Tagg Romney joins me in the second hour today to discuss the slander by Team Obama’s Hilary Rosen on Ann Romney and all stay-at-home moms. The transcript will be posted here later:
HH: Talking now with Tagg Romney, oldest son of Mitt and Ann Romney. Tagg, welcome back, congratulations, your dad’s going to be the nominee of the Republican Party.
TR: Hey, Hugh, thanks for having me on. It’s great to be with you.
HH: However, I’ve got to ask you, the reason I put the request into the campaign to talk to you today is that last night on CNN, Hilary Rosen, Team Obama operative, said your mom had never worked a day in her life. What did you make of that reaction?
TR: You know, it was insulting. I mean, my mom worked harder than almost anyone I’ve ever known. She made a choice to stay home and take care of us. She didn’t have to do that, but we were so glad that she did. And boy, I have to tell you, if that’s not a full time job raising five boys, I don’t know what is. [# More #]
HH: I have posted a picture over at Hughhewitt.com that shows your mom and your dad, and the five boys. What’s the age gap between you five?
TR: So I’m 42, my youngest brother is 31, so an eleven year gap between us.
HH: Okay, so five boys running around from 0-11. It’s got to be organized chaos. In fact, I think I recall you telling me once that occasionally, your mom would let out the appeal for a bit of quiet in the house.
TR: Yeah, it was pretty loud. I remember wondering why in the world does she care about, she kept asking us to be quiet. Why does she care about quiet so much? This is kind of fun. And I understand now. I have four children of my own, and I understand the quiet bit a lot better. But it was, listen, there was a lot of chaos, but it was a lot of fun. We all enjoyed each other. We still do all enjoy each other. It’s still very loud when we get together. Now, there are sixteen grandchildren, so it’s even louder.
HH: Yeah, it is kind of a mob. So how was her reaction? Have you talked to her today since Hilary Rosen made her comments last night?
TR: You know, I have not had a chance to talk to her directly, but I’ve watched her in a couple of interviews, and I talked to my dad, who had spoken to her, and she was taken aback. She was surprised by it. My mom’s got a thick skin, though. She’s tough, and so you don’t let these things bother you. But you know, I think she wanted, my mom wanted people to know that being a stay…listen, the Democrats are doing everything they can to divide the country, whether it’s the 1% vs. the 99%, or now they’re claiming there’s a war on women to try to pit men against women, or now, it’s stay at home moms versus working moms. And you know, we need to stop this divisiveness, and find a way to come together as a country and solve the issues that really matter like the economy and debt, and get this country back to the principles it was founded on. Those are the things we need to do. The Democrats are doing all they can do to distract the country, raising up all these straw men, and then attacking the straw men and trying to divide us. And our message is going to be listen, we can be united as a country and stop trying to find differences.
HH: Yeah, straw men and straw women as the case may be, including the idea that moms don’t work. Let me ask you, Tagg Romney, in terms of what Team Obama’s trying to do, the Rosen comments included, he’s a throwback, he’s old-fashioned, it’s clear to me they’re going to try and paint Governor Romney as some kind of out-of-touch guy who got stuck in a time capsule somewhere. I’m sure the campaign’s aware of that, but how do you respond to it as his oldest son?
TR: You know, listen, I learned a great deal of respect for parents, for both mothers and fathers, by watching the example my dad set. He has always treated my mom with the highest degree of respect. He’s also treated the women he’s worked with in the workplace with the highest degree of respect. He’s worked with large number of women in very senior positions, whether its his chief of staff when he was the governor, Beth Myers. He chose as his running mate for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Kerry Healey. And he has a great deal of respect for women. And to try to pretend like it’s some throwback to a time when women weren’t in the workplace is just silly. And you know, I don’t think it’s going to stick, the image they’re trying to portray, because it’s just not who he is. It’s not real.
HH: Now I want to talk again and go back to your mom during the years when you are the oldest in the family, but right through the time you leave for college. How busy is it when you’ve got five boys running around? And what kind of organizational skills, I mean, what’s her life like? Because when Hilary Rosen gave the impression that she hadn’t done a day of work, you got the idea that she was eating bon bons somewhere and watching television.
TR: (laughing) I don’t remember my mom ever eating a bon bon, or honestly, I don’t remember her ever sitting down and watching TV. She was, I mean, I remember changing diapers, cleaning messes, cooking food, shopping for food, trying to get laundry done, make beds, driving kids to soccer practices. But I mean, we never had a nanny. We never had someone that was doing that stuff for us. A big part of her day was getting us to do jobs. And I think a lot of things would have been easier for her to do on her own, but she worked hard to make sure we learned how to work. So a lot of her work was teaching us how to work, whether it was teaching us how to clean bathrooms or mop the kitchen floor, or do the dishes, or set the table and those types of things. But she, her…my dad would always tell her that what he did was important, but what she did was much more important than what he was doing.
HH: Now I’m curious as well, Tagg Romney, obviously your grandfather was in Michigan, your grandmother was in Michigan. I know your Uncle Jim was not around Boston, either. But did you have any family in the vicinity of Belmont, or wherever you spent your young years?
TR: We didn’t. It was just us. My uncles and aunts were all spread all around the country, most of them in Michigan, and a couple in California. But in Massachusetts, it was just us.
HH: And you didn’t have a nanny?
TR: No, we did not have a nanny.
HH: Okay, I just…it’s the kind of question that people have in their mind after Hilary Rosen. I would have thought they’d have done some oppo research or something, and they were ready to parade Ann Romney, Queen of leisure out. And that’s clearly not going to be the case.
TR: No, listen, and Hugh, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think my mom was a great mom and a hard-working person, and someone who cares deeply about other people. And in addition to working for our family, she was always busy in her community, whether it was working with United Way, or with at risk youth. She was busy volunteering and helping and doing what she could to give back to the community, and working in the church as well, and giving back to people in the church. Listen, she…I don’t understand why they picked this fight. Of all the people, I think, you know, the reaction’s been pretty positive from everybody saying leave Ann alone, she’s a great person, and don’t know why they’d want to pick on her.
HH: I’ve got a link over at Hughhewitt.com today to the campaign, because I was guessing that today would have marked a big uptick in people who are supporting the campaign, because they’re mad about the Obama campaign attack on stay at home moms. Has that been the case, Tagg Romney?
TR: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I saw a piece by Joe ? over at ABC that Ann Romney was more popular on Twitter today than Justin Bieber. So that’s a good sign, I think.
HH: (laughing) I just, what I sympathize with her for is though, after the day the news cycle breaks, I imagine the five boys will be finding a way to say her, Mom, as you know, you’re never worked before.
HH: And if I have a sense, Mom is going to pay the price for this by the boys for a long time.
TR: She will, but believe me, she will find a way to turn it right back around on us. We like giving each other a hard time, and having fun with each other. So I’m sure this will play right into the narrative.
HH: Tagg Romney, great to talk to you today, thanks for spending some time with us, best to everyone on the campaign, and congratulations again.
End of interview.