President Obama and Mitt Romney's "rhetorical war over women" found a new front this week, thanks to incendiary remarks made by Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen about Ann Romney's life as a stay-at-home mom. Appearing on CNN Wednesday night, Rosen questioned how Mitt Romney's wife could understand the economic issues facing women since she's "never worked a day in her life." Later that night, Ann created a Twitter account, which debuted with the message, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." Minutes later, several high-ranking members of Obama's team, including campaign manager Jim Messina and top strategist David Axelrod, disavowed Rosen's comments. Rosen herself has since apologized. But is what she said really so outrageous?
There's truth in Rosen's critique: Rosen made a legitimate point — she just used the worst possible phrasing to make it, says Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post. But think about it: Ann Romney's experience as a super-wealthy stay-at-home mom is "far from typical." Thanks to Mitt's fabulous wealth, she doesn't have to worry about common concerns like the price of gas. Rosen's assertion that, given Ann's privileged life, Mitt should not "deploy his wife as official ambassador to the land of women," is actually spot on. Too bad Rosen delivered that message with broad and offensive language.
"Ann Romney is not your typical working woman"
Democrats will regret this: Team Obama raced to disavow and apologize for Rosen's message, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, but it was too late. "The mask has already slipped." Rosen accidentally revealed what is likely "the Left's honest opinion about women who choose to stay home to raise their children," and many voters are going to assume it's the official Democratic Party position. Mitt couldn't have asked for a better rallying cry to help unite reluctant Republicans — and women — behind him.
"Democrats declare war on women?"
Team Romney is playing this perfectly: This whole controversy has been blown out of proportion, says Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly, but you have to credit Team Romney's political skill. As a "cable-to-Twitter psychodrama," this affair proves how savvy campaigns can shrewdly exploit any tiny thing said by "An Enemy." Mitt has been accused of being insensitive to women. The best way to counteract that? "Find a way to say exactly the same thing about the Other Side, as loudly and angrily as possible" — which is precisely what Romney's camp is doing.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How I lost all my money
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
Subscribe to the Week