Romney’s ‘binders’ mocked by Obama
MOUNT VERNON, Iowa
‘We don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women,’ Barack Obama told a crowd in liberal arts college in Iowa. AFP photoU.S. President Obama mocked his Republican rival Mitt Romney for telling the 65 million people watching the debate on television that he had combed through “binders full of women” while recruiting females for his cabinet when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Obama used the oddball phrase to criticize Romney over women’s health care and equal pay, while highlighting his own record on women’s rights and the need to hire more math and science teachers. “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 told a crowd in a muggy gym at a liberal arts college in Iowa.
A heated debate unfolded online and on U.S. media outlets over whether the comment suggested an antiquated view of women in the workplace. The phrase took on a life of its own, trending on Twitter and inspiring a “Binders Full of Women” Facebook page which drew 330,000 “likes.”
Obama and Biden were keen to jump on Romney’s embarrassment because it offered them an opening to court the women’s vote following several recent polls suggesting their advantage in the so-called gender gap was fraying.
The president beat Republican John McCain among women by 13 points in 2008, and in what is shaping up as an even closer election this time, may need an even wider gender gap to be safe.
Romney himself wasted no time courting female voters, telling a rally in Virginia: “This president has failed America’s women.” As he crisscrosses the nation, women ask him to bring down unemployment, improve schools and provide their children with better job prospects, Romney said.
“That’s what the women of America are concerned about. And the answers are coming from us and not Barack Obama.” The president’s senior advisor David Plouffe said women’s issues were going to become “increasingly important” in the dying days of the race, as both campaigns seek to drive up margins with core voters.