Romney’s empty ‘binders full of women’

via CNN: 


Editor’s note: Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

(CNN) — Mitt Romney showed up Tuesday night talking about“binders full of women” being brought to him when he was governor. Sounds kind of kinky and certainly not something you want to be touting.

The phrase was part of Romney’s answer to a question from an audience member at the second presidential debate about how he would “rectify the inequalities in the workplace.” Referring to when he took over as Massachusetts governor, he said, “I had the chance to pull together a Cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men,” he said. “I 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.”

The “binders” moment went viral immediately on Twitter, spawning @RomneysBinders and @womaninabinder Twitter handles. As of Wednesday morning, almost 300,000 people had supported aFacebook page about what a politically dumb statement it was. Romney may soon say it was “inelegant” phrasing or he didn’t finish his statement or some other excuse, but the comment shows why voters, especially women, don’t trust him and don’t believe he has their back.

CNN Money: snapped up in 90 seconds

Maria Cardona

Maria Cardona

In fairness, “binders” was most likely a slip of the tongue. But Romney said it in an effort to obfuscate and pivot from the issue at hand: equality for women. He avoided the real question, and that, and his remark, spoke volumes.

Even as a slip of the tongue, this odd phrase betrays Romney’s true lack of understanding, knowledge and comfort level on women’s equality. And besides the binders comment, there are several problems with the story Romney told Tuesday night.

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First of all, it is not true. The “binder” of women’s résumés was prepared before the election by the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project, a coalition of nonpartisan women’s groups. When Romney won, the women — not in binders — gave him the résumés.

Romney told that story in an effort to demonstrate how well his administration had done in hiring women. Except it didn’t. A study by the University of Massachusetts and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy shows that the percentage of women in senior positions during his tenure actually declined. It went from 30% when Romney took office to 27% when he left and up to more than 33% after the new governor took over.

Did Romney undo gains with women?

Also, it boggles the mind that throughout his decades-long career in business, Romney had not come across any qualified women he could appoint to his Cabinet. The Romney campaign points to longtime aide Beth Myers, but she was not in the Cabinet.

The more reasonable explanation is that diversity of gender, or any kind of diversity, was never an important tenet of corporate leadership for Romney. Which is why he did not proactively seek out the “binders full of women”: Women’s groups, in fact, came looking for him.

All of this goes to the heart of why Romney has had such a hard time winning over the women’s vote. He answered the audience member’s question from the standpoint of a detached CEO who knew that he had to find qualified women to serve in his administration come hell or high water, given the vast disparity between men and women holding management positions. He must have known he would be blasted if he didn’t do it. In this day and age, this should be a no-brainer. You should not ask the American people to give you a medal for hiring qualified women.

The dissonance when it comes to the governor and women went even further at the debate. Romney not only couldn’t answer the question about women’ equality, he could not even answer a question about outlawing AK-47s without bringing up single mothers. Saying he did not believe in changing gun laws, he seemed to equate children raised by single parents with the “culture of violence.” I may be wrong, but I don’t think that is a good strategy to get struggling single moms to vote for you.

Tech: Social world thumbs through ‘binders full of women’

President Obama, in contrast, answered the equality question not just from a personal standpoint as a father but also as a commander in chief who signed a bill into law that guaranteed women could receive equal pay for equal work, the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Romney conspicuously never said whether he supported that act. The president’s approach was much more in synch with what women want to hear and with what all Americans know to be fair.

The binders comment was even more unfortunate for Romney in that he said it in the midst of Obama’s very strong showing. The president clearly showed that he had the fight, the passion and the commitment to continue to work for middle-class voters — on jobs, on health care, on taxes, on education, on immigration and, yes, on women’s issues.

This all underscores Romney’s inability to really connect with voters. Although he seemed to win a little more favor among women after the first debate, I predict binders of polling data as to why that movement stopped after Tuesday night.


Celebrities Called Out Romney On Twitter During Tuesday’s Debate

via Business Insider: 


It was clear who won the presidential debate last night in Hollywood.


