Biden: Romney bogged down in '1950s time warp in terms of women'
October 17th, 2012
05:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden: Romney bogged down in '1950s time warp in terms of women'

Greeley, Colorado (CNN) - What might June Cleaver of "Leave it to Beaver" think?

Seizing on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment from Tuesday's presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden mocked the Republican presidential candidate on Wednesday. And in a twist, Biden added a nostalgic knock, casting Romney as bogged down in a throwback time known more for women as homemakers and doting wives than as powerbrokers keeping pace with men.

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"You heard the debate last night. When Governor Romney was asked a direct question about equal pay, he started talking about binders," Biden said. "Whoa! The idea that he had to go and ask where a qualified woman was, he just should have come to my house. He didn't need a binder."

Biden added: "What I can't understand is how he has gotten in this sort of 1950s time warp in terms of women," also referring to the Republican nominee's plans to defund Planned Parenthood.

Not intent to stop there, Biden also went after a comment made by a Romney adviser after the debate.

"His senior adviser said last night, in they call it the spin room…when they're asked about did Romney support [The] Lilly Ledbetter [Fair Pay Act], which is just basic, minimal justice, he said, Romney would have vetoed it."

Biden did not name which senior Romney adviser he was referring to. Yet one Romney adviser did state, after the debate, that Romney was not in favor of the act that helps establish equal pay for women versus men – a statement the adviser walked back on Wednesday.

"I was wrong when I said last night Governor Romney opposed the Lilly Ledbetter act. He never weighed in on it," Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said in a statement. "As President, he would not seek to repeal it."

Biden's comments came at his first public campaign event following the debate in Greeley, Colorado. The city, in the northern part of the state, is some 60 miles north of Denver.

Romney's "binder" comment has taken a life of its own. A Facebook page had 309,000 "likes" and the phrase has lit up the Twitterverse.

Given the ensuing attention and controversy, the phrase, it seemed, proved irresistible for the Obama campaign to pass up. On Wednesday from Iowa, President Obama made a passing reference to it.

"We don't have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now," Obama said to supporters in Mount Vernon. "When young women graduate, they should get equal pay for equal work. That should be a simple question to answer."

Yet the Romney campaign is not taking the criticism lightly.

The campaign distributed a statement from Kerry Healey, Romney's former lieutenant governor.

In addition to writing "when Mitt Romney talks about women, when he says he believes that we can do any job a man can do, I know from experience that he's speaking from the heart," Healey also wrote: "Of the twenty top positions in the Romney administration, ten of them were filled by women, more than any other state in the nation."

"People are hurting in this country, and women especially have been suffering. The numbers are stark. Five-and-a-half million women are unemployed. Under President Obama, the number of women living in poverty has climbed to a record high of nearly twenty-six million."

"We can't afford four more years of the status quo," Healey added.

- CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Colorado • Joe Biden • Presidential Debates
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Dan J

    Wait... let me get this straight: Women in the Obama administration make 75 cents on a man's dollar (source=politifact and CNN), and ROMNEY is living in the 50's?

    October 17, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. RogueRobots

    Stepford wife Ann Romney: You can bring home the bacon... I'll have the maid fry it up in a pan ... And never let you forget you're my moneymaking man! Stepford hubby Mitt: Whoooee, Dancing to the Time Warp, baby! Sniff.. sniff.. did the maid burn another batch of Welsh cakes today? I'm gonna have to fire that girl!

    October 17, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Dan J

    The average woman is now living paycheck to paycheck under Obama. More women are living under poverty than ever because of Obama. And the average middle class family is making 4k less annually. Sure, Obama will give ladies free contraceptives, but at what cost? Does that sound like a fair tradeoff?

    October 17, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. fernace

    Mitt Romney is so out of touch w/Americans! His un-answer about equal pay for women just brings the point home! I don't care how many binders of women he had & hired, he is, per his own advisor who had to do a "walkback,"not on our side! He is not familiar w/the fact that most employers don't care who a woman has to cook dinner for & personal issues are not taken into consideration! Women have been working under those rules for 40-50 years! Get a clue, Mr. Mitt! I also don't see his 5-point plan as realistic since it depends on too many "ifs"! We know Obama is for 100% of us, but it's just another tag line to get elected for Romney, a "walkback" of his 47% truth! Obama, Next 4, thanks!!

