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Brzezinski: Rosen comments opened 'emotional, conflicted guilt-ridden divide between women'

Did the media go overboard on a Democratic PR pro’s comment last week that stay-at-home mother Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life"?

Some people thought so. But on Morning Joe Monday, Mika Brzezinski explained why Hilary Rosen’s clumsy remark struck a nerve for so many women.

The issue of whether to work or stay home with the kids “represents a deep, extremely highly emotional, conflicted guilt-ridden divide between women,” said Brzezinski. Rosen’s comments, she added, “just opened up that divide.”

Random House’s Jon Meacham said the episode could hurt President Obama. “Of all the things that have happened in the last three or four weeks that might actually affect an independent voter, this argument about women has a much better chance than a lot of other issues,” he said.

Joe Scarborough seemed to agree. “The White House must know: This is bad news for Democrats if they don’t handle it correctly,” he said.

It’s an odd controversy, though. Not only does Rosen have no formal tie to the Obama campaign, but the campaign quickly and unambiguously denounced the comment. Just about no one seems to believe that staying home to raise children doesn’t count as working. Indeed, as “Up with Chris Hayes” reported Sunday, it was Mitt Romney who suggested earlier this year that stay-at-home parents on welfare lack "the dignity of work."

Rosen’s comments might engender some sympathy for Ann Romney, but why they should lead independent voters to support her husband over President Obama is less clear.

Scarborough acknowledged that in the long run, the kerfuffle likely won’t have much impact.

Between now and November, he said, we can expect to see a “natural tightening” in the polls. “Please, if you’re a pundit at home, please do not blame this natural tightening to Hilary Rosen’s comments,” he said. “Just step away from that analysis, because it’s wrong.