Ann Romney defends 'career choice,' calls out Rosen's lack of 'respect'

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Ann Romney defended her decision to be a stay-at-home mom to raise her five sons Thursday, saying Hilary Rosen's attacks against her career choice showed a lack of "respect" towards other women's choices.

"This is what's so interesting about this," Romney said on Fox News Thursday. "My career choice was to be a mother and I think all of us need to know we need to respect choices other women make. Other women make other choices to have a career and raise families, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that, that's wonderful. But you know, there are other people who have a choice. We have to respect women in all those choices that they make."

Rosen initially opened the floodgates for a debate on the gender gap between President Obama and anticipated GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by saying on CNN Wednesday night that Romney should leave his wife out of the discussion about women's economic issues because Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life.”

Sticking by her remarks, Rosen did clarify that her statement wasn't an attack on Ann Romney or stay-at-home mothers. Rather, the Democratic strategist said she was calling out Mitt Romney's record when it comes to his financial policies for working women.

"This isn't about whether Ann Romney or I or other women of means can afford to make a choice to stay home and raise kids," Rosen told CNN's Newsroom. "Most women in America, let's face it, don't have that choice. And that's the piece I'm not hearing from the Romney camp. Instead everybody's attacking me, that's fine, attack me. But that does not erase his woeful record on this issue."

Ann Romney came to her husband's defense on his view toward women and their economic struggle as well, saying that despite her family's well-off financial situation, she and Mitt knew what it was like to "struggle" and are in touch with the concerns of working women.

"Look, I know what it's like to struggle," Ann Romney, who has battled breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, said. "Maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as much as some people have but I can tell you and promise you that I have had struggles in my life. ... I would love to have people understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people who are struggling and that's why we're running."