Overheard on CNN.com: Can the Romneys relate to the average family?
In light of comments by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, readers are discussing if the Romneys can relate to average folks.
April 12th, 2012
07:36 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Can the Romneys relate to the average family?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen has apologized for comments about Ann Romney, whom she said "never worked a day in her life" as a stay-at-home mother. "Mommy wars" and women's issues have taken center stage. Readers discussed whether the Romneys can relate to moms and families.

Ann Romney and working moms

The most-liked comment on the story agreed with Rosen.

DrMAH: "(Rosen is) absolutely right. The ultra-rich Romneys have no idea what the rest of us go through, and Mitt has made it clear that he has no interest in finding out. She's not qualified to speak about women's concerns. LOTS of us struggle with illness, get degrees, and raise kids, but almost NONE of us have an army of domestic servants to do all the heavy lifting while we work on our dressage."

Some of the responses talked about the Romneys' inexpensive basement apartment during their undergraduate years.

brianwaz: "They lived in a $50-a-month basement apartment at the start of their marriage (with a baby). Try using facts next time."

nullcodes: "Though he lived in a basement apartment, his dad who was a governor could have saved him from any real financial or other messes."

Many of our readers have wondered whether the Romneys' situation compares to those of other Americans.

dkinabq: "What exactly does Ann Romney have to say about the struggles of women? Did she raise her children by herself? Is she facing her illnesses without health insurance? Is she working two jobs to make ends meet for her family? The Romneys are so out of touch with reality, it isn't funny."

JHarris: "Ann Romney has been blessed financially, but has struggled in other areas. She has been diagnosed with both MS and breast cancer (in remission). It is not 'reality' that everybody is struggling financially. It is also not 'reality' that everybody has major health issues. Different people have different trials. Ann Romney has had her share."

This reader said we shouldn't expect the Romneys to live like paupers.

Sarah: "Not everyone in America doesn't have health insurance or is a single mom or working two jobs. The whole point of this country is that, yeah, some people have the opportunity to have way more money than the rest of us. Why do we have to begrudge them that? Single parenthood, working two jobs, etc. is SOME people's reality, but not everyone's. Having more money than most of the rest of us could ever dream of is the Romney's reality. They're in touch with their own reality."

And this person wanted to know what insight Ann Romney can offer.

JLubes: "The bigger question is how does any of her experience give her any insight on the economy or jobs for women? If you've never had a paying job, never had to work for insurance, never had to make ends meet to pay for food how can she possibly relate to those women (the majority) that are? How can she possibly relate to someone like my mother who had to raise two kids in a single bedroom apartment while going back to school and collecting welfare? How many Thanksgivings did she have to go to the food shelf to make sure she could feed her kids? She has no idea about these issues yet Romney has no problem going to her as the expert in this regard. These are the points Rosen is talking about. When you are championed as knowing what issues women are going through you are going to get criticized for your shortcomings."

This reader says she believes working out of the home has financial consequences as well as benefits.

Grammie: "Lots of us who stayed at home didn't have that income and what it could buy. My husband and I lagged behind some of our friends' ability to afford vacations, new cars, domestic help, etc. However some of our friends, even with two incomes, didn't do any better than we did. Working out of the home is per se more expensive and unless the two partners each have a substantial income your added expenses and taxes can virtually wipe out any potential financial advantage. It costs money if both parents have full-time jobs outside the home. I had my fill of sneering condescension from my feminist neighbors 30 years ago and that attitude appears to be alive and well today. ... I don't think that it is coincidental that this steadily worsening debt and economic crisis has been growing in tandem with the ever-increasing demands for government to provide that which husbands and fathers provided in the past."

Some said Rosen is being selective in her views.

bjiggs: "Yes, we know Hilary. You care about women. You've been fighting for them your entire career ... but only those whose politics are in agreement with your own. The rest can take a flying leap as far as you're concerned, right? Can you cite a single example of a time you 'defended the rights' of a conservative woman? Just one more hack."

This reader said Mitt Romney, not Hilary Rosen, is to blame.

claudiaW: "Romney brought this discussion on himself by designating his wife to make his case for him. Hilary is right. Mrs. Romney has had all the luxuries that come with having money and has never had to face the burdens of women who work outside the home while also tending to their families. Health care is a huge concern to women, but Mr. Romney wants to end Planned Parenthood as well as the Affordable Care Act. Mitt Romney has no idea of the struggles that most women AND men face today. Mrs. Romney said their concern is the economy, yet her husband's record on jobs is abysmal."

Jed Sybrowsky: "Haha ... Really? Did you really just say Mrs. Romney has never had to face the burdens [other] women face? I'm sorry to break it to you but the Romneys' money didn't fix her MS. It's people like you that think money fixes everything. People who have money still feel pain and hardship. I think she understands hardship as well as anyone else."

