Should Hilary Rosen ‘apologize?’ Will she? If so, how?

Hilary Rosen is the latest to understand the wrath of social media [or, bend it to her will]. She won’t be the last, in either case.

Twitter Unloads on Dem Strategist           

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen started a war Wednesday night when she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, can’t relate to American women. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Rosen said. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”

Ann Romney responded with her very first tweet: “I chose to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” Obama campaign officials, including David Axelrod and Jim Messina, quickly distanced themselves from the comments on Twitter, and thousands of tweets denounced Rosen and praised stay-at-home moms.

Presumably Rosen knew what she was doing, firming up a large portion of the female electorate against Mitt Romney. That seems likely because she would have done some research to make sure what she was about to tell Cooper was accurate. And, this isn’t her first rodeo.

There are, of course, many women who worked outside the home and helped raised five boys, or two boys, or two girls and a boy, or one girl. And anyone with children knows it’s hard work, whether as a stay-at-home parent or a just-home-from-work parent.

But that debate rages backwards and forwards and won’t get settled here. The issue for us is whether Rosen erred by dissing Mrs. Mitt, and if so whether she should apologize. Personally, she probably has no intention.

But given the potential damage her comment had on the Obama campaign [“Obama campaign officials, including David Axelrod and Jim Messina, quickly distanced themselves from the comments on Twitter…] she might be forced to.

Most of this, we note, smoldered, caught fire and exploded in a world of # and @ and 140 characters or less. It’s the volume, stupid.

This is today’s controversy, a little more sharply focused because Romney vs. Obama finally became real this week with Rick Santorum’s surrender at Gettysburg.

If Rosen’s smart, and she surely is, she’ll borrow from the [two L’s] Hillary after her 1992 comment about Tammy Wynette [the surrogate Barbara Bush] and baking cookies. Clinton later offered some cookie recipes as a way of making amends, and wrote: “Besides, I’ve done quite a lot of cookie baking in my life, and tea-pouring too!”

Rosen will likely offer a statement with not well-hidden messages, something like:

“I apologize to Mrs. [gains identity only from her husband] Romney, as I admire the child raising and family building she surely did [while Mitt was out making millions]. I simply spoke from the experience I know of women who did the same [backwards and in high heels] while also holding a job outside the home.”


About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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