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April 2012, Week 2

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Thu, 12 Apr 2012 22:19:44 -0400
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Ann Romney and Working Moms

by Hilary Rosen

Huffington Post
April 12, 2012

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-rosen/ann-romney-women_b_1419480.html?ref=daily-brief?utm

My Twitter feed was on fire after an appearance last night
on CNN's AC360, where I said that I thought it was wrong for
Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women's
economic struggles when she "had never worked a day in her
life." Oh my, you should read the tweets and the hate mail I
got after that. The accusations were flying. I don't know
what it means to be a mom (I have 2 children). I obviously
don't value the work that a mother does and how hard it is
(the hardest job I have ever had); and I absolutely hate
anyone who doesn't have the same views as I do (hate is a
strong word).

Spare me the faux anger from the right who view the issue of
women's rights and advancement as a way to score political
points. When it comes to supporting policies that would
actually help women, their silence has been deafening. I
don't need lectures from the RNC on supporting women and
fighting to increase opportunities for women; I've been
doing it my whole career. If they want to attack me and
distract the public's attention away from their nominee's
woeful record, it just demonstrates how much they just don't
get it.

My favorite tweet was from someone who said that Republicans
like Ann Romney so much more than Mitt that by attacking her
(which I didn't), I got people to defend him in a way they
never would.

That last one I can actually understand.

Now let's be clear on one thing. I have no judgements about
women who work outside the home vs. women who work in the
home raising a family. I admire women who can stay home and
raise their kids full-time. I even envy them sometimes. It
is a wonderful luxury to have the choice. But let's
stipulate that it is NOT a choice that most women have in
America today.

Why does this even matter? It matters purely because Mitt
Romney put the issue of his wife's views squarely on the
table.

As Ruth Marcus noted in her column yesterday in the
Washington Post, Romney, when asked last week about the
gender gap, twice said he wished his wife could take the
question.

"My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on her
own and also with me," Romney told newspaper editors, "and
she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about
most is the economy."

So it begs the question, is Ann Romney Mitt's touchstone for
women who are struggling economically or not? Nothing in Ann
Romney's history as we have heard it -- hardworking mom she
may have been -- leads me to believe that Mitt has chosen
the right expert to get feedback on this problem he
professes to be so concerned about.

I have nothing against Ann Romney. She seems like a nice
lady who has raised nice boys, struggled with illness, and
handles its long-term effects with grace and dignity. I
admire her grit in talking about her illness publicly.

What is more important to me and 57% of current women voters
is her husband saying he supports women's economic issue
because they are the only issues that matter to us and then
he fails on even those.

Let's put aside for a moment his views on women's health
issues -- such as his pledge to repeal funding for Planned
Parenthood or repeal title X -- which provides important
health services for poor women, and true anecdotes (such as
when he was a Bishop in his church, he actually went to a
congregant's hospital room and told a young single mother
who had just given birth that she was shaming the church and
should give her baby away). Let's put those issues of
respect and health dignity away.

Let's just focus on his economic record on behalf of women.
When Romney ran Bain Capital, less than 10% of the senior
workforce were women. And he said in his 1994 Senate race
that it was because he had trouble finding qualified women
to be executives. Is there a woman alive who believes that?
I personally believe that women hate the way our health
issues were made a political football by the Republicans in
the last several months. But I am pragmatic enough to
believe that the economic issues do matter greatly to women
and men alike. But the only way that Mitt Romney will
succeed in closing the wide gender gap between him and
President Obama is if he stops pretending that it doesn't
exist.

[Hilary B. Rosen is a Managing Director of the Public
Affairs and Communications Practice of SKDKnickerbocker. A
nationally recognized strategist who skillfully navigates
the intersection of communications, media and politics in
Washington DC . Prior to joining SKDKnickerbocker, Rosen was
Managing Partner of the DC office of the Brunswick Group.

During the 2008 election Rosen served as Political Director
and Washington Editor-at Large for the Huffington Post as
well as a regular on-air commentator for CNN. She remains an
on-air political contributor at CNN. Rosen is the former
Chairman and chief executive officer of the Recording
Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group
representing the U.S. sound recording industry where she
served for 17 years before retiring in June 2003.

Her articles on business, politics and media appear in
publications such as CNN.com, The Huffingtonpost.com, The
Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Wired Magazine,
Billboard, Business 2.0, Variety and Capitol File Magazine.]

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