It’s a difficult messaging environment Mitt Romney’s campaign has to navigate right now, even when they feel like they’ve got an actual rejoinder for the withering fire they’ve been taking over issues pertinent to women. Today, the Washington Post reports:
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s (R) camp pounced Thursday on Hilary Rosen’s comments about stay-at-home mothers, arguing that the Democratic operative’s comments are reflective of the broader views of the White House and that Rosen was not “freelancing” when she made the comment.
Top Obama campaign officials denounced Rosen’s remarks late Wednesday and have noted that Rosen – who said in a CNN interview Wednesday that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life” – is not an official campaign surrogate.
But that hasn’t stopped the Romney camp from seizing on Rosen’s remarks as well as on her connections to the White House and the Democratic National Committee…
There’s no question that as soon as this highly regrettable statement from Hilary Rosen of consultant firm SKD Knickerbocker was uttered, and especially after Ann Romney responded with what you’d have to describe as class, the Romney campaign was going to go for broke trying to stick it to Barack Obama personally. And it’s easy to understand why: from support for sweeping “personhood” abortion bans to his campaign’s latest flub on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Romney’s campaign is reeling from a statistically undeniable and growing loss of support from women. To whatever extent Ms. Rosen can be tied to Obama, these insulting remarks about stay-at-home moms are a help to Romney’s campaign. With that in mind, it makes very good sense that Obama’s real campaign was quick to condemn these remarks.
And that leads us to a word about overreach:
[Rep. Cynthia] Lummis contended that Rosen’s remarks “are reflective of the message that the political machine within the White House intends to put out.”
She also claimed that Rosen is a “paid spokesperson” for the White House, even though, as Democrats have noted, Rosen is a consultant who advises the Democratic National Committee.
“Clearly they’re using surrogate women – including Hilary Rosen, who is a paid spokesperson – to deliver messages about Republicans that the president does not want to deliver himself for fear of the backlash,” Lummis said.
If there are any of you out there who seriously believe that the Obama campaign wanted somebody disparaging Ann Romney’s career as a stay-at-home mom on national television at the exact moment the “War on Women” meme is severely damaging Mitt Romney’s campaign…well, if you believe that you need your head examined. It’s patently absurd. It’s so absurd, in fact, that we would advise the Romney campaign to dial their outrage back–to a level that still allows them to capitalize, but doesn’t take it so far over the top that nobody buys it.
And if Romney’s campaign wants to truly move the needle on his so-far disastrous relations with women voters, he’s going to need some gaffes like this from the actual Obama campaign. A message to Foster Friess that he should keep his switch of support to Romney following Rick Santorum’s withdrawal on the down-low probably wouldn’t hurt either.