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. Latashia Booze

    What they need to be concentrating on is the economy and jobs!

    April 12, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Nardfather

    no one cares about this, they are reaching for anything to try and help themselves with women. This won't do it

    April 12, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. JOHN

    How sad the republicans are!!!!

    April 12, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. bob

    Weekly jobless claims rise AGAIN

    April 12, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Latashia Booze

    That's just like a republican.

    April 12, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Alex

    I thought Mitt Romney was all about the economy and Jobs? Do you know how many terrible things GOP strategists have said about women? Obama needs to start listening all of them for the public to see, and say "Clearly these people are campaigning for Mitt Romney." I am sick of these classless tactics by Romney, the guy knows he cant win the election legitimately, just like he couldn't win a primary without outspending his opponents 10-1 in negative advertisement. A sad excuse for a GOP nominee.

    April 12, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. gr8usa

    The flailing around trying to figure out what will get him votes from this demographic or that demographic is going to get old. What does Mitt truly believe in? That is the $10,000 question.

    April 12, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Seriously, this is all Team Romney got? about Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney explaining getting rid of Plan Parenthood or supporting equal pay for women?! I'll get back to you on that!!!!

    pander, pander and more pander.....

    April 12, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. kayla

    truth hurts

    April 12, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Woman In California

    That's right – keep using your wife anytime you can't handle the fact the American people don't want you and see how well it works in November.

    April 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. sogooden

    Just like the Republicans. If they can't steal credit for the good, they place blame on everyone else for the bad. The majority of Americans are not stupid. They know exactly what they want and what they don't. All this poop throwing isn't going to make a difference. We'll see in November.

    April 12, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Ernie Cromwell

    you are all right democrats are horrible people

    April 12, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Tony - VA

    The GOP can't get it right we are not going to fail for a false tactics...this has nothing to do with stay at home moms...Please get real Mitt is lost in space.

    April 12, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Boytjie

    So when will Romney apologize for West's communist claims?

    April 12, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. No Way I'll Vote for Romney

    Romney thinks women are stupid, just like McCain does he is totally out of touch. Let's agree that no woman with the money the Romney's have will work at a paying job. It is reality whether we like it or not. Good grief this is a 24 hour news story. Romney needs to move on or he will look more folish than he usually does.

    April 12, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Hilary Rosen is right , no need to apologize .

    The Romney's , five sons who avoided voluntary service.

    She is right , Ann never had a pay check job .

    April 12, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Clinton

    Why do Republicans believe they can retake the Whitehouse? Why do they think they can throw the blame for the Nation's problems on Obama? Why does it work for some people? Do people not remember what the Country ended up like after 8 years of Republican economic and foreign policies? Seriously, in 8 years we went from the roaring economy left by President Clinton's administration one of the strongest in history, a balanced budget, no wars... to 2 near decade long conflicts, a huge deficit, expanded Government (Homeland Security and other agencies), the worst recession in history, and we were bleeding jobs.... In 3 years since Obama took office, He's pulled our forces out of Iraq, we've killed Bin Laden and many of his top lieutenants, We've gone from losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month to gaining nearly a quarter million a month... stabalized the auto-industry...the Recession is over, the economy is rebounding... And Republicans are asking me to put another Republican in the Whitehouse to resume the same policies that nearly destroyed this nation? SERIOUSLY!??!?!?!?!?! Can Any Republican explain to me how it was NOT THEIR party at the wheel when they drove us off a cliff? Because otherwise, you got to be insane to vote Republican.

    April 12, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Olivia, why are you naming Mr. (President) Obama in your comment? It seems to me that you have a different agenda in mind with your comments. If First Lady Michelle Obama can tweet sincerely about Rosen's comments to Mrs. Romey, why can't you be siincere in your comment?

    Can't we all just get along.

    April 12, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. David

    But Rosen was completely right, Mrs Romney does have no clue about the average working womans struggles, she has maids, gardeners, caregivers and private teachers. She does not understanding working from paycheck to paycheck; she hasn't done an honest days work in her life?

    April 12, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    All in all, through and through, when all is said and done, and the dust finally settles, one fact will remain. Ann Romney will still have never worked a day in her married life. Mitt Romney was a good provider. Ann was never forced to enter the work force to help make ends meet. It would take two working spouses, each working for middle class incomes, to comfortably raise 5 kids.

    April 12, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Romney is not My Hero

    Oh, calm down Rom-bot before sparks come flying out of you. Why not just go home and help your wife raise all those GROWN "boys"? Can't you see she's been suffering? LOL

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 12, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. nycworker

    Hilary Rosen's comments were inappropriate...but true.

    April 12, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    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. In that case, clearly this all makes so much sense. 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 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. SMH

    @ Olivia. First all, President Obama did not made the comment that Ann Romeny have not work a day in her life. Where are you getting your information from. In my opinion, its hard rising children and its sometimes become a full time job, but what Hilary was trying to insimulate is that Ann Romeny should not be a corner stone for women about the economic. She has a very wealthy husband and relatives and drives a couple cadalliacs, that can make her role as a parent a whole lot easier. Just like Bristol can not be a spoke person for teen mothers, because she has a nanny to take care her son, and she drop out of school and driving around the country promoting and making speechs about abstience, getting paid more than average working woman with two kids. Ridiculous.

    April 12, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. American

    So, using Romney's dishonest attempts at constant projection (via Karl Rove politics), Romney's twisted logic would therefore link Allen West's nonsense back to him. Yep, that makes just about as much sense, Mitt. Not.

    April 12, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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