It looks like one progressive strategist has finally learned the First Rule of Holes. Earlier, NBC had announced that Hilary Rosen would square off against Rep. Michele Bachmann on Meet the Press this Sunday, which would have been “almost inexplicable,” as Jennifer Rubin wrote a short while ago. Did Democrats really want to extend this argument throughout the weekend?
“Not going on #MTP this weekend. I’m going to be a mom who stays home.”
Rubin put the initial decision to appear on MTP in proper perspective:
There is no good that can come of this for Obama. Even if Rosen is repentant the story gets new oxygen. And if she, as is likely, says, “I am sorry, but. . .” and then continues to claim that Ann Romney, who is a cancer survivor and MS patient, doesn’t understand ordinary voters or that Republicans don’t understand women, the backlash will continue.
So why is she doing it? As a PR professional, doesn’t she understand the folly of her dragging out the story? A sympathetic Republican official told me if it were he, he’d sure want to “clear my name” and preserve his professional credibility. “What does Rosen tell her PR clients? ‘This is how I handled it’ [when she was the subject of a PR disaster].”
Yes, this episode hasn’t exactly been a resume-builder for Rosen. There is already some grumbling about Rosen’s resume-building among Democrats anyway, as Politico’s Ben White reported in his e-mail blast Money Matters this morning:
EXCLUSIVE: ROSEN FIASCO EXTENDS W.H. GENDER WARS – Per a senior Dem: “Serious Dem operatives are aghast at Hilary Rosen’s misguided attack on Ann Romney’s work history. She and others at PR firm SKD Knickerbocker have represented many clients that have raised hackles with senior White House staff. It’s an open secret in the Dem consultant community that SKD has been signing up clients based on ‘perceived White House access’ tied to prior relationships and employment. An example is the Gerson Lehrman Group, the NY based international firm that is a broker for consultants to the business community, but there are many others. …
“A sure sign of WH displeasure is the strong and fast repudiation of Rosen’s remarks by David Axelrod and other staffers. Rosen’s [initial] refusal to apologize in the face of a WH request to do so was seen by senior aides as a maddening example of political freelancing and self-promotion that only undermines the president and his re-election effort …. Remember when Anita Dunn made a splash about the ‘male dominated’ WH? She and Hillary are pitching clients at SKD together. Hilary’s refusal to cowtow [sic] to the (so far) male voices in the WH and campaign trying to rein her in is a continuation of those WH gender wars.”
Well, the “perceived White House access” seems accurate enough. Hilary B. Rosen visited the White House at least 35 times in the past three years, including at least five meetings with President Barack Obama himself, and more with inner-circle members David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. Not too many people have that kind of access to a President even once. Spinning it now as “perceived access” looks more like a dodge to distance Rosen from POTUS.
That brings up another question. Did Rosen back out on her own, or did someone in that inner circle tell her to clam up, as Ben White reported above? Is the White House silencing women now? I’m sure NOW will be all over that.