The debate wasn’t even over and Mitt Romney’s phrase “binders full of women” was already the meme of the night.
Both candidates were asked by voter Katherine Fenton about what they would do to rectify pay inequality for women.
President Obama talked about the Lilly Ledbetter Act and how women’s health care costs affect their pocketbooks, while Mitt Romney talked about how he addressed the lack of female candidates as he was building his Massachusetts cabinet.
Said Gov. Romney:
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.
After the phrase was uttered, Twitter was on fire, #bindersfullofwomen trending immediately. New twitter accounts like @RomneysBinder were created, as well as new Tumblr accounts. A new Facebook account “RomneyBindersFullofWomen” already has over 150,000 likes. An entry is already on knowyourmeme.com.
Hey Mitt, show us a binder full of tax returns.
— Frank Vdl (@fvdlfvdl) October 17, 2012
Injustice.Binders full of women sold for $0.77 at Staples.Binders full of men selling for $1.00.#bindersfullofwomen
— Big Bird (@BigBirdRomney) October 17, 2012
“They brought us binders full of women,” doesn’t sound good in any setting.
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) October 17, 2012
I think women have been bound enough by the GOP. #bindersfullofwomen
— Michael Brown (@MichaelBrown) October 17, 2012
I’ll know I’ve entered the 1% when I get my first #bindersfullofwomen
— Chris Savage (@Eclectablog) October 17, 2012
“Is it a picture book? What is this?” joked Chris Matthews.
“I don’t think it was his most articulate moment in the debate,” conceded Republican strategist Steve Schmidt.
BindersFullofWomen.net appears to be redirecting to the Democratic National Committee site lampooning the Romney-Ryan tax plan, a site masquerading as a Romney campaign page with an evasive “Get more details” button.
And over at msnbc’s Election 2012 app, you can make your own image of Romney’s now infamous quote.
For Chris Hayes, the host of msnbc’s Up with Chris Hayes, Romney’s anecdotal answer to a policy question reminded him of Paul Ryan talking about his friend, a veteran, when asked about the wars.
Both Romney and Ryan, argued Hayes, revert to personal anecdotes—leaving out policy details—when they have “policy [they’re] embarrassed to fully vocalize or don’t have a good answer on.”
Chris Matthews, during msnbc post-debate coverage, wondered about what Romney’s cabinet recruitment effort says about him. “After all his years in business, he didn’t know enough women?”
Beth Healy of the Boston Globe took a closer look at diversity during Romney’s tenure at Bain. Fact-checking for the paper, she writes: “There were no women partners at Bain Capital during Romney’s tenure,” adding “private equity was a male-dominated field in the ‘80s and ‘90s when Romney ran the firm. It remains so today, although Bain now has a number of women partners.”