Punditry is a dangerous game.
On one hand, saying provocative things is the coin of the realm; dullness is the enemy of good television. On the other, drifting from interesting to offensive is almost too easy.
Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist and CNN commentator, grasped just how permeable that barrier is after appearing on Anderson Cooper’s show Wednesday night. (In the words of David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel of “This Is Spinal Tap”: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”)
Talking about how former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney presents his wife as an adviser on how women are dealing with the struggling economy, Rosen said: “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”
Crank up the outrage machine!
The Romney campaign quickly set up a Twitter account for Ann Romney, where she tweeted: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Rosen sought to clarify her remarks on, naturally, Twitter, and then in a Huffington Post piece in which she condemned the “faux anger from the right who view the issue of women’s rights and advancement as a way to score political points.”
Top officials in the Obama campaign took to the Twitterverse and put as much distance between themselves and Rosen as is electronically possible.
Of course, anyone who follows politics knows how this story ended. By Thursday afternoon, Rosen was apologizing to Ann Romney and “anyone else who was offended.”
Hilary Rosen, for turning into the story rather than commenting on it, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at firstname.lastname@example.org.