the conservative wins by default

    April 24, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  2. mk1

    There is no question that stay at home mom's work and work hard. That being said, there is no way that Ann Romney can relate in the slightest to a mom who is forced to work outside of the home simply to make ends meet and give her children the best possible opportunity for a bright and successful future. Never forget that Republicans want to weaken all the programs that help poor mothers in cases like that. They care for mothers only when they are pregnant and take away or are threatening to take away the programs that help them once the child is born. They are opposed to infant health care, supplemental food assistance, early childhood development, and many other programs designed to help the poor out of poverty. No, there is no way any rich person, man or woman can truly relate to that unless they were in those shoes themselves, which the Romney's never were.
    One other thing, when Romney says his dad was poor when he was young is a lie, pure and simple. They were quite wealthy as a matter of fact.

    April 24, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  3. CA Dream USA

    What about the single moms who may have lost their husbands in wars, other and just plain single moms who were abused and have to depend on public assist to provide for their 5 young boys, are they any less hard working moms ? If not why is Romney and the GOP planning to cut their benefits, calling them lazy and non-productive ?

    April 24, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  4. lila

    Every thing is taken out of context. Yes raising 5 children is hard work but raising 5 kids and going to work to feed your children or survive is another thing. ANN never worried where the next meal is coming, Ann did not have help not because she can't afford it but it is by choice. I admire Ramney's hard work and success but it is very difficult to hear from his wife about the struggle of woman, losing their job and etc. What does she know about working and raising kids, how does she relate to those of us who get up at 5 am drop of our kids to day care stay go to work and go back to day care pick up the kids, cook and clean and put them to bed. That is what real American working women are do.Ann seems sweet and everything nice but don't try to look or act like a working women. Now don't change the subject, it is not raising children but working,outside the house job. Ann's life and other women is different.

    April 24, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  5. Al

    The challenge boils down to the assertion that Ann Romney experiences aren't typical of the average American woman. The challenge was very poorly stated by Hilary Rosen. ("Incompetent" springs to mind.)

    Regardless of the level of incompetence by Rosen, Mrs Romney's experiences aren't typical of average. Why is there some debate over this?

    Why does Mrs. Romney feel the need to defend her skills as a mother. She raised some fine children. But doing so doesn't magically turn her into the "average mom." She can't be. She has too much money to be even close to average.

    In short, the debate seems to be "you have a lot of money" with the counter of "yea well I am a great mother."

    Might as well be "hey Mr. Gates, you have a lot of money" with a rebuttal of "yea well, I wear glasses."

    The whole thing makes no sense.

    April 24, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  6. kathy bloomer

    Give me a break.

    April 24, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  7. Cyric

    Please, your husband demands the respect work provides. You have earned none of this respect.

    April 24, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  8. TeLL the TRutH

    Please! Anne, you really are in a different league. The Out of Touch LEaGue! U really can't say, "Been there, Done THAT" PlZ GO AWAY!

    April 24, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  9. carrotroot

    Mitt could have helped Ann with the boys for a few months while she was recovering, because he's a rich guy. But NO ... he was too busy with work so they hired some help. That just seems cold.

    April 24, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  10. s

    Right Right right, I believe you NOT

    April 24, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  11. Orwell knows

    Ann, how many vacation days you get a year? I hear you two are thinking about a big vacation in France. Do the kids go, or do they have separate vacations some where else in the world? In the years when you and hubby are not shilling for votes, I guess you take those vacations any time you want them. Having a corporate liquidating specialist as the bread winner covers the bills, must be nice staying home running the plantation workers. If he gets to be POTUS he will have a lot of liquidating to do selling of the USA, but he will have a lot friends outside the USA offering pleasant vacation stays when he done selling out the USA.

    April 24, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  12. Paul Williamson

    Ann Romney may be a good mother, and has overcome some significant challenges in her life. She icertainly is not lazy, but her experiences are nothing similar to working mothers, many single, who hold down full-time jobs, sometimes two jobs, while raising a family on an income barely above the poverty level. She had a full-time staff of 6 to take care of herr children, nannies for each plus a housekeeper. She has had sufficient free time for charity work and world-class equestrianism, and never had to worry where the next dollar came from (it must be tough managing a $22M/year household budget). Her husband and she were never poor or middle-class (his and her fathers were multi-millionaires also, and they had a large yearly allowance from George Romney after they werer married). She really does NOT understand the plight of working poor mothers in the US., because she has not walked in their shoes.

    April 24, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  13. Tony in Maine

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom, but understand that her family has the assets that make that a choice. For too many women, working outside the home is not for "pin money" or to "give them something to do," it is necessary because real wages have not kept pace with inflation. the choice then becomes, do we eat three meals or one each day? Do we go to the doctor or tough it out? I don't think the Romneys understand choices like that – intellectually, they've heard of them, but there is no gut identification. The result is, they are basically clueless about how the 99% live.