Celebs were not kind to Governor Mitt Romney during the second live presidential debate last night.

For the most part, Romney received criticism for his stammering, his five-point plan, and, of course, his mention of women in binders, among other things.

(Sidenote: If you haven’t stumbled upon the bindersfullofwomen tumblr, check it out.)

Unlike the first debate, Obama was praised for his comeback after a lackluster first debate.

Moderator Candy Crowley was also better received than VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz.

The only person who really gave Obama a tough time last night was Donald Trump, calling him “no Bill Clinton.”

Here’s how the celebs tore Romney apart on Twitter:

Calling him a bully:


bill maher tweet

@billmaher / Twitter



On birds:


elizabeth banks tweet

@ElizabethBanks / Twitter



bill maher tweet

@billmaher / Twitter


On gun violence:


Elizabeth Banks Tweet

@ElizabethBanks / Twitter



kate walsh tweet

@katewalsh / Twitter


Everything else:


bill maher tweet

@billmaher / Twitter



bill maher tweet

@billmaher / Twitter



eliza dushku tweet

@elizadushku / Twitter

joy behar tweet

@JoyVBehar / Twitter

joy behar tweet

@JoyVBehar / Twitter

patton oswalt tweet

@pattonoswalt /Twitter

patton oswalt tweet

@pattonoswalt / Twitter

patton oswalt tweet

@pattonoswalt / Twitter



kate walsh tweet

@katewalsh / Twitter

aisha tyler tweet

@aishatyler / Twitter

eva longoria tweet

@EvaLongoria / Twitter


And, then there were the binder comments:


brooklyn decker tweet

@BrooklynDecker / Twitter

nick kristof tweet

@NIckKristof / Twitter



They were much more in favor of moderator Candy Crowley …


jesse tyler ferguson tweet

@jessetyler / Twitter

joy behar tweet

@joyvbehar / Twitter

chrissy teigen tweet

@chrissyteigen / Twitter

ryan seacrest tweet

@RyanSeacrest / Twitter

sarah silverman tweet

@SarahKSilverman / Twitter

bill maher tweet

@billmaher / Twitter


… and, Obama …


mia farrow tweet

@MiaFarrow / Twitter

michael moore tweet

@MMFlint / Twitter

bill maher tweet

@billmaher / Twitter

eliza dushku tweet

@elizadushku / Twitter

sherri shepherd tweet

@SherriEShepherd / Twitter

Joy Behar tweet

@JoyVBehar / Twitter

nicholas kristof tweet

@NickKristof / Twitter



nick kristof tweet

@NickKristof / Twitter


… unless you were Donald Trump:


donald trump tweet



However, this was the zinger:

donald trump tweet

@realDonaldTrump / Twitter



Michael Bloomberg Has Set Up His Own Super PAC, And Is Dumping $15 Million Into The 2012 Election

via Business Insider: 


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has one aspect of his post-mayoral life finally worked out.

Michael Bloomberg

Raymond Hernandez of the New York Times reports that Bloomberg, one of the country’s most prominent independent politicians, just filed for a brand-new, as-yet-unnamed Super PAC, which he plans to use to dump portions of his fortune into races across the country.

Irrespective of party, Bloomberg is reportedly planning to support candidates who support three of his biggest policy initiatives: same-sex marriage; tougher gun laws; and overhauling schools.

To that end, Hernandez reports that Bloomberg expects to spend between $10 to $15 million on competitive state, local and congressional races this month, including Angus King, the former governor of Maine who is mounting a leading bid for the Senate as an independent, is one identified recipient of the mayor’s largesse.

Hernandez reports that the Super PAC will target Democratic Congressman Joe Baca of California, whom Bloomberg considers to be weak on gun control.

Here’s Where Marijuana Could Be Legal After Election Day

via Business Insider: 


While the national races dominate media attention, this year is also a fundamental turning point for marijuana legality in the United States. 

This year, six different states and four cities will vote on initiatives that have to do with marijuana.

