Obama sticks up for Ann Romney in working mom flap

Associated Press Modified: April 13, 2012 at 6:45 am •  Published: April 13, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is sticking up for Ann Romney, the wife of Republican rival Mitt Romney and the target of a Democratic operative who suggested that she's unqualified to speak about the economy's tolls because she's "never worked a day in her life."

"It was the wrong thing to say," Obama told WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio. Criticism of candidates' spouses should be out of bounds, he added.

Polls show women lean heavily Democratic and favor Obama by a wide margin in battleground states. Romney must win about 40 percent of the women's vote to have a shot at denying Obama a second term in office. His campaign has focused on winning over married women and mothers, who tend to be more conservative, and thus diminishing Obama's base of support.

Romney did not comment on the furor, but Ann Romney did, saying raising five sons is hard work and that while she never has worried about finances, she has faced the ordeals of cancer and multiple sclerosis. Further, she said, Mitt Romney considers her job, raising the children, as more important than his, which generated the family's net worth of more than $200 million.

The spat crackled across the twittersphere and cable television Thursday, reflecting the import of female voters to both campaigns and the volatility that remains over women's issues in political discourse.

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