Obama calls out Rosen after Ann Romney comment

President Obama responded to controversial comments made by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen about Ann Romney in an interview with KCRG-TV.

(CBS News) During the past week, the presidential race has become a battle for the women's vote.

It's a fight that heated up considerably on Thursday, as President Barack Obama had to call out one of his supporters for going too far.

The so-called war on women has turned into the Mommy Wars. It started when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney - who raised five boys - "hasn't worked a day in her life." Well, the Democrats had to try and do some quick clean-up on that comment - or risk offending stay-at-home moms - and losing the women's vote.

The war on women became a war over words. So politically dangerous, the administration distanced itself from Rosen almost immediately. The president said on Thursday, "There's no tougher job than being a mom. Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement."

Vice President Joe Biden said during a television appearance, "It's an outrageous assertion. If my daughter wants to stay home and say, 'I'm raising my kids,' no one should be able to question that."

Even a tweet from first lady Michelle Obama was released, in which she said "every mother works hard."

Hilary Rosen, who is not part of the Obama campaign, seemed to question that whether Ann Romney, a wealthy woman, has worked hard as a mother. Rosen said, "Guess what? His wife has never worked a day in her life.

Ann Romney responded quickly, saying raising five boys was plenty hard. She said on Fox News, "We need to respect choices that women make."

Under pressure, Rosen apologized, writing in a statement, "Gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended."

Hilary Rosen apologizes to Ann Romney

But Rosen said this debate is about much more in this year's election. "This isn't about whether Ann Romney or I or other women of, you know, some means can afford to make a choice to stay home and raise kids," she said. "Most women in America, let's face it, don't have that choice."

Ann Romney said, "Look, 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."

The political debate about women and the workplace is certainly not new. Clinton made waves 20 years ago when she said, "You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession."

This debate is far from over. Women make up 53 percent of the voting electorate. And the latest national poll showed not a gender gap, but a gender canyon. Mr. Obama is ahead of Mitt Romney by 19 points among women.

For Norah O'Donnell's full report, watch the video in the player above.

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    Norah O'Donnell is a co-host of "CBS This Morning." She also contributes to "60 Minutes"