UPDATED: Ann Romney Responds To Claim She Hasn't "Worked A Day In Her Life"
Following criticism that she is out of touch with women and hasn't "worked a day in her life," Ann Romney, wife of presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, appeared on Fox News Thursday to respond to the claims made by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. "My career choice was to be a mother and I think all of us need to know we need to respect choices women make," she defended.
Rosen’s comments have not just prompted a debate about whether presidential nominees are able to relate to women, but about the status of stay-at-home moms in general.
On Anderson Cooper’s "AC360" show Wednesday, Rosen claimed that Romney is unable to relate to regular women because she hasn’t worked. Rosen also accused Mitt Romney of being "old fashioned" about women, suggesting he doesn't "see us as equals."
A mere two hours later, Ann Romney responded to Rosen’s claims on a new Twitter account:
I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.
— Ann Romney (@AnnDRomney) April 12, 2012
One of her sons, Josh, tweeted that his mother is one of the "smartest, hardest working" women and that she "could have done anything with her life, [but] chose to raise me."
During her Fox News appearance Thursday, Romney said her husband is respectful of women and advised by them. She pointed out that both his chief of staff and lieutenant governor were female when he was governor of Massachusetts. "Mitt Romney is a person that admires women and listens to them," she said.
Rosen's comments also drew criticism from Obama’s reelection campaign Wednesday night.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted:
I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.
— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) April 12, 2012
Top Obama campaign officials also said that Rosen is not an official campaign surrogate.
Many conservatives, however, are not appeased with condemnation from the Obama reelection campaign and their claim that Rosen was not freelancing when she made her comments.
"I would just point out that she has been paid, her firm has been paid by the Democrat National Committee," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) about Rosen during a conference call organized by the Romney campaign Thursday. "She has been down to the White House 35 different times advising the Obama administration on messaging. There is clearly a connection between Ms. Rosen and the Obama administration, and she’s been involved for many years."
Rosen, meanwhile, has not offered an apology to Romney, but has attempted to clarify her remarks on Twitter by arguing she works and has children. Rosen is the mother of twins with her ex-partner, Elizabeth Birch.
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) April 12, 2012
Critics point out that Ann Romney suffers from multiple sclerosis and is a breast cancer survivor, and has raised five successful boys while supporting her husband.
Hot Air pundit Tina Korbe wrote:
If she weren’t doubling down on her controversial comments and dismissing the genuine consternation she caused as “faux outrage,” Hilary Rosen might actually inspire a little pity in me. Oh, I wouldn’t feel sorry for her because she’s been vigorously rebuked by the right. No, I’d feel sorry for her because I know — as she seems not to have known — that few women could possibly come out looking more sympathetic or appealing as persons by inviting comparisons with Ann Romney. Breast cancer survivor, MS patient, devoted wife and, er, hard-working mother, Mrs. Romney is a woman to admire and to emulate. By comparison, Rosen seems about as small as — what’s our comparison du jour, again? oh, that’s right — an insect.
Michael Barbaro, a blogger for the New York Times' The Caucus, argued that Rosen's comments ignore Ann Romney's many activities, which include involvement with charitable causes:
As an adult, Mrs. Romney turned her talents as a chef into something of a small business in Massachusetts. She and a friend held cooking classes for local foodies, according to her son Josh, who described the sessions in a 2007 interview with The New York Times.
Beyond that, Mrs. Romney has held a number of posts with Boston-area charities and advocacy groups. She was, for example, a director at Best Friends, an organization focused on inner-city girls, and a volunteer instructor at the Mother Caroline Academy, a multicultural middle school in Boston.
What do you think about Rosen's comments?