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. Hugh Briss

    To all conservatives defending Mrs. Romney, when did this become about "any trial in your life will do"? As I recall the central theme to all of this is economic. Yes being sickly is a trial, not the kind of trial that is going to be the central theme to this election however. EVERYTHING is about money right now and she has absolutely no perspective on this. Her trial might be relevant if she were expected to provide for her family, but could not, as she fell ill. That, however, is not the case is it? This is not about jealousy, this is about electing someone who an represent you best. The Romneys are so far out of it touch with the average American they may as well live in Newt's moon base.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    And, our current Comrade President does relate to American citizens? I don't think so.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. tedt

    At least our current prez relates to middle america mr. ahoy paloy romney relates to the wall street barons

    April 16, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. BobcatUSN

    Obama who comes from Muslum upbringing and Heritage, who makes everyone believe he is a good Christian who found Jesus in Rev. Wright's Racist Anti-American so-Called Church in Chicago where coruption and arogance is synonimous with Politics with the use of intimidation and thugs. Obama is not in touch with Christians in the traditional Black Churchs we have today, and he is not fooling me with his forgien policy to promote and pay off the Muslum Brotherhood and destroy thier number two enemy, Lybia and give the Muslum Brotherhood who have been responsible for killing and persecuting all Christians in Egypt, the sum of 1.5 Billion to destroy Israel. He hires the IRS to be his Government Thugs to attack the American People to force them to pay him for his Government Health Plan with no other choice. Obama is even using the IRS to attack Millions of American Catholics by attacking the Pope, Leader of the largest and origional Christian Church. This all happening...Check the Internet, and check all left and right media forums. Most of the left American Media is hiding this information from you. This all happening right before our eyes as we sit and wonder who we will count on and who clearly is the choice to vote for Obama, and get rid of his Thugs in the DNC to bring back a United not Obama divided States o America.

    April 17, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • BobcatUSN

      A corection to be made to not vote for Obama but to get rid of his Thugs like he is using the IRS, Anorchists like Communist promoted Occupy Wall Street, ACORN, just like the Muslum Brotherhood in Egypt who used Obama and our military to destroy thir arch Enemy, Lybia, and he plan's to give the Muslum Brotherhood in Egypt 1.5 Billion to crush Israel

      April 17, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • BobcatUSN

      A corection to be made to not vote for Obama but to get rid of his Thugs like he is using the IRS, Anorchists like Communist promoted Occupy Wall Street, ACORN, just like the Muslum Brotherhood in Egypt who used Obama and our military to destroy thir arch Enemy, Lybia, and he plan's to give the Muslum Brotherhood and thier Thugs who have killed and persecuted ALL CHRISTIANS in EGYPT 1.5 Billion to crush Israel. Wake up all you loyal American Black Veterans, Military, and all of the Liberal Reformed Jews in America....Wake up Muslum-Americans who came here to have opportunity to escape from the Muslum Brotherhood, Iran, and the whole Middle East. Americans who are Brain-Washed by the American Left Obama Media Machine don't believe what is happening because it's not being reported in an objective way.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. chelsea

    the Romney's are hilarious... they must be a gold mine for comic material for comedians these days. SNL has certainly taken advantage of the gaffes that keep on giving... I hope their campaign handlers don't rein them in too much... They are too funny when they get excited and start reaching out to connect with their audiences and just let the gaffes fly. My favorite Mitt gaffe was when he talked about how many cars he and Ann had when talking to the autoworkers in Michigan. my favorite from Ann was " unzipping" Mitt. we are still laughing in our house about their comments. you don't know if it's because they are tired, drunk or just not too smart.
    whatever the reason, Let's just pray that they never get close to the WH. we cannot afford another George Bush or Quail.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. dmood

    Neither of htem know what life is like for the average joe in the USA. 2 income families started due to the rising cost of all aspects of life in the 60s. As wealth concentrates it will continue to become more and more necessary. There are also a lot more single parent families, not because marriage was better in the olden days but because women are not as financially dependent as they once were. Romney's know there life and relate well to the 1% of the population similar to them that is all.

    April 17, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. NobamaNov12

    Why is Romney's wealth such a sore spot? When John Kerry ran for president no one complained about his wealth! At least Romney worked for his money, Kerry married his wealth, talk about being out of touch! Kerry doesn't know the value of making his money.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Mitt Romney is a MORMON no thanks. At least we know President Obama understands hard work of the working class. the Repubilicans have fought him tooth and nail since he won the election. If some of the promises he made did not get done look around. We the people will never forget what the republicans said he will be a one time President> Why????
      When you think the people are not paying attention we are.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gan

      Mitty was born into wealth. His daddy wasn't, but he was. Check your facts.

