Obama stands up for Ann Romney

Ann Romney (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

President Barack Obama is sticking up for Ann Romney, the wife of Republican rival Mitt Romney and the target of a Democratic operative who suggested that she’s unqualified to speak about the economy’s tolls because she’s “never worked a day in her life.”

“It was the wrong thing to say,” Obama told WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio. Criticism of candidates’ spouses should be out of bounds, he added.

Polls show women lean heavily Democratic and favor Obama by a wide margin in battleground states. Romney must win about 40 percent of the women’s vote to have a shot at denying Obama a second term in office. His campaign has focused on winning over married women and mothers, who tend to be more conservative, and thus diminishing Obama’s base of support.

Romney did not comment on the furor, but Ann Romney did, saying raising five sons is hard work and that while she never has worried about finances, she has faced the ordeals of cancer and multiple sclerosis. Further, she said, Mitt Romney considers her job, raising the children, as more important than his, which generated the family’s net worth of more than $200 million.

The spat crackled across the twittersphere and cable television Thursday, reflecting the import of female voters to both campaigns and the volatility that remains over women’s issues in political discourse.

Weighing into the debate: Vice President Joe Biden; female surrogates for Romney who said they were outraged by Hilary Rosen‘s words; first lady Michelle Obama; and the president’s top campaign strategists. All defended mothers and the inevitable choices all of them must make.

Then Obama elevated the discussion, reflecting an intent to leave nothing to chance when it comes to one of his most loyal constituencies. For the first time this year, he and his Democratic allies were on the defensive on women’s issues.

Romney’s team pounced on Rosen’s remarks, casting them as indicative of a pattern of intolerance inside the president’s political organization.

For her part, Rosen at first buckled down and refused to apologize. But after Mrs. Obama tweeted her support for all mothers, Rosen said she was sorry to have offended Mrs. Romney or any other women.

A parent herself, Rosen said her point, stated poorly, was that Ann Romney had the luxury of choosing whether to work outside the home, whereas most American women must work to pay the bills.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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5 Responses to "Obama stands up for Ann Romney"

  1. thomas bonsell  April 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Another phony outrage over a non-insult; just what we “need” from the fools who want to lead this nation.

    To equate Ann Romney’s station in life with that of a single mother who cleans house or waits tables just to scrape by is absolutely ludicrous. The Romneys live in palaces spanning the nation from Boston to LaJolla and we are to think they understand what it takes to make a living today.

    Mrs. Romney’s statement that she made a “career choice” to stay home and raise their children (with the aid of nannies, servants, housekeepers, etc., etc., etc.) rather than get a job is akin to saying the Queen of England made a career choice to remain on the public dole at the expense of the British taxpayers rather than take a job as a teller at one of London’s large downtown banks.

  2. Jon  April 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Raising children is hard.
    Raising children with nannies and maids and an effectively unlimited toy budget? Not so hard.
    Raising children while having to work two jobs to pay the bills? Just a leetle bit harder.

    However, it’s worth noting that even with all the imaginable advantages, it can still fail. See: Paris Hilton.

    J.

    PS – Did she ‘choose’ to have all those children?

    PPS – The whole thing, as Mr. Bonsell indicated, is nonsense. Nobody is qualified to comment on the economy except trained economists, and sometimes not even them. Would you accept civil engineering commentary from someone who built a bridge out of Lego once? Surgical instructions from someone who’s won a game of ‘Operator’?

    Even if she did have a job, had a dozen jobs, and a professional career, that would only qualify her to comment on economics if that professional career was in economics.

    Of course, admitting THAT on TV would be tantamount to admitting that the pundits themselves are just as equally competent as Mrs. Romney, and I suspect their egos really don’t like that idea.

    J.

  3. Lillibet Hunt  April 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    It was inelegant. It was a loaded statement, yet the apology was possibly worse than the original words. No one watching the apology could call it sincere.

    Still, somewhere in the middle of all of this is a harsh reality that is more about the candidates than their wives. True, not a one of the wives of the present crop of front runners seems to need work to feed the kids, as in either there is work or there is no food on the table.

    We have debated huge bills from jewelers (Gingrich), huge raises and promotions of more than $50K at a pop for a hospital employee (Michelle Obama), and now the wife of a man worth almost half a billion (Mrs. Romney). And, that spouse hasn’t held a job outside the home. So what? She might be able to speak about how difficult it is to find and keep good help even in these times where any job is welcome by so many job seekers.

    These women are exceptionally fortunate in today’s America. Not a one of them needs to work or face starvation. I use “need” in the sense that a fish does not “need” a bicycle any more than these women need to work.

    I also do not believe that women who are exceptionally fortunate are necessarily exempt from empathy regarding those who are not as exceptionally fortunate. It’s just a harder job to possess such empathy 24/7. Face it, few among us easily find empathy with people we don’t identify with, either through experience or education. Yet, we are able to use reasoning to spot inequality and a stacked deck when presented with one. Reasoning is a scarce commodity in government.

    The bigger problem is not that the wives lack empathy, it is that the entire government in DC is so out of touch they cannot even think about the reality the people they supposedly represent experience on a daily basis, male or female. Few even think a moment that those fees and programs they want to institute will cost children their dinners, or that will cause parents to lose jobs.

  4. Jon  April 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    They’re all loaded, one way or another. It’s just that they only get called out on a few – cost of doing business. It’s no wonder the apologies aren’t sincere.

    I’d like to add to Lillibet Hunt’s remarks on finding and keeping good help with some commentary from the underrepresented class of ‘the help’, recent movies notwithstanding. Their ideas of what it takes to find and keep good help, as well as what consists of good help, might vary quite dramatically from their perspective.

    I wonder what Mrs. Romney’s nannies would say about the difficulty of raising her children. If she had any (nannies, that is. I’m told she has five children. I have not yet heard much about her domestic staff).

    On lacking empathy: Well, that was supposed to be the point to start with. That by not ever having held a job, she had (could have had?) no empathy with those who do.

    This applies, of course, to those in public office. While they may make fortunes upon leaving, they had a fairly sufficient fortune upon entering, in that they could afford not only the money, but even more so the unpaid time, to campaign for an office that they might or might not get, for a pay scale that won’t even come close to covering their costs of the campaign (for that, there’s donations – aka purchasing influence, or possibly, ‘bribery’).

    I’m sure they’re very empathic to their major donors. Poor people don’t donate much.

    J.

    PS – Actually, as a percentage of income, poor people donate more than rich people do. It’s just that a large percentage of a small amount is a lot less than a small percentage of a large amount, and guess which grants more access to the legislative process? J.

  5. Siannan  April 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    As I said elsewhere:

    I appreciate the fact that Ann Romney had the right to choose to be a stay at home mom. My mom was a stay at home mom. However, the difference is, my mom did her own house work and cooking and managed her own budget, which was … let’s say tight. I would venture to guess that Ann Romney did not have to get creative with leftovers or pinch pennies or purchase remnants at the fabric store to make me shorts and tops to wear during the summer cause the fabric was 25 cents and she couldn’t buy it that cheap. And I’ll also guaran-damn-tee you that Ann Romney can’t drain the water out of a pot of peas with a teaspoon (cause it was the only clean thing left and she had been too damned busy that day repainting two rooms in the house to do the dishes) like my mom. Ann Romney may have staff, but my mom has mad skills and can kick her ass in a homemaker competition, hands down. And my mom has 10 years on her!

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