STEPHANOPOULOS: Boy, did that debate take off this week. Let's get into it on our roundtable. And we can begin with you, Cokie Roberts. You've been following these issues for an awful long...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think (inaudible) what a spring storm this was. But does it go to the heart of the campaign or end up being a sideshow?
ROBERTS: Look, I think it ends up being a sideshow, but a couple of things have happened here. First of all, Barack Obama has a problem with married women. He lost to them in 2008.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though he's got a huge advantage with women overall.
ROBERTS: With women overall, but he lost married women. He won unmarried women with 66 percent of the vote. So he's got that problem. Mommy wars are always a big issue, and it makes me crazy, frankly. I mean, it is true that women are working wherever they are, and the fact that they denigrate each other's choices is absurd.
But the other thing that happened is it got Ann Romney out there front and center, and that's the best thing that could possibly happen to Mitt Romney. He -- you know, in our ABC poll, people see Barack Obama as much more likable than they see Mitt Romney, but Ann Romney is really likable. And she's been all over the place this week, and people have gotten to know her, and that is a big plus for him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Kevin, your campaign did pounce quickly. I think that Hilary Rosen (inaudible)
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... two or three minutes later. You saw an opportunity here.
MADDEN: Well, Look, I think, yes, I mean, every campaign has to seize on an opportunity like this. I think this was -- the debate sort of crystallized the differences between left and right on this particular issue, where we believe the middle is most persuadable to our -- to our opinion on this.
And -- but I do think that it is a bit of a sideshow. You can never get too happy about these things when they're good for you, and you can never get too down when they're bad for you. But the -- the central issue here, related to how you persuade women voters, to support Governor Romney, is still the economy. It's still about the economic anxiety they have. It's still about the pressures that they have on rising costs in households. And that's where I think Governor Romney is going to continue to focus.
And you're right. Ann Romney is an incredible -- she's the best surrogate that Governor Romney can have. And she's going to be an important part, I think, of making...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you heard Secretary Geithner -- he called that figure that the Romney campaign has been using, that 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under President Obama are women. He called it ridiculous. And he made a fairly strong substantive argument to back it up.
MADDEN: Well, you go -- you go by the metrics of when the governor -- when president came into office and where we are now, as it relates to job creation overall, and how it's affecting women, the numbers are not good for this administration. Women are hurting in this economy. They're hurting on the jobs side, and they're hurting on the rising costs at home.