      April 18, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mitch

    First BobcatUSN you're a tard, religion shouldn't matter when it comes to politics, JFK said it best in regards to religion and governing(try reading this http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16920600). Also America is about choice, by limiting a persons choice, is taking away the liberties that we are have.

    Whats funny about most of all is that everyone is quick to blame Obama for this and Obama for that. Yes the president has try to put through legislation in regards to making America a better place. Are all of his proposals and the Democratic proposals good no; I.E. Free contraception, (I think the idea is great and that it should be more affordable to people who want to use it but it shouldn't come from the tax payers money to pay for it), Energy Policy; it is not perfect by any means, however he has been looking at other ways in which to energy instead of relying of the pump. How ever what people fail to realize is that its not always their fault, and their are two sides to every part of legislation. The republicans have had their far share of mess ups whether it is their piece or voting against it; I.E. ending subsidies to big oil companies, the Ryan Budget Plan, No Child Left Behind.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Boomer in Mo

    I doubt either of them have ever sat at the kitchen table, wondering which bills to pay and which to let slide another month like most Americans have done at some time in their lives. But, we've had lots of rich presidents who did seem to be in touch with ordinary people's lives. I don't think the Romneys are in touch, though. By the way, the snotty comments about the Romneys horses are just that. Lots of us rural middle class folks have horses. And a Missouri Foxtrotter is not a super expensive horse. They are common as ticks around here and are great to ride, especially if you have a bad back. The Austrian Warmblood was not cheap though, but so what? I once sold a yearling quarter horse for $40,000. She ended up being a world champion under saddle for her new owner. So what? I had a really good mare and picked out a really good stallion and got lucky with a fantastic filly to sell. But mostly I sold horses in the $1,000-$2,000 range. That's how I earned my living years ago - breeding, buying and selling horses. Didn't make me out of touch or rich. The Romneys need to spend lots of time with common folks, including horse owners, and learn what goes on in most of our homes. Then they would be in touch.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sal

    Like the Romney, many other politicians are out of touch with the rest of America. Senator Kerry, presesidential candidate in 2004 was a Forbes family member and married into more money, the Heinz family, A list of extremely rich Democrats are: Herb Kohl, Mark Marner, Jared Polis, Hillary Clinton, Jay Rockefeller, Diane Feinstein, Richard Blumenthal, Frank Lautenberg,

    April 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ellie

    To be honest folks, Ms. Rosen didn't put Mrs. Romney front and center....Mr. Romney did. He offered her up as his advisor on women's economic and social concerns when women expressed frustration with what we see as his lack of willingness to speak with us directly. Should he become president, he will represent us, too. We would like to know his stand on all the issues directly from him. We would also like to think we have his ear and that he is genuinely interested in what we have to say on the issues. We would like to know that we are respected. These things would go a long way in helping him win our trust.

    April 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thebeerdude

    They can definitely relate to people who's net worth is more than $100.000.000.

    April 18, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. B.

    His wealth isn’t as much of a factor as the fact that the man lives in a bubble and has absolutely no clue concerning middle America and what most people deal with in -Their Lives.

    Obama does, and has been on a path to turn around a huge mess created by another duffus that didn’t get it, Bush..
    Romney and his policies are more of the same Trickle Down crap that we know don’t work.

    April 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    Romney is going to loose big because of his hard stance on immigration,women issues and other hardline radical ideas.for instance he said in 08 when debating mc cain that if elected he is going to deport all illegal immigrants forgeting his name Romney is originated from spanish or other european countries and his ancestors are not real americans they also migrated to america like everybody except the red indies and some spanish people.Mitt Romney is not a native american name and not a real american so why dare you making a bad statements about immigrants.Mark it on the wall with an indellible ink Mitt YOU ARE GOING TO LOOSE VERY BIG BECAUSE AMERICA IS A COUNTRY OF IMMIGRANTS AND ARE WATCHING YOUR RADICAL AGENDA AND FLIP FLOPPING.

    April 20, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    GOP is out of touch with the 99%. The closeness in the polls show there are a lot of ignorant folks out there still, a good reason for education.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      GOP are 15% behind in the women's vote. There is no way the GOp can win the election with those numbers. The GOP war on women has backfired.....

      April 22, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
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