Are mothers being used in Campaign 2012?
(CBS News) Mothers make up a significant part of the workforce and the American electorate, but politicians and the media are pitting mothers against each other, a panel of mothers working in politics and journalism said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Bay Buchanan, a Mitt Romney supporter and author of the book "Bay's Boys," told host Bob Schieffer that the idea of a Republican "war on women" is "completely manufactured."
"If there's been any war - whether it's deliberate or not - on women, it's clearly come from the Obama White House," Buchanan added.
The Republican strategist said that she found it "very, very unfortunate" that Ann Romney was criticized for being a stay-at-home mom, referring to critical remarks about Gov. Romney's wife from a Democratic pundit.
"The last thing we need to do is divide moms into categories - at home or working, single or married," Buchanan said. "Moms have so much in common. And we support one another and can help one another and be there."
Democratic strategist Anita Dunn said that women are more likely to support President Obama than Mitt Romney because of their policies. She called Mr. Obama's record on helping women "groundbreaking."
"He set up a council on women and children so that he could look at how the federal government's policies affect women, something that had never been done before," she said. Additionally, she said, Mr. Obama's health care overhaul "makes sure that having a baby is no longer a pre-existing condition for women. That children get covered, no matter what their pre-existing conditions."'
Dunn added that sghe believes "Mitt Romney has a backward-looking attitude, particularly when it comes to women, that I think it will come out" during the campaign.
Buchanan countered that most of the jobs lost in the past two years were lost by women. "They need... security to take care of themselves and their own family - especially single moms, something I was," she said.
Both Buchanan and Dunn found agreement that Time Magazine's recent cover, which featured an image of a woman nursing her three-year-old son, was meant to divide mothers. Buchanan called it "disgusting" and said she considers it "child pornography."
"They went too far on this cover... And, also, what does it suggest?" she said. "How long should we nurse our babies? This is nonsense. This is for women to decide. We don't need anyone on the outside telling us what's best for our family. We are all different, and so are our children."
Dunn added that moms "need to hang together.
"As a mom, I think we can all agree being the mother is the most challenging job in the world," she said. "When you have to add through choice or necessity an out-of-home job as well, it's even more challenging, right. But at the end of the day, something like this is going to sell magazines. But the discussion about moms should never pit moms against one another."
CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell said the cover is in part provocative because of the significant role mothers play in today's society.
"Seventy percent of women with children under 18 are in the workforce," she said. "We are consumers. We're voters. We're journalists. And so we're a powerful force, and I think that's why this really revs up and gets a lot of discussion going, especially on Mother's Day."
The Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger added, "It's not a Mother's Day gift to most of us to have another message that says you're not mom enough if you don't look like this terrific-looking woman."
- Stephanie Condon
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
- Gates knocks "cartoonish" Benghazi criticism
- "Face the Nation" Sunday, May 19
- Maya Angelou recalls her childhood on Mother's Day
- Official: We knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack "from the get-go"
- "The witch hunt continues" on Benghazi, Durbin says
- May 12: Gates, Pickering, Ayotte, Durbin & Angelou
- Face the Nation: Local Listings
- Face the Nation transcripts May 12, 2013: Gates, Pickering, Ayotte, Durbin, and Angelou
- Pickering: Wasn't "necessary" to question Clinton in Benghazi report
- "Face the Nation" transcripts, September 16, 2012
- Face the facts: A fact check on gas prices
- Attkisson discusses "allegations of a coverup" on Benghazi
- Direct U.S. military involvement in Syria "would be a mistake," says Gates
- Roberts switched views to uphold health care law
- All administrations secretive, manipulative of press