Update 2:40p.m. ET: Hilary Rosen publicly apologized for her "poorly chosen words." "I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended," Rosen said in a widely-reported statement Thursday. "Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
Ann Romney went on Fox News Thursday to rebut claims from Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist, that the wife of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee "has actually never worked a day in her life."
"My career choice was to be a mother. And I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make," Romney said.
Rosen said on CNN Wednesday night that Romney couldn't relate to regular women because she didn't need to work while raising her five children. Rosen also called Mitt Romney "old-fashioned" when it comes to women and someone who doesn't "see us as equals." The Republican National Committee called her statements "an affront to mothers everywhere."
"I know what it's like to struggle and maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as some people have, but I can tell you that I've had struggles in my life," Ann Romney said Thursday. "I would love to have people understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling and that's why we're running." Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is also a breast cancer survivor.
Romney said her husband respects and is advised by women, including his former chief of staff and lieutenant governor when he led Massachusetts. "Mitt Romney is a person that admires women and listens to them," she said.
Democratic operatives immediately sought to distance themselves from Rosen. "She's not an adviser to the DNC—the DNC's contract for media services is exclusively with Anita Dunn," Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse wrote in an email to reporters. Rosen works for the same consulting firm as Dunn.
But Republicans reject that claim. On a conference call with reporters Thursday, Romney supporter Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state said Rosen's firm has been paid by the campaign and that Rosen has long been directly involved in campaign efforts. She is serving as a "paid spokesperson" for the campaign, supporters said on the call. "She's visited the White House 35 times," Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming added.
The Republican National Committee on Thursday called on DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to "immediately apologize" on behalf of Rosen. "To suggest that any mother has 'never worked a day in her life' is an affront to mothers everywhere," the committee said.
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