Michael Gaynor
Wow! Hilary Rosen's faux pas helps Wendy Long highlight Senator Gillibrand's hypocrisy
By Michael Gaynor
April 14, 2012

Gillibrand already has demonstrated that she puts political interests ahead of principle.

Who would better represent New York in the United States Senate — junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, heretofore widely believed to be a champion of women's right, or Wendy Long, the Republican who dominated the New York Republican Party convention and then won the New York Conservative Party nomination to run against Gillibrand?

Ironically, DNC consultant and CNN political contributor Hilary Rosen and Gillibrand just helped New Yorkers to decide in favor of Long, Rosen by declaring on CNN oApril 11, 2012, "Guess what, (Romney's) wife has actually never worked a day in her life," and Gillibrand by being deafeningly silent.

Ann Romney tweeted: "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

Long promptly issued a press release calling on Gillibrand to denounce Rosen's absurd attack on Ann Romney, stating:"It's time to for Democrats to end their rhetorical war that pits mothers against mothers — wives against daughters

"Albany, New York — Yesterday, DNC consultant Hilary Rosen mocked Ann Romney and mothers and families throughout America implying she lacked the credentials to speak out on family issues saying she 'never worked a day in her life.'

"'The idea of a "working mother" is actually redundant and Rosen's comments should be offensive to all people who believe in the intrinsic value of family and motherhood. Senator Gillibrand has fashioned herself as a leading voice for women as such she should immediately denounce Rosen's remarks,' said U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long. Even the Obama administration has tried to distance themselves from Rosen's remarks. Obama campaign manger Jim Messina tweeted, 'I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.'

"Obama advisor David Axelrod also chimed in saying that: 'Also disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.'

"Long concluded, 'As women across New York struggle to work and raise families in the face of the President's regressive economic policies, it's time to for Democrats to end their rhetorical war that pits mothers against mothers — wives against daughters, we all deserve better.'"

That morning, Rosen doubled down on her diss and described herself as a hate mail victim, on CNN.


"My Twitter feed was on fire after an appearance Wednesday night on CNN's AC360, where I said that I thought it was wrong for Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women's economic struggles when she 'had never worked a day in her life.'

"Oh my, you should read the tweets and the hate mail I got after that. The accusations were flying. I don't know what it means to be a mom (I have 2 children). I obviously don't value the work that a mother does and how hard it is (the hardest job I have ever had); and I absolutely hate anyone who doesn't have the same views as I do (hate is a strong word).

"Spare me the faux anger from the right who view the issue of women's rights and advancement as a way to score political points. When it comes to supporting policies that would actually help women, their silence has been deafening. I don't need lectures from the RNC on supporting women and fighting to increase opportunities for women; I've been doing it my whole career.

"If they want to attack me and distract the public's attention away from their nominee's woeful record, it just demonstrates how much they just don't get it.

"My favorite tweet was from someone who said that Republicans like Ann Romney so much more than Mitt that by attacking her (which I didn't), I got people to defend him in a way they never would. That last one, I can actually understand.

"Now let's be clear on one thing. I have no judgments about women who work outside the home vs. women who work in the home raising a family. I admire women who can stay home and raise their kids full time. I even envy them sometimes. It is a wonderful luxury to have the choice. But let's stipulate that it is NOT a choice that most women have in America today.

"Why does this even matter? It matters purely because Mitt Romney put the issue of his wife's views squarely on the table.

"As Ruth Marcus noted in her column yesterday in the Washington Post, Romney, when asked last week about the gender gap, twice said he wished his wife could take the question.

"'My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on her own and also with me,' Romney told newspaper editors, 'and she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy.'

"So it begs the question, is Ann Romney Mitt's touchstone for women who are struggling economically or not? 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.

"I have nothing against Ann Romney. She seems like a nice lady who has raised nice boys, struggled with illness and handles its long-term effects with grace and dignity. I admire her grit in talking about her illness publicly."

That was not an apology, and apparently Rosen got the word from higher up to apologize.

Rosen issued the following statement:

"Let's put the faux 'war against stay at home moms' to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his lack of a record on the plight of women's financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, 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. Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance." Rosen managed to use the word "I" five times in her brief statement and used "I" and "apologize" consecutively once.

When it comes to graciousness, Rosen is no Ann Romney. That "more fulsome view" was Rosen's prior attack statement that omitted the word apologize. Rosen is genuinely sorry that her attack backfired, but not sorry for what she said. Perhaps she will apologize to Gillibrand for putting Gillibrand in a predicament — stand by her ally or stand by her alleged principles.

Celeste Katz of The Daily News interviewed Long and then reported:

"As the only woman in the GOP race to try to oust Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, attorney Wendy Long is going full-bore today on the Ann Romney/Hilary Rosen storyline, trying to press the incumbent Democrat to jump into the fray.

"'She's made women's issues the centerpiece of her public existence, and so if she doesn't speak out on this — this is sort of in her wheelhouse, this is what she's about, women. So I'm just curious as to what she has to say about this,' Long told me in a conversation this afternoon."

Katz noted: "Everyone's been jumping into this one, including Obama's camapign manager, Jim Messina; top advisor David Axelrod; and FLOTUS Michelle Obama, who tweeted earlier, 'Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.'"

Long said: "...to say that a mother of any kind has never worked a day in her life is completely ridiculous. That's one of the most important jobs that women do. Kirsten Gillibrand is a mother, so I'm sure she recognizes how hard that job is, but to slam mothers in general and to slam Ann Romney in particular is completely unacceptable. I'm not holding her accountable [for Rosen's remark]. She didn't say it, but if the centerpiece of the public issues that you speak about and care about are women's issues [and] if all these people are saying something, she needs to say something."

Katz concluded her article: "Awaiting word from Team Gillibrand on this one..."

No need to keep waiting: Gillibrand already has demonstrated that she puts political interests ahead of principle.

Long also told Katz that it's the "Obama-Gillibrand economy" that's really got moms worried.

Long explained: "What mothers and women — and all Americans — want is government to get out of their lives and off their backs and stop stealing from their pocketbooks... What's important to most women is jobs, the price of gas and home heating oil, the taxes their household is paying... The heavy hand of Washington and taxes intruding on their finances."

So it is with Americans, regardless of gender.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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