On Wednesday, CNN commentator and Democratic activist Hilary Rosen criticized Ann Romney by saying that she "has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.” At 9:55 p.m. the same night, Rosen also tweeted, “When I said Ann Romney never worked I meant she never had to care for her kids AND earn a paycheck like MOST American women!"
The Romney campaign fired back within minutes with Ann's first-ever tweet: "Believe me, it [raising the five Romney boys as a stay-at-home mom] was hard work." Before anyone knew it, Romney and Rosen were engaged in a full-on tweet war. Some of the most notable comments included Rosen saying that she didn't want "Mitt using her [Ann] as an expert on women struggling (with) $ to support their family," and that "Mitt Romney is running for president, not Ann." On the Romney side, Josh Romney tweeted that his mother "could have done anything with her life, [but] chose to raise me."
The Obama Campaign's Response. Despite Rosen's support for the president, the Obama campaign was quick to distance itself from her remarks, as Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and campaign strategist David Axelrod respectively characterized her comments as "wrong" and "inappropriate." Michele Obama tweeted on the Obama campaign's Twitter, saying "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respect." Even the President himself addressed the controversy on TV on Thursday, calling Rosen's comments "ill-advised" and saying that Ann Romney "seems like a wonderful woman."
The Aftermath. Hilary Rosen has publicly apologized on camera, saying that she "should not have chosen words that seemed to attack Romney's choice in life" and expressing a hope that Romney will understand that she "didn't mean it personally." On Friday, she also tweeted, "not going on #MTP [Meet the Press] this weekend. I'm going to be a mom who says home."
The Biggest Question: What Will This Do For Mitt's Campaign? The question now seems to be whether or not Ann Romney will be able to boost her husband's low approval ratings with female voters. Despite what the Christian Science Monitor termed the "Hilary Rosen lift," I seriously doubt that the currently sympathetic portrayal of Ann Romney will continue. For one thing, Ann Romney comes with a lot of baggage — for example, she has an expensive and very one-percenty dressage habit and she doesn't "consider myself wealthy" despite her husband's lucrative Bain earnings.
But most importantly, as Hillary Rosen rightly pointed out, it is Mitt, not Ann, who is running for the Presidency.