Hilary Rosen criticizes Ann Romney, draws ire of mothers

The Takeaway

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen ignited a debate when a comment she made on CNN Wednesday aimed at Ann Romney, wife of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, suggested that stay-at-home mothers don’t work.

“Guess what? 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 said.

Shortly after, political figures on both sides spoke out against Rosen’s comment.

“My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect the choices women make,” Ann Romney said, according to the Huffington Post. “And by the way, let me give a shout-out to all the dads that are at home raising kids.”

“Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected,” First Lady Michelle Obama posted on her Twitter account Thursday morning.

President Barack Obama also spoke out against the comment, saying there is no tougher job than being a mother. He added anyone who argues otherwise “needs to rethink their statement,” in reference to Rosen. Hilary Rosen later apologized to Ann Romney and “anyone else who was offended.”

However, the debate over the severity of Rosen’s faux pas continues. Jennifer DeJournett, co-founder of VOICES of Conservative Women and a stay-at-home mother, said she was offended by the comment.

“I mean, to say stay-at-home moms don’t have a view on the economy — just for example my typical day, I was making four types of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my very happy kids and also on my smart phone researching economic policy and keeping in contact with my friends on their views on the economy, who some are working moms, some are stay at home moms — all moms are working,” DeJournett said. “And that comment was just so ridiculous on its face. Everybody gets an opinion in politics, whether you’re a leftist woman or a conservative woman. I thought the whole point of women making their voices heard is you may not necessarily agree with each other on policy but we all get to have an opinion.”

Judith Warner, columnist for TIME.com and author of “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety,” said Rosen’s comment were blown out of proportion.

“She used a very poor choice of words,” Warner said. “She clearly spoke without thinking and just lost track of what she was doing because she is a smart woman and knows what she’s doing.”

Warner added, “I don’t think, I really don’t think, she was serving up an enormous insult to moms who don’t work outside of the home, and if she had just used that phrase, ‘work outside of the home,’ there wouldn’t have been this whole tempest, I don’t think.”

DeJournett thought Rosen’s comment was more egregious and was meant to undermine Ann Romney and her political stance.

“What she did was, because she disagrees with Mrs. Romney on her political point-of-view, wanted to minimize and put her in a pretty little box, a little doll on the shelf,” DeJournett said. “Hilary Rosen wanted to make a very intelligent woman just some woman who’s at home with her kids who shouldn’t be talking about the economy but should be baking cookies in the kitchen.”

Warner disagreed with DeJournett’s interpretation and thinks the rhetoric following Rosen’s comment has changed from its original meaning.

“I think that it’s worth remembering that in the next breath Rosen said she’s (Romney) never really dealt with the economic issues a majority of the women in this country are facing. That is the point of what she was saying, and she said it very clearly from the start. And I really think that we’ve been diverted into this, sort of, ‘mommy wars’ rhetoric which truly is not relevant in this case,” Warner said.


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