Some said Obama's policies have been tough on mothers.

blueskiesmom: "Feminists and socialists have never understood the importance of the family unit and it looks like they never will. I chose to stay home and raise our kids, but it wasn't a luxury, it was a sacrifice - financially. It was a decision I'd make again now that I've seen the adults my kids have become. Let me also say, if anyone understands the brunt of the Obama economy, it's the moms who have to manage the higher food prices, higher gas prices, lower home values and still make a dollar stretch across the needs of an entire family. Maybe Ann Romney has more money than me, but she's also raised kids that pay into the economy and aren't expecting the rest of us to pay for their abortions or day care choices."

Are politicians in touch with people?

fofotavour: "Mitt Romney's wife has not worked a day in her life; that is a fact. She's a stay-at-home mom; that's a fact. There are many other stay-at-home moms also, and that's a fact. The difference between them and Ann Romney is that many of these other stay-at-home moms have to take care of their children without the luxury of having a nanny at their disposal, clean the house by themselves without having a cleaning staff, cook the meals without having cooks ... without any experts helping them send the money to offshore banks to avoid being taxed more than 14%, and so on and so forth. That's the fact, too. Now are you telling me that the Romneys are in touch with the working class in America? I say no ..."

jimtellsthetruth: "Unlike Obama who never worked a 'real' job in his life, and no, being a professor and a government employee is hardly hard work. What a joke, last time I checked Obama was a millionaire, too! Lets see what his tax rate is in a couple of years, what a joke."

What's your take? Who's in touch? Who's not? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Economy • Elections • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Pete

    @Nilsen,thank you for opening peoples eyes to what an organized healthcare plan,one that's proven and sucessfull.I'd wish these rightwing hypocrites ,who are in the healthcare,insurance companies pockets see it as an example of a true socialized and competent healthcare system that put people before politics and greed.

    April 15, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • A Real American

      Yep Pete say whatever rude mean stuff you want about what I said. Mitt and Ann do relate to me far better than the Obama's. I'm proud to say I'm a Stay At Home Mom and a Mormon.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sogooden

    If this man who obviously has people to prepare his taxes for him and a wife who could have taken the time to handle herself or oversee the preparation or at least the submission of their taxes, not be able to pay his taxes on time be able to handle the government budget? Why won't he release his prior years taxes? His father did, his opponent has.

    April 15, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. ann

    What about the hollywood elite? who relates to them? Our President sure spends a lot of his time hosting fundraisers with them and having others visit him at the white house who just happen to be multimillionaires and billionaires. I surely cannot relate.

    The hypocrisy is incredible. Please, give the American people more credit. Once the curtain gets pulled back a bit more, we will see what kind of people this president surrounds himself with.

    April 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ula

      You want to talk hypocrisy? I see Hollywood types on Fox all the time bashing the President. Millionaires and billionaires by the droves supporting Romney. Fundraising exists on both sides and the money it brings in is ruining this country. The Supreme Court has ruled corporations are people, and that didn't happen until a solid right wing majority took it over. Take that finger and point it at yourself, ann, unless you just want us all to believe that we're only supposed to look at the other side and not at yours when both sides use identical tactics.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      But you can relate to Mitt Romney who spent two decades outsourcing jobs to China?

      April 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Callie2

    There is nothing about either Romney that I can relate to or that makes me think they understand my life. While she raised a family and dealt with illness, she never had to worry about the financial implications. My friends and I raised children AND worked full time. Some of us did it so we could afford "luxuries" like a place to live and three meals a day. We've also dealt with serious illness, all the while wondering how we could make ends meet if we were out of work for an extended period, how we would pay our health insurance premiums, and hoping our health insurance would cover the treatment recommended by our doctors. Ann has no idea what it's like to live without having millions of $$$ readily available for her needs and it's ridiculous for Mitt or Ann to pretend they can relate to the average family.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Martha Lee

    I know what Rosen was trying to say and the whole country knows what she DID say! In this political climate she should have known she would have to be careful with her words; no excuse for her statement. After all the Republicans have done to women in the past several months I can't believe one woman may cost President Obama millions of sympathy votes! I watch CNN all the time but I will be turning my tv if I ever see her face again after what she has done to the Democratic party!

    April 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • arale norimaki

      Poor women who stay at home to raise their children should be given federal assistance for child care so that they can enter the job market and "have the dignity of work," Mitt Romney said in January, undercutting the sense of extreme umbrage he showed when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen quipped last week that Ann Romney had not "worked a day in her life."

