• With: Karl Rove

    This is a RUSH transcript from "On The Record" April 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, Senator Rick Santorum is here. It's his first TV interview since suspending his presidential campaign. You're going to hear from Senator Rick Santorum in just a few minutes.

    But right now, the battle for women voters gets ugly -- very ugly, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, a friend of mine, making remarks about Ann Romney and the economy and setting off a firestorm of controversy and even a Twitter war.

    What did Rosen say that sparked the uproar?

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and, When I listen to my wife, that's what I'm hearing.

    Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of, how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and how do we -- why we worry about their future.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    VAN SUSTEREN: And today, Ann Romney firing back!

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: My career choice was to be a mother. And I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices to have a career and raise family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that. That's wonderful.

    But you know, there are other people that have a choice. We have to respect women in all those choices that they make. I will tell you that Mitt said to me more times than you would imagine, Ann, your job is more important than mine.

    He was making money and doing the things, raising funds and investing and helping other companies, and he would come home and say, Ann, your job is more important than mine.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    VAN SUSTEREN: And now Rosen making an apology, saying, "Let's put the faux war against stay-at-home moms to rest once and for all. As a mom, I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women's financial struggles. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended."

    Karl Rove is here. Good evening, Karl.

    KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning -- good evening, Greta. How are you?

    VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. Well, nothing's ever dull in Washington, and we have this war on women that I think the Democrats coined that phrase first, and now a Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, a friend of mine, has walked right into the war. And so now the question is where does it go from here?

    ROVE: Yes. Well, she didn't walk into the war, she -- she -- she went in guns blazing, threw a few grenades, insulted five million women who have chosen to stay and home and be stay-at-home moms.

    And you know, I thought -- I thought her apology, such as it was, was interesting. Third sentence, she says her words were a poor choice. Eighth sentence, she says she apologizes to Ann Romney and anyone who is offended. And in her ninth sentence, which you left out of what you read, she goes back and re-insults Ann Romney, saying, Let's put this phony war on working -- on stay-at-home moms behind us and get on.

    Well, wait a minute! You were the one who started the war on stay-at- home moms. It wasn't a phony war. I assume Hilary Rosen deliberately went out and said those things, was dismissive of Ann Romney as having never worked a day in her life.

    And what was interesting to me, also made it sound like if you're a stay-at-home mom, you're not worried about your kids' future. You don't have to -- you know, in my -- in my experience, it's the moms, whether they're staying at home or they're working -- it's the moms who are the ones who are most keenly aware of what it cost to raise a family.

    They're the ones worried about getting the shopping done and worried about, you know, making certain the kids get off to school and making sure that the bills get paid and so forth. And they have a keen understanding of what the costs are that the ordinary American family faces, whether they're working or staying at home.

    And so it was very dismissive. And I thought the apology was half an apology. She apologized to Ann Romney, and then -- then went and put the knife back in by declaring it a phony war on stay-at-home moms, when she herself had declared it and fired the first shots in it!

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, just a quick reference. Obviously, I'm a friend of Hilary Rosen. I'm a friend of people on both sides of the aisle, so I sometimes get caught in these crosswinds (ph).

    The first -- the war -- the so-called "war on women," I agree. That was a phony war started by the Democrats, and it all started over the contraception debate, which the Republicans saw as a 1st Amendment debate and which sort of morphed within the Democratic Party as some sort of war on women, as though the Republicans didn't like women. So I thought that was a phony war.

    Now, I will say this in defense of Hilary Rosen. Look, I know her, and she -- and her -- her -- her criticism or her remark was about -- about not -- she was not -- she was not critical of Ann Romney. She would not...

    ROVE: Oh, sure, she was, Greta!

    VAN SUSTEREN: No, let me just -- wait...

    ROVE: Absolutely she was!

    VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, no. No...

    ROVE: Sure, she was!

    VAN SUSTEREN: She was -- no, no. I think...

    ROVE: She's never worked a day in her life. She doesn't know these things, she said!

    VAN SUSTEREN: I think...

    ROVE: It was very dismissive!

    VAN SUSTEREN: I think, Karl, the way that I read it -- and I read the remarks -- is that -- is that she -- I don't think she's been critical of the fact that Ann Romney's been an absolutely spectacular mother, and she has. She's raised five children. I don't think she would have been critical of Ann Romney...

    ROVE: She never said that!