The moment in last night’s debate latched onto by our budding American meme industry came when Mitt Romney talked about the “binders full of women” he was supplied with while Governor of Massachusetts.
CROWLEY: Governor Romney, pay equity for women?
ROMNEY: Thank you. An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men. And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”
And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. 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.
The rest of this answer borders on insult, by implying that the only way to hire women is to design flexible work hours for them so they can cook dinner for their kids (not a problem for men, apparently, who just hand their kids Burger King vouchers), and that improving the economy will make it so that employers will have to hire anybody, even women! Also this didn’t answer the question, which was about pay equity and not affirmative action (which is precisely what Romney was describing .
But it’s worth noting that, even on this throwaway issue, the binders weren’t Romney’s idea :