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Mitt Romney: Poor Single Moms Need “Dignity of Work”

Mitt Romney: Poor Single Moms Need “Dignity of Work”

Poor women should be given federal assistance for child care so they can “have the dignity of work” said Mitt Romney, belying the outrage his campaign spent the last part of the week generating and showing, clearly, that for Republicans there is really only one acceptable stay-at-home mom: the kind supported by a wealthy husband.

The remarks were made in January and unearthed by MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” and broadcast during the 8 a.m. hour of his show on Sunday.

After Hilary Rosen suggested that Ann Romney wasn’t the best person to explain the financial pressures most working women face because she has not “worked a day in her life” the Romney camp saw an opening and ran with it, hoping to re-frame the debate as an attack on mothers by the left.  “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” Romney said on Twitter.

Of course Ann Romney had a choice: her husband has millions to support her and their large family. And that is great, but not all women have that choice and as her husband made clear, not all women are entitled to a choice to begin with. Poor women should be required to work outside the home to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. “[E]ven if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work,” Romney said of moms on TANF.

Attacking poor single moms is nothing new for Romney. As governor of Massachusetts he increased the amount of time women on welfare were required to work. “I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”

Romney’s comments simply illustrate the fundamental narrative driving this latest iteration of the mommy wars: motherhood and parenting are not truly valued by the right unless they fit into the very narrow confines of christian domesticity. And poor single mothers, are by this logic, inherently unchristian and non-domestic, not to be trusted absent the close oversight of a husband or lawmakers.

Related Stories:

So How Much Is The GOP Going To Pay Moms?

Romney Camp Reignites The Mommy Wars

Read more: , , , , , , ,

Photo from Beth Rankin via flickr.

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230 comments

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9:57PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

And actually many rich people were once very poor themselves..I know immigrants who came to our country without a penny and became millionaires...and guess what? They did it through hard work and intelligence and careful money management. They did not do it sitting home, jobless, having babies our of wedlock, without any ideas on how to create a business or jobs or wealth of any kind and waiting for their next govt check to arrive...these people are just parasites and obama wants to keep feeding the useless members of our society.... Millionaires are a hell of a lot smarter then most people think. They have been the ones to create create jobs for these poor needy woman with kids to feed ...do you think some loser in section 8 housing, living off welfare created any jobs for anyone , let alone the poor working moms???

9:48PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Whoever wrote this article is a total nit picking misinformed idiot who looks at small words rather then the big picture. Look at what Obama has done in the four years since he has been president. NOTHING!!!! Gas prices should have been lower by now, people should be out working decent jobs...Obama is all TALK. He pretends to be able to relate to all the working class, single, or needy people and yet like Romney he also has millions of dollars to support his family and hire a nanny, etc...do you retards honestly think that Michelle Obama has to go out and work??? She does jack shit and doesnt have to work a day in her life either..At least Romney wants to let some of his wealth trickle down to the poor...Instead of create a class warfare communist society like Obama has created. Romney is less talk and more action and that is what America needs in a failing economy, people may not agree with everything he says and they don't have to , but if you cared to read a book about his achievements then maybe you would see what an incredibly smart man he is. He won't squander this nations wealth like Obama plans to...Where the he'll are the "changes" Obama promises...hell with y'all I'm voting for Romney and like him I will also be rich and successful...not poor like Obama wishes us all to be stuck at home, jobless and waiting for the next welfare check to arrive while all our utilities are shut off and we can't even get to work because our gas tanks are on Empty.

11:29AM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

And the madness continues. Rich people have no idea how hard the poorer people have to work just to survive. I believe they should have to live a entire year on minimum wage, without assistants, before complaining about the poor.

6:19PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

A woman with MS and breast cancer getting help around the house? What Would Michelle Obama Do?

6:09PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

The claim that Rosen's comments were sexist or anti-woman in any way is a transparently cynical ploy to stir up that faux outrage that seems to power the contemporary GOP. In context, what Rosen said is absolutely true: Anne Romney has never worked a day in her life, work being having a wage-earning job. While Mrs. Romney conceivably spent her childrens' youth ordering their nannies and maids around, many mothers in the US have had to raise children AND have actual jobs AND take care of their own housework. Remind me how she's "in touch"?

10:05PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

wow, such stupidity, it is amazing. It is so stupid, that my intelligent female brain just can't come up with the right words. Wow, so we the people, oh wait, are we still the people? or are we the peons and they the royalty?

10:57AM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

A 30 year old waitress working 2 jobs at minimum wage while her 2 year old child spends 12 hours a day at daycare... now that's what I call dignity.

10:52AM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

"As governor of Massachusetts he increased the amount of time women on welfare were required to work. “I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”"

There is so much fundamentally wrong with this paragraph that it makes my head spin. How have we gotten so f*cked up that we are prioritizing day cares over mothers? How have we gotten to the point in North America that the ruling classes see children and families as inconveniences to the work force? What is the priority? If we decide to have children, if we bring them into the world... they should be our priority. They are human beings, who are hugely impacted by everything we do and don't do in regards to raising them..who will then go on to impact countless other elements in the world baised on how we raise them. Your office...is an office. It does not register that you are spending the majority of your life slaving away at it. It will not notice if you stop visiting. Why is parenting and motherhood so undervalued? The "dignity of work"??? what about the dignity of raising the children?? So to M.R. being a stay at h

8:41PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Linda M.-Well stated!

8:29PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Well Frank, being a man, we'll take your word for it whether women's rights are being abrogated and whether their concerns are worthy. That is basically the point of the whole dialogue here, rights for BOTH Rep or Dem. women. However, rich women do not understand the trials and tribulations of poor women be they of either party. Those who are saying poor women need the dignity of work are primarily Republicans. Why, because they tend to have the $$$. I am not aware of many Democrats who are trying to enforce mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds and other assaults on women of EITHER party, hence this is not about whether Dem women suffer more than Rep women. When both are poor, they suffer the same.

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