The Week That Was: Judd Takes on Santorum, Women Like Michelle More Than Ann

Six things you need to know right now about the election and campaign news of 2012!

Things have calmed down a little now that it's been a week since a democratic strategist dared to challenge Ann Romney's bona fides to advise her husband, Mitt, on what women and the economy. And thank goodness, because there are so many other stories to think about! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we're done with political "mommy wars" for a while. As we do every week, iVillage presents six things you need to know about the 2012 campaign season in The Week That Was:

1. Rick Santorum "aborts" campaign, Ashley Judd institutes 72-waiting period
You'd think Ashley Judd would be busy enough taking on all the reporters who called her "puffy." But she's on a roll and now she's taking on former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum for "aborting" his campaign without the kind of waiting period he advocates for women considering actual abortions. In this Funny or Die video, Judd, Michelle Trachtenberg, and a few others remind Santorum that maybe he didn't really know what he was doing when he quit the campaign, and that before making any important decisions about his life, he should consult members of the opposite sex who know nothing about his situation. Addressing him directly, they tell him that if he wasn't "mature enough to carry [his] candidacy to term" that he shouldn't have engaged in the risky behavior that began it. You go, ladies.

2. From Mommy Wars to First Lady Wars?
While stay-at-home moms and work-outside-the-home moms were mixing it up last week, a new match up was brewing -- Michelle vs. Ann. A recent survey shows that while 71 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of First Lady Michelle Obama, only 41 percent said the same about former First Lady of Massachusetts Ann Romney. And even with the 24/7 coverage of the whole 'Democrats hate mothers' story, 20 percent of those polled had never even heard of Ann Romney. I'm sure that tidbit will have the PR machine of her husband's campaign working overtime, since he's apparently relying on Ann as his secret weapon to get the ladies' votes.

3. Proposed "mom" law to allow low-income women to have what Ann Romney had
A video surfaced this week that left some egg on Mitt Romney's face. Even though the GOP has been touting the nobleness of stay-at-home motherhood and how every mom should be able to choose whether to stay at home with her children or work outside the home (or something in between), just a few months ago Mitt proudly told a campaign crowd that as Massachusetts governor he'd supported a bill requiring low income moms with young children to work outside the home. After that video was released, The Women's Option to Raise Kids (or WORK) Act was introduced in Congress which would allow low income women the same option that Ann Romney had -- to choose the work of raising children. Right now, raising children doesn't qualify as "work" to meet the eligibility requirements to collect certain welfare benefits.

4. Head of Romney VP search team is an Hermes-wearing mom
As it became clear in the last week that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate to run against President Obama for the White House, Romney's team announced that his long-time aide Beth Myers would lead the search team for his VP candidate. That's a power position in the GOP if there ever was one. But in a New York Times article announcing Romney's choice, the reporter described Myers as "a 55-year-old mother of two who is partial to Hermès scarves ...." Are we really going there again? We heard about Hillary Clinton's headbands and Sarah Palin's peeptoe pumps. Now it's scarves? If the description added anything to our understanding of someone vetting Romney's choices, I'd say go for it. But if Romney's penchant for expensive ties is off limits, shouldn't his staff's fashion taste be taken off the table, too?

5. What happened to fair pay in Wisconsin?
Republican Governor Scott Walker may be on his way out of office depending on the outcome of Wisconsin's recall election in a few weeks. But even if voters give him the boot, he'll have left a mark that will hurt women's wallets for years to come. As many women commemorated Equal Pay Day this week (which falls on the date that marks the number of extra days a woman must work to catch up to men's wages), Walker said he repealed the state's equal pay law because its implementation was clogging up the state's legal system, though he presented no data to back that up. Any Republican taking action against women these days will be a burden to Romney in the fall, even in a state, like Wisconsin, where Romney won the primary.

6. Herman Cain's chickens
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain may be out of the race, but he's not out of the spotlight. Remember how he said he wasn't going anywhere even after his candidacy was over? Well, he's BAAaaack. Cain, through his Super PAC, released an ad this week that, at first, I thought was some sort of homemade video about kids and zombies and, yes, chickens. It made no sense to me. It still makes no sense, but it is sort of entertaining. A farmer gets eaten by his chickens, which is supposed to be some sort of analogy about big government eating taxpayers. An effective ad has an obvious takeaway, but other than a creepy little girl who looks like she's straight out of The Shining and some Halloween store skeletons, I don't know what Cain is up to with this one.

Check back next Friday to see what makes our list of the six things you need to know right now for The Week That Was!

You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

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