    April 24, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  14. Blindersoff

    Ann Romney says that she didn't have help until the fifth child. I'm sure it was by choice, at anytime, she could have picked up the phone . . . hello, maid service . . . hello, nanny service . . . oh, and hello, nurse service, My name is Mrs. Romney and I need to hire a live in. Not many stay at home moms have that privilege. And to have access to the best health care money can buy! I'm sorry lady, you are not one of those struggling women, moms. Stay at home or go to work and or dealing with health problems. embrace your privilege life style and move on. You will never be "First Lady" of these United States. Mitt ken doll Romney and Ann Barbie doll Romney go back to the toy store and leave the real world to real people with real problems that you know nothing about or care about. Period.

    April 24, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  15. mjbrim

    "I know what it's like to struggle and to have those concerns that all mothers have."
    good to know but now do you know what it is like to not be able to take off work to take care of those children?
    or worry every night which bill you should pay in the morning?
    or did you ever go with out medical insurance because of your husband being laid off?

    April 24, 2012 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  16. Little Jimmy Truth

    Great job, Ann!!!

    Any woman can make her own decision except Rosen.

    April 24, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  17. MICHAELANTHONY

    This is still just a bogus controversy. No one really denies that child rearing is an easy task. I thought child rearing was a responsibilty that any woman who wants to raise a family has. Women who have a career, still has that responsibilty. Waking up during the night, nursing a cold and getting kids off to school and still getting to the office to put in several hours under pressure, meeting deadlines, fighting office politics and and facing the repercussion of the good or bad decisions they make on a dailey basis. Staying at a home for most moms is usually a financial decision. It is often cheaper for some families for the mom to stay home based on the high cost of day care and what the families total income is. To be candid i do not believe these two are truly comparable.To be truly honest, conservative christians have been pushing the idea of the biblical family and the role of women in that family. They have been pushing this issue for decades, because they have to to validate their belief. They really do believe that women should be at home raising a family and the political push is to say, that role is equal to if not greater than the choice to work. This is not being politically correct, it is truly being dishonest to compare to the two.

    April 24, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  18. MICHAELANTHONY

    Ann Romney says she has had to struggle. I wonder how many average women, has had such a struggle and dificullt time, that they considered dipping into their trust funds to get over the hard times. Really a revealing glimpse into the lives of average women with trust funds isn't it.

    April 24, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  19. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    America knows two fakes when they see them . Mitt McCain hides behind his wife because the "gals" are not going to vote for him.

    April 24, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  20. I Got A Job Today

    Did Ms Romney ever get the kids off to school in the morning while worrying that there may be no dinner that night? Did Ms. Romney take care of the sick children with insurance? Did Ms. Romney ever have to choose which bill gets paid? While I am sympathetic to her physical struggers with two devastating illnesses, a woman whose version of a financial struggle is "living off stocks and not entertaining" is the epitome of clueless and the disconnect with the real world is deafening.

    April 24, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  21. Marie MD

    Something else mrs. millionaire, your husband and you used to give money to Planned Parenthood and believed in pro choice. Now he wants, not that he has a chance in heck if he becomes president, to close PP so those women can go "somewhere else" for medical treatment.
    For a millionaire's wife who has had plenty of money for her MS and breast cancer treatments your husband wants other women not to have the care they so desperately need from Planned Parenthood. How's that for being mommy of the year!?!?!? president? NEVER!!!

    April 24, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  22. Debra From Georgia

    Queen Ann Romney don't forget to thank "THE HELP"

    April 24, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  23. lisa2010

    why is ann romney is still trying to justified her choice for being a stay at home mom, we get it , its old news, lets move on!!!! are they still trying to bring up another controversy, making it a big deal... let's get on with the REAL ISSUES!!!

    April 24, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  24. JulesT

    The ability to manipulate a comment and turn into a national attack on women is amazing. The comment made by someone unassociated with any political party, is now a stance the Romneys are trying to play to. Yes, mothers/fathers who chose or choose to stay home is a 24/7 job, of which the work is unmeasurable. In saying that, the focus of Ann Romney as the average working mother is distorted; Yes she raised 5 sons, but without the worry of many contributing factors, she had the luxury to CHOSE this path, whereas many have no choice due to the cost of child care. These stay home mothers or fathers who had no choice had the additional pressures of loss valuable income, with worries of clothing/feeding their children. The fear that of what will I do if I have a medical emergency" and my spouse needs to take leave of work, will he get fired, what will we do about health care; what if my car breaks down if in fact they can afford 2 or even 1 car. Ann Romney has not had to worry about these factors, and anyone who has struggled with this knows what I am talking about. So yes, Ann you were a working mom, but for you to put yourself on a pedestal is a slap in the face to the other parents who are working mothers/fathers. Until she walks in thier shoes, it is an insult to speak for them. If you want to really make a point about stay home parents, sit down and talk to one who had no choice, and listen to their struggles. Then tell us how the cuts your husband wants to make if elected will help them.

    April 24, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  25. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't really care to sound harsh. She isn't the one running for president. I don't find that she can really help his campaign in any real credible way. She doesn't know enough about the average woman and the working mother's struggles. The process is different since she had a spouce bringing in a sizable income.

    April 24, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
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