Mitt Romney did himself no favors with his claim that he turned to “binders full of women” to find appointees for his gubernatorial administration in Massachusetts.
Even his own aides and allies acknowledge that, like his “47 percent” talk, the “binders” reference was—to borrow a phrase form Paul Ryan—“inelegant.”
Social media makers are lampooning Romney. Able journalists such as The Nation’s George Zornick referenced it in highlighting the bogus nature of the former governor’s claims about his “accomplishments” in Masscahusetts. And President Obama is having a field day with the line.
But the worst part about bindergate is that the underlying story Romney told—of a new governor giving the order to find qualified women for top jobs in his administration—is a fantasy.
In Tuesday night’s debate, Romney responded to a question about pay equity by saying:
[This is] an important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.
And I—and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are—are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we—can’t we find some—some women that are also qualified?”
And—and so we—we took 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.