(NEW YORK) — Former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann fiercely defended Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms Sunday, blasting Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s criticism that Romney “has never worked a day in her life” as “shocking and insulting.”
Bachmann told NBC’s David Gregory that not only was Ann Romney qualified, as a stay-at-home mom, to advise her husband about the economy, but she may actually have a better understanding of a family’s economic problems than her husband.
“One thing I know is when women are home full-time they have a better pulse on the economy than probably their husband has,” Bachmann said, noting that because those moms are usually the family member that buys groceries and gets gas, they are the first to notice rising prices.
Ann Romney found herself at the center of a heated debate over stay-at-home moms last week when Rosen criticized Mitt Romney for citing his wife as his adviser on the economic issues female voters care about.
“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country and saying ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues,’” Rosen said Wednesday on CNN. “Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that the majority of the women in this country are facing.”
Rosen comments were immediately criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, with the president and the first lady speaking out in support of Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms. Obama, who is currently winning women by a large margin, quickly distanced himself from Rosen, whose remarks gave Republicans one of their first openings to attack the president as being out-of-touch with women, a vital voting bloc in the 2012 election.
The Romney campaign seized on Rosen’s remarks as evidence that Obama did not support non-working mothers, aiming to paint Rosen as a spokeswoman for the president and the Democratic Party. Both the White House and the Democratic National Committee said Rosen did not advise or speak for the administration or the campaign.
Democrats have hounded Republicans for seeking to prevent contraception from being covered under all insurance plans and blasted the party for waging a “war on women” over access to women’s health funding and abortion rights.
“This election is not going to be about Ann Romney or Hilary Rosen’s remarks, it’s going to be about which candidate fights for women,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, said during a back-and-forth with Bachmann on “Meet the Press.” “What’s insulting to women is the Republican Party and that they want bosses to tell women what medication they can take.”
Bachmann, a mother of five, said women across the country were and should be “highly insulted” by Rosen’s comments, but directed the majority of her scorn at the president’s economic policies, which she said have made life worse for women.
The Minnesota congresswoman who dropped out of the GOP primary race in January, said women would be better off with Mitt Romney as president.
“On every measure women’s lives are worse under President Obama than they would be under Mitt Romney as president of the United States,” Bachmann said.
Although the congresswoman had high praise for Romney, who she also said is “an extremely smart guy” and “a proven smart successful businessman,” Bachmann has not yet endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee.
“I’m very seriously looking at the endorsement for Mitt Romney,” Bachmann said Sunday.
She said with Rick Santorum’s exit from the race taking place less than a week ago, she is waiting for the party to “unite” before making any endorsements.
“I want to unite our party so I’m waiting for our party to come together,” Bachmann said on “Meet the Press.”
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