Wolf Blitzer Puts Hilary Rosen Through the Wringer, Forces Her to Apologize to Ann Romney

After saying Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life, Democratic activist Hilary Rosen was trying to spin her way out of the firestorm over her comments. CNN's Wolf Blitzer would have none of it on Thursday's The Situation Room as he reprimanded her, forced her to apologize, and asked her how it felt to be thrown "under the bus" by Democratic allies.

Blitzer grilled Rosen for upwards of ten minutes and ripped her "awful way of saying" what she intended to say about Romney. He then made her "look into the camera" and talk to Romney, and after she dodged an apology a deadly serious Blitzer called her out on it. [Video below the break. Audio here.]

"I didn't hear an apology," Blitzer told Rosen, who had just accused the Romney campaign of making the issue a "distraction" and "forcing [it] on the American people to avoid his record on the issues."

Blitzer also listed the various Democrats -- including Michelle Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- who had distanced themselves from Rosen's words or outright condemned them. "You're a lifelong Democrat. But the Democrats are quickly throwing you, as you well know, under the bus," he told Rosen. "How does that feel when all your fellow Democrats are going after you like that?"

At the end of the lengthy exchange, he even proposed a face-to-face conversation between Romney and Rosen. The Democratic activist coldly refused what she termed a "beer summit."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 22 at 4:08 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

WOLF BLITZER: How should you have phrased what you wanted to say, because this was an awful way of saying it. Because she's not only a hard-working woman, you know, raising five boys obviously is not easy –

HILARY ROSEN, Democratic activist and CNN contributor: That's what I've said.

BLITZER: – especially someone who has MS, who has breast cancer. This is a wonderful woman. And so how should you, if you could do a do-over –

ROSEN: If I had the do-over, what I would be saying is that Mitt Romney should not be on the campaign trail saying to women, my wife tells me how it is for mom – for women out there. Because people of wealth sometimes take for granted some of the niceties that they have in life. And the Romneys are people of wealth. She doesn't just – she's not just a one-mom –

BLITZER: Alright, so look into the camera. If Ann Romney is watching you right now, talk to her.

ROSEN: Well, I'd said a few things this afternoon. But I'll say it again. Mrs. Romney, I applaud your decision to stay home and raise what are obviously five wonderful boys. This is not about stay-at-home moms versus working moms. I think your husband needs to stand up for women's economic struggles, and so far we have not seen how he is going to do that on the campaign trail. This hasn't come out of his mouth, and maybe it will at some point. But this is a distraction that his campaign is forcing on the American people to avoid his record on the issues.

BLITZER: I didn't hear an apology.

ROSEN: Oh, well I sent out an apology this afternoon.

BLITZER: I didn't hear you say to her just now I ap –

ROSEN: I'm sorry, well I assumed that Mrs. Romney saw my apology this afternoon, but if not, I apologize. Working moms, stay-at-home moms, they're both extremely hard jobs. I know, I've shared them both. And I'm sorry if that offended you.

BLITZER: I want to put this clip – she was also – we heard a little bit of what she said on Fox earlier in the day. I'll play this little clip right now.

(Video Clip)

ANN ROMNEY, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: If I get a chance, I want to tell you what women are telling me. And Hilary needs to know this, because I've been on the campaign trail for one year, and guess what women are talking about – and I don't care if they're stay-at-home moms, or they're working mothers, or they're grandmothers – guess what they're all talking about? They're talking about jobs, and they're talking about the legacy of debt that we're leaving our children. That's what I'm hearing. And that's what I'm talking about here.

(End Video Clip)

BLITZER: She makes a fair point there.

ROSEN: She does make a fair point. I do think that's what women care about. And when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, let's go back farther. When Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital, his record of hiring women was terrible. Fewer than ten percent of the senior executives at the company were women. There have been – and he actually went on the record and said well I just couldn't find qualified women to serve in these positions. No woman alive believes that.

BLITZER: Here's – here's what I don't understand. Because you're a excellent and very astute political strategist. I can – all those points you're making are fine. But why bring Ann Romney into this conversation? Why did you have to bring – you hated it when conservatives, right-wingers, used to go after Michelle Obama, or a spouse or a wife of any of these Democratic candidates. Why bring her into this conversation?

ROSEN: Wolf, I should not have chosen words that seemed to attack Ann Romney's choice in life. And I apologize for that. But Ann Romney and Mitt Romney brought themselves into this conversation. When he goes on the campaign trail and says she is his economic surrogate, when she goes out there and makes these points – I'm not bringing them into this. Come on, that's a little – that's a little too much.

(...)

BLITZER: You're a lifelong Democrat. But the Democrats are quickly throwing you, as you well know, under the bus. The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, tweeting "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected." Debbie Wasserman Schultz –

ROSEN: I couldn't agree more with the First Lady on that.

BLITZER: – the chair of the Democratic Party. "Disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments. As a mother of 3, there's no doubt that raising children is work." And Vice President Joe Biden just gave an interview to MSNBC in which he said, and they've been tweeting it, "my response to that is that's an outrageous assertion." And you saw what David Axelrod and Jim Messina from the campaign, the Obama campaign. How does that feel when all your fellow Democrats are going after you like that?

(...)

BLITZER: Have any of these people, or others, in the White House or at the DNC or at the Obama campaign contacted you, spoken to you about any of this today?

ROSEN: I've had – I've had several supportive calls.

BLITZER: Supportive. But what are they saying?

ROSEN: Well, you know, people understand – people know me. They know that I wouldn't attack a stay-at-home mom, and that that's not what I think this debate is about. So I'm comfortable with that, and people who know me I think are comfortable with it too.

(...)

BLITZER: I mean it's politics, one thing for the Republicans to be slamming you, which obviously that's politics. But for all these Democrats who you've worked so closely with over the years to quickly –

(...)

BLITZER: I think someone – you'd probably be happy about this – could organize a little face-to-face time between you and Ann Romney to talk about this in person, that would probably be helpful, don't you think?

ROSEN: You know, we don't need a beer summit. She doesn't have to answer to me. Her husband is the one running for President.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014