Presidential Debate Spins ‘Binders Full Of Women’ Meme, Fact Checks

Answering a question about pay equity for women during last night’s presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney said something that has become the talk of the Web.

He said that when he became governor, few women applied for cabinet jobs.

“And so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet,” he said. “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, can you help us find folks? And I brought us whole binders full of — of women.”

During that part of the debate tweets revved up to 104,704 tweets-per-minute. And that phrase “binders full of women” became an instant Internet meme.

It spawned the @romneysbinder twitter feed, a Tumblr blog and a Facebook page with close to 245,000 likes.

Some of what’s on there is cutting political commentary, some others are funny. Examples:

The Guardian‘s Emma Keller spawned some serious commentary about the passage.

“The phrase objectified and dehumanized women,” she said. “It played right into the perception that so many women have feared about a Romney administration — that a president Romney would be sexist and set women back.”

Others, like the Boston Phoenix, the city’s alternative weekly, took issue with Romney’s facts.

Romney, the Phoenix reports, did appoint 14 women to his first 33 senior-level jobs, “a reasonably impressive 42 percent.” But he didn’t ask for that binder, the paper reports. A group of women called MassGAP had they decided they would assemble a list of qualified women, put all that info in binders and hand it to the whomever was elected governor.

It’s all fun and games, but you can be certain that both campaigns are fretting about this line today. As you’ve heard, over and over again this election cycle: Women voters matter — a lot.

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