Romney reacts to frenzy over 'binders' comment
October 17th, 2012
06:51 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney reacts to frenzy over 'binders' comment

(CNN) – After a day dominated by Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment from the second presidential debate, the GOP presidential nominee defended himself against the tsunami of social media swipes and blatant jabs at Romney's expense.

"I understand the challenges women face and want to make it easier for them in the workplace," Romney wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

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In his tweet, he also pointed to a video featuring women he worked with in the Massachusetts state government during his time as governor. One woman described him as "very, very sensitive" to women's issues in the workforce.

Ellen Roy Herzfelder, identified as a former Romney cabinet member, said "he totally gets working women, especially women, like myself, who had two young kids."

Also Wednesday, Kerry Healey, who served as Romney's lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, highlighted his background in hiring women. In an email to supporters, Healey said of the top 20 positions in the Romney administration, 10 were filled by women, including his chief of staff.

"Governor Romney wasn't just checking a box. He sought out our counsel, and he listened to our advice. We didn't always agree, but we were always respected," Healey wrote in the email.

Responding to a question about pay equality in Tuesday night's debate, Romney told a story about putting together his cabinet as governor. He said at the time he questioned his staff for recommending only male applicants.

"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 on the debate stage in Hempstead, New York.

The 'binders full of women' phrase quickly went viral, sparking internet memes as well as attack lines on the campaign trail. Both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden mocked Romney for the line at separate events.

At his own campaign event in Virginia, however, Romney sought to argue that he's best equipped to help women get back to work.

"This president has failed America's women," Romney told the audience. "As I go across the country and ask women what can I do to help, what they speak about day in and day out is help me find a good job, or a good job for my spouse. And help my kid, make sure my children have a bright future, better schools and better job opportunities."

"That's what the women of America are concerned about and the answers are coming from us and not from Barack Obama," Romney said.

– CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Nameray f

    Mitt needs to get a life and go into early retirement in the islands where his money is also

    October 17, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. pn

    I bet Mitt never had to get home early to prepare dinner. Actually, I don't think he can boil an egg.

    October 17, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Yankees7

    Can someone PLEASE tell me why what Romney said, in the context in which he said it, is even objectionable? If that's the biggest criticism that the left can summon Romney is on his way to a big win. The pursuit of trivia by the pop culture press never ceases to amaze.

    October 17, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. PJ

    I think the Boston Globe explained the whole matter very clearly today. There were fewer women in Romney's Government when he left than when he went in. And, the binders were given by women's groups to both candidates running for Governor. Romney tried to take credit for this. He should be ashamed of himself.

    October 17, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Joseph

    How petty is the Obama line of attack, they really are losing it, they are trying to make an issue of a comment said because they have no facts to attack Romney with. Pick on Romney’s word and attack the man because they have no record to run on, things are worst today than four years ago, especially for women.

    Fact remains of the top 20 positions in the Romney administration 10 were held by women. So Romney has done more for women than Obama has. Obama has just made women more dependent on government where Romney has given them jobs.

    Nip picking on words does not erase the actions, the positive actions taken by Romney.

    October 17, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  6. On StreetWise

    Is Mr. Romney planning to pack up that "Women full of binders" and take it to Planet Kolob and use it to repopulate the new LDS world?? Great plan... move in on the Cayman Islands for starts, where the money is. But leave alone with our country!

    October 17, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. xirume

    Another flip from the master flip-flopper

    October 17, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. hannah01

    I don't care how many women he hired when he was governor. I would like to know why he didn't have any women in executive positions when he was the head of Bain. I don't buy the excuse he gave stating that there were not alot of women graduating from business schools. That's a bunch of bull. He could care less about women's issues. He wishes we'd all stay at home and raise 5 useless sons like Ann did. What do those guys do for a living anyway that they can be on the road for a year campaigning? Ooops, I almost forgot about those pesky family trusts...

    October 17, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. angryagain

    Romney always has the "right answer" the next day. The binders comment was a slip and it made for a awesome one liner (deal with it), and i know isn't the important part. What really matter is that even the next day you haven't answer the question about equal pay for women.

    October 17, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. Beth

    Oh please, spare us your insincere concern, Governor! There s only one candidate that truly repects women and cares about their welfare, and that man is ALREADY PRESIDENT!!!

    October 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. hcx

    Back peddling again. I'm sick of this guy.

