Hilary Rosen apologizes, another lesson in managing a crisis

We discussed yesterday the likelihood that Hilary Rosen would apologize for her criticism of Ann Romney for never having “worked a day in her life.”

After President and Mrs. Obama, the Veep and campaign officials distanced themselves from Rosen with choice and blunt words, Rosen backed down:

Rosen apologized for her “poorly chosen” words and aimed to “put the faux ‘war against stay at home moms‘ to rest once and for all.”

“I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended,” Rosen said in a statement. “Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.”


Much of the coverage today is about how the Romney campaign, stuck in a valley of disconnect with women voters, “pounced” on the apparent Demogaffe. Surely Romney strategists used it to solidify their base with presumed more conservative stay-at-home parents.

But in reality anyone riled by this ‘faux war’ chose sides years ago and likely won’t shift votes as a result.

This provides another teachable moment from crisis managers. A sincere apology can abruptly stop a crisis. Express regret, take responsibility, ‘fess up, move on.

Rosen, left, knows this world intimately. She will be largely forgotten by Monday and she won’t get to speak at the Democratic National Convention.

But that likely doesn’t mean she’s ended her run as a friend with benefits for the Obama campaign. There is a solid contingent of hard-working parents that does see working outside and inside the home as needed or required and appropriate, and can’t help but resent the spouse of a Republican multi-millionaire who “doesn’t have to.”

That doesn’t make lesser beings of parents who stay home to raise their children and don’t hold a professional job, and Rosen made clear in the original Anderson Cooper interview that she had nothing against that choice.

Rosen said her piece, solidified Obama’s base with women and men already likely to support him in the fall and you can be sure there are plenty of happy strategists in the president’s campaign organization who appreciate what Rosen did.

And, faced with a storm of crisis-like protest, Rosen apologized, said “nevermind,” and can take credit for type-casting the Romneys as out-of-touch 1 percenters.


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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One Response to Hilary Rosen apologizes, another lesson in managing a crisis

  1. I would only disgree with that the sides have been chosen years ago. It has been perhaps 10 – 15 years since the Left has launched any major gaffes/attacks against stay-at-home mothers.

    There is a large number of women whose liberal-leanings have been formed mainly because “everyone else is”. It only takes a few moments of insight to cause any individual to question unauthentic beliefs, no matter how longstanding.

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