Say what you will about last night’s presidential debate, but it was nothing short of pure entertainment. President Obama was baaack, Mitt Romney surely won the award for the rudest candidate who clearly doesn’t know when to stop talking, and Candy Crowley got the “attagirl” when she fact-checked Romney and sent him backpedaling so fast he nearly fell over. Then there was Romney’s “binder full of women” remark that, come to find out, was a total lie…but it has made for some of the best Internet meme we’ve seen in a long time.
In case you missed the festivities, last night both candidates were asked about equal pay for women (finally). Obama touted his Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that he immediately signed when he took office, and Romney, well, he pretty much fell on his face:
It was “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.
You have to give him some points for trying so hard, but binders full of women? WTF? Like he was expecting accolades for considering women for jobs in his cabinet? Oh my God, strike up the band. And he expected the crowd to go wild because, what, he diminished women from human beings down to pieces of paper? Oh, let me go vote for him right now. Mitt Romney gets women!
Except that he doesn’t get his facts straight. According to David Bernstein of The Phoenix, Romney didn’t really assemble binders full of women–a Massachusetts women’s organizations called MassGAP did:
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.
Bernstein goes on to say that Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, but…nearly all of them were to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about.
Not surprisingly, the Internet and the Twittersphere went crazy with the whole “binders full of women” statement. There is a Facebook fan page with nearly 250,000 likes already and a lively discussion on several Twitter accounts, including these tweets:
Mitt Romney: “I want to make America the most attractive place in the world for my binder.”
Hey @CrowleyCNN you are welcome to join my binder after the debate.
Hillary: You are next to go into my binder.
Then, of course, the funniest of all are the photos being created:
See? Maybe Romney should have just answered “Sausage or pepperoni?” instead.