Yesterday, Democratic strategist and CAP Action board member Hilary Rosen — a partner in a PR firm who has no role in the Obama campaign — said on CNN that Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life.” Almost immediately, the Romney campaign falsely labeled Rosen an “Obama adviser” and demanded the Obama campaign distance itself from this non-advisor. The Obama Campaign swiftly responded that Rosen’s comments were “inappropriate and offensive.”
Now that President Obama has distanced himself from this fake advisor’s statement, it’s time for Mitt Romney to show his commitment to women’s rights by also distancing himself from actual members of his campaign who’ve disrespected women or women’s rights. Unlike Rosen, these anti-woman Romney supporters are official advisors to Romney’s campaign or top campaign surrogates that Romney has proudly shared a stage with:
- Donald Trump: The flamboyant reality show star is “a top Mitt Romney surrogate” according to Politico’s Mike Allen. Trump recorded robo-calls supporting Romney in primary states and he participated in “a ton of talk radio for Romney in Michigan, Arizona and Ohio.” Trump also has a long history of sexism, including telling the male contestants on his reality show to “rate the women” contestants on how sexually attractive they are. Calling TV personality Rosie O’Donnell a “big, fat pig” and an “animal,” after she criticized Trump. And, just this month, offering to expose his “very, very impress[ive]” penis to a top woman attorney. The top Romney surrogate, however, is also quite unfazed by criticism of his sexism. As he told Esquire in 1991, “it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of [expletive].”
- Bay Buchanan: Yesterday, in an attempt to overcome Romney’s weak poll numbers with women voters, the Romney campaign hosted Bay Buchanan on a press call as an official campaign surrogate. Bay, the sister of disgraced former TV pundit Pat Buchanan, has a long history of opposition to women’s rights. In a 2003 speech on the “four failures” of feminism, Bay Buchanan claimed that women are being “sold a bill of goods” when they pursue careers instead of having children, and she compared modern women to “alleycats” with respect to sex.
- Robert Bork: Former judge and failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork is the co-chair of Romney’s “Judicial Advisory Committee.” Bork opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employment and other discrimination against women, calling the idea that laws can require private companies to cease discriminating a “principle of unsurpassed ugliness.” More recently, the top Romney legal advisor mocked the very idea that gender discrimination even exists. In Bork’s words, “[i]t seems to me silly to say, ‘Gee, they’re discriminated against and we need to do something about it.’ They aren’t discriminated against anymore.”
Mitt Romney either believes that women who claim gender discrimination are “silly” or he does not. He either believes that women who express their sexuality are “alleycats,” or he does not. And he either believes that it is acceptable for one of his campaign’s top surrogates to offer to expose his genitals, or he does not. If the Obama campaign needs to disassociate himself from its non-advisor, than the least Romney can do is prove that he does not think women like Lilly Ledbetter are silly by abandoning his campaign’s most sexist advisors and surrogates.