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. Angela Birch

    He didn't answer the question of equal pay for women. His own guys say he is neutral on it. That alone means there is no way I would vote for him, His collecting women in binders is strange. Obama actually is in favor of equal pay for women for equal work. Romney in addition says your employer should not be able to stop you access to contraception, a big change from his support of personhood act and his fervent support of the Blunt Amendment which specifically states your employer should have the right to decide about their employees contraception. Romney has not a single position he will stand on EXCEPT that He needs lower taxes.

    October 17, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  2. ted

    There is no way Obama has failed women. Trust me, Michelle wouldnot allow him to do so. But beyond that, Obama woudl not fail women as he is surrounded by his two young daughters, his wife and his mother in law. He wants the best in life for his daughters and all other women.

    October 17, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    I would like to know the religious affiliation of these woman who worked with Mittens when he was governor. I say that, because in the Mormon church, women are taught to always defer to men, to the point that when a Mormon couple marry, the husband is given his wife's "secret name," which she does not know and only he can call after she dies – and if he doesn't call it, she will spend eternity apart from her family and children.

    So praise from a Mormon woman for a Mormon man should always be taken with a grain of salt ...

    October 17, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  4. popseal

    Only brain dead,pop culture, mellon heads would think this story is of value in the most important election in America's history.

    October 17, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. nana

    I feel a bit left out of the working women with children who have to get home to cook dinner pidgeon hole.
    Equal pay for equal work etc is how it should be of course. Changing scheduling
    and hours because you need to balance a working and a family life is another issue. I don't have kids and I don't
    have to get into the kitchen after a long day at the office. I suspect there are more of us out there.

    October 17, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    Now we know how he chose Ann. She was pulled out of one of his binders.

    His poor debate performance will only be remembered in the history books by this one statement.

    Willard is always good for a laugh but certainly NOT presidential.

    October 17, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  7. Republicans; the "Not Intended to be Factually Accurate" Party

    Every time Romney opens mouth, he lies.

    He said that HE sought out women for his cabinent because there were so few female applicants. This is NOT TRUE. He didn`t seek them out, A bi-partisan group of women took the initiative to assemble "the binders" and make them available to whomever won the election.

    That is not the scenario Mitt tried to pass off. It was yet another case of resume inflation. Romney`s credibility is shot.

    October 17, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  8. BCInNV

    Wow Romney, tell them they need flex schedules and should be at home cooking when the question was how they would get equal pay, is most definitely NOT getting them.

    October 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. BCInNV

    Lol...still pretending like he never said something... this guys a joke. He has the "lets just move on" and "forget I said that" approach.

    October 17, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. John

    GOP are in full damage control mode.....

    October 17, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. amarjeet

    If Romney does not respect his mom & wife gender how he can blame tsunami of social media on his in comprehensible statements & public speeches. There is natural limits how much and how many times he can tell lies & pose his personality away from his real self-reflected over decades in his professional conduct and behavior. Women are creators of humanity and suffer silently to give the next generations. How he can betray them when he publicly commits that he loves his mom & wife. He loved his mom because she created, fostered and prepared him for adult and responsible life. His wife hugged him, loved him & surrendered her assets & life to him to play around without limits. Now when he gets professional, he just forgets everything & discards every women gender. He has forgotten contents of Bible & his responsibility to women. British descent respect women, get up to receive them & sit after offering them seat. British taught culture, manners & respects to rest of world in Middle East & Eastern countries in Asia. Where aspiring President of American people is heading? He cannot get a single support from women except his wife who has to as per her religious commitment and loyalty to husband.

    October 17, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. Mike Buck

    No surprise about the binder comment. Typical Romney. There is a reason he is behind by 20 points in Massachusetts. He represents the Theocracy Empire of America (TEA) Party. Welcome to Corporate Feudalism if he is elected. We will all be in the "Binder."

    October 17, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. Caribbean Reader

    Maybe the choice of words was poor, but the truth is that Governor Romney had a very good record of hiring women in his administration as governor of Massachussetts. It has benn informed that he hired many women to top positions and allowed them to make schedule changes to tend to their families. That is not being unsensitive to women. For all that women have advanced in our society, they still have most of the heavier job of tending to family matters. It sems that for some ultra liberal democrats, motherhood is a burden and not biological reality of life. They support mothers only if the children are not on the way of their carrers.Their point of view is insensible and highly hipocritical.

    October 17, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  14. Ambrose Smith

    He didn't answer the question. It wasn't about hiring. It was about equal pay.

    October 17, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. SwingState

    Forget equal pay women. All you need to do is be on Romney's staff and you're golden. What's that? What if you don't get in? There are only so many positions? Well too bad but that was his answer to equal pay.

    October 17, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  16. cbr

    I'm afraid he does not know what women go through. Where does all this knowledge come from. How many women were hired by Bain in positions of importance!

    October 17, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  17. Atasha

    Obama is making cheap shorts. Bird, binders – very cheap for a president, especially for a president with C record.
    Women for Romney!!

    October 17, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  18. ludvig

    What's this about Romney binding women. Was it kind of like when he was a bully at that expensive school and he got a fellow student down and cut his hair?

    October 17, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  19. MIchael Yang

    You guys are horrible. One sided. I don't see anything bad about Obama. I only see bad things about Romney. I hate how you guys took his "binders full of women" and twisted it to something perverted! Shame on you guys!

    October 17, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  20. scott miller

    Thank you or at least providing another view point with facts in it, as we continue to spend our time on useless dissection of words imperfect people say, instead of their actions and results.

    October 17, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  21. jason

    "government does not create jobs"
    (two minutes later)
    "I will create 11 million jobs"

    October 17, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  22. Joe Sortais

    After 30 years in business, Romney couldn't come up with qualified women without asking for some binders? Where has he been? I guess he assumed they were all at home cooking dinner.
    Joe Sortais
    Irvine

    October 18, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. Paul Ernest Show

    What a lonely picture! They say it gets lonely at the top and rich, and Romney isn't helping. He's too obvious with arrogance. He always must comment. Does anything go over his head? He can't be serious.

    October 18, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. john

    wake up america mormons do not and will not believe woman are mans equal. so why should they believe in equal pay for equal work.

    October 18, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  25. Solrac

    Great. But he should also explain that the reason why he drew concern and hired more women is because of Democratic policies. Remember the 60s, Republicans? If we had it Republicans way, we'd all be driving Hummer's at 10mpg and listening to government approved music.

    October 18, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
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