'Binders Full of Women' Won the Debate

The Atlantic

If everyone remembers the last debate for Romney's leveraging Big Bird to make a point about budget cuts, they'll remember this one for another fairly confusing Romney phrase: "binders full of women." Within minutes, the phrase was trending on Twitter. And not in a good way for the former governor of Massachusetts.

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"I'm gonna pitch it as a show. BINDERS FULL OF WOMEN: a new show about women trapped in binders by rich men who never had to work 4 anything," tweeted Shondra Rhimes, the creator of Grey's Anatomy. "'Whole binders full of women' pretty much sums up Mitt Romney's campaign," said Mother Jones. Even Big Bird weighed in, "Binders full of women? Really, Mitt? Women aren't just resumes. They're people, like your corporations."

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The now viral phrase is an unexpected and ironic turn of events for Romney. In fact, he was answering a question about pay inequality and had to follow President Obama who bragged about the the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill that he signed into law. As he does, Romney tried to describe an analogous situation from his years in business leadership. "I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men," Romney said. 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.'" In recounting how he went on a search for qualified women candidates, Romney remembered, "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." Watch:

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This is how fake Twitter accounts are born. Almost as quickly as the tweets mocking Romney rolled in -- "'Bind her? I barely knew her!' -- fun new pick up line around Romney HQ." said Guardian columnist Ana Marie Cox -- a number of fake Twitter accounts popped up. On Google, search traffic for "binders full of women" skyrocketed by 425 percent during the first hour of the debate, when Romney made the comment. There's even a Tumblr: bindersfullofwomen.tumblr.com.

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Are we surprised by any of this meme madness? Not in the slightest. We are thrilled to welcome any and all Trapper Keeper jokes to this world, however. From Tumblr:

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We're also happy to allow this photo to resurface whenever possible:

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