Romney Lied About ‘Binders Full Of Women’ Anecdote. Surprised?

Obama had Romney on the ropes on topics ranging from jobs, the Keystone Pipeline, and China at last night’s second debate. But, the real zinger, Romney delivered to himself.

When asked how he would promote pay equity for women, as Obama did with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Romney dodged the question. Instead, he spun a tale about how, as governor of Massachusetts, he made a special effort to appoint more women to senior-level positions.

The only problem is, the story Romney told was false. He didn’t seek out qualified women as he claimed, and the number of women working under Romney in senior-level positions actually decreased by almost 10% during his term.

“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.”

You can watch Romney saying this in the video below:

Before the end of the debate, the ‘binders full of women’ comment had gone viral, spawning a Twitter storm, graphics on Tumblr, and a Facebook page with almost 260,000 fans at time of press. The phrase was also the third-fastest rising search on Google during the debate.

Here’s what actually happened: A group of Massachusetts women’s advocates called MassGAP collaborated on identifying women qualified to assume senior government positions before Romney even took office, according to David Bernstein and others familiar with the binders Romney is describing. The women’s group took the initiative to deliver the data to Romney; he did not request it as he indicated in the debate. Bernstein writes:

“[MassGAP] did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected. I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct – and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.”

Let’s look at how Romney’s record with women really stacks up:

  • Representation of women in senior state government positions fell from 30% before Romney took office to 27.6% at the end of his term. His successor immediately reversed that trend.
  • Bain Capital, the company Romney headed for more than 15 years, counts only 8% women among its 87 managing directors and senior executives — meaning the company appoints males to senior positions 92% of the time.
  • In 2005, Governor Romney vetoed a Massachusetts bill requiring hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
  • In 2004, Romney terminated Ardith Wieworka, a lesbian woman, from the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services. Wieworka believes she was fired because she made public her intention to marry her partner as the Governor furiously tried to roll back the legalization of gay marriage in the state.
  • Earlier this year, when Romney’s campaign was asked if he supported legislation to ensure equal pay for women, his staff fell silent and told the reporter, “We’ll get back to you on that.” What else could you expect from a man who doesn’t consider women his equals?

So, you tell me, is Romney really interested in helping women?



Want More? Read ‘Romnesia’: Mitt Has ‘No Memory’ Of Coercing Women On Pregnancy, Adoption Choices

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