      April 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      Don't be so melodramatic. She didn't say anything innappropriate. Save your bile for continuing to oust Rush Limbaugh for calling a law student a pros.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sharon

    O.K., Ann Romney is now a presidental candidate? I don't remember her being in the debates. Could we start the debates over again so we can judge her views and abilities. What is becoming clear is that Ann Romney will be the one to answer the 3:00 a.m. phone call and after seeing her front and center behind the NRA podium, I assume she will also go out and shoot all the bad guys. I want to know more about Ann Romney before I vote for her for president of the Unitied States.

    April 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Renee

    Yes, Obama is a millionaire too, but the difference is he wasn't always. He was raised by a single parent who struggled to make ends meet and with health problems. He saw first hand the difficulties the average American faces, because he and his family faced them. Romney never has.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • hawksteel

      Did the Obamas rent a $50 basement apartment to start their young family like the Romneys did when they had the first son? Which family was more like a young struggling family? Obama and Michelle got married in 1991 when both of them are already working as lawyers. Did they struggle like average young families? I doubt it. Mitt & Ann married much younger while Mitt was still doing undergraduate studies in 1969, and way before Mitt became successful later in life. They had to struggle like most young student families. Renting a cheap basement apartment is a reflection of struggling with limited family budget. Mitt later studied law & MBA at Harvard and graduated in 75. So Mitt & Ann were a student family for a long time. They had enough time to experience what a young but growing family has to deal with. Mitt's financial success came much later. Mitt Romney had to work hard the American way to get to his present status, much like those who had believed and succeeded in the American dream. So I think just the opposite has happened. The Romneys were more in touch with average young families of America than the Obamas. As far as the current status go, both Obama & Romney are millionaires and they both are not your average poor struggling American. So I will rather vote for the one who has much more experience and qualification to fix the bad economy. Romney 2012.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Letalis Metal

    This is a serious rhetorical question. How would we know if Mrs. Romney does or does not understand women today? All for some publicity it truly is sad. Rich or not everyone faces harsh experience, sure She may be rich and has no recorded work experience but just because she don't have any papers saying she has gone through no troubles does not mean she is not connected to other women. We all have our own types of trouble and can even connect to each other. Saying she does not understand other women because she is rich is being biased, that or you hate rich people. Sadly thats how the system was made, why we complain about is just outrages. There will always be rich people, but that does not mean discriminate them because some companies have other agendas. Yes America is afraid of the rich, they don't understand so it's "class warfare" . Seriously understand that America lost it's "democratic values" when money came about, wait that means America was set to fail. We are the only ones who can change that.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rolly saint

    Ann Romney is stay home Mom, she's rich, she never work out door but she fully understood the economy situation today, it doesnt mean that only the poor have feel the economy problem in our Country ? No you guys are wrong everybody knows our bad economy, Ann Romney felt it the same way as well as other people everybody poor or rich, so Rosen Helary made a wrong judgement!!!

    April 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      How did Ann Romney FEEL the economic crash? Worried she wouldn't get a second Caddy? Nope. The truth was, she has NO WORRY WHATSOEVER while millions of us were losing our jobs. She had no worries while hubby was off killing businesses and offshoring our jobs to China? Maybe MS is a terrible illness to have, but she has the best medical treatment money will buy, while my dad had to go to the county hospital. Did she ever, even ONCE, protest the fact that her husband spent 20 years offshoring our jobs to China to feather her nest?

      April 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Letalis Metal

    The reality is that America is facist. It's not just the big companies thats causing these problems its us. We allow this to happen, we allowed for all political power to be monopolized by two parties. I mean serioulsy did we not all see this coming? This is what happens when we try to create a facade and deny all problems, did you all not see that once money became our economy it was the end? Call me communist or socialist but what exactly is wrong about socialism? Afraid? Don't understand? Capitalism is a nice system but it's too prone to corruption. Which is why I believed the U.S. and globalization was set to fail. What the Romney's spouts don't matter. I'm not defending them either but why people are discriminating because their rich is just crazy. Stop letting people tell you it's about "class warfare", the problem lies within all of us. Stop looking for scape goats.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      Class warfare is made up by the rich, who have been committng warfare against the middle class for decades. They are worrying about what goes around comes around. They are shaking anyway out of a guilty conscience. Ann Romney cannot relate to average people was the statement. It was a true statement and all the brouhaha will not change it.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • hawksteel

