In case it wasn’t already clear that last week’s controversy over stay at home moms was entirely manufactured, this should put the question to bed.
Romney and allies cried that Democrats had declared “war on moms” after a Democratic strategist said Romney’s wife hadn’t worked a day in her life. Romney’s camp said this meant Democrats don’t value stay at home moms and motherhood, while they believe that women who stay home are doing real work.
But for every Romney action, there is an equal and opposite Romney reaction, and this morning, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes dug up a video of Romney from just January in which the Republican presidential candidate said he wanted to require women who receive welfare to work outside the home, even if their children are very young. He told a New Hampshire audience:
“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”
But this is worse than hypocritical because there is a clear difference here — women who receive welfare benefits, the ones Romney wants to force to work, are poor, while Romney’s wife is very wealthy. And this exactly the point CNN contributor Hillary Rosen was trying to make, inartfully, when she sparked this controversy. Ann Romney had the luxury of choosing to devote herself full time to raising her children. It’s hard work, no doubt, but millions of mothers are forced to work and raise their kids at the same time, as Romney says he wants to require poor women on government benefits to do.
In response, the Romney campaign confirmed to the National Journal that Romney thinks a poor mother who receives welfare benefits should have to work:
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said that Romney’s comments were reflective of his support of welfare reform legislation. “Moving welfare recipients into work was one of the basic principles of the bipartisan welfare reform legislation that President Clinton signed into law. The sad fact is that under President Obama, the poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent in 2011, the highest rate in 17 years. The Obama administration’s economic policies have been devastating to women and families,” she wrote in an email.