Now as we gear up for the foreign policy-focused final debate, Romney's issues with women are unlikely to subside. Both campaigns have launched a massive push to win over those last few independent and undecided voters - and while as few as six percent of Americans remain undecided, up to 60 percent of them are women. A new USA Today/Gallup poll provides some insight on what's important to women in the 12 battleground states. 39% said abortion is their main concern, followed by jobs, healthcare, the economy, and equal rights. Gallup suggests the economy may not be their primary concern because state legislatures passed 83 laws last year restricting access to abortion services or increasing regulation on in-state abortion providers.
At Tuesday's second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Mitt Romney attempted to answer a question on how he'd go about "rectifying the inequalities in the workplace" for women by recalling a time in his tenure as Governor when he shuffled through "binders full of women" to find candidates to fill his cabinet.
And just like that, Big Bird and Clint Eastwood's chair became old news. "Binders full of women" immediately went viral, inspiring a multitude of binder-themed Facebook groups and Twitter handles such as @romneybinders, which already boasts over 30,000 followers. One Facebook page, Binders Full of Women, has garnered more than 300,000 'likes' and counting. Within minutes of hearing Romney's bizarre wording, David Brock's super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, bought the URL and already have a full website of comedic spoofs up and policy information and running. Check it out here.
It's not the first time a comment, or an event, has gone viral this campaign season. Who doesn't remember #eastwooding, the handle that exploded when surprise celebrity speaker Clint Eastwood introduced Romney at the RNC? Eastwood spoke to an empty chair for 25 minutes. By the next morning, the event had inspired a new meme with a Twitter account and more than 40,000 followers. Even our Cyclists got in on the #eastwooding action, spoofing Eastwood the day after the RNC.
So how will Romney's "binders" comment play out in the media? On yesterday's show, Krystal Ball discussed Republican concerns the comment could erase Romney's recent gains with women. Before the debate a USA Today/Gallup poll showed Romney within one point among women likely voters, 48% for Romney and 49% for Obama.
The Gallup poll also show women in battleground states believe Pres. Obama is better for handling government policy on birth control, unemployment, health care, and international issues. Mitt Romney leads on handling the federal budget deficit and national debt.
Both sides have just 19 days left to plead their case before women head to the polling stations and cast their vote.