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Ann Romney to Hilary Rosen: My career choice was motherhood

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

As the Romney campaign continues to court women voters, Ann Romney is defending her career as a stay-at-home mom and says she has struggled plenty, even if not financially.

"My career choice was to be a mother," she said Thursday in an interview on Fox News. "We need to respect choices that women make."

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee's wife is in the midst of a firestorm after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen suggested in an interview with CNN Wednesday that Mitt Romney was unqualified to speak about the kinds of economic issues facing women in America because his knowledge of women's issues comes from his wife, who had not struggled financially the way many women do because she had never "worked a day in her life."

"She should have come to my house when those five boys were causing so much trouble," Ann Romney laughed.

" I know what it's like to struggle, 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," she added.

Rosen's comments have sparked an uproar among Republicans, who have called on Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to apologize on Rosen's behalf for the comments, which they're casting as an "affront to mothers everywhere."

"Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should immediately apologize for the insulting and insensitive comments of her adviser, Hilary Rosen," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. "To suggest that any mother has 'never worked a day in her life,' is an affront to mothers everywhere."

In a Tweet Thursday, Wasserman Schultz responded, saying she was "disappointed" in Rosen's comments. "As a mother of 3 there's no doubt that raising children is work," Wasserman Schultz said.

Michelle Obama also made a rare appearance on Twitter to address the matter: "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected," read a Tweet posted on her account signed "mo."

Rosen on Thursday sought steer the conversation toward Mitt Romney's record with policies for working women.

"This is not about Ann Romney. This is about the waitress in a diner in some place in Nevada who has two kids whose day care funding is being cut off because of the Romney/Ryan budget and she doesn't know what to do," Rosen said in a follow-up CNN interview. "Does Mitt Romney have a vision for bringing women up economically and can he himself stop referring to his wife as his economic surrogate? That's an important thing. He's the one that keeps doing this. Not me."

On Fox, Ann Romney rebuffed that idea, emphasizing not only her husband's commitment her own choices, but also to surrounding himself with women advisers.

"He listens to a lot of different women," she said. "I will tell you that Mitt said to me more times than you would imagine, Ann, your job is more important than mine."

As Mitt Romney seems increasingly poised at clinching the Republican presidential nomination, the candidate has made efforts to combat the Democratic accusation that he's insensitive to the needs of working-class women.

Ann Romney appears to be a crucial part of the equation.

"I've been on the campaign trail for one year, and guess what women are talking about?" she said Thursday. "They are talking about jobs, and they are talking about the legacy of debt that we are leaving our children. That's what I'm hearing."

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