Rosen dismissed Romney for having “never worked a day in her life” as a stay-at-home mother of five. The comment ignited a controversy that raged all Thursday, much of it taking place in the fast-paced digital context of Twitter.
Twitter released an updated chart on Friday showing that the controversy peaked on Twitter during Romney’s response to Rosen on Fox News Thursday morning. During the interview, Romney urged “respect” for the choices women make and defended the fact that her own “career choice was to be a mother,” comments that rippled through the social media space.
Neither Ann Romney nor Rosen were major topics on Twitter before the controversy. According to Twitter, references to both went from zero to 150 tweets-per-second immediately following Rosen’s jab at Romney during a CNN panel on Wednesday evening. Ann Romney’s first tweet, a response to Rosen that defended the "hard work" of mothering five boys, was re-tweeted almost 3,000 times before noon Friday. Romney had also gained 32,725 followers since late Wednesday evening.
“I’m going to be a mom who stays home,” she wrote.
Although Rosen’s initial comments and Romney’s response were televised, the controversy developed almost entirely on Twitter. Obama’s campaign was quick to respond through the microblogging service, with senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina both distancing themselves from Rosen on Wednesday night. And the Romney campaign, which has proved its chops with a social media strategy that keeps pace with Obama’s noted aggressive outreach, was also quick to utilize Twitter by launching a Twitter feed as a platform for Ann Romney’s response.
First lady Michelle Obama later weighed in using Twitter, as well, as did several other politicians including Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) wife, Cindy McCain.
Twitter lists the key tweets here.