In January, Mitt Romney said that women who are poor and stay at home to raise children should be given federal assistance for child care so they would be able to join the work force and “have the dignity of work.” These comments by Romney undercut how upset he became last week when Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist, said that Ann Romney never ‘worked a day in her life.’
Romney made the following comments on Twitter in response to Rosen’s comments last week: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for Romney, said the following in an email to the Huffington Post on Sunday:
“Moving welfare recipients into work was one of the basic principles of the bipartisan welfare reform legislation that President Clinton signed into law. The sad fact is that under President Obama the poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent in 2011, the highest rate in 17 years. The Obama administration’s economic policies have been devastating to women and families.”
By reading into the January comments of Romney, he seems to view moms who stay at home on federal support much differently than those who stay at home and are supported by private income. Romney said that poor women should not have a choice and should be required to work outside the home in order to be eligible for 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 about moms who use TANF.
“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.’”
No matter how much dignity is involved, Ann Romney would not have met the requirements had she been on TANF benefits. When Romney ran a campaign for the Senate in 1994, which ended in failure, he said:
“This is a different world than it was in the 1960s when I was growing up, when you used to have Mom at home and Dad at work,” Romney said. “Now Mom and Dad both have to work whether they want to or not, and usually one of them has two jobs.”