Romney’s Double Standard In The War On Women: Limbaugh vs. Rosen

Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney has abandoned his message that President Obama is waging a “war on religion” in favor of Obama’s supposed “war on women.” To drive this message home, the Romney campaign spent all day Thursday accusing Democrats of not valuing the work of stay-at-home moms after CNN contributor Hilary Rosen (who is not an Obama adviser, but is a CAPAF board member) said that Ann Romney hadn’t worked.

Romney’s apoplectic response to Rosen’s comments contrasts starkly with his reaction following Rush Limbaugh’s sexist attacks on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke.

Within an hour of Rosen’s remarks, Romney’s wife Ann joined Twitter and personally condemned Rosen. The following day, the campaign deployed a series of surrogates to slam the pundit in conference calls with reporters and press releases, while Ann appeared on Fox News. The campaign and its conservative allies demanded — and won — public condemnations of Rosen from the Obama campaign, the DNC, prominent Democrats, and even President Obama himself.

Conversely, it took Romney almost three days, about 52 hours, to speak out against Limbaugh’s unquestionably more offensive message, despite being repeatedly asked about it on the campaign trail. Rather than lead the charge against Limbaugh, as he demanded Obama do against Rosen, Romney offered only tepid comments after most leading conservatives had already spoken out.

ThinkProgess made this chart illustrating the difference:

Following his soft remarks on March 2 — Romney merely said, “I’ll just say this, which is, it’s not the language I would have used.” Those were his strongest words on Limbaugh’s attacks, and he refused to speak about it after that. “I’m not going to weigh in on that particular controversy,” he said at a victory party on Super Tuesday.


Perhaps it’s not fair to expect public figures to respond to every offensive thing said by a supporter, as Romney suggested just last month, but his silence then undercuts his feigned outrage now.

*Limbaugh made his initial slut comments before 3:00pm on Feb. 29 and Romney did not speak out against him until a March 2 Rally with Gov. Chris Christie in Cleveland, OH after 7:00pm. Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN before 9:00pm on April 11 and Ann Romney sent her response Tweet at 10:00pm.