The Left loses its first attack against Mitt's "wild card."
On Wednesday, when CNN's Anderson Cooper noted that "women are seeing jobs come back much more slowly than men are" and wondered whether there was anything wrong with the Romney campaign reaching out to women on economic issues, political strategist and mouthpiece for the Democratic Party establishment Hilary Rosen couldn't resist taking a shot at both Romneys. First up was Ann. "Guess what?" said Rosen. "His wife has never worked a day in her life" and therefore she was unqualified to champion women's economic concerns. Rosen hysterically linked this to Mitt being "so old-fashioned when it comes to women" that "he doesn't really see us as equals."
Ms. Rosen doubled down on her derision Thursday when she initially refused to apologize for her remark, even as she attempted to cover herself by resorting to the Obama administration's primary re-election strategy: fomenting class warfare. “This is not about Ann Romney,” Rosen contended. “This is about the waitress in a diner somewhere in Nevada who has two kids whose day care funding is being cut off because of the Romney-Ryan budget and she doesn’t know what to do..."
Leaving aside Rosen's lunatic hyperbole, the faux pas, a direct denigration of stay-at-home mothers, descended into a PR meltdown. In an informal poll by the Washington Post asked whether Rosen was out of line because raising a family is a lot of work, or if Ann Romney was out of touch with the economic issues facing working women. 97 percent thought raising a family is a lot of work.
So why take on Ann Romney? Because the 62-year-old mother of five is considered a "wild card" by Obama strategists fearful that her winning personality and command of the issues could sway millions of American women to vote for her husband. They are equally worried she could "humanize" her husband, who is often seen as cold and aloof.
Thus, it was no surprise that Mrs. Romney defended both herself and her husband with a graceful ease that set her off from Rosen and a Democratic Party that must stay in attack mode to deflect the election conversation away from the Obama administration's dismal record. “My career choice was to be a mother,” Mrs Romney told Fox News. “And I think 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 family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that, that’s wonderful. But you know, there are other people that have a choice, we have to respect women in all those choices that they make.”
And she was quick to defend her husband against charges of inequality. "Now that bothers me," she said, noting that her husband has had top female advisors going back to his days as the governor of Massachusetts.
She then took on the first of what will undoubtedly be numerous attempts to portray both her and her husband as the out-of-touch elitists Democrats and the Obama campaign need them to be. “I can tell you and promise you that I’ve had struggles in my life," she said. "And I would love to have people understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling. That’s why we’re running,” she added. What struggles? Ann Romney is a breast cancer survivor currently suffering from multiple sclerosis. Hilary Rosen is undoubtedly aware of that as well, which makes her attack--in the "age of civility" demanded by Democrats following the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords--all the more unseemly.
It was an unseemliness that continued on Twitter following the Fox interview. "I’ve nothing against @AnnRomney. I just don’t want Mitt using her as an expert on women struggling $ to support their family. She isn’t,” Rosen tweeted. She followed that with “@AnnDRomney Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn’t say you are his expert on women and the economy.”
By early yesterday afternoon, Rosen's gaffe had reached critical mass among Democrats, who apparently realized they had overplayed their war on women strategy. "I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly," tweeted Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. "Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.” Top Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod echoed Messina. “Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.”
Not nearly as offensive as a pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA, keeping a one million dollar Obama campaign contribution from HBO host Bill Maher, despite the fact that Maher referred to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a "dumb twat" and a "c**t." Axlerod was given the chance by CNN host Erin Burnett to demand that Maher's donation be returned. He dodged the issue completely, even as he contended conservative radio host's Rush Limbaugh's characterization of activist Sandra Fluke as a "slut" was a far more egregious slur against women. Thus, Axlerod's "disappointment" is disingenuous at best.
Finally, late yesterday afternoon, Rosen herself apologized. "I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended," she said in statement. “Let’s put the faux ‘war against stay at home moms’ to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen."
A faux war? Rosen might want to alert the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. They're running an online petition titled "Stop the Republican War on Women!" She might want to alert Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as well. In an online blast Wednesday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Pelosi asked for donations in order "to send a clear message that we will not tolerate or stand by while Republicans wage war on women’s rights."
It is a war they'll have to wage with Ann Romney on the other side. The quiet dignity she demonstrated in the midst of an unwarranted attack suggests that she knows how to handle herself on the campaign trail. 42 years of marriage to the same man suggests a stability and loyalty unlikely to be ruffled by Democrats, no matter how hard they attack. They got their taste regarding her depth of character yesterday.
It won't be their last.
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