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. Rich, Texas

    Let's not forgot that the Obama's are not exactly poor; what makes them so qualified to undertsand what its like for people who are? Liberals just seem to assume that being a member of the Democratic Party makes you more understanding of what its like for working poeple, despite the fact that Obama's fundraisers are attended by people paying $15,000, $25,000, or $40,000 a plate to attend.

    If you have a different view on how to solve our country's problems, fine, but please stop the hypocracy about how the millionaire lawyers, labor union bosses, and Hollywood prima donnas that own the Democratic Party are so much more understanding and caring and Repulbicans are all filthy rich crooks.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • 12

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

      Could this be why we are talking about Mitt?

      April 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Small business man

      lol, its not that he is rich Texas,it is he is out of touch, and that he does not care. Also earning your cash from nothing is alot different then having a rich father setting you up. So yep the Obamas can relate, and they have been proving it for years, way before he became potus.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • souptwins

      Small business– He did not have any inheritance! that's a total myth. The Romney's weren't always rich and spent a good many years living very humbly. “Listened to an interview with Ann Romney a few years ago about her college days with Mitt. They were both going to school and lived in student housing – tiny little place with cement floors. She pieced together a carpet out of scraps from dumpster diving. For a desk they used a wooden door on cinder blocks. I guess they have paid the price to get where they are. They didn't get help from their parents who would take them to dinner and say – how can you guys live like this? At Harvard, they lived in a basement apartment for $50/mo and had their first child. They are the genuine article! People forget they are at a different stage in life now but that doesn't mean don't remember the early years.

      April 14, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rich, Texas

    Sorry for the poor typing!

    April 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 1crusader

    To answer the question, the answer is "No".It isn't even just their wealth.The policies that Romney is proposing prove it,The Kennedys, Roosevelts, and others were wealthy presidents and politicians, but most of their policies were tailored to the needs of the middle class, and disadvantaged; where Romney's tax plan and ideas reflect those of Paul Ryan, which would hurt the average American.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. janelle

    The Romney's can relate just as well as the Obama's can. The Romney's, like the Obama's, started out their life together with nothing. The Romney's, like the Obama's, worked hard and sacrificed. The Romney's, the Obama's, have become successful due to and because of their own merits, not because of others. Of course the Romney's can relate.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      You're saying Mitt Romney started out with nothing ? Are you serious ?

      April 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • concernedjoy

      To "bobcat(in a hat)"

      From what I have read, although Mitt Romney grew up with parents who did well in life, when his father died, Romney gave all of his inheritance to charity. He made on his own as an adult. He should be admired for what he has achieved in life. But no – unless you are a democrat – your wealth makes you evil! There are plenty of kids who grew up with priviliges that mess up and don't do well on their own. That is not the case with Mitt Romney.

      April 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mharris

    Will you have the rich to pay a higher tax and major corporation as well

    April 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Can the Romneys relate to the average family ?

    I guess that would depend on who they see as the average family. Their average family group consists of those who are making millions of dollars a year. My average family group consists of those who hope we can make it throught the year.
    So, that is actually kind of a trick question.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • roberta

      Mr O promised hope and change, He has overseen a CBO that has spent shamelessly. Put us in Afghanistan and set us up to move into Africa. I was doing very well,good job good education having a great time but the joke was on me. Give me a rich man who wants businesses to do well over a poor man who thinks i should support those who will not work. NO GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE OF ANY KIND,WELFAR,UNEMPLOYMENT NOTHING WITHOUT WORKING. Work in a school 2 days a week . teach 1 child to read . America needs t o get off its collective asses and go back to work.

      April 14, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. clarke

    Everyone is in touch with their own reality, period. Everything is different in every family and not one of us knows what goes on behind closed doors. It is wrong for us to judge anyone. You really should not judge a book by its cover.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Drake

    If you are poor and have struggled but eventually made $250M then I think you can relate to people that are struggling. You will always remember how hard it was.

    This is why it is so hard to believe Romney.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bigbeau

    If you're a mormon:

    You believe in a man named Joseph Smith that declared himself a general against the American Government and then said he would create a Theocratic Monarchy with himself at its head.