    October 17, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. RogueRobots

    To reggiedw who stated that at least women were respected back then :: There are very good reasons why the Womens Lib movement happened. 1. Women have brains and want to contribute more to society than just cooking, cleaning, and looking after kids. 2. While there are many good husbands out there, there are also many abusive husbands who home school their wives with their fists and verbal abuse. 3. Husbands who have control over their wives sometimes have affairs like Newt and Rudy. Back then women could either accept the infidelity or move back home in shame to Daddy's house. 4. Husbands may ask for a divorce or may die leaving the woman who has no education and no job experience in poverty with little prospect of finding a good job to support herself and the kids. Today's woman recognize these pitfalls that were faced by our mothers and grandmothers. We are no longer meekly asking for respect, we are demanding it thru fair treatment in the workplace and equal pay for the same work. Obama 2012.

    October 17, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Slightly Left of Center

    At least women were respected more in those days by their spouses and also they had more self-respect. Liberal women have definitely lost that self-respect.
    Oh, really? And just what makes YOU the expert on ANYone's level of SELF-respect, especially women, liberal or otherwise? I'm sure you also think a strong, independent woman who doesn't need the likes of you to 'take care of her' should be categorized as a bytch. You know, the ones that earn their own living, pay their own bills, do as they see fit, and probably wouldn't give you a second look because they don't need you to define their self-worth.

    Perhaps you haven't flipped your calendar page in recent's not the 1950s anymore.

    October 17, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. RogueRobots

    The Romney camp is correct that more women are hurt by job losses during economic downturns. They are dead wrong however to blame the President. It is the old-fashioned Repuglican corporate CEOs who choose to fire disproportionate numbers of qualified women because they assume that she has a hubby, boyfriend, daddy who will take care of her. Oh yeah, they fire just enough of the guys to make sure they won't get slapped with a lawsuit, but women bear the brunt of the kind of thinking that men are breadwinners and women just work for shopping money. NEWSFLASH to the Romney camp: Many women are single, widowed, divorced, with or without children. They have no choice, but to fend for themselves financially. It is the Repuglican CEOs who have made us dependant on the gov't food stamps and not the President who was decent enough to sign the Ledbetter Act which allows us a means to fight for equal pay for equal work. It was the just and fair thing to do and Pres. OBAMA is a decent, just, and fair man.

    October 17, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. jmmjr49er

    I like the Democrat Party that throws women overboard. See Libya problem when a terrorist is not a terrorist unless MSM says so.

    Biden is truly priceless. I hope he talked about Planned Parenthood and its racist beginnings.

    October 17, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Falstaff

    A few weeks back I watched the 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause." The bully who challenges James Dean to a knife fight looks exactly like Mitt Romney. Later in the film, he and James Dean have a high speed race toward the edge of a cliff. The person who jumps out of their car last wins the game. The bully in the film gets the sleeve of his leather jacket caught on the door handle and can't get out in time before his car goes careening over the cliff and he dies. James Dean get out in time. Anyway, the point is, that the bully looks very much like Mitt Romney. Check it out.

    October 17, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. socalgal

    Wake up women. Rushing home to cook dinner, no equal pay for equal work, someone controlling your uterus. Welcome back to the future.

    October 17, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. tammyk tammy

    A question for candidate Romney: Across this country there a thousands of military wives who have been widowed by Republican wars and you have vowed to start yet another one – Iran, Russia, China, Libya, Syria, or all of them. Many of these young women have small children and will therefore have daycare expenses when they have to find jobs to support their family. Is it the Republican Family Values platform to call them moochers if they don't have to pay taxes due to low income, get Social Security Survivor benefits, need to use food stamps, need job training assistance or Pell Grants? Is taking care of military widows a priority with you? If it is, then equal pay for equal work should be a no-brainer so these widows can support the children that they had with the men who gave their lives for this country. I would also include the many women whose husbands have been too physically and/or mentally damaged by war to return to work. These women and ALL women have the right to earn equal pay.

    October 17, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. Wanderer

    If Ann Romney is a stay home mom, how Mr. Romney can understand women equality at work? I think, in his eyes, all women are worth being stay home mom. The same way he is looking at the 47%.

    October 17, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Hard to believe all the lies Robme tells and his base loves him for it. What does that tell you about his supporters?

