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April 11th, 2012
10:26 PM ET

The candidates' war for women

For months, the Democrats have said Republicans are waging a war on women. Now, Mitt Romney is trying to turn the tables. Hilary Rosen, Paul Begala and Erick Erickson discuss the strategy and rhetoric.

Editor's note: The following post is by Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist, in response to tweets and emails she received after her appearance on AC360.

My Twitter feed was on fire after an appearance Wednesday night on CNN's AC360, where I said that I thought it was wrong for Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women's economic struggles when she "had never worked a day in her life."

Oh my, you should read the tweets and the hate mail I got after that. The accusations were flying. I don't know what it means to be a mom (I have 2 children). I obviously don't value the work that a mother does and how hard it is (the hardest job I have ever had); and I absolutely hate anyone who doesn't have the same views as I do (hate is a strong word).

Spare me the faux anger from the right who view the issue of women's rights and advancement as a way to score political points. When it comes to supporting policies that would actually help women, their silence has been deafening. I don't need lectures from the RNC on supporting women and fighting to increase opportunities for women; I've been doing it my whole career.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Raw Politics
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Alexandra Karova

    Ann Romney is offended about not having a job, because her husband told her to be. She has 5 sons and only 2 cadillacs! You have no idea how tough that is!

    April 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  2. Cristina Scott

    Let's get real. Hilary Rosen clearly meant Mrs. Romney never had to go through what a majority of women today have to go through – seek employment to GET PAID and make ends meet. Mrs. Romney has a husband she can rely on to provide her financial needs. That's not work. This debate is ridiculous and we all know it's politics.

    April 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  3. Siobhan Lucic

    Hilary Rosen's point was not that Ann Romney chose to be a stay at home mom, its the fact that she could afford to and so is unable to relate to the economic struggles of so many of us working mothers who never had a choice. Its an insult to me as a working mother of 4 children that so many are twisting this story. Many mothers, including myself would have loved the choice to stay home full time – but the reality is that two incomes are needed just to get by. Hilary Rosen's point is that the Romneys are out of touch.

    April 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  4. Joyce

    I have worked since I was 16. The last 8 years I have worked as a stay at home mom raising my two children. My youngest child have developmental delays and behavioral issues. I would work 16 hours a day if it meant that my child did not have these issues. I am deeply offended by Ms. Rosens comments regarding Mrs. Romney. To suggest that stay at home moms do not work is hurtful and ignorant. Does Ms. Rosen have children. While I drive my child to therapy and worry about his medications Ms. Rosen is enjoying her fancy dinners in DC. She is out of touch with many of us moms in America and around the world.

    April 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  5. K. D. Knigh

    I believe Ms. Rosen needs to focus the conversation about Mrs. Romney's inability to accurately speak about what women want and worry about in America, not by attacking her lack of work outside the home but by pointing out that Mrs. Romney has never had to face financial uncertainly, has never known the pressures of being the only breadwinner while simultaneously raising children, worrying about getting laid off, wondering if you should pay the light bill or buy groceries, and praying your child...or God forbid you...dont get sick because you have no insurance and must work to cover the basics in life. No family vacations or two Caddilacs for you. Money cannot buy everything, but it sure can provide a security most women In this country do not have...her husbands income is a safety net for her...most women do not have a 1/2 billion dollar safety net.

    April 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  6. Lenny

    It seems to me Ann Romney missed the main point of Hillary Rosen's statement. Working women with children are earning money and fulfilling their responsibility as parents to their children. Providing a home is a responsibility, not a profit making endeavor (a job). I wonder how the children of these women I see on T.V., bemoaning the horrible drudgery they suffered as stay at home moms?

    April 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  7. Seema

    Hilary Rosen has a really great point- how does Ann Romney know (as in "expert") what the average woman in America deal with every single day of her life? How can she come across as the "expert" on women's issues if what she sees is from the perspective of a 1%er? How can she truly "represent" the rest of us who have to work really hard notjust at home raising kids, but also at work, making a living?
    I saw the same show everyone else saw on AC360, and I did not get the vibe that Hilary was coming across as a highminded hater. She came across as a passionate journalist trying to make her case about issues that concern women voters.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Saeed Rashdi

    In response to Rosen's comment, though unfortunate, Ann Romney says she made a choice to stay home to raise her kids. While I salute all stay-home moms for their hard work in raising kids, my question for Mrs. Romney is, How many nannies this mom with two Cadillacs had in helping raise her kids? That separates her from other hard-working moms.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  9. 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. Rosen was clearly not thinking when she made her statements but there is a small grain of truth in them.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  10. Kathy

