'Mommy Wars' not a new phenomenon
Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent and anchor for "State of the Union with Candy Crowley"
'War on Women' began in GOP primaries
David Gregory, "Meet the Press" moderator
Dems jumped on Anti-Romney jab 'before ink dried'
Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent and host of "Face the Nation"
Paul D. Shinkman, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - A recent comment from a political consultant that seemingly poked fun at a critical portion of the electorate has politicians on both sides of the upcoming election looking at the role of women not just in politics, but in general society.
Jabs at family members are not uncommon during a political election as candidates' backgrounds are vetted on the public stage. Newt Gingrich's wife and former mistress, Calista, has been the focus of significant scrutiny during this primary season, as was Michelle Obama during the 2008 election.
Yet Democratic adviser Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney, saying she "never worked a day in her life," prompted both her husband Mitt Romney and his main opponent, incumbent President Barack Obama, to cry foul.
"It really underlines how important this women's vote is going to be in this coming election," says Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of "Face the Nation," while speaking to WTOP.
"The Obama people were reacting to this even more quickly than the Romney people were," he says. "They wanted to get this one corrected before the ink dried on that statement."
Most polling suggests Obama has a double-digit lead over Romney in support from women voters. Campaign staff to reelect the president don't want to be near any accusations that the president doesn't consider women equals, or important, says Schieffer.
As well as keeping the focus directly on Romney, "Meet the Press" host David Gregory tells WTOP there are other nuances to the response from the president.
"They have to deal with it in a way that isn't pandering," Gregory says. "These are issues women are going to pay particular attention to, and those are buttons politicians are going to want to push."
The perceived "War on Women" that came out of debates as Republicans contend for the nomination is "the one tangible bit of damage the primaries have done," says Gregory. Democrats particularly lighted upon Romney's opposition to funding Planned Parenthood.
"(The campaign to reelect the president) has built up an advantage among women right now who will decide this election in swing states," he says. "They want to keep the issue on Romney."
This debate could also have nothing to do with Rosen's comments, according to another analysis, but rather shows the country is still getting used to women working outside of the home.
"The 'Mommy Wars' are not exactly a new phenomenon," says Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent and anchor for "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," while speaking to WTOP.
"I'm not sure it is among 'mommies' so much as it is a cultural phenomenon of people getting used to mothers in the workforce, still," she says. "Ever since women entered the workforce as mothers, or became mothers, it has been 'What's better for the baby?' 'What's better for you?' 'What's better for the family?'"
I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.— Ann Romney (@AnnDRomney) April 12, 2012
Hear full audio of these three experts' analysis at right.
WTOP readers and listeners also saw two sides to the issue, and engaged in heated debate on the WTOP Facebook Page.
Some thought that Ann Romney's situation is not an apt example of mothers who choose to stay at home to raise their families.
"Ann Romney's decision to stay at home and experience while at home is probably wildly different than most woman who choose to stay home," writes Katy Wing Papa.
"Stay at home moms have tough jobs, no doubt," writes Nina Osegueda. "But a woman with a millionaire husband who takes care of her children has a completely different point of view from a woman who works a job."
Others empathize with the decision Ann Romney had to make.
"My wife worked a very hard a stressful bank job, but now stays home with our three children (and also home-schools them)," writes Matthew Kroelinger. "Let me be the first to tell you that staying home is a much harder job for her (although more fulfilling by far)."
See more comments from the WTOP Facebook Page below.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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