Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen, a political consultant who advises the Democratic National Committee, said on CNN Wednesday night that Ann Romney “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,” Rosen charged.
Cue the outrage! Mrs. Romney says that she can too sympathize with working women. “My career choice was to be a mother,” Ann Romney told Fox News host Martha MacCallum.
“Look, I know what it’s like to struggle,” Ann Romney insisted, possibly referring to her battle with multiple sclerosis. “And if maybe I haven’t struggled as much financially as some people have, I can tell you and promise you that I’ve had struggles in my life. And I would love to have people understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling and that’s why we’re running. We care about those people that are struggling.”
Ann Romney said last month that she didn’t think of herself as wealthy even though she is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I don’t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing,” she told Fox News host Neil Cavuto.
Apparently Mrs. Romney thinks average non-wealthy Americans just like her typically maintain a stable of dressage horses, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Dressage is very competitive horse riding in which the animal’s mane is often braided and the riders wear top hats and long coats. From a 2007 New York Times article:
Dressage is a sport of seven-figure horses and four-figure saddles. The monthly boarding costs are more than most people’s rent. Asked how many dressage horses she owns, Mrs. Romney laughed. “Mitt doesn’t even know the answer to that,” she said. “I’m not going to tell you!”
A video on Gawker shows Willard talking to Sean Hannity about the animals he owns with his wife:
“She has Austrian Warmbloods, which are – yeah, it’s a dressage horse, it’s a kind of horse for the sport that she’s in. Me, I have a Missouri Fox Trotter. So mine is like a quarter horse, but just a much better gait. It moves very fast, and doesn’t tire, and it’s easy to ride, meaning it’s not boom-boom-boom, it’s just smooth, very smooth.”
Just to clarify, this is not about the mere fact that the Romneys are incredibly wealthy. The issue is, they are totally out of touch with average Americans. This is clear enough from the policies Romney advocates, but sometimes it helps to demonstrate it on a personal level. Romney is the candidate of the 1 Percent.
It’s clear from the context that Rosen wasn’t criticizing Ann Romney for staying home. She was criticizing the Romney campaign for presenting Ann Romney as an expert on the economic concerns of women, when Romney’s own economic circumstances (including the fact that she was able to stay home with all five of her sons) are not those that most women have.
UPDATE: Rep. Pete Stark has introduced his bill called the Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act, which would allow low-income mothers with children up to 3 years old to classify their child-rearing responsibilities as work, just the way Ann Romney did.