These are three types of laws on the ballots:

  • Medical marijuana laws
  • Decriminalization, which makes marijuana possession or sale an infraction punished by fine rather than a misdemeanor warranting possible jail time
  • Legalization, which would make marijuana legal to buy, sell, and use like any other commodity

No state has successfully made marijuana wholly legal, but many have come close — and several may succeed in doing so this November.

The end result could be a radically different landscape for marijuana availability in the United States. Here’s a rundown of all of the places that are putting pot to a vote.


Washington votes on Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana statewide

Washington votes on Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana statewide

Jake Dimmock, co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle.


Washington has one of the boldest ballot initiatives on the table.

Initiative 502 would legalize the taxation, sale, and consumption of marijuana in the state of Washington.

It would allow anyone over the age of 21 to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana, sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused products, or 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused products.

It would also allow producers to grow marijuana, the liquor board to regulate the sales, and the state to tax the sales (initially an excise tax of 25% wholesale price).

The initiative bans the public use of marijuana and the act of driving under the influence of marijuana. It allocates all of the money collected from the cannabis taxes toward state health and education services.

Source: Washington Secretary of State

Polling on Initiative 502 is very positive and it will probably pass

Survey USA has been conducting repeated polls in Washington, and it seems that support is consolidating around Initiative 502.

poll published on July 18 indicated that 55% of respondents would vote yes on the initiative with 32% voting no. 13% were undecided, with men supporting the measure more than women by a somewhat significant margin.

Another poll carried out September 7-9 showed 57% of respondents supporting the initiative, 34% voting no, and only 9% undecided.

Colorado, already a cannabis oasis, votes on Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana statewide

Colorado, already a cannabis oasis, votes on Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana statewide

A discount medical marijuana dispensary in Denver.

Wikimedia Commons

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act — Amendment 64 — if approved by voters would immediately allow for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21.

The amendment would also allow for the cultivation of marijuana plants, the manufacture of marijuana products and the retail sale of cannabis at approved and regulated locations.

It allows municipal governments to prohibit these locations if they so choose.

The act also requires the Colorado Assembly to enact excise taxes on marijuana and to annually use the first $40 million collected from these taxes towards state public schools.

Source: Regulate Marijuana

Coloradans are poised to approve Amendment 64 in a tight race

According to a Denver Post & Survey USA poll, 51% of Coloradans planned to support the measure and 40% opposed it.

Significant for Colorado is the state’s longstanding relationship with marijuana. Most people have already made up their minds about it after years of ballot efforts and dispensaries on street corners.

Support and opposition has been consolidated there years longer than many other states with marijuana on the ballot this year, so polls shouldn’t budge too much. Women, especially in this election, are the swing voters.

Oregon votes on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative to legalize marijuana statewide

Oregon votes on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative to legalize marijuana statewide

Paul Stanford at his marijuana growing facility in Portland, Ore.


Oregon has one of the most contentious — and ambitious — marijuana legalization laws on the ballot this November.

A “yes” vote allows commercial marijuana cultivation and sale in the state of Oregon. The stores would be state-licensed and could only sell to adult. All adults would be allowed to cultivate and use marijuana without a license.

The measure would continue to ban the use of marijuana in public and possession by minors.

Supporters estimate that the subsequent taxes on marijuana would raise $140 million, 90% of which would be earmarked for the state’s general fund.

Source: Ballotpedia

Oregon’s legalization is in the tightest race of any cannabis ballot measure

A July 5 poll from PPP shows that 43% of Oregonians think marijuana should be legal while 46% believe it should be illegal.

A second poll published on September 18 from KATU-TV and Survey USA found that 37% would vote yes on Measure 80, 41% would vote no, and a full 22% were undecided, from a sample of 552 likely voters.

Also interesting in that poll is the fact that women are again the swing vote, with 27% of female voters still undecided.

Massachusetts votes on Question 3 to legalize medical marijuana

Massachusetts votes on Question 3 to legalize medical marijuana


In November, the Bay State will vote on Question Three, a measure to legalize the use of medical marijuana.

