mitt romney presidential debate october 16 hofstraWell, that's one more 2012 presidential debate said and done, and I'm sure the only thing both Democrats and Republicans will be able to agree upon tomorrow will be that both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney looked faaabulous in their Schiaparelli pink outfits. Yep, the wives sure made quite the impression! But not as much as Mitt's "Binders Full of Women"!

Yeah, haven't you met them? They're the women Mitt Romney used to prove he's all about equal rights and pay in the workplace! In response to a young woman named Katherine Fenton's question about females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn, Gov. Romney talked about how when he was elected in Massachusetts, he made "a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet." He continued, "I went to a number of women's groups said 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women!" Say whaaaat?!

OF COURSE everyone on Twitter jumped on the phrase, making it a top trending topic, just like Big Bird was in the first debate. A "Binders Full of Women" Tumblr sprang up ASAP, too. And just like all the Big Bird/Jim Lehrer/PBS jokes from October 3, these "Binders" gags are hilarious. But, at the same time, the insta-meme is another scary illustration of what a stark contrast there is between the two candidates.

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First of all, who SAYS something so completely condescending and sexist like that -- referring to potential female hires as "binders full of women"?! Sure, blame that tired old excuse that "words don't always come out the right way," but there's a reason that phrase jumped out at people. It's because it reflects how Mitt Romney really feels about women. But binders aside, there was still plenty of other proof tonight of where the Real Romney stands on crucial women's issues:

  • Here's the concise answer to Ms. Fenton's Q: Gov. Romney does not and would not support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, whereas President Obama signed it as one of his first acts as POTUS and continues to fight for it.
  • Under pressure from Obama, who noted that under the Affordable Care Act, "insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who's insured, because this is not just a health issue, it's an economic issue," Mitt Romney claimed, "I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they have contraceptive care or not." Hello, massive FLIP-FLOP! Here's the fact-check.
  • And, by the way, Mitt Romney would cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which millions of women rely on for contraceptive care, but also cancer (breast and cervical) screenings.
  • Somehow, Romney's response to a question on gun control led to blaming women who have children out of wedlock. Specifically, he said people should get married before they have children, and children should have two parents. (Even if they're gay, Governor?) And somehow this will combat gun violence. So, single moms, sounds like Romney says you're who's to blame for shootings like the horror in Aurora, Colorado this past summer.

Eerily enough, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. We'll be giggling about how absurd his "Binders Full of Women" remark sounded for days, I'm sure, but sadly, there's nothing funny about this: You don't need to look through any stinkin' binder to see Romney's policies in action would be a horror show for women's rights and progress.

Here's the "binders" moment if you missed it ...

What was your reaction to the "Binders Full of Women" remark? What do you think of Mitt Romney's policies on women's issues?

 

Image via washingtonpost.com