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Ann McFeatters
Monday, April 16, 2012

Can this campaign get any sillier?

By ANN McFEATTERS

Another Viewpoint

Perhaps it’s spring fever. There certainly seem to be a lot of silly comments coming out of the mouths of pols these days. And that is even after Rick Santorum left the presidential race.

A Democratic strategist named Hilary Rosen, who does not work directly for the party or the Obama campaign, said Ann Romney was not qualified to speak for women because she “never worked a day in her life.” Oops. Mrs. Romney reared five sons and assures everyone it was real work. As any mother knows well.

What Rosen probably meant to say was that since the Romneys are incredibly wealthy, the candidate’s wife didn’t have to work outside the home(s) for pay or worry about family finances as most women do.

The Rosen gaffe came as the Romney campaign began to realize that Mitt Romney’s gender gap with women might be his biggest hurdle right now. A poll by ABC News and The Washington Post a few days ago found Obama leading Romney with women voters by 57 percent to 38 percent.

Romney addressed this by saying he understands the problems of women because his wife talks to them and tells him what they say. (He needs a go-between for female voters?)

He then went on to give a speech standing in front of five white women with blond hair. Hey, he’s still learning about this presidential campaign stuff.

Since Ann Romney is very popular and since she has had struggles in life as everyone does, Democrats immediately dismissed the Rosen gaffe as unfortunate, unsanctioned, ridiculous and untrue. Oh, and a timely gift to the Romney campaign.

But hyperbole lives! Even after the Rosen episode, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina emailed supporters that Mitt Romney is “the most radically anti-women of any candidate in a generation.” Really?

Romney has taken to charging that, under Obama, 92.3 percent of the jobs lost belonged to women. But he fails to mention that is because men lost 3.3 million jobs, mostly in manufacturing and construction, when the recession first began in 2007 while women lost 1.2 million.

As state and local governments cut jobs for nurses, office administrators and teachers, more women than men have been laid off. In the last 10 months, both men and women have been going back to work, although more women than men have been returning to school.

Then there was the Republican congressman from Florida, Allen West, who stood up at a community forum to answer a question from the audience about how many card-carrying communists are in Congress.

When the audience tittered at the ridiculousness of the question, West responded seriously: “No, it’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

Later, he said he was talking about liberal members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. And we thought the unforgivable excesses of the McCarthy era taught legislators not to make unfounded accusations about colleagues.

We have to admit we miss the scores of “Bushisms” from former President George W. Bush. There were reporters who did little else but chronicle his verbal mal mots. But he’s still willing to step in.

“I wish they weren’t called the ‘Bush tax cuts,’: he said. ‘If they were called some other body’s cuts, they’re probably less likely to be raised.”

A rose by any other name …

And even though we’ve all but forgotten Newt Gingrich, he’s not going away without a few slings and arrows.

Gingrich, who used to be a Fox News commentator before deciding God wanted him to be president, says Fox News destroyed his chances by slanting coverage in favor of Romney and distorting his and Callista’s campaign. Fox retorted that he is bitter. Hard to imagine.

We thought we’d miss Santorum’s daily rants. But maybe not.

Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. Email her at amcfeatters@nationalpress.com.