    You also believe in a man named Joseph Smith that married a 14 year old girl – even though he already had plural wives – because he told the child's family they would receive instant eternal salvation if they gave her to him (Smith).

    You also believe in becoming a god after this life if you have committed to and followed all of your temple rituals sincerely and without deviance.

    You also believe that anyone that is not a mormon will NOT be allow to be with Jesus Christ or God, no matter how good they are, if they do not accept your gospel (religion) to be the only true church. For example. Mother Teresa will not be in heaven if she does not accept a posthumous baptism in the after life.

    You also believe that you must take on secret temple names, wear garments (underwear) that has secret symbols that are used in secret rituals in the temple as well as a blood oath that began in 1843, but ended in 1990 when there was a general uproar amongst non-mormons that found out about this particular ritual.

    You also believe Blacks and Native Americans were marked with dark skin for being evil in the pre-life or because they just displeased god.

    You believe that once you are a god of your own world, you with your heavenly wife will create spirit children that will then fill the earthly bodies of human on your own particular planet that you rule over...meaning that you are already (in certain terms) better than the God that created this planet.

    You do believe that Lucifer and Jesus were and are brothers.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jblast

      If you are Obama you believe in really big government bondage that's permanent.......
      Nothing is worse than the Obamination of America .....a one way street to hell....

      April 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • souptwins

      To me these are the only 2 Mormon principles that have any pertinence to electing a POTUS. If a Pres. respects people's right to worship as they see fit and honor the separation of Church and State, that's all that should matter. Romney seems far more committed to doing that than the others.
      From LDS Articles of Faith:
      "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
      We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

      April 14, 2012 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jerubbaal

    How can so many say that he was a self made man when his father was prez of American Motors and the Gov of Mich. It was the O's who got their education through student loans and scholarships. They are the epitome of the rights belief of American exceptionalism, working hard and achieving independent success. The only problem is that he is BLACK.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      Thank you.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • souptwins

      Has nothing to do with the color of either man's skin! The Romney's did not have any inheritance, went into a completely different profession, got 2 grad. degrees and move far from home. Yes, they are just as "self made" as the Obama's.

      April 14, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. jblast

    For the past 5 years of a Democrat controlled congress and 3 years of Obama with at times a super majority, most Americans can see that Obama is not relating to anyone by his outrageous spending, high unemployment, high energy costs, high food costs and adding huge uncertainty to businesses around the country that are just standing by shaking there heads or have increased there foreign business.
    On the other hand, Romney has saved and created many businesses that hire and employ thousands who form one big community of responsible workers and tax payers.....
    Yes, it's Obama who is out of touch.....probably from lack of real experience.....

    April 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jblast

    Mormon???
    Harry Reid is a Mormon and the liberals love him.....end of story ....Mormonism is off the table....

    April 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      Better than being off their rocker like you.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Superman

    bobcat come to the party blog on Friday Events for leeintulsa. Im trying to round up the gang

    April 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Attila, The Hun

    "My wife drives a couple of Cadillacs". That ought to go over well with average voters.

    April 14, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. mrdeshon

    America knows that Ann Romney has never been, a working 2jobs then coming home& making dinner & cleaning the house, type of mother! So why is everyone acting like they dont understand what Ms. Rosen is talking about? Ann Romney is not a working mom,never has & never will be!

    April 14, 2012 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
    • HOWARD

      OBAMA IS REDISTRIBUTING AMERICA'S WEALTH TO OTHER COUNTRIES.

      SHOCKING ABC News on Obama/USA Infrastructure

      Diane Sawyer reporting on U.S. bridge projects going to the Chinese.... NOT Americans.

      The bridges are right here in the U.S. and yet Obama has approved for Chinese contractors to come in and do the work. What about jobs for Americans???

      This one should be tough for the supporters of the current regime to swallow....AND it comes from ABC NEWS...no Snopes or Wikileaks on this one!!

      The lead-in with Obama promising jobs in the U.S. by improving our infrastructure is so typical of all his promises! Our tax dollars are at work – for CHINA!!!

      I pray all the unemployed see this and cast their votes accordingly in 2012!

      April 14, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
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