Almost all political pundits seem to agree that there were just a few key moments during the 2012 presidential campaign. One is surely the moment the infamous “47 percent” tape was leaked to Mother Jones‘ David Corn. Another is during one of the debates when Democrats were hammering the GOP and its nominee hard for engaging in a so-called “war on women.” In response to the charge, Mitt Romney mentioned his team had gone across the country looking for women to fill cabinet roles in his administration. He said he brought “whole binders full of women.” The catchphrase stuck and dogged the campaign, some say ensuring it to limped toward to finish line.
Well, now more than four and half years after the infamous remarks, the Boston Globe newspaper has uncovered the actual binders, confirming they were real. According to the exclusive report, The Globe discovered the project was in the works for more than a decade, dating back to Romney’s successful 2oo2 Massachusetts campaign for governor. It was started when a a coalition of women’s groups formed the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassCAP), and submitted information to the new campaign on women in government.
“It was a response to a desire on the part of the Romney administration to access a pool of talent,” Linda Rossetti told the newspaper. “They drummed up what was an inelegant way to get at this pool of talent.”
The paper acknowledged then-Gov. Romney eventually was given high praise for adding women to state-courts and high-level administration positions.
Nonetheless, when he attempted to revive the “binders” success again in 2012, it just never caught on in the age of instant mockery in social media. Democrats quickly turned the phrase into a campaign theme that destroyed Romney’s chance. Equal pay for equal work and women in he workplace were major issues in the 2012 election campaign.
Many have noted it is amazing how Romney was destroyed just 4 years ago over the phrase, while Trump, who has said much worse, remained politically bulletproof throughout the campaign and all the way to the White House. It was almost if Romney’s remarks seemed quant compared to Trump.
Trump’s folders full of nothing makes me miss Romney’s binders full of women. https://t.co/TvHw9b95K4
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) January 13, 2017
The “binders” were given too the newspaper by a former Romey aide, who requested to remain anonymous. The Globe attempted to interview many of the women, and some had no recollection of the process almost 15 years later. But his former chief of staff and a campaign manager in his presidential campaign, Beth Myers, said the binders were used beyond the governor years, suggesting they may have lost their value by 2012.
“He wanted to have his Cabinet and office staff well represented with women. We weren’t getting a ton of names,” Myers explained. She then added,“[T]hose 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.”
She said it ws considered a radical idea (in a good way in 2002), but admitted she might have rolled it out differently in 2012, saying it just is not “the way information is passed these days” anymore.
[image via screengrab]