The Tuesday night town hall presidential debate is over, though the take home for the night, an unfortunate phrase uttered by Mitt Romney while was discussing pay equity for women, seemed to be living on through social media.
Here's a review of how the meme "binders full of women" has developed and what the campaigns are doing to spin its use.
Awkward phrase fed by Tumblr
According to a transcript posted on Politico , Romney was describing how as governor of Massachusetts he actively sought out women to fill cabinet roles.
"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," the candidate explained.
"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."
Phrase goes viral on social media
Almost as soon as the phrase was uttered, a site user created bindersfullofwomen.tumblr.com . The Tumblr site has dozens of meme contributions of making fun of the phrase.
Socialmention.com noted that the phrase "binders full of women" has 48 percent strength and is being mentioned once every 12 seconds as of Wednesday night.
Campaigns try to spin meme
The campaigns went on the offensive and defensive respectively. At President Obama's re-election site, the campaign described what they called Mitt Romney's "condescending views toward women," saying that "while the President talked about women as breadwinners, Romney talked about them as resumes in 'binders.'"
On Romney's campaign site former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey defended the governor by saying that "our administration actively sought to recruit the best and brightest women the Commonwealth had to offer. And Governor Romney wasn't just checking a box. He sought out our counsel, and he listened to our advice."
According to The Phoenix , a bipartisan women's group called MassGAP researched and created a binder as described, presenting it to Romney once he'd assumed office. But although the governor did appoint 14 women out of his 33 senior-level appointments, appointed positions declined during his administration and that Romney never requested the study.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Gaithersburg, Md.