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. Philip

    Can Sheryl? he he

    April 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ahkmed the Terror Guy

    Can relate to her having 16 grands children. Why spend buzkashi money on birth control? Who pay for goat head?

    April 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Superman

    Superman did not put into this article and i would not because its rommney,,,,,,superman here/gay superman;,,,,,,,,,,,,,the trolls are hungry,,,,,,,the trolls are here in CNN because the trolling on the streets for johns got slow,,,,,sorry trolls you wont make any money here

    April 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. magnoliaroots

    My mother has always told me that it is not what you say but how you say it. I can see how Ms. Rosen's words in the manner and tone delivered could easily be taken in offense. I have been a stay at home mom, not by choice but due to layoffs. As a veteran who spent the majority of my children's childhoods on the move I enjoyed the time I had with them but it was bitter sweet? The looming cloud of financial dispair was ever present. The ironic thing is that MOST of us knew what she meant. This was not about belittling stay at home moms or the work that they perform. It was about pointing out that Mrs. Romney may not be in touch with the financial and economic concerns of the those not privileged to have the choice to do so without the fear of financial struggle and therefore may not be the best candidate to speak on behalf of the average woman, mom in America.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • mamaw

      magnoliaroots I agree with you 100. I just want to add that as a mom who has worked outside the home in addition to staying at home. I still say that Ms. Romney may be out of touch with the average woman for I believe that very few stay at home moms enjoy the maids, cooks and nannies to help us take care of our families that were and still are at her disposal.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • concernedjoy

      I heard Ann Romney responding to the remarks made about her, and she stated that she has been on the campaign trail with her husband for a year, talking and listening to women and their concerns. THAT is what she relayed to Mitt Romney. It was not "her opinion", that most people think she has no right to, since she personally hasn't experienced something. She may not experience every hardship others go through, but she is capable of listening and understanding that their concerns are important.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
    • griffbos

      well said, sadly the partisans are being dishonest and full of double standard

      April 16, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Superman

    Nobody can match the superman no matter how hard you try,,,,,,,,,ive got the ability to evade you trolls beyond your belief so give it your best shot,,,,,,, you do not have my heart and i do not have yours,,,,,,neither would i want yours,,,im happy with mine

    April 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I think you forgot your pills this morning...its the tab labeled "friday"

      April 13, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. magnoliaroots

    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."

    You are correct...money cannot buy happiness or fix illnesses but it sure helps when you don't have to worry about how you will pay the medical bills or how your family will fair financially in your abscense . Sure Mrs. Romney understands hardship, her hardships which are simply different than those she is attempting to speak for.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank ( R- Ohio ) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Can the Romneys relate to the average family?

    Of course not. Thier kids are special needs kids. Each one has a cord with an RS232 port connector that plugs into the side of most PC's. Since Ms. Romney sits in the corner as viewed by Ms. Rosen, when thier kids have issues, they simply "plugin" thier kid, and download a famiy circle "service pack", and reboot the kid. It's easy. No complicated breast feeding arrangement. No messy diapers. Fast and Easy to leave Ms Romney to sit and stare at the walls.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    I sure hope CNN can do a story about the comments on this story about the comments on another story.

    I remember when CNN had journalists who went out and did research into stories – of course, back then, the USA was still benefiting from the public education system of the 60's and 70's. After 3 decades of bubble gum education, we have bubble gum news – I guess it fits well.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • CNN Mod

      Like this?

      BOB had one of the most clever comments of the day on this story about comments on "CNN comment" stories:

      "I sure hope CNN can do a story about the comments on this story about the comments on another story.

      I remember when CNN had journalists who went out and did research into stories – of course, back then, the USA was still benefiting from the public education system of the 60's and 70's. After 3 decades of bubble gum education, we have bubble gum news – I guess it fits well."

      April 13, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Hi there, thanks for your comments. This is a blog post about the reaction to a story, not technically a news story in the traditional sense. The editor's note at the top explains this. It's our way of giving back to the reader community and shedding a light on the impact that stories have. We have some really interesting conversations here, and there's always a lot to learn from readers.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Charles manson

    So, not only are poor U.S. Citizens are on welfare, but rich U.S. politicians are on welfare also?? And have been from day 1 i guess working is for suckers!!

    April 13, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    This post is for kelly (leeintulsas sweetheart) . I read your post on the other thread but by tomorrow it will be gone, Im sure. It was truly bittersweet to see his s/n. I just wanted to say : when youre feeling stronger (or even when youre NOT feeling strong) I would like to extend an invitation to join our little blogging family. He was very much in love with you and very much in love with being a daddy. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us, any time.You are forever welcome here. Truly. xoxo.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Oh thank you, raven, that is a very sweet message.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. d Letterman says

    Nobody cares

    April 13, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. ron

    @ Mitt and/ or Ann, all politics aside I extend an open invitation to either of you to come "down" here and spend a single day with me if you want a real look at average today. Prepare to have your eyes opened to reality in America.

    April 13, 2012 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mr Dalloway

    The only thing that I have in common with Mrs. Romney is a beating heart.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bill Fitzgerald

    An interview with Josh Romney yesterday informs us that Ann had a person come in once a week to help clean for an hour or so. Ann did all of the raising of the 5 boys herself. Awesome woman, outstanding Husband who supported her and came home and did his share around the house. nOpe2012

    April 13, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • griffbos

      serious the Romney's have had hired help for year they got into trouble when he ran for Governor as it was found that a few were not in the country legally, I don;t care what their son wants to claim, as we know Mitt is a lying RINO

      April 16, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    The very rich have exactly the same human problems that bother those who have achieved average and less than average success.
    Children of the most wealthy are often taught extreme frugality and its value, which the average child seldom learns.
    The underlying question in this exercise is not Mrs. Romney's ability to identify with the average citizen's life. The question really being discussed is whether the very successful will advocate drastic redistribution of American wealth, which the poor incorrectly think would solve their survival problems.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Hmmmm, the television and the news would point to a far greater percentage of the rich andyoung being unable to control themselves and act like spoiled little brats.

      Pick a celebrity, any celebrity that is young and rich...then let me know how that supposition that they are frugal and smart works out for you...yep, the rich really know how to teach their children...

      April 13, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jrl

      This piece is sad. How does Obama relate to the American people? Do average Americans sit in a church listening to radical Jeremiah Wright for 20 years? Do they hang out with proclaimed terrorists like bill ayers? Do they go out doing community agitating by applying philosophy of Saul alinsky, creating chaos to keep opponents distracted? Do Americans go on multiple million dollar vacations on the tax payers dime? Obamas can't even reveal the bottles of wine served at state dinners cause they are so expensive. Obama doesn't relate at all. I'd rather see a successful CEO in office that operates of a budget. (harry Reid you should be ashamed but you have none)

      April 13, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • BeanTown Bully

      Soo you're saying the poor's problems would not be solved by having money allocated to their plight? Really?? You must be very very rich

      April 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
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