Hilary Rosen's comment that Ann Romney can't understand women's economic struggles because she "has actually never worked a day in her life" was not intended to say women who stay home do not work hard. It was intended to make Mitt Romney look bad for looking to his (wealthy) stay-at-home wife for advice about what working women in an entirely different socio-economic class need.
I am not in favor of, nor impressed by ugly politics of any kind, but each election it happens. Someone says something that, when taken out of context sounds far worse than intended so I am not surprised that Rosen's comments sparked such outrage. The media and both sides of the campaign trail rely on media interest and hype for lots of reasons both financial and political. If nothing exciting is going on, the twisting of words and circumstances can create artificial brouhaha in an instant.
Would women (and Republicans and even first lady Obama) have been as outraged if Rosen had instead simply said Ann Romney has never held an outside job after having children? I doubt it. Rosen should have been more careful with her choice of words, and I believe apologizing (because damage control is also important in politics) and clarifying her meaning was called for (even if not widely accepted.) The truth is, most women with children cannot afford to stay home, and the Romneys are in that upper income bracket 97% of us will never achieve. But does this mean the wealthy (including Mrs. Romney) are out of touch with the working class and lower income families?
Being wealthy does not disqualify someone from having an opinion about what lesser income families need. Bill and Melinda Gates are good examples of the uber rich in touch with global poverty. Lee Iaccoca and Dave Thomas are two more examples of rich folks who not only seem to understand the "not rich" but have offered money and ideas to help others who are less fortunate.
So shame on Rosen for insinuating a wealthy women (Ann Romney) is out of touch and incapable of understanding anything outside her own world because of her wealth. Ann Romney deserves more credit than that -- let her be judged by her own words and actions not by her status.
But also, shame on those who attacked Rosen and twisted her words trying to make it sound as though she believes women who choose not to work have an easy time raising a family and do not "work." That is simply not what she said and not what she meant. We do not need another diversion that divides women into groups. We should all stand united and focus on reducing domestic violence and hate crimes, for equal pay, and an end to gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Those are things that all women -- no matter what their income level are still in danger of being subjected to.