Ann Romney sounded very openminded in her well-received speech about being a stay-at-home mom Monday night, saying she was happy the response to April's mommy wars showed "that women have choices in life and some choices are not all the same, but that we value everyone’s choice in making their profession," Politico's Maggie Haberman reports. But Romney hasn't always been so supportive of the choices of all women. In an infamous interview with The Boston Globe, published October 20, 1994, Romney explained how her husband, then running for Senate in Massachusetts, would reach out to poor people through welfare reform. "And you know, we shouldn't incent all the wrong behaviors," Romney said. "Right now, what we're doing is incenting young girls to leave home, to not marry the person they're, you know, having a child with because they won't get the welfare check if they're married, if they're living with a man."
In fairness, the early 1990s was a time when the country was in a panic over single moms -- Newt Gingrich proposed creating orphanages to take babies from teen mothers to cut back on welfare rolls. Nevertheless, Romney's judgment was a little harsh: "It's totally insane. So, you've got to incent people to behave in a more appropriate pattern to break the cycle of really inappropriate... and life is so precious, you just don't want to cheat these children out of their potential. And they know -- what are the statistics? Ninety percent of children from single-parent homes who grow up in poverty will stay in poverty because they don't have a bridge out of it."
The interview is better known for some other things Romney said that perhaps she regretted -- BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins points out one section where Romney discusses her weight, another where she said she'd never fought with her husband. An adviser from the 1994 campaign told Coppins that Romney felt manipulated by Jack Thomas, the Globe reporter: "He was, like, crying with her when she talked about losing both parents to cancer in a year... Oh, it was pathetic... But you can make anyone sound like a murderer with these interviews if you want to."
Romney's comments about single moms don't make her sound like a murderer, though. Just like she hasn't always been supportive of other women's choices. But now she supports even non-traditional dads. Romney said Monday night, according to Politico, “My hats off to the men in this room too that are raising kids -- I love that, and I love the fact that there are also women out there that don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids." Perhaps that's thanks to welfare reform.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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