Dem strategist's remark about Ann Romney sparks uproar

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is introduced by his wife Ann during a campaign stop Saturday, March 17, 2012 in Collinsville, Ill. Romney wrapped up a shortened campaign trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday in favor of spending more time in Illinois, where polls have shown him slightly ahead of chief rival Rick Santorum. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Mitt and Ann Romney
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

(CBS News) PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Ann Romney started a Twitter account on Wednesday evening to respond to a comment from Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, who said that the wife of the presumed Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was unqualified to speak about the kinds of economic issues facing women in America because she had never "worked a day in her life."

Rosen, appearing on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, called Mitt Romney "old fashioned when it comes to women." She said the former Massachusetts governor was learning about the economic plights of the fair sex through his wife, Ann, who has been meeting with women regularly on the trail.

"His wife has actually never worked a day in her life," Rosen said on CNN. "She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids? How do we send them to school? And why we worry about their future."

Ann Romney to Hilary Rosen: My career choice was motherhood

A short time later, Ann Romney responded by opening a Twitter account, where her new profile reads, "Mom of five boys. Grandmother of 16. Out campaigning for @MittRomney. #Mitt2012." She sent just one tweet that said, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

Rather than backing down, Rosen herself then took to the social media site, responding directly to Ann Romney with a series of tweets:

Hilaryr: @AnnDRomney I am raising children too. But most young American women HAVE to BOTH earn a living AND raise children. You know that don't u?

Hilaryr: @AnnDRomney Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn't say you are his expert on women and the economy. #HeNeedsMore

Hilaryr: oh and @AnnDRomney welcome to Twitter. You will find it a very exhilarating and often unforgiving place!

The impromptu Twitter battle provoked responses from both the Romney and Obama campaigns - all through Twitter. Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom called Rosen an "Obama adviser" and said her "new kill Ann strategy" had insulted working moms. And although Rosen is only a supporter and not affiliated with the Obama campaign, two top Obama officials - senior strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina - both distanced the campaign from Rosen's remarks through tweets of their own, with Axelrod calling the comments "inappropriate and offensive" while Messina called on Rosen to apologize.

Instead, Rosen continued to make her argument in a blog post on the Huffington Post website, where she called Ann Romney a "nice lady" but again questioned whether she was the right person to counsel her husband on women's economic issues.

"Is Ann Romney Mitt's touchstone for women who are struggling economically or not?" Rosen writes in her post.

"Nothing in Ann Romney's history as we have heard it -- hardworking mom she may have been -- leads me to believe that Mitt has chosen the right expert to get feedback on this problem he professes to be so concerned about."

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    Sarah Huisenga is covering the Mitt Romney campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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