Romney Praises Iowa’s Joni Ernst: ‘She Didn’t Just Sit At Home Needle-Pointing’


As he sung the praises of GOP Senate hopeful Joni Ernst in Iowa on Friday, Mitt Romney made a remark that harkened back to a moment that his 2012 campaign feverishly exploited.

Appearing alongside Ernst in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Romney hailed the conservative upstart as a “real Iowan in a lot of respects.”

“She was raised here, she worked on a farm,” Romney told the crowd, as quoted by the Des Moines Register. “She didn’t just sit at home needle-pointing, as you know, she was doing some work on the farm – squealing work on the farm.”

He was referring to a memorable television ad from the Ernst campaign, but some Democrats thought it was a rich line coming from Romney.

It may have been sweet payback for Democrats who still haven’t forgotten the furor that surrounded Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen in the spring of 2012.

Rosen said during an appearance on CNN at the time that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, had “never worked a day in her life.”

The remark sparked an uproar among Republicans and Romney’s campaign, who even tried to tie Rosen to President Obama (even though she was not employed by Obama’s campaign or the Democratic National Committee).

It may have even been the impetus for Ann Romney to join Twitter, whose first tweet came shortly after Rosen’s comment.

Even the president and First Lady Michelle Obama offered their own defense of stay-at-home mothers and, ultimately, Rosen herself apologized.


Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at