The nascent Obama re-election campaign was knocked off message today after a top strategist accused presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney (pictured), of “never work[ing] a day in her life.”
Democratic operative Hilary Rosen leveled the cringe-worthy attack on Anderson Cooper’s CNN news show (clip below).
The Obama campaign made a quick transition to damage control mode and thrust Ms. Rosen back into the cable news wilderness to make a public apology for her comments. Michelle Obama also weighed in in defense of Mrs. Romney on Twitter.
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“I know what it’s like to struggle,” said Mrs. Romney in defense of her years as a full-time mother.
In an interview with Fox News, she slammed Ms. Rosen’s attack saying, “We have to respect women in all the choices they make. Raising children, it’s for me the most important thing we can do. Mitt said to me more times than you can imagine, ‘Ann, your job is more important than mine.’”
Ms. Rosen’s comments represent a serious political misstep for the Obama campaign, which currently enjoys an 18-point lead among women voters in head-to-head match ups with Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. Many political observers perceive Ann Romney has one of Mitt’s most valuable assets on the campaign trail. The presumptive Republican nominee has demonstrated difficulty connecting with voters, especially women, a shortcoming that his popular and telegenic wife might have the power to mitigate.
Ms. Rosen’s unwise attack gives Mrs. Romney an opening to claim a more prominent place in the campaign. Watch for her to begin making her husband's case more publicly with an eye toward eroding President Obama's widespread support among women.