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Matt Viser, of The Boston Globe has just reported that Mitt Romney did not approach women's groups for the names of qualified women, as he implied with his "binders full of women" comments, but rather they approached him, in How Mitt Romney had ‘whole binders of women’ for staff positions as governor.  The transcript reveals Romney claiming to initiate the idea:

“Well, gosh,” he said he told his staff who had an abundance of male applicants, “Can’t we find some -- some women that are also qualified?” ... “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’” Romney added. “And they brought us whole binders full of women.”

But, this isn't how it actually happened according to the Globe:

Those “binders full of women” actually came from a coalition called Massachusetts Government Appointments Project, or MassGAP, that had formed in August 2002 to address the shortage of women in high-ranking government positions. They had started assembling groups of applicants, taking several months to reach out to women’s organizations around the state and preparing to present potential hires to whichever candidate won the election.

“We contacted both candidates before the final election,” said Liz Levin, who was chairman of MassGAP until 2010. “This was an effort that we put our hearts in. We wanted to make sure that people knew how many good, qualified, terrific ladies there were.”

And, yes, there were "binders" full of the names and resumes of women, Levin says, this was in the days before computers. Romney appointed Kerry Healey, the Lieutenant Governor, to be the liaison to MassGap..

But over the next two years, women made up only 25 percent of the 64 new appointments Romney made. By the end of his term, the number of women in high-ranking positions was slightly lower than it was before Romney took office.

This revelation compounds the trouble Mitt Romney is already having with the attitudes he revealed last night as I was writing up in the article below, before researching more the line below where Jena McGregor mentioned women's groups actually contacted Romney first, which led me to this bigger headline article above.


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How did Mitt Romney offend women last night? Jena McGregor counts the ways in
Mitt Romney’s revelatory ‘binders full of women’, which now has its own Facebook page, tumblr, and Jena imagines Halloween costumes and armies of joke writers for late night comics fired up and ready to go.  

We've had many top rec'd post since last night's debate about Romney's "binders full of women" gaffe which epitomize Romney's attitude toward women. Many angles have been mentioned in separate posts, which Jena summarizes in one place here.  

But the patronizing and tone-deaf gaffe is a lot more than just an Internet meme. It also reveals a lot about why Romney has trouble connecting with women voters, and how he views the issues that affect them.

First Jena notes that Romney "outsources" the task rather than try to fill the position with qualified women he knew from his private sector days, or time at the Olympics, but instead went to women's groups to get "binders full of women."

But, the truth of the matter may actually be the opposite. Some are saying women's group approached him, and that at the end of his term only 28 percent of senior, "appointed"  positions were held by women.

...(Some are reporting, however, that the women’s groups approached him in the first place, and that by the end of his term just 28 percent of senior-level appointed positions were held by women.) But in doing so, he makes the promotion of women into leadership roles sound like an exercise in tokenism.

He gave the impression that he thinks such groups hold the keys to special “binders full of women” who can’t otherwise be found through normal human-resources channels such as leadership development programs, succession plans, and internal and external recruiting.

Jena notes another problematic angle as Romney implies that it is only women who make dinner, help with homework, tend to children and need flexible hours. Something Romney never had to do, given he and Ann had four women nannies, and he still has four live-in women personal and family assistants, which other reports here at Daily Kos reported get paid in the neighborhood of $5,000 a year.

One of my brothers noted the odd wording of Romney's next comment, as well - Romney's plan to stimulate the economy so much, that businesses would run out of men to hire, so they would be so desperate they would finally be eager to hire women.

It didn’t get better from there. Romney talked about a “new economy” that he’d create where employers are “going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women.” Okay. So it’s only when employers get desperate that they’ll be eager to hire women? What about when they’re looking for the most talented and qualified people to fill leadership roles in a competitive marketplace, and those people just happen to be women?

By contrast President Obama noted the first bill he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

A month ago, many polls showed President Obama with a 12% to 18% advantages among women voters. A few recent polls asserted that Romney had "made up" that gaps pulling even, especially among the less educated, lower-income working women. I'm eager to see if this debate doesn't return Obama's advantage to where it seems it should be.

12:40 PM PT: Nanorich says this Boston Phoenix artilce is the original source on the MassGap Story

Mind The Binder

Published Oct 16 2012, 10:46 PM by David S. Bernstein 315


Not a true story.

What actually happened was that in 2002 -- prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration -- a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I've checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I've just presented it is correct -- and that Romney's claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

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