Romney Campaign Responds to Remarks about Ann Romney’s Work Experience
(CNN) — The Mitt Romney campaign sought to further capitalize politically on the swirling controversy over the remark from Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life,” by dispatching female surrogates to accuse Rosen of speaking for the White House.
Rosen, a well-known Democratic strategist and CNN contributor, has no official ties to the White House or the Democratic National Committee. But the group of Romney partisans saw that as a distinction without a difference.
On a conference call Thursday with reporters, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rep. Kathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington and Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming tied Rosen to the current White House by pointing to her over 30 visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the president’s first term in office.
The three elected officials were among six Romney supporters on the call who characterized Rosen’s comments as “insulting,” “unfortunate,” “disrespectful,” “terrible” and “belittling.”
During an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, Rosen said Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, has “actually never worked a day in her life.” The remark caught fire, receiving criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Rosen later apologized to anyone offended.
But Lummis suggested the Obama re-election team was using Rosen to advance their political message.
“Clearly they’re using surrogate women, including Hilary Rosen who is a paid spokesperson to deliver messages about Republicans that the president does not want to deliver himself for fear of the backlash,” Lummis said. “But quite frankly as someone who has visited the White House to advise on message over 35 times recently, clearly her remarks are reflective of the message that the political machine within the White House intends to put out.”
The second term lawmaker said she did not think Rosen was “free lancing.”
But Team Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were quick to criticize Rosen’s statements. Senior adviser David Axelrod said he was “disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney.”
“They were inappropriate and offensive,” Axelrod wrote on Twitter.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina called on Rosen to apologize, while the first lady tweeted, “every mother works hard, and every women deserves to be respected.”
Despite her advisory role in Democratic politics, the Obama campaign said she does not have a formal role in the Obama campaign or at the Democratic National Committee.
But the female Romney backers leveraged the incident to perpetuate a larger narrative from the campaign that the president’s policies have disproportionately hurt women, a reaction to the Republican “war on women” charge from Democrats.
“And that’s why they’ve [Democrats] created this whole war on women campaign. It’s really designed to distract women from the real issues, to scare them and it’s not going to work because it’s a myth,” Rodgers said. “So there’s no war on women, by the republicans what is really going on is a war on reality by the democrats.”