Kerry Healey: It's Obama Who's Out of Touch with Women

Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 08:34 PM

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Kerry Healey, the woman who once served as Mitt Romney’s lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, tells Newsmax.TV that if anybody is out of touch with American women, “it seems to be the Obama administration.”

Weighing in on the first major battle of the 2012 general election campaign, Healey insisted on Thursday in an exclusive interview that Romney’s gubernatorial administration was a model for the country — half of his administration's jobs were filled by women. 

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“We were the only state in the nation that had that at the time,” she explained.

“He did that deliberately. He values women’s contribution in the workplace. He also had a very family friendly environment within our administration,” Healey explained. “He not only respected our work as women, and as coworkers, but he also respected our roles at home.”

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Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen touched off a maelstrom Wednesday night when she described Romney’s wife, Ann, who battled breast cancer and multiple sclerosis while raising the couple’s five boys, as someone who “never worked a day in her life.”

Rosen’s remarks came during a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper in which she criticized the prominent role Ann Romney has played with respect to giving her husband advice on women’s issues during the campaign.

One need only look at the disproportionate layoffs of women under President Obama’s watch to see that Romney would do a better job for women in the White House, according to Healey.

Citing the government’s own statistics, she said that 92.3 percent of all people who lost their jobs since 2009 — the time that Obama has been in office — are women.

“That’s just a fact. And you can go back and try to color that, and say, ‘well’ — as they were trying to today in The New York Times, that ‘perhaps some men had lost jobs before that, and therefore you needed to take a broader sweep.’”

That just obfuscates the issue, according to Healey, who is now a special advisor to the Romney campaign and foreign policy coordinator.

“We’re talking about what happened during the Obama administration — and the Obama administration has not taken note of the fact that it really is the women and the women’s presence in the workforce that has taken the hit during his time in office.”

Ann Romney also took to the airwaves today to defend herself against Rosen’s comments in a Fox News interview. “She should have come to my house when those five boys were causing so much trouble,” Romney told Fox. “It wasn’t so easy.”

As one of the most prominent women in Romney’s administration, Healey served as lieutenant governor throughout his governorship in 2003-2007. Romney chose her as his running mate even though she had never held elective office — having instead built up a record as chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican state committee.

Healey believes that Rosen’s comments reflect an attempt by Democrats to “drive a wedge” between Republican and Democratic women during the election “and portray us in a very black and white simplistic way."

“This is simply not true. And we know that’s not true,” said Healey. “I think that any effort on the Democratic Party’s part — or the Obama administration’s part — to try to portray women in this black and white, very simplistic way to drive a wedge between us, simply won’t go.”

She said that she was “shocked” by Rosen’s comments and found them “profoundly disrespectful” to not only Ann Romney, but to all women across America who have chosen to be full-time mothers in the home.

“It’s hard to think of anything that is more socially beneficial than raising children well,” said Healey. “It needs to be valued and respected, I believe by everyone in public life regardless of your political party.”

Despite Rosen’s insensitive comments, Healey said she welcomed the opportunity to address the issue in the campaign.

“Now we can have this debate and genuinely talk about the good that comes from the devotion of parents within the home, and men and women who decide to stay home with their children and the value of that work to society,” she said.

Recent polls have suggested that Romney is trailing Obama with respect to women voters, but to some extent that’s to be expected, observed Healey.

“There are more women in the Democratic Party to begin with and so they are Democrats and they are going to always vote Democratic,” she explained.

But among Republican women, Romney polls extremely well.

Special: Should Obama's Health Plan Be Overturned?  Vote Here Now!

“Republican women are right out in front in favor of Gov. Romney,” she said, adding that the campaign hopes to close the gender gap with Obama to some extent.

“We’ll try to close that gap and we will certainly make a very strong argument that Gov. Romney not only respects women who choose to stay within the home and work within the home, as well as women who work in the workplace and who need to work and that he is going to be the best president for all women in America.”

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