Speaking in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Mr. Obama made his own reference to Mr. Romney’s “binders” comment, saying that there were enough talented women in the country that finding them required no special search.
Mr. Romney, at a campaign rally in Chesapeake, Va., hit back. “This president has failed America’s women,” he said. “They’ve suffered in terms of getting jobs. They’ve suffered in terms of falling into poverty.”…
Through polling and focus groups, the Romney campaign has found that while undecided women said they were concerned primarily about economic issues, they were troubled by whether Mr. Romney’s positions on issues like abortion and contraception were too unyielding…
Mr. Romney’s campaign had its own offensive ready. In a phone call with reporters, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said “when the president talks about women’s issues he doesn’t talk about his vision for how he’s going to make sure that we address the number of women who are under- or unemployed.”
“You heard the debate last night,” Biden told a crowd of more than 1,000 at the Island Grove Regional Park Exhibition Hall. “When Gov. Romney was asked a direct question about equal pay, he started talking about binders. Whoa! The idea that he had to go and ask where a qualified woman was, he just should have come to my house. He didn’t need a binder.
“For good measure, Romney said, on multiple occasions, that he wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood,” Biden added. “Look, talk about being out of touch. It’s not just the Swiss bank accounts and the Cayman Islands. No, really isn’t. It’s more than that. That I understand him doing. I can’t understand someone running for president doing [it], but I can understand him doing it. … But what I can’t understand is how he has gotten in this sort of 1950s time warp in terms of women.”
On CBS Wednesday morning, vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan defended Romney’s point.
“All he simply meant was that he went out of his way to try to recruit qualified women to serve in his administration when he was governor,” the Republican congressman told “CBS This Morning.” “That’s really what he was saying. And, by the way, he has an exceptional record of hiring women in very prominent positions in his administration, and that’s the point he was making.”
An adviser to the Romney campaign with knowledge of Romney’s hiring process acknowledged that the former governor had been approached about — and agreed to — the pledge before taking office, and that the outside group had already been engaging in independent outreach efforts to solicit resumes for women who would be willing to work in government. The adviser, however, argued that Romney “actively sought” the binders out upon taking office because he wanted to make use of their resources.
“When Governor Romney came into office he undertook to fulfill his pledge. And while many of the top positions were filled by women who Gov. Romney found on his own through the transition process, through his business contacts, he also worked very cooperatively with the Massachusetts Women’s Caucus and reached out to them to make use of them and their resources,” the Romney adviser told CBS News. “We didn’t have to accept those names, we didn’t have to ask them for it to fulfill the pledge.”…
According to a study by the University of Massachusetts Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy using data provided by MassGAP, the percentage of women appointed to senior-level positions in Massachusetts government did rise – from approximately 30 percent prior to the 2002 election to 42 percent by 2004. Among those appointed were Kerry Healey, who became Romney’s lieutenant governor (and also served as the liaison in the process with MassGAP) and chief of staff Beth Myers. Between 2004 and 2006, the study says women made up just 25 percent of Romney’s 64 new appointments, lower than when he was elected.