Update 2:38 p.m. ET: Hilary Rosen appears to have bent to the pressure. "I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended," Rosen said of her "poorly chosen" words in a widely reported statement Thursday. "Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
After weeks spent carefully unveiling a direct pitch to female voters, the Obama administration and its supporters are wasting no time in condemning Hilary Rosen's criticism of Ann Romney for not having "worked a day in her life," lest the dust-up undo all the hard work.
Even the first lady spoke up (electronically, that is):
Democrats scrambled to run damage control after Democratic strategist Rosen suggested that Ann Romney is not a fit surrogate to reach out to female voters. "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life," Rosen said Wednesday night on CNN. "She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing."
Rosen's comments predictably provoked condemnation from Republicans, and Democrats did not hesitate to follow suit.
"We can all agree, Democrats and Republicans, that raising children is an extremely difficult job," Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said at Thursday's briefing.
The Republican National Committee called on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, to apologize on behalf of Rosen, who works for a consulting firm paid by the DNC. And sure enough, Wasserman Schultz jumped on the Rosen condemnation bandwagon.
"Disappointed in @hilaryr' s comments. As a mother of 3 there's no doubt that raising children is work," Wasserman Schultz tweeted Thursday.
Wasserman Schultz and Michelle Obama's reactions followed attempts by Obama campaign officials to distance themselves from Rosen Wednesday evening.
Rosen is "not an adviser to the DNC—the DNC's contract for media services is exclusively with Anita Dunn," Brad Woodhouse, a DNC spokesman, wrote in an email to reporters. (Rosen works for the same consulting firm as Dunn.)
Carney echoed that sentiment during Thursday's briefing, saying, "She's a Democratic strategist, a CNN contributor, as far as I know," he said. "I don't know how to assess her overall relationship ... I have not seen her here," he added, referring to the White House. Republicans say Rosen has been to the White House at least 35 times, according to visitor logs.
Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's campaign manager, called on Rosen to apologize. "I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize," Messina tweeted.
Campaign strategist David Axelrod also condemned Rosen's comments on Twitter. "Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive," Axelrod tweeted.
The one notable Democrat who hasn't backed down is Rosen herself.
"I am raising children too. But most young American women HAVE to BOTH earn a living AND raise children. You know that don't u?" she tweeted to Ann Romney Wednesday night.
"Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn't say you are his expert on women and the economy," Rosen also tweeted.
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- Hilary Rosen
- Ann Romney
- Michelle Obama