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Lauren Ashburn

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Rosen/Romney Flap: Twitter Is the New Confessional

Posted: 04/13/2012 12:03 pm

Goodbye, Oprah's couch; hello, Twitter. You want to say you're sorry in this day and age, tweet it. God forbid you pick up the phone and call someone.

It took lobbyist Hilary Rosen half a news cycle yesterday to apologize for sticking her foot in her mouth the night before on CNN by saying Ann Romney, a mother of five who has suffered from breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, "never worked a day in her life."

When asked by Wolf Blitzer later in the day what she had to say to Romney, Rosen did not say she was sorry. When Wolf called her on it, Rosen seemed to think the electronic version was enough: "Well, I assume that Mrs. Romney saw my apology this afternoon, but, if not, I apologize."

When I first heard the comments by Rosen, a CNN commentator and Democratic activist, I couldn't believe my ears. Is one powerful, productive mother really attacking another powerful, productive mother for her decision to stay home and work? Why do women do this to each other?

The war of the tweets broke out 24 hours ago while I was sitting on the set at C-SPAN talking about our new website, www.daily-download.com, and our drive to be the best content gatherers and video analysts around the web.

The Washington Journal host, Peter Slen, broke into our conversation with callers to read Hilary Rosen's first tweet of the day. Then Ann Romney responded and headed to Fox News to speak out. And the administration rushed to play the classic political distancing game as President Obama weighed in during an interview with an ABC affiliate KCRG in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, saying it was an "ill-advised statement by somebody on television." (Somebody? Rosen worked for his 2008 campaign.) And the drumbeat continued when Obama advisor David Axelrod talked to CNN's John King, saying, "She's your employee, not ours."

It's not shocking that the Mommy Wars story is front and center with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lagging 18 points in the polls with female voters. All social media sites have been, ahem, a-twitter with opinions from women and men on what Rosen meant, why she said it and their personal stories. It's among the hottest of hot-button issues.

It's easy to point fingers and blame each other for choices involving work and family. Take this hateful tweet from Bill Donohoe's Catholic League about Hilary Rosen. As an adopted Catholic woman, I wonder how Donohoe can sleep at night:

@CatholicLeague: Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.

Ann Romney herself said it best on Fox News, "Respect choices women make." Period.

 

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