Binders full of women, the phrase Mitt Romney used to describe his efforts as governor to find a large number of resumes of capable women to fill his cabinet, was a viral hit of the second presidential debate. But groups close to the governor in Massachusetts said that Romney told the story backward, and that it was actually the women’s groups that sought him out to include women in his staff.
At the second presidential debate, Romney answered a question about what he would do to help women in the workplace be recalling his efforts as governor of Massachusetts to hire women.
“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,” Romney said.
A coalition of women’s groups from Massachusetts on Wednesday spoke out to challenge Romney’s assertion that he came up with the binders full of women himself, The Associated Press reported.
“To be perfectly clear, Mitt Romney did not request those resumes,” Jesse Mermell, a former executive director of Massachusetts Government Appointments Project, told reporters on a conference call set up by the Democratic Party.
The challenge of Romney’s claim that he came up with the binders full of women is a way to attack the GOP candidate’s standing with women voters. Obama holds a considerable edge in this category, and to win on Election Day is counting on a strong showing from women. The Democratic Party’s attempts to blunt Romney on this issue is an important part of that plan.
Mermell said that Romney didn’t compile the binders full of women after his 2002 election — instead it was MassGAP that approached Romney to make sure that women were appointed to senior positions in his administration.
“The fact that he needed our help says everything you need to know about his true commitment to advance women in office,” she said.
The assertion that Romney came up with the binders full of women was refuted quickly after the debate, Salon noted. Boston Phoenix journalist David Bernstein jumped on the claim, pointing out that Mitt Romney was telling the story backward.