    October 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. tammyk tammy

    Romney typically acts one way in the public spotlight and the opposite way in private. 47% comments is a good example. He knew it would look bad not to have any women in top positions in Mass. Gov't. However, the fact checkers need to look into whether there were any women in top positions at Bain during Romney's tenure as CEO. I recall there was a picture of Romney and Bain executives with wads of cash in their piggy little hands, but I don't recollect there being any women in that disgusting picture of greed. Fact checkers, please ferret out the truth. Did Romney run Bain like the typical Boys Only Club that epitomizes corporate America? Name one top woman at Bain and which rung on the corporate ladder she attained under Romney. Was there one, none, or many? What was Romney's record on placing women in high positions before it mattered to his political career? This man is known for hiding his past. We the Women of America deserve to have real answers.

    October 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. roy

    These binders contained filed of all the women Romney laid off from their jobs.

    October 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Another flip-flop from a candidate that changes positions as often as most people change their socks! I suspect most of what Romney and Ryan are saying are outright lies, but it is hard to establish since the details of their plans are as secret as Romney's tax returns.

    October 17, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. What?

    Am I missing something here? Romney seized opportunities to help women. That is good. Why the ridicule? What difference does it make if the names where in binders, email, or carved in stone. The point is that he made the world a better place. Give the man some credit.

    Women are the ones who are suffering the most under Obama's failed policies. Let's take a decisive stand for women and vote for Romeny.

    October 17, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Mike Constitution

    He is talking about three ring binders with resumes belonging to women, whom he then hired, you leftist freaks.

    October 17, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He has a bad way of expressing "his support" for women. I just don't buy it really. It would go against his so called belief in limited government.

    October 17, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Michael

    So what's all this hoopla about the "binders full of women" comment? It seems to be me that if anyone should be upset by a comment it should be how the following sentence was started by Mitt:

    "if you're going to have women in the workforce "

    That represents a mind set that is strictly white male dominated. He is essentially saying that anyone who is not a white male should not be a part of the "educated" work force. Women should be "taking care of the children and preparing the meals for husband". This is what he is saying not only to women but to those who are not a "white male" he is saying that they are somehow not an equal to him. So I am surprised that no one is complaining about his " if you're going to have women in the workforce" comment – but what the heck, I'm a white male so Mitt's comments and positions are good for me, but not for the country as a whole.

    October 17, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  19. cgs

    IRomney was going out of his way to hire women when he was governor.

    Meanwhile:

    The Obama campaign posted an e-card featuring a flapper-style lady with the words, "Vote like your lady parts depend on it."
    "@TheIndyExpress: Dear @BarackObama – I vote with my mind & not with my #ladyparts. This former Obama voter is voting for @MittRomney in 2012."
    "@ElizabethYate11: Obama is THE war on women! Mr. "eye candy" President wants women to vote with our #ladyparts?! Disrespectful and demeaning pig!"

    October 17, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. Samantha

    Leading universities have binders of blacks, hispanics, and asians, and so forth so they can recruit them to become professors.

    I guess those on the left are not for affirmative action.

    October 17, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  21. Matt

    Mitt was indirectly telling women, that they (women) belong in the kitchen. How do those women get out of the binder to give an interview?

    October 17, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  22. Romney is confusing. Seriously!

    Romney is anti-47% and now anti-women who are not in binders. It is amazing that he is the standard of the modern day Republican Party. How do Republican women feel about Romney's comment?

    October 17, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. Ryan

    This just shows how out of touch Romeny is on womens issues. He also made a comment in the debate how single moms should be able to get back home and cook dinner for their children..... Like this is the most important thing for a mother. As a child of a single mother I take offense to this. My mother started her one business and worked long hours to support us and we knew she cared for us if she made dinner for us or not. She made enough to have a nany/ babysitter so her kids could be taken care of.

    My mother and wife also use planed parent-hood which Romeny wants to stop. They do great things beside contraception like helping women detect breast cancer and other types of cancer.

    October 17, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. griffbos

    he was diconnected most of the time he served as Governor his Lt Gov ran the State 50% of the time as he was traveling the country runniung for President, if you look at his cabinet there were 14 post of which only 5 were held by wome not 10 as is being claimed.. but then he and his supports are know to rewrite history

    October 17, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. NanH

    Last I checked it takes two to make a baby....so it should take two to raise one. Focusing on helping or blaming women is not the complete answer, encouraging men to do their fair share should be issue number one and yet neither a peep from either candidate.

    October 17, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
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