Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen stirred controversy Wednesday evening when she criticized Ann Romney for having, “Never worked a day in her life.”
During a discussion on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 of the so-called war on women, Rosen said she agreed with Mitt Romney’s claim that women care more about economic issues than reproductive rights. But Romney’s use of his wife Ann’s perspective shows how poorly the former Massachusetts governor connects with voters, Rosen said.
“Guess what?” Rosen said. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”
Rosen continued, “There’s something much more fundamental about Mitt Romney. He seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women, and I think that comes across, and I think that that’s going to hurt him over the long term. He just doesn’t really see us as equal.”
Rosen’s comments provoked a quick response from the Romney campaign, as well as from President Barack Obama’s reelection team.
Ann Romney, who previously was not on Twitter, sent her first official tweet in response to Rosen’s comments.
“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys,” she wrote.
“Believe me, it was hard work.”
Top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom also tweeted about the interview, referring to Rosen as an “Obama adviser,” even though Rosen is employed neither by the Obama campaign nor the Democratic National Committee.
Obama’s strategists rapidly disassociated themselves and the campaign from Rosen’s comments.
“I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly,” Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, wrote in a tweet. “Her comments were wrong and family should be off-limits. She should apologize.”
David Axelrod made a similar statement, tweeting that he was “disappointed” in Rosen’s “inappropriate and offensive” comments.
Rosen tweeted several times about her remarks, saying she has “nothing against” Romney’s wife and that her comments were intended to criticize Mitt Romney’s use of Ann as an “expert on women and the economy.”
In a blog on The Huffington Post, Rosen (who, in full disclosure, was once employed at this website), further clarified her comments. Ann Romney “seems like a nice lady who has raised nice boys and struggled with illness and handles their long-term effects with grace and dignity,” Rosen wrote. “What is more important to me and 57 percent of current women voters is her husband saying he supports women’s economic issues because they are the only issues that matter to us and then he fails on even those.”