    Hilary Rosen's comments were very offensve. I unfortunately worked and raised my family, but my children missed out on the life that I had. My mother never worked outside the home. We were her job. What was nice is when we came home from school every day we were greeted by our mother. I always felt safe because she was there. I felt that my children missed out on that. They had to go to after school programs until they were old enough to be home alone. My daughter on the other hand is now a stay at home mother, and I am very proud of the job she is doing with my grandchildren. I am with them for a few hours and I feel like I have worked a week. Women should not be insulted because they have the opportunity and choose to stay at home with thier children. I have nothing against working moms because I was one. I know in tough economic times it is almost impossible to not work. But I would never make a negative comment about women who stay at home to take care of their children. You all say that republicans are at war with women, but comments like this I have to ask who really is at war with women.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  11. Kate

    So Hilary, let me get this right... if I work part-time at a "real job" and part time as a homemaker, does that make me more qualified than Ann Romney, but still not as wise and all-knowing as you on women's issues? Just wondering....

    April 12, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  12. Andrea

    I have a hard time believing Hilary Rosen had to struggle to put food on the table for her children? Or better yet has she been laid off from a job while she was the sole provider for her family? Or has she truly had to hit the pavement to find a job for her family to survive? Maybe if she had a Stay At Home Mom who dedicated her time to trying to instill good moral decency in her daughter she would know that if you can not say anything nice... Don't say anything at all. I am a VICTIM of this ecomony... I was laid off and now I am a STAY AT HOME MOM... I would rather shape & mentor our youth to help provide for a better tomorrow than to contribute to the Garbage Rosen is spewing!

    April 12, 2012 at 3:01 am |
  13. Jackson Brown

    In addition to raising 5 kids - Ann Romney also worked with MANY children's charities, including being director of the inner city-oriented Best Friends.

    She worked extensively with the Ten Point Coalition in Boston and with other groups that promoted better safety and opportunities for urban youths.

    She was given the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from Salt Lake City-based Operation Kids.She has also served as a board member for the United Way of America[ and helped found United Way Faith and Action -

    ALL of the above while having Multiple Sclerosis AND Breast Cancer

    April 12, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  14. izzy

    Hilary Rosen doesn't get it.. As a women who has both been a stay at home mom and a working mother it is immature and ignorant to dismiss stay at home mom's roles in the home. Of course they worry about the economy, of course they worry about their families and their children's education. Of course they manage the household bills when their husband's are at work and I still do even though I work. Ignoring the stay at home mom or the working mom will be Obama's downfall. Between Obama and Romney... Obama has declared war on women by demanding that when they finally start breaking the ceiling on incomes, that they have to pay their fair share of hard earned income for their families to government wastefulness. Wake Up! By the way I am moderate with my ideals and conservative with my money. What would be fair is to cut back on entitlement couch potato programs towards illegal immigrants, lazy people, and idiocy and do without because if you don't work for it you don't deserve it, excluding the elderly who have worked years for their retirement, and the truly disabled. Even then I get extremely irritated by those who claim to have a "disability" but don't, just lazy and take vacations around the world. If you can do that you can get a job, just like all the other struggling families.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  15. Darsie Cahall

    In tonight's 'War on Women' discussion I found Hilary Rosen's comment that Romney's wife "has never worked a day in her life" totally offensive. I would say raising 5 boys qualifies as working and to say otherwise is to do what men have always done –minimize all of 'women's work'. I am a lifelong Democrat and active feminist and the original idea of feminism was that women should have choices rather than be relegated to one lifestyle. Unfortunately this idea, particularly in careerist Washington, has morphed into the idea that any woman who doesn't have a high powered job is a throwback and not really working. It is disheartening to me that emulating the traditional role of men by leading unbalanced lives overly focused on their careers, has become, for people like Hilary Rosen, the only valid choice. Though I certainly am no Romney supporter I can understand why people who are waffling would be totally put off by Democrats who talk this way.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  16. linda hagemann

    Very stunning to have your guest say that Mitt Romney's wife has never worked a day in her life. I guess she is not aware that stay at home mothers and fathers work just as hard if not more so than their income earning spouse. What an incredible slap in the face to the stay at home parents across America!

    April 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  17. Cammi

    Regarding your "War on Women" segment tonight, why didn't you even mention that one of Obama's first Presidential acts was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Bill ? I'm surprised that neither of your guests mentioned it either. It seems to me that bill is the answer to this particular accusation by Romney.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm |