Team Romney tries to focus Rosen controversy on the White House
April 12th, 2012
02:03 PM ET
11 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. Straw Grasper Much?

    From the article: "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.

    What's a surrogate woman?! Weird! Just totally weird

    April 12, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    sorry, edit:

    OK, so let's put aside good sense and assume for a second that the Changeling's campaign isn't just spinning faux outrage and mischaracterizing what Rosen said as an attack on stay at home mothers that Obama was having her make on his behalf.

    In that case, clearly this all makes so much sense. Obviously, the first thing I would do if I was POTUS and had a wife that was essentially a stay-at-home mother: run around generalize and demean and insult stay at home mothers. I mean, I probably wouldn't want any more kids at that point anyway and who needs to sleep in the bed when you can have the couch?

    April 12, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. American

    Let's talk about a real issue. When Romney was asked yesterday if he supports equal pay for women, the response to American women was, "will get back with ya."

    And many of Romney's "spokespersons" did not support it either...they voted against equal pay for women.

    April 12, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |

    yeah, Rosen's comments were not disrespectful to women or stay at home mom.
    Ann Romney is married to Mitt Romney and those guys are filthy stinking rich.
    I have a hard time believing that she does NOT have a nanny, a maid and maybe even a full time chef.
    I understand being a mother is hard work but I simply don't believe that Ann Romney has ANY knowledge of the economic hardships and concerns of mothers in America
    Rosen's comments were not offensive, disrespectful and she should most certainly not apologize

    April 12, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Joan

    Ann Romney seems like a wonderful wife and mother and nobody can dispute that. Raising five great sons through health issues also must be commended. Being a stay at home mother is one of the toughest and most important jobs any woman can undertake. However, many people are missing a very key part of this issue. Ann Romney is not a typical stay at home mother. Most of these moms do not have the privilege of housekeepers, probably nannies and many of the other perks that she had being the wife of a multi-millionaire. Many stay at home moms have to scrimp on the budget to get by on the one family salary and don't have extra help with the many responsibilities that stay at home moms face. She is obviously a really wonderful lady but trying to pretend that she went through the same reality of the majority of stay at home moms is just like her husband pretending he gets the issues facing the middle class folks. She also cannot really understand what it is like to be a mom working outside the home and also trying to run a household and look after children on a budget. It is especially difficult for working single moms. Until she walks a mile in their shoes, Mrs. Romney really can't pretend that she really gets their struggles and responsibilities. Rosen was clearly not thinking when she made her statements but there is a small grain of truth in them.

    April 12, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. AZWoman

    Ann may not have had financial concerns, but money does not remove any of the work that is required to raise children. It takes a lot more than money to raise children that grow up to be an asset to our country. Generations of Romney's worked to get what they have and I trust that both Mitt and Ann have instilled that into their children. I don't see any of them looking for a hand out and seem to be very successful.

    April 12, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Wire Palladin, S. F. wrote:

    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.
    Obviously, you do not understand how the economy works. Just like cookies, tax breaks go to the loudest whiners.

    April 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Stephen in VA

    Well, Rosen was right. Mrs. Romney married a multi-millionaire, so why should she work a day in her life? That said, why would Romney start lying and making the comment out to be "clearly" from the White House, when it wasn't?

    April 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Really, Rmoney?

    Look people, Ann is just a regular stay at home mom, like all the others. When she's not waiting for the car elevator repairman to show up she sometimes manages to sneak off for a relaxing couple hours away from the kids and nannies to ride the back 40 on her dressage horses. Really, she's just like you and me.

    April 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ Fair is Fair

    umm no Obama isn't blaming Bush but a majority of the American people STILL are. Check the polling before you make such a statement...except on FoxNews of course where you probably got this statement.

    And just WHY is Romney blaming President Obama for something that he not only did NOT say but his wife condemned as well? I guess if Newt or Paul say something stupid or unacceptable, then Obama should blame Romney. PATHETIC!

    April 12, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Anyhoo, so when is the Changeling scheduled to start talking about something...anything a substantive manner? October maybe?

    April 12, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Romer

    Raising kids is not a job. Get out there and work and have someone else raise your children – thats the least important job. She moust have been barefoot and pregnant.

    April 12, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "@ Fair is Fair

    umm no Obama isn't blaming Bush but a majority of the American people STILL are. "

    You give him too much leverage by conceding that it's "blame." It's not "blame" to reference the GOP and Dubya policies enacted between 2001-2008 and then explain their verifiable, undeniable, expert-accepted effect on the economy and how that relates to where we find ourselves right now. The "Obama just keeps blaming Bush" crap is precisely analogous to the faux outrage the Changeling's campaign and the GOP are kicking up here about Rosen's statments: weapons of mass distraction because they do NOT want you focused on the truth and want to make it (or try at least) taboo and off-limits to speak of it.

    April 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Rosen's comments [are] "insulting," "unfortunate," "disrespectful," "terrible" and "belittling."◄
    and true – Romney brought this on himself by not being able to talk about what he can do for women and pushing the problem onto Ann to answer for him.

    Romney also stated that it was Ann that "sought of" forced him to run for President; hmm, maybe she's bored living in all of her homes and now she wants to redecorate the White House.

    Obama and Michelle 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    April 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. scott

    Come on people...Ann had alot of tough decisions to make as a young wife..which Caddie to take...should i get the generic drugs for my children or just buy the company,use the medicine then sell it off once the boys get better. I can only imagine the struggles this lady went through has her husband pulled himself up by bootstraps...his fathers boot straps...ahhh but republicans will tell ya he is a self made man...they wont say how but they darn sure will tell ya. If she is as in touch with the middle class as her husband is...we are invisible to them both.

    April 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. BeverlyNC

    Romney is so weak, so lacking of a core, of any solutions, of any answers, of any clue of how American workers and women live – he always tries to blame his own failures and lack of values on President Obama. It's called "projection". Whatever your faults and failures are – you say your opponent has them vs you. President Obama is an outstanding leader, job creator, foreign policy success story, and has presented and passed real solutions for jobs, veterans, ending the Bush lie of the Iraq War, got rid of 3 dictators in 9 months with not one American soldier in harm's way, has stood strong for women his entire Presidency (his first law was the Llly Ledbetter Act which Romney did not even know what it was), he has created fair and WORKING healthcare for all Americans, worked non-stop for ALL Americans, shown care, compassion, humanity, and real Christian values that he lives rathers than runs TV ads about. Republicans are not Christians. They practice none of the teachings of Jesus, do not follow the Ten Commandments (especially when it comes to bearing false witness, lying, stealing, and adultery).
    I think Rosen was right on about Ann Romney. You really think a gazillionaire raised 5 boys without maids, nannies, yard workers and on and on. They own 5 houses – get real. Romney and his wife are both clueless about how real Americans live, what it means to work, have responsibilites, and live with Christian values. Mormons are not Christians and are very secretive about their religion. Maybe that is why Romney announced yesterday he was going to keep his policies for America "secret until after the election"!!! Are you kidding me?? Only a fool would vote for this Romney idiot.

    April 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. kevin

    Republicans had 8 years to dig their graves. Now they can lay in them. Give Obama 4 more and a congress that is not committed to treason and watch what he can get done.

    April 12, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. kate

    Ah, the awful truth.....

    OBAMA 2012

    April 12, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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