      It is total baseless to say Mitt Romney made his fortune by sending jobs offshore? Why don't you substantiate that with facts. Romney's biggest successes in business came from investing in start up firms like Staples and Sport Authority. These are American businesses creating tens of thousands of jobs in America. Voters are smart enough to know this is a lie. They know Mitt Romney is much more qualified to fix the bad economy, create jobs, balance the budget and reduce the deficits. He has turned around many businesses, saving the financially troubled Olympics, and turning around MA where he was governor. What has Obama done in 3 years? Creating the most deficits of any president, 16 trillions and growing, high unemployment at 8.2% and rising gas prices. He has his chance but fails miserably. Time for a change. Let Romney turn around America before it is too late. Romney 2012.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shakeel Wasti

    The answer to this question is very simple...read my lips "NO"...to me this is nothing more than a drama; all of a sudden these folks are down to earth and working (rasing Children) 'Moms'...give us a break please...the majority women in America are not like 'Ann Romney'...majority women... and I salute to all of them...are really working moms...how can she relate to somehting she does not even understand. No offense..this is 'REALITY'....

    April 16, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. roger y

    Yes the Romney's now have financial independance in life. They started out on their own with some help from parents with college tuition and made a place for themselves in life. This is what Mitt and Ann want for the rest of America is that so bad that we have to down them for being successful in life. We all should be asking our current President why he does not want that for us, and is doing everything possible to hurt job creation. The Buffett tax will gain very little to help the financial situation and hurt job creation in our country. The problem is he does not even realize this. He needs to surround himself with some very good financial guru's so they can explain to him how the monetary system works in this country. Everyone is talking about Newt Gingrich bouncing a $ 500.00 check and our President is spending money that we don't have at a rate of 4 trillion dollars. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS! AND WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT NEWT? America needs to wake up and take a serious look at the current administration. Most americans vote without all the facts. They vote on a popularity contest without making a educated decision about the candidate they are voting for. Oh yea! By the way I am on Obama's unemployment train and I would love to get back to work sooner than later. Problem is nobody is hiring they are scared.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. DaveinPA

    They have already proven by example that they can NOT relate!

    April 16, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. jude

    No. They relate to a miniscule amount of true americans. They do however live the life style envied and dreamed of by most americans and this can be very enticing. Granduer by osmosis is used to entice the masses.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jaellon

    I don't really care if a president can personally relate to me. If I need that, there is no shortage of counselors to listen to me. What I need in a president is someone who understands the economy, who understands macro-economics, and can make decisions that solve our national debt and employment problems. Obama can't do that. He doesn't understand thing one about any of those. Romney knows those things, and even though I'm cynical about any politicians motives, I can at least trust that he'll put his knowledge of economics to good use to fix the economy so he can get re-elected in four years.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Briss

      Romney clearly has a firm grasp on macroeconomics. Did you not read the article "Let Detroit go Bankrupt"? You should, as he clearly demonstrates his total lack of comprehension on the subject. He even refuses to acknowledge the success of the program in the face of the facts. I guess if you let a psychic medium pick your stocks, maybe Romney sounds like a good choice to fix the economy.

      April 16, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • griffbos

      and you think Mitt does, sorry to burst your bubble but he doesn't oh he is good at passing the buck and adding to the defict like most elelcted officals to make themselves look good, facts are , he saved the Salt Lake Gmaes adter the Fed saved him to the tune of 1 billion dollars, he balanced the State bedget(which is mandated by law so he had no choice, and as Presdentwill have a choice) by raising State taxes and fees (750 mill a year) costshift to local property owners(750 million) which resulte din higher local taxes, service cuts and layoffs. While at Bain in just one case alone not only fired people( which he claims to like doing) Bian costshifted a companies pension fund tothe Federal atx payer, retirees so thei pensions cut and Bain pocketed 12 million dollars in the deal. I live the 4 years while Romney was Governor , even voted for him based on his promise and I have lived under Obama( voted McCAin) I pay less taxes now than under Romney, Republicans control Congress so I know Obama can't doing any real damage if given 4 more years while ROmney has and can create great damage...this republican will take his chances with 4 more years of Obama....

      April 16, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ralph100

      I don't care how rich the Romneys' are, nor do I care if Mrs. Romney has servants or how much money they have. I do care about this country and hope Mitt Romney can pull this country back from the brink Obama has put us in. Obama has run up trillions in debt we can't afford to pay back in two lifetimes. Obama didn't have enough experience to be president and the results are clear. I will vote for anyone that has a financial background and enough brains to know we can't keep charging when there isn't enough money coming in to make the payment. It will take years to make up the damage from the Obama Administration. Welcome Romney, most of us will take a chance on you, we have no choice if we want to survive.

      April 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdturn1

      This elections is about money: Those who have it ..... And those who don't. Santorum asked the question if we were going to elect a Wall Street Financier into the WHITE HOUSE? The answer is NO!!! We DONT' want a fox to guard or enter the Henhouse. The White House IS NOT FOR SALE!!!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
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