According to the text of the measure, the proposed law eliminates all state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana.

The cannabis could be sold to “patients meeting certain conditions” and produced and distributed from centers regulated by the state.

The measure also allows patients to grow marijuana in “hardship cases.”

The official argument for the measure was written by Linda Brantley, the President of the New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, arguing that the passage would alleviate the pain of thousands of Massachusetts’ residents. The official argument against, by Dr. Jay Broadhurst of Vote No On Question 3, argues that medical marijuana needs tighter restrictions.

Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State

Massachusetts is poised to “overwhelmingly” approve medical marijuana

Massachusetts is poised to "overwhelmingly" approve medical marijuana


A survey of 502 likely voters by the Boston Globe showed 69% supporting Question 3 and 22% opposed.

A majority of both registered Republicans and Democrats supported the measure.

57% of Massachusetts Republicans surveyed planned to support Question 3 and 76% of registered Democrats planned to back it.

Two thirds of independents planned to vote yes.

Arkansas votes on the Medical Marijuana Act of 2012

Arkansas votes on the Medical Marijuana Act of 2012


Arkansas will be the first southern state to vote on legalizing medical marijuana.

Sponsored by a group called Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the measure would made marijuana legal for medical use and set up an infrastructure for cultivating and selling it to qualifying patients with a prescription.

Patients could also possess up to six plants. The measure got the requisite 100,000 signatures in late August.

Source: Arkansas Secretary of State

There has been next to no polling on the Arkansas measure

There has been next to no polling on the Arkansas measure

Data from Talk Business, Chart by Walter Hickey/BI

There has not been any statewide polling on the issue by an established firm, so it’s difficult to project how it will do.

But a Talk Business poll conducted by Hendrix College before the measure was on the ballot found voters evenly divided on the issue.

In the poll, 47% of Arkansans said that they would vote for a referendum allowing medical marijuana while 46% said they would not. 7% were undecided.  The poll was conducted among 585 likely voters and had a margin of error of ±4%.

Since the act didn’t make the ballot until late August and this poll was conducted a month earlier, it’s not clear whether this support or opposition has continued.

Montana votes on Initiative Referendum 124, which will determine accessibility to medical marijuana.

Montana votes on Initiative Referendum 124, which will determine accessibility to medical marijuana.

Getty Images

This ballot measure would repeal Montana’s 2004 voter-approved medical marijuana law, which created a medical marijuana program for eligible patients.

In 2011, the Montana Legislature passed Senate Bill 423, which repeals Initiative 148 and replaces it with a new system.

That bill limits marijuana providers to three patients each, prevents marijuana providers from accepting anything of value in exchange for products, and places government oversight over doctors who certify marijuana for more than 25 patients per year.

But in order for the 2011 bill to overturn the 2004 vote, voters must approve Initiative Referendum 124 this November.

In this case, a “no” vote is a vote for the initial initiative, and a “yes” vote is a vote for the Senate bill.

Source: Project Vote Smart

Montana is a tight race, with voters favoring the tighter regulations on medical marijuana

Montana is a tight race, with voters favoring the tighter regulations on medical marijuana

Data Mason Dixon, Chart Walter Hickey/BI

One of the only recent polls on Initiative Referendum 124 is from Mason Dixon Polling on behalf of Lee Newspapers taken in mid-September.

In that poll, 44% of Montanans surveyed planned to vote yes on the measure, which would replace the 2004 initiative with the 2011 marijuana plan passed by the legislature; 31% were against the measure, preferring that the original initiative remain in effect over the Senate plan.

A whopping 25% of Montanans were undecided, understandable on a vote where “yes” and “no” mean unexpected things.

Something to note: Ballot initiatives must get at least 50% of the vote to pass so abstentions could kill the measure.

In Michigan, the cities of Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Ypsilanti will all vote on marijuana too

There is a handful of local races voting for the local decriminalization of marijuana in several cities in Michigan.

Source: NORML, