Will the Hilary Rosen-Ann Romney Uproar Matter for the Election?

Republicans see the controversy as an opportunity to win back women voters.


Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's comments on CNN Wednesday evening drew the condemnation of both Republicans and Democrats. Of the claim made by presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney that his wife, Ann, helped him understand the economic challenges women face, Rosen said, "Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life." She added, "She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future."

Ann Romney, making her Twitter debut, responded, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." The blogosphere quickly picked up on the remarks, prompting senior Democratic officials, including Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, chief strategist David Axelrod, first lady Michelle Obama, and the president himself, to distance themselves from the comment and praise the work of motherhood.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

Obama has been leading significantly among women in the polls, particularly after a controversy over contraceptive coverage and a slew of Republican-backed state legislation dealing with abortion procedures and  "personhood" amendments prompting many Democrats to assert that there was a Republican "War on Women." Coupled with Mitt Romney's assertion that 92 percent of jobs lost under Obama were lost by women ( a number that since has been brought into question), many see the uproar over Rosen's remarks to show Democratic vulnerability with women. ( Indeed the Republican National Committee used the controversy to launch a "Moms Do Work" fund-raising campaign.) According to Peter Roff, Rosen's comments exposed a problem Obama has with women, that "many of those women can't find jobs because, under Obama, the economy is not creating them." Furthermore, Mary Kate Cary sees an opportunity for Mitt Romney "to talk about creating the kind of economic growth that allows all women to be able to afford the same choices that both Hilary Rosen and Anne Romney have had." She argues, "If Romney can talk about creating the kind of 'opportunity economy' that allows all women be able to afford to make the best choices for their family, he'd be in fine shape." However, Robert Schlesinger isn't so sure Romney's economic message will resonate with women. He quotes progressive demographic expert Ruy Teixeira saying, "I do think there's a sort of hard edge to the Republican economic policy that really [doesn't] feel right to a lot of women voters."

What do you think? Will the Hilary Rosen-Ann Romney controversy matter come the presidential election? Take the poll and comment below.

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Previously: Should George Zimmerman Be Convicted of Second-Degree Murder?