Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s (R) camp pounced Thursday on Hilary Rosen’s comments about stay-at-home mothers, arguing that the Democratic operative’s comments are reflective of the broader views of the White House and that Rosen was not “freelancing” when she made the comment.
Top Obama campaign officials denounced Rosen’s remarks late Wednesday and have noted that Rosen – who said in a CNN interview Wednesday that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life” – is not an official campaign surrogate.
But that hasn’t stopped the Romney camp from seizing on Rosen’s remarks as well as on her connections to the White House and the Democratic National Committee.
“I would just point out that she has been paid, her firm has been paid by the Democrat National Committee,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said of Rosen on Thursday afternoon on a conference call organized by the Romney campaign. “She has been down to the White House 35 different times advising the Obama administration on messaging. There is clearly a connection between Ms. Rosen and the Obama administration, and she’s been involved for many years.”
Also appearing on the call Thursday were Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Virginia state Del. Barbara Comstock (R), Concerned Women for America President and CEO Penny Nance and blogger Stephanie Nielson.
Lummis contended that Rosen’s remarks “are reflective of the message that the political machine within the White House intends to put out.”
She also claimed that Rosen is a “paid spokesperson” for the White House, even though, as Democrats have noted, Rosen is a consultant who advises the Democratic National Committee.
“Clearly they’re using surrogate women — including Hilary Rosen, who is a paid spokesperson — to deliver messages about Republicans that the president does not want to deliver himself for fear of the backlash,” Lummis said.
Asked by a reporter whether she believed the message was an intentional one rather than a slip of the tongue, Lummis responded that it’s “hard for me to believe that Hilary Rosen ... would make remarks like that in a haphazard or freelancing way.”
“I don’t believe that Hilary Rosen was speaking in a manner that would indicate she was absolutely freelancing,” she added.
The Obama campaign responded by taking aim at the records of several of the surrogates on the Romney call and noting that Romney faces a double-digit deficit when it comes to support among women.
“Mitt Romney is down almost 20 points in the polls with women, so it’s obvious why he’s trying so hard to show that he’s ‘for’ women,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. “Unfortunately, putting out women supporters who have taken positions counter to women’s health and economic security isn’t going to solve his problem. Just consider who he had distorting the President’s record on his behalf today: the co-sponsor of legislation that would allow employers to deny women access to contraception and other health services based on political beliefs, a supporter of an overreaching push to mandate trans-vaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, and two opponents of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would allow women to enforce their right to equal pay.
“With supporters like these, it’s no wonder that women have turned their backs on Mitt Romney’s extreme agenda,” Smith added.