Romney reacts to frenzy over 'binders' comment
October 17th, 2012
06:51 PM ET
1 year 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. steve harnack

    But of course, since they ARE women after all, they had better be willing to work for 70% of the the pay men get because of those things like having to leave work at 5:00 because they need to cook dinner and wash clothes and have a few babies. You know, like he said, businesses have to rearrange their schedules to work around all of those women's issues so it's only fair that they take a pay cut.

    October 18, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  2. Jodi

    Awsome. Finally the truth about how the next president of America feels about women. Thanks Mitt

    October 18, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  3. Mike

    Too bad the whole "binders full of women" story Mitt told misrepresented the facts, making Mitt look proactive when in fact the resumes were complied by a women's group prior to the Governor's election and were given to him rather than his opponent because Mitt won. Mitt is showing his CEO qualifications here – taking credit for other people's ideas and work is a key skill, as is blaming others for any of his own failures.

    October 18, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. Larry

    Im all for obama and think Romney is a dangerous man if he gets elected and pushes the hateful and radical republican party platform. That being said i dont understand what the big deal is. When you take over a job like governor or president you have a massive number of jobs to fill and a way to do that is for staffers to give you lists or binders full of people qualified for those positions. If romney said we need to hire morwe women one of them probably was a binder with a list of women who were qualified fo certain positions. Its not meant to be nasty it just sounds like it. I cant believe i just stood up for romney i feel dirty

    October 18, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  5. gregor1971

    It's so obvious that they had binders of resumes and work profiles. What's the big deal?

    October 18, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  6. Ron from California

    I just don't get what is so wrong about Binders of Women, kinda like a stack of resumes of women. Cause he said Binders, everyone is in a uproar. Kinda silly this late in the season. First it was Big Bird that the president ran with, now Binders.
    Anything to keep him from talking about his record for the past four years.
    I believe that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can get this country back on track. All the president does is blame Bush or anyone associated with him or the GOP. He always talks about Bill Clinton's Admin. and the great things they did. Which I think Bill was a great president, but Mr. Obama, your no Bill Clinton....
    Bill and Hillary couldn't stand this guy 4 years ago, but his is a Dem. President so they have to back the party, understandable, but to take it on the nose like she did and then turn around and kiss up to this guy, and play nice for the camera's. I think she's way above this president, and her and Bill should know better and call him for what he is and what you called him 4 years ago.
    Romney/Ryan 2012 for a better future for our kids and our country.

    October 18, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  7. nolimits3333

    Mitt Romney is for ending funding for Planned Parenthood...including cancer screenings.

    He said he would overturn Roe v Wade.

    We have Republicans trying to redefine rape....trying to force women to get invasive ultrasounds.

    If you think this election won't effect you and your life, think again.

    Vote for Barack Obama.

    October 18, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  8. shelbyanne

    Corporations are people and women are binders.

    October 18, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  9. Mike

    Mitt is such a liar. Next he'll point to his failed fly by night attempt to kill affirmative action as evidence he SUPPORTS women. Nothing says supports women like a boy's club that only gets women to keep from looking bad.

    October 18, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  10. Lagos

    Surprised I don't see pages full of people outright calling Romney a liar because the concept of him being anything but pure evil is too hard to believe.

    October 18, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  11. Shalit

    I'd rather be a binder in Romney's camp, then a folder in Obama's.

    October 18, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  12. Thomas

    I don't know what I said but I meant what I said !

    October 18, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  13. wjmccartan

    Really, I mean really that's the best you can come out with, the president was all over that, guess you just had a memory of a specific moment, not remembering at all the response from the president. Keep grasping at straws, but I'm afraid your going to end up with the short end every time.
    Next week we'll get to see GW's foreign policy, AGAIN. Stop drinking the koolaid before its to late, join the side of light, the good side of the force,lmao.

    Lucid One

    October 18, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  14. Name g. nagbe

    Mr Romney,is a funny politician, first he said: I don't care for poor people, I like firing people,he hang his dog to the roof of his SUV like his wife force him to own a pet, don't care for 47% of the country he want to be president for. Now he only care for a binder full of only lucky women! What a cooperate greed guy.

    October 18, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  15. moonshyne

    Hey Mitt lemme out of this binder!! It's dark in here! I really need to get home and cook dinner now. My husband will beat me if I don't have his supper on the table when he ges home! Come on Mitt..

    October 18, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  16. moonshyne

    Let me out of this binder Mitt! It's dark in here! I need to get home to cook supper now, can you please let me go now? Wha? No Mitt I don't find you attractive..no Mitt, stop grabbing my ..

    Vote Obama and save the binders full of women!!

    October 18, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  17. YouCantHandleTheTruth

    Did Romney approach women's groups seeking names, or did they approach him with the list before his campaign? Lie #1. If he was supportive of women, why did women represent 30% of the senior managers before he started and only 27% at the end of his term. Lie #2. Wasn't the question about equal pay? Strike 3 Mr. Romney.

    October 18, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  18. Figures2012

    Figures this story clearing things up is buried deep in the web site. Good Job Liberal CNN. Just as good as fauxnews, but opposite.

    October 18, 2012 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  19. Namedavid williams

    It took him until he was govenor to realize that women were treated differently in the work place, and under represented in managment positions?
    How come, with all his years in business, he didn't know it before, or know any qualified women without having to search through binder to find them?

    October 18, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  20. Gen Knoxx

    And there's the little matter that Romney didn't ask anyone for any binders. That MASS GAP had assembled them and offered them due to low representation of women in Mass executive in the past.

    October 18, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  21. NameBill

    Romney is still evasive as to the specifics of his plan. The only truth he said that I'm foreshore about is "young girls ought wait until tbey are married before having children. That would help thier economy".

    October 18, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  22. Tim

    I am waiting for his wonderful explanation that gun violence is caused by single mothers... oh and why equal pay for women equates to just letting them get home early enough to cook Pappa bears food!!

    October 18, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  23. 0rangeW3dge

    OK – -Everybody just back off...Mitt Romney is being persecuted because he is rich and white and it's not fair just because he is a bully spoiled brat, you people don't have a heart. He wants to be President very badly, so you need to quit hating him and let him in the White House,,,NOW,,,Or ELSE,,,you hear me ?

    October 18, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  24. J.V.Hodgson

    On the social and work issues Romney as he has spoke out is way off being a strong candidate to catch the womens vote. Until he can convince them his tax policy does not eliminate key familial allowances like mortgage relief and child allowances. Also the rest of us that like every bill or proposal Obama has presented to the House and Senate any such legislation ( tax reduction and allowance removals) must pay for itself. At least he has to do the arithmetic the only independent attempt so far is the Tax policy centre which said it was impossible without increasing middle class taxpayers tax bill.
    He also has no direct way of paying for the increase in defense spending again.
    QED budget deficits and debt increase.
    The essence is you have to believe these tax cuts will create the 12m jobs... the Bush tax cuts did not 8 years ( 1m jobs created) in a good US and global economic climate. Now it's a poor economic climate in the US and still largely a global recession. So export led does not work at least until the Brics and Europe start to have positive growth.
    Read stiglitz a nobel economics laureate he says Austerity is not the way to go ( to reduce budget deficits and debt) which is exactly what the Ryan budget does big time. he says some cuts are O but not the Ryan sacle.
    Wake up people Romney's attractive words do not add up but the the rich will again be the largest beneficiaries and the middle class worse off.
    Stiglitz maintains as I do the taxes on capital gains and interest income need to rise, other wise the gap between the middle class and wealthy will continue to widen.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    October 18, 2012 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  25. Daystar

    It is very clear to me you have no respect for women, you should be ashamed,but that response is beneath you.

    October 18, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
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