• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

'Binders Full of Women': Romney's Debate Comment the Viral Meme Du Jour

Romney Obama Debate Portrait - P 2012
Getty Images

An anecdote the GOP nominee made in defense of his tenure as governor of Massachusetts became an instant target for web parody.

Two weeks after Mitt Romney brought up Big Bird (and promised to cut funding from PBS), spawning instant reactions on social media and fodder for a buzzy ad for President Obama's campaign, the GOP nominee's use of the phrase "binders full of women" caught users' attention during Tuesday night's debate on Long Island.

STORY: Polls In, Obama Declared Debate Winner

In answering a question about how he'd fight for equality in the workplace, Romney recalled his experience trying to fill government positions when he began his term as governor of Massachusetts; unhappy with a mostly male pool of applicants, he said he "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."

Instantly, the web parodies began. Just as the mock Big Bird Twitter accounts launched, so did the 'Binders Full of Women' accounts, from @RomneysBinder, @RomneyBinder, and @Romneys_Binder. The Tumblr page BindersFullOfWomen.Tumblr.com was quickly set up, and BindersFullofWomen.com and .net were purchased -- both by Bradley Beychok, who runs the progressive Super PAC American Bridge. 

This was all predicted by The Onion, which on Tuesday published the article "Savvy Man Registers 'Sleepy Romney' Twitter Account Just in Case Candidate Look Tired," a comment on the internet's tendency to repeat the same memes in various different forms.

Interestingly, the binders moment was not close to the most tweeted incident; according to @Gov, which tracks mention stats on Twitter for political events, Romney's response to a question on immigration, followed by Obama's telling Romney that he was "the last person that would get tough on China," drew the most tweets per minute, at 109,500 and 108,000 tweets per minute, respectively.