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)

    hey stop day dreamin buh.. no way!

    April 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ♚Mmmmm♛

    annR yah don't work...no you can't identify with stresses of the job or workforce because you are NOT employed...you are a at home mom and that is the benefit of being a at home...you don't work on a job...you are you own boss with liberties to plan your day as you see fit...further more your 250million dollar income buffers a lot if not all the negative impact of a sluggish economy...just ownnit baby...you don't IDENTIFY for a very long time!!!

    April 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ♚Mmmmm♛

    y'all just leave poor hiliary alone cuz ms.rosen is definitely telling the truth...annR sits own her a55 at home...!

    April 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ♚Mmmmm♛

    employed worked in the home as well as outside the home...that's two jobs...annR has the gall and nerve to say her domestic responsibilities are equivalent to those parents who worked weekends, holidays, days, nights, every kinna weather condition only still come home their families to start another job meeting the domestic requirements of their homes left unattended in their while employed away from the home...this has got to be the dumbest debate ever!

    April 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ♚Mmmmm♛

    hardtimes at best is a 'membrance for annR...and mittR...

    April 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Southern Utahner

    Romney for mayor of Colorado City, AZ.

    April 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mickey1313

    The problem with American politics is that none of the politicians can relate to the people. If people think any multi millionaire truly represents people who make 50k or less, they are deluded. All the rich care about are the rich and there cooperate buddies. We fought a revolution based on no taxation without representation. And that is how we live today. It is time for revolution again.

    April 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Stress Test

    Measured by how many bombs fell in your vicinity today. Other factors include how many were cluster bombs.
    A great stress reliever is when they cluster bomb your hometown, relax in your basement...box another case of homemade roadside bombs. (HRB's) Listen to some Keiko Matsui jazz. I wonder what Ahkmed listens to For stress relief?

    April 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank ( R- Ohio ) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Can the Romneys relate to the average family?

    You knew I'd be here to say something. For some time now, the Democratic regime has lashed out with thier mud slinging tactics trying to whittle down the GOP with accusations of Republican misogynism.
    Today tipifies how someone IS, what they accuse others of being. Namley? The Democratic party IS waging war against women themselves, and not the GOP, as thier ruling class would illusion you to believe.
    To tell someone that has been battling M.S. and raising five children at thier own discretion, is not only WORKING HARD, but is GREATLY SUFFERING DOING IT.
    This is a total outrage. Do kids just magically raise themselves, after they are born, while mommy sits in a velvet throne while drinking from a golden chalice?
    I cannot believe all the people buying into this crap.
    A Democratic strategist? Do I need someone like that? NO. HELL NO!!!

    April 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      it was the gop who labeled this as a woman against woman matter when in fact it was not...it was a statement directed at a MALE presidential candidate's reference for gaging hardship...ms rosen truthfully cited the MAN and called that reference into questioned and rightly so...i don't know why you would pressure someone to recant on an issue that is quite valid...personally I believe stay at home mom is a blessing...but I will never agreed that a at home parent work as hard as those parents that must cover bases in the home and as well as out of the home...

      April 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      You do know that democratic policies are pro women pro healthcare and pro middle class, while the gop policies are anti choice, anti healthcare, and pro super rich and corporations. In sort your post is 100% backwards. Nice to see the republican propaganda machine has you hook line and sinker.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Greg

    Actually what Romey said about the middle class, wealthy and the poor is true. The middle class is on the collapse of extinction. But it's not something a presidential candidate should say.

    April 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ahkmed the Terror guy

    @Stress Relief. What do Ahkmeds listen to? Bombs. Yep. Yes...b'bombs. You for to call them "home mades" roadside bombs? Why you call mine 'improvised'?

    April 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      This raises the important question: can Ahkmed relate to Mrs. Romney?

      April 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dana


    April 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank ( R- Ohio ) "Right Wing Insanity"

    @12. Greg
    April 12th, 2012 8:57 pm ET

    I totally disagree with you. Beacause if I truely wanted the publics trust, I would not lie to them by throwing conjecture not based on economic fact.
    You cannot spend any money and not be accountable for it.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ahkmed the Terror guy

    @Jeffy F. And your friend Bush family and Royal House of Saud good friend. Saudi Arabia? No woman drive no license ha ha you just woman you walk 3 pace back no vote burn bra? kill you cheat on me die divorce w/thee divorce w/thee divorce w/thee. But Venezuela Chavez mean to woman no. Give woman children old ones money from oil not give Bushco. (my ahkmeds a little rusty. he he) Bush family Bin Laden Family House of Saud is one Big family. Big monsters make little monsters. No, not Dubya. Well, maybe. Usama bro!.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Secret Facilities

    @Jeff Frank. All powerful governments maintain secret facilities that require secret funding that YOU nor I will ever know of. The CIA's hundreds of foreign "store front" operations where agents pose doing business, well...not all of them are as profitable as their Bush-zapata corporation that came to control much of Kuwait's oil. Imagine all of the secret funds made available when Kuwait began selling Bushco oil to Iraq's customers. So yes, they CAN spend money they don't have.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
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