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Why Mitt Romney Is Right About Mom’s Work

In the trenchant debate sparked by Democratic talking head Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney—the subject of front-page articles today in both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal (what’s wrong, New York Times—you don’t care about mothers?)—we heard much about how highly Mitt Romney valued his wife’s work running the household, often saying it was harder work than his own. “I will tell you that Mitt said to me more times than you would imagine, Ann, your job is more important than mine,” Ann said on Fox News yesterday.

And you know what? Mitt was right about Ann working harder. Because as suggested by this anecdote from The Real Romney, the new biography by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, Willard Mitt Romney was not exactly pulling his share of the weight on the home front:

Mitt, meanwhile, had his own ideas about what he would—and wouldn’t—do as a father, evidently counting on Ann’s maternal generosity. “I was willing to change the urine-soaked diapers, but the messier types gave me dry heaves,” he told GQ magazine in 2007. ‘So my wife allowed me to escape that.’

And one more detail from the Romneys’ early parenting years, tucked inside the Post’s article today. Hilary Rosen has since tried to explain that her remark, that Ann Romney has never “worked a day in her life,” was meant less as a comment on stay at home mothers than a comment on the propriety of Mitt invoking as his authority on the economic concerns of women someone who has never really known economic struggles. But the Post article reminds us that things were not always so peachy in the Romney household:

In that same interview, during her husband’s unsuccessful [1994] campaign for the Senate, Ann Romney gave an impolitic description of the closest thing to economic stress they couple had ever experienced. When her husband was in graduate school, she said, “we had no income except the stock we were chipping away at. We were living on the edge, not entertaining.”

So take that, Hilary Rosen. Ann can too relate to the woes of everyday women—husbands who deem certain diapers beneath their level, and stocks bequeathed by the CEO father-in-law, chip, chipping away.

follow me on Twitter @AlecMacGillis