Ann and Mitt Romney campaign in Nashua, N.H., earlier in September.After she's embraced the political spotlight and talked at length about what a warm and loving person her husband really is, Mitt Romney's latest comments from the secretly taped fundraising dinner in Florida seem like a bit of a slap in the face: "We use Ann sparingly right now," he said, "so that people don't get tired of her."
In his defense, Romeny -- who also derided 47 percent of the country for being dependent on the government and told the crowd that "my job is not to worry about those people -- said his remarks were "not elegantly stated" and "off-the-cuff." But in the recording, he sounds like he thinks it's inevitable that voters would get tired of hearing his wife talk.
It doesn't help that she's been tasked with humanizing her husband and reaching out to women voters but forbidden from actually addressing any big issues. In an interview with KWQC news in Iowa on September 7, she answered questions about gay marriage, birth control, and employer-provided health insurance by insisting that the issues weren't worth talking about.
"You know, I'm not going to talk about the specific issues. I'm going to let my husband speak on issues," she told anchor David Nelson. "I'm here to really just talk about my husband and what kind of husband and father he is and, you know, those are hot-button issues that distract from what the real voting issue is going to be at this election."
But while she insists that her message is that "we hear women's voices," her husband's remarks show that he doesn't. Entitlement programs, Social Security, access to birth control, and healthcare reform are economic issues -- ones that affect women more than men in many cases.
"Women use these resources a lot more than men do," Democratic representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin pointed out recently. "Adult women use food stamps to a greater degree than do men. Two-thirds of adult food stamp users are women. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- depending on how old women are, they use anywhere from two-thirds to 85 percent of these programs."
Also dependent on government programs: Military spouses who are trying to support their families while their husbands are deployed, single moms whose minimum-wage paychecks don't bring them above the poverty line, and elderly women who simply live longer than men and so stay on Medicare longer. And as Business Insider pointed out, nine out of the 10 states with the highest number of people who pay no income tax are "reliably Republican."
They were probably included when Ann Romney declared "I love women!!!!" at the Republican National Convention. But they're also probably the ones whom Mitt thinks may be getting tired of hearing her talk.
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