Hilary Rosen, a top Democratic strategist and media commentator, took criticism from all sides for saying Wednesday that Mitt Romney’s wife Ann had “never worked a day in her life.”
The controversy erupted when Rosen, a managing director with the SKDKnickerbocker firm, appeared on “Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN. She knocked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, whose net worth is estimated around $250 million, for appealing to his wife as a sounding board for women’s economic concerns on the campaign trail.
“His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” said Rosen, according to The Hill. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why we worry about their future.”
Republicans immediately attacked Rosen, and Ann Romney, a mother of five who has struggled with breast cancer and MS, fired back on a new Twitter feed created for the occasion. She appeared Thursday on Fox News to defend motherhood as a “career choice” and said that Rosen “should’ve come to my house when those five boys were causing so much trouble. It wasn’t so easy.”
Top Democrats also distanced themselves from the remarks, with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeting that Rosen “should apologize.” DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard, meanwhile, insisted that Rosen is not on the payroll for his organization or the Obama campaign. Women TV hosts including Mika Brzezinski and Soledad O’Brien also denounced the remarks, with Brzezinski calling her statements “unfortunate” on “Morning Joe," according to Politico.
Rosen, who is raising two children with her former partner Elizabeth Birch, has refused to apologize. In a subsequent appearance on CNN, she acknowledged that “being a mom is the hardest job in the world,” and the Washington Post reports that she tweeted to Ann Romney, saying, “I am raising children too. But most young American women HAVE to BOTH earn a living AND raise children. You know that don’t u?”
She also penned a reply in the Huffington Post, in which she talked about receiving loads of “hate mail.” She argued that the Romney campaign is seeking to put the focus on her remarks rather than the candidate’s "woeful" record on women’s issues and the economy.
“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,” she wrote. “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. If they want to attack me and distract the public's attention away from their nominee's woeful record, it just demonstrates how much they just don't get it.”
Watch the original comments that Rosen made to Cooper on CNN.