Ann Romney, Hilary Rosen Argue About Whether Being a Mom is Work

Friday, April 13, 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and his wife Ann wave to supporters at a primary night gathering at the Suburban Collections Showplace on February 28, Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave to supporters at a primary night gathering. (Bill Pugliano/Getty)

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen struck a nerve — and rekindled a familiar debate — when she criticized Ann Romney in a CNN appearance earlier this week. "What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, 'Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife that's what I'm hearing,'" Rosen began. She went on, "Guess what, his wife has never actually worked a day in her life." Jennifer DeJournett, president and co-founder of VOICES of Conservative Women, is a stay-at-home mom. She says Rosen was right to apologize to Romney. Judith Warner, author of "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety" says Rosen's comments are being blown out of proportion. The debate over whether motherhood is "work" is an old one — but a persistent one. Why does it still hit such a nerve?


Jennifer DeJournett and Judith Warner

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [10]


It seems to me that you've brought us around, to none other than Michelle Obama. Whose $300,000 a year job in "community outreach" (read: Political Influence) for the University of Chicago Hospital neatly supplemented the family income so that the Obamas could indulge Barack's own political career (less well-paying), while financing a house through Tony Reszco and sending the little Obamas to private schools. Not a whole lot of poor single mothers in that equation.

Apr. 13 2012 04:14 PM

This conversation is garbage. As I listened to DeJournett saying that Romney "probably"has contact with women of different economic backgrounds, all I can say is, whatever helps you get through the day, Jennifer. I seriously doubt that Mrs. Romney is hanging out with middle or even lower-upper class moms. Romney is no working mom. She has servants to do the cleaning, laundry, cooking, shuttling, nannies to do the heavy duty care. She gets to do as much as she wants at any given moment, and she gets to travel whenever she wants without having to worry about who is going to take care of the children. I remember her saying something along the lines of (and I paraphrase), Don't tell my husband how many horses I have, I don't even know. Work and Mrs. Romney do not belong in the same sentence.

Apr. 13 2012 12:55 PM
V Farrell from Oklahoma City

Like most of my friends, the decision to go to work after my children were born was never a choice. Somebody had to pay the bills. How nice for Ann Romney that she had that choice. The only choice I've ever had is paper or plastic.

Apr. 13 2012 10:08 AM

"An anonymous political pundit" who has been to the White House several more times than General Petraeus.
Nice try.
"Base level pandering"....welcome to the Obama campaign.

"Both the left and the right are doing the pandering"
It seems the offensive and nasty defamation campaign of a "War on Women" has rightly turned on the DNC and the Romney campaign is responding to the hypocrisy.
Nice try again.

"...make people make extreme comments that might be well meaning.."

The poor media is going to be exhausted by November first playing along with the vicious political attacks concerning race, gender and class and than glossing it over when the left goes to far.
Who can take this kind of commentary seriously?

"Its worth remembering.." that women and men are suffering economically because of the incompetent policies of this administration.

Apr. 13 2012 09:33 AM
Matthew from Weehawken from Weehawken, New Jersey

While I have no direct knowledge regarding the Romney household I would probably bet that Ann Romney's idea of being a "stay-at-home mom" was to have nannies for her sons and maids/servants to clean and service their houses. I find it hard to believe that Ann was washing the floors and changing all of the diapers on her own (but I could be wrong). Somebody needs to ask these questions if she is going portray herself as a true "stay-at-home mom" or was she just a woman with five sons, who didn't work.

Apr. 13 2012 09:02 AM
Andre Mirabelli from NYC

Mr. Romney says that President Obama does not have the economic knowledge to have good well-grounded ideas about the macro-economic life of the country because President Obama does not have experience running a for-profit business. No one accuses Mr. Romney of disrespecting the career choices of not-for-profit workers like teachers, the military or aid workers.
Ms Rosen says that Ms Romney does not have good well-grounded ideas about the micro-economic life of women in the work-force because Ms Romney does not have experience working outside the home. The political right does accuse Ms Rosen of disrespecting the career choices of those who work inside the home like stay-at-home moms.
Deep-grained double-standard hypocrisy misrepresents another issue. This is clearly a trumped up argument to obscure real attacks on women, including on their reproductive rights and fair-pay economic rights.

Apr. 13 2012 08:59 AM
audrey Palmatier from New Jersey

I think the "take away" is making this a much bigger issue than it needs to be, as usually. I don't understand how you can stay on the air, most of your program makes you sound childish. I use to love to listen to Public Radio to find both sides of issues, but the "take away' makes them out to be just sensationalism, just like the other radio talk shows. A very disappointed listener, also a single working mother, raised my sons after my husband died and worked outside the home most of the time holding down two jobs, as well as doing everything at home. So start to have host on your program that don't sound like they are in High School or maybe still in Middle School.

Apr. 13 2012 08:32 AM
politic dog from New York, NY

Sorry. The Romney's are a couple of rich weirdos.

Apr. 13 2012 08:27 AM
Ed from Larchmont

As Brad Gregory points out in 'The Unintended Reformation: how a religious revolution secularized society' Harvard, 2012, the woman staying at home put a break on capitalism and consumerism, now there is no break to endless consumption.

Apr. 13 2012 08:14 AM

So much "cookie baking" about nothing... This comment has been blown out of proportion. What is apparent in the US is that the "work" of Stay at Home Mother is rapidly becoming a "privilege" rather than a choice. For most of us Americans, being financially secure enough to stay at home to raise a family is an impossible dream.

Also perhaps it's time for all of us to think about the difference between "a job" and "work"?

Apr. 13 2012 06:14 AM

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