Mitt Romney’s ‘Binders Full of Women’ Surface Five Years After Presidential Debate Debacle
An exhaustive investigation by journalists from the Boston Globe have turned up one of the holy grails of political reporting—Mitt Romney’s fabled “binders full of women.”
During the 2012 presidential campaign, the former Massachusetts governor and then Republican presidential candidate became a late-night punchline with his answer to a question about workplace inequality during the 2012 presidential debate.
“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 in answer perceived as awkward at the time.
His Democratic opponent, President Barack Obama, ridiculed the answer on the campaign trail, saying he didn’t need a binder to find qualified female candidates for his administration.
But after winning the governorship in 2002, Romney actually did solicit input from a coalition of women’s groups, calling themselves the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP). And at his request, they put together two three-ringed binders weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces, filled with prospective women candidates to serve in his government.
The Globe reports the binders, which were tracked down by a former Romney aide who requested anonymity, contain roughly 200 résumés and cover letters, with some handwritten notations.
“He wanted to have his Cabinet and office staff well represented with women. We weren’t getting a ton of names,” former Romney chief of staff Beth Myers told the newspaper. “Those résumés in the binders—they weren’t just used in the beginning to look for staff and put in a corner; we used them throughout, especially for boards and commissions.”