When CNN contributor Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney “had never actually worked a day in her life,” she clearly meant that she had never raised her kids while holding down a job. That’s a fair assessment of Ann Romney, Rosen unfortunately just used the wrong wording. Rosen has since admitted that she was inarticulate, apologized, and then clarified her words. But that hasn’t stopped the right-wing from crucifying Rosen for attacking the wife of presumed Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Even Ann Romney took to the airwaves to respond to Rosen’s claim.
On Thursday, during an appearance on Fox News with host Martha MacCallum, Ann Romney attempted to defend herself and convince women that her husband actually cares about women’s rights and health.
ANN ROMNEY: “My career choice was to be a mother, and I think that all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices, to have a career and raise a family, which I think Hillary Rosen has actually done herself.”
MARTHA MACCALLUM: “This goes back to the rich argument that has been leveled so much against you and your husband. Basically she’s saying Ann Romney could have chosen to do anything that she wanted and Ann Romney can’t relate to women who have no choice, who have to work and also raise their families.”
ANN ROMNEY: “Look, I know what it’s like to struggle, and if maybe I haven’t struggled as much financially as some people have, I can tell you and promise you that I’ve had struggles in my life. And I would love to have people understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling and that’s why we’re running. We care about those people that are struggling.”
Here’s the video:
I would also point out that it isn’t entirely clear that Ann raised her children all by herself at home. Remember, Ann Romney is a wealthy woman. Are we really supposed to believe that she cleaned a huge house by herself, cooked meals for her five kids by herself, and managed to clean clothes, do yard work, etc…all while playing with, teaching, and disciplining five boys? Most mothers, even those who are married, need help sometimes, but are unable to afford hired help like Ann Romney can. The question a good reporter must ask and pursue is ‘Did Ann Romney ever hire a chef, a nanny, a gardener, a tutor, or a maid to help her take care of her children?’ It’s an honest question that deserves an honest answer, especially since Ann Romney claims she can sympathize with struggling American moms. I’m not saying Ann Romney didn’t raise her kids. I’m just wondering if she had help in the endeavor. And if so, such information should be made public.
Within her remarks on Fox News, Ann Romney also declared that we “need to respect the choices women make.” And you know what? She’s right. We need to respect women’s choices, including a woman’s choice to have an abortion, a woman’s choice to take contraception, a woman’s choice to have premarital sex, a woman’s choice to raise children by herself, and a woman’s choice to work or stay at home. The problem is that Mitt Romney himself doesn’t quite agree with this stance. Mitt Romney is an anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-premarital sex Republican. He does not support many of the choices women make on a daily basis that his wife apparently supports. Either he isn’t listening to his wife’s reports or he is and he just doesn’t care.
The Mitt Romney campaign and the Republican Party are trying to turn Hilary Rosen’s comments into a weapon that they hope can reverse the widening lead President Obama has among women. But the fact is, Mitt Romney placed his wife in a position to get criticized in the first place. Instead of talking about all of these issues women face, instead of trying to empathize with them, Romney has deferred to his wife time and time again. On many occasions, Mitt has talked about getting reports from his wife about the plight of women. The difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney is that while President Obama has publicly talked about women’s issues and has publicly sought to empathize with women and has signed legislation designed to help women, Mitt Romney has only either fielded reports from his wife or has tried to blame women’s problems on the President. Romney has done this at the same time he is taking a hardline conservative stance against contraception coverage, Planned Parenthood, housing, and health care, all of which women care about. Despite this attempt to create a distraction, the war on women rages on and is being waged by Republicans. It is a sign of desperation that Romney and Republicans would make such a big deal out of a simple and innocent miswording made by a CNN contributor who is in no way connected to the Obama campaign. The Republican Party actually tried to shift talk about their war on women by attacking a woman. It shows just how desperate Republicans are to take the spotlight off their anti-women agenda.