WASHINGTON -- Less than 24 hours after it started, the faux war against stay-at-home moms appears to be coming to an end.
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen on Thursday apologized to Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for criticizing her for having "never worked a day in her life." Ann Romney has been a stay-at-home mom, raising her five children with Mitt.
"I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended," Rosen said in a statement. "Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
Rosen set Twitter afire on Wednesday night when, during an interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," she criticized Ann Romney for a lack of professional career experience. Her comments came in the context of Mitt Romney saying on the campaign trail that his wife is a better person to answer questions about women's financial struggles. "Guess what?" Rosen said to Anderson Cooper. "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. 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 drew rebukes on Twitter from several Democratic Party heavy-hitters, including Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Obama campaign communications director David Axelrod. Michelle Obama even tweeted about the issue.
In her Thursday statement, Rosen said she knows from personal experience how challenging it is raising children.
"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," she said. "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 poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles ... 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."
"Let's put the faux 'war against stay at home moms' to rest once and for all," she said.
The incident even came up in Thursday's White House briefing. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to questions about the matter by reiterating that raising children is, in fact, hard work.
"I think we can all agree, Democrats and Republicans, that raising children is an extremely difficult job. That is true for mothers as well as fathers," Carney said. Asked if he had talked to the president about the incident, Carney said no. He then went on to refocus attention to "what the issue is here," which is the president's record on boosting women's economic success.
"When it comes to what this administration has done for women, it begins with the president signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It continues with his emphasis on the need to put teachers back in the classroom," he said.
Earlier Thursday, Mitt Romney defended his wife's work on Twitter.
"Just watched @AnnDRomney on @FoxNews. Her work raising our boys was tougher than any job I had," Romney tweeted.
UPDATE: Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN Thursday and explained her comments further. "If I had a do over what I would be saying is that Mitt Romney should not be on the campaign trail saying to women that my wife tells me how it is for women out there because people of wealth sometimes take for granted some of the niceties that they have in life, and the Romneys are people of wealth."
Wolf Blitzer asked her what she would say to Ann Romney. Turning to the camera, Rosen said, "Mrs. Romney, I applaud your decision to stay home and raise what are obviously five wonderful boys. This is not about stay-at-home moms versus working moms."
Continued Rosen, "I think your husband needs to stand up for women's economic struggles and so far we have not seen how he's going to do that on the campaign trail. It hasn't come out of his mouth and maybe it will at some point, but this is a distraction that his campaign is forcing on the American people to avoid his record on the issues."
"I didn't hear an apology," said Blitzer.
Rosen responded that she had sent out an apology earlier. "Well, I assume that Mrs. Romney saw my apology this afternoon, but if not, I apologize. Working moms, stay-at-home moms, they're both extremely hard jobs. I know, I've shared them both, and I'm sorry if that offended you."
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