12:50 pm Apr. 12, 20129
On a conference call with reporters this morning, a team of female surrogates for Mitt Romney said Hilary Rosen's comment last night that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life" was a deliberate message from the White House.
"Clearly they're using surrogate women, including Hilary Rosen who is a paid spokesperson, to deliver messages about Republicans that the president does not want to deliver himself, for fear of the backlash," said Representative Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, who was joined on the call by Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock, Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance, and Stephanie Nielson, a popular mommy blogger.
"But quite frankly," Lummis continued, "as someone who's visited the White House over 35 times to advise on message recently, her remarks are reflective of the political machine within the White House intends to put out."
Rosen, an employee of the quietly influential firm SKD Knickerbocker, has longstanding ties to the Democratic Party, but wasn't speaking in any official capacity, and her remarks were swiftly denounced by officials with President Obama's re-election campaign (and, indirectly, by the first lady).
That didn't stop the Romney supporters from painting her as a mouthpiece.
"I would just point out that she has been paid, her firm has been paid by the Democrat National Committee," said McMorris Rodgers. "She's been down to the White House 35 different times advising the Obama administration on messaging. There is clearly a connection between Miss Rosen and the Obama administration and she's been involved for many, many years."
The second question on the call was, essentially, the same as the first one, asking again if the surrogates thought it was an "intentional message," despite the disavowals from Obama officials.
And the answer, again, was absolutely.
"It's hard for me to believe that Hilary Rosen, who has visited the White House 35 times, and advises on message, would make remarks like that in a half-hazard or freelancing way," Lummis said. "Message is among other things, disciplined when it comes to who will deliver the message and what the message will be. So I don't believe that Hilary Rosen was speaking in a manner that would indicate she was absolutely freelancing."
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