The wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sounded less like a stay-at-home mother of five and more like a political tactician at an event on Sunday where she said comments made by a Democratic CNN contributor were an “early birthday present.”
Reporters from both The Wall Street Journal and NBC News overheard Ann Romney telling supporters at a private fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida that she “loved” that Hilary Rosen charged that the wealthy candidate’s wife had “actually never worked a day in her life.”
“She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing,” Rosen added.
The controversy put the spotlight on Ann Romney and gave the campaign its first real chance to push back against the idea that Republicans were waging a “war on women.”
“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” Ann Romney said at the closed-door fundraiser on Sunday.
Also speaking at the event, the former Massachusetts governor offered some insight into which agencies he would cut or eliminate.
Under a Romney presidency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development would either face deep cuts or complete elimination.
“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney explained. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”
The Department of Education would also see their budget dramatically slashed, but Romney said he had learned from experience that the political price for terminating the agency was too high.
“The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” the candidate promised, recalling that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) had used the issue to defeat him during his 1994 run for Senate. He also said he appreciated the department’s role in curbing teachers’ unions.
A the general election winds up, Romney described how he would use “earned media.” He was pleased by how his campaign had been covered by Fox News, but said he would have to reach out past the “true believers” to a broader audience.
“We are behind when it comes to commentators on TV. They tend to be liberal,” Romney pointed out. “Where we are ahead or even is on Twitter and on the Internet.”
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