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Mitt Romney’s “Binders Full of Women” Comment Sparks Outrage, Fact-Checking, A Tumblr Meme

By now you’ve probably heard about Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment from last night’s presidential debate. If not, to recap: Romney answered a question about pay equality with an anecdote about how, as governor of Massachusetts, he responded to the lack of qualified female applicants for cabinet positions (O RLY, Mitt?) by making a “concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

He had binders full of women he was willing to hire, American public. Binders full. (Anderson Cooper doesn’t approve of your attitude, Mitt, BTW) But, as pointed out in a blog post at The Phoenix (which Wil Wheaton has provided a mirror of, ’cause he’s helpful like that), most of the women hired by Romney were the heads of departments he didn’t really do anything with during his tenure as governor. The senior positions he cared about—ones dealing with business development, the budget, and the like—all went to men.

But the most interesting (read: infuriating) revelation from that blog post? The whole thing about Romney asking women’s groups to help him find women he could hire is a lie. As The Phoenix‘s David S. Bernstein points out, in 2002 a bipartisan group called MassGAP was formed to try and get more women in senior government positions in Massachusetts. They did put together a “binder full of women”—but it wasn’t at Romney’s request. In fact, their research was done before Romney was even elected. They were going to present it to whoever the governor ended up being, Republican or Democrat. It just happened to be Romney, who then hired, as we’ve noted, women to positions he deemed relatively unimportant.

Mittens! Such a feminist hero!

In typical Internet fashion, the Tumblr Binders Full of Women (from whence all these images came) popped up shortly after Romney’s remarkably tone-deaf comment about women in the workplace (that did not in any way answer the question posed to him, if you’ll notice. There were already women in the workplace before you MassGAP assembled your binders, Romney. Quite a few of us, in fact. Still are. So, about that income equality…?). The blog’s full of gems, and there are sure to be more before “binders full of women” goes the way of Eastwooding (that was only a few weeks ago…?). If you enjoy political hilarity, it’s definitely worth a look.

(via: Binders Full of Women, The Phoenix)

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  • Willow

    For me the worst part is that a guy with over *TWENTY* years of business experience (I forget did he mention that at all?) couldn’t think of one woman for his cabinet off the top of his head.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    He’s not used to thinking about women.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Binders full of women…I’d like to know whose job it is to put together these binders, whether there’s glitter involved, and if the perpetrator has a nickname, like Buffalo Bill, or something along those lines.

  • Willow

    yes he has, he thoughtfully considered that his female employees will need to leave early so they can feed their kids and husband so they don’t grow up to shoot people with AK47s

  • Nikki Lincoln

    Severely channeling Douglas Adams right now…
    “It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. “Douglas Adams

  • Charley Sumner

    Don’t forget the number of women who were partners while he was the CEO of Bain Capital: 0

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    And take care of their lady issues.

  • Kelsie Cakes

    I was so disappointed with both candidates’answers to that question, but Romney’s was funnier

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    You guys just don’t get it. It was a binder. An entire BINDER. Completely full, at that!

  • Laura Truxillo

    I dunno, I’m more upset that he lied about having taken initiative in the first place. That’s just sleazy.

  • TheSquirrel

    You’re right, credit where credit is due. That is way more women than I would’ve thought capable of heading departments that don’t do anything. I would’ve thought, like, five at the most.

  • Anonymous

    Mitt Rmoney *lie* about something?!
    No, you’re clearly wrong about that.
    It’s just the loony-lib-lamestream-media’s obvious bias that’s making you think that way.

  • Anonymous

    I have always believed that. Good ol’ DNA.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    I expected two and a half. But nope, Romney found an entire binder. My hope in the future of women in the workplace is restored.

  • Invisible_Jester89

    Sorry, too busy laughing at how stupidly tone-deaf Romney continues to be to be upset about his comment.

    Sorry, too upset about his comment to stop laughing out of confusion.

  • Anonymous

    Funniest photoshop I saw a Bill Clinton staring intently at the camera with the caption: Stop the Debate. Now tell me about these binders full of women….

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I’m guessing if Romney HAD put together a binder himself, it would’ve been one of those half-inch ones, though.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    That’d assume he’d need a binder for the few half-assed scribbles on notebook paper he’d likely do.

    He couldn’t compile a cohesive summary of qualified women applicants any more than I could flap my arms and fly into the stratosphere.

  • Grace Miller

    I bet all of the notes included in theses binders were written with Bic For Her pens