    October 17, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. tammyk tammy

    Romney never felt the Lilly Ledbetter Act which affects more than 50% of the population was important enough to weigh in on? And now that it is weighing him down, he promises not to repeal it? Yet he chose a running mate in Paul Ryan who voted against it? Yeah flip flop, women really should just trust you. You weighed in when you made the choice for Lyin' Ryan and uttered those condescending words at the debate. Inelegant decision making and choice of words yet again.

    October 17, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. raymond

    Mitts comments meant well, i believe, but some of it sounded a little off to me. the idea that women should be given flexibility and all of that is the kind of thing women do not want. they don't want time to go do their "duties", i think this whole womens issues goes further than employment, it goes to their status in households also where it is not required of them to cook/clean and all of those house hold chores as has been the cultural norm for most of this countries history.. we'll see how women react to those small details romney spilled.. his ideas..

    October 17, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. butch

    Under President Obama, the number of women in poverty has skyrocketed.

    Women have been hit hardest in every poverty-related category.

    17 million women are now in poverty, 800,000 more than when Obama took office.

    7.5 million women are in the extreme poverty category.

    4 out of 10 female-headed families are stuck in poverty.

    The poverty rate for Hispanic women is growing faster than any other group.

    2.5 million women over 65 are impoverished.

    In the job market in Obama’s economy, women are not faring as well as other groups.

    Men are gaining 4 times as many jobs as women.

    Over three-fourths of a million more women than men are unemployed.

    Poverty, unemployment, fading hope. That is not the change American women voted for.

    October 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  17. Anthony in California

    Stepford Wives seem to be the Republican way. Why is anyone surprised.
    Probably even worse, with Mitt being a Mormon and all, with their distorted views on women, polygamy, and magic underwear....

    October 17, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  18. butch


    For The Last Four Years, Women And Their Families Have Struggled Under President Obama’s Failed Economic Policies:

    Since President Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate For Women Has Increased From 7% To 7.5%. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 10/10/12)

    Nearly 5.5 Million Women Are Currently Unemployed – An Increase Of 451,000 Women Since President Obama Took Office. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 10/10/12)

    Over 20% Of The Nation’s Teenage Women Are Unemployed. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 10/10/12)

    In 2011, The Poverty Rate Among Women Was 16.3% – The Highest Rate In 17 Years. (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/12/12)

    More Than 25 Million Women Are Living In Poverty – An Increase Of 3.6 Million Under President Obama. (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/12/12)

    October 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  19. 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 starters, where the money is. That should win a few women votes and get in line for the next spaceship leaving to Kolob... LOL, only the waco low info voters will fall for that line!

    October 17, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. Sam, Virginia

    Why is Biden still in Colorado? Not that I don't agree with what he's saying but, he should be talking this bluntly in Norfolk, VA about how any cuts in military spending would never effect the most powerful naval port in the world. Because everyone in an around the area knows it never will and their just waiting on someone to call it out.

    October 17, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. 2020

    No one can afford one day of Romney, never mind 4 years.

    Romney the pathetic liar promise 5T tax cut to himself and his buddies. tax free for interest, dividend and capital gain. It is totally irresponsible for him to even think like that when the country's deficit is 16T strong, resulting from two wars, tax cut unfunded under Bush Cheney.

    Shame on you Romney, hopeless and never change.

    October 18, 2012 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  22. Debbie

    Romney really is locked into the 1950's. This whole binder issue was in 2003. Women's reproductive rights began in the 1960's and womens equal pay rights began in the 1970's Somehow Romney has missed the whole thing for the past 45+ years. The man is out of touch.

    October 18, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  23. Morning1Su,

    Mitt Romney seems to or actually believe in his lies or the man is becoming a delusional. There are earlier videos when he he spoke of his views and another video saying the complete opposite. Is he forgetful or a real lyer without any emotion or care. I have worked along side men who act just like Mitt Romney to get the top promotion. These types of people will lie, cheat, steel someone elses ideas without any guilty feelings. I wonder all these people who stick up for him, are they being paid or brainwashed because Mitt Romney is a chronic liar without any guilty feelings.

    October 18, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  24. durundal

    Bahahahahaha. This was the funniest of them all, its like watching an episode of the twilight zone:

    At least women were respected more in those days by their spouses and also they had more self-respect. Liberal women have definitely lost that self-respect. Romney/Ryan in November/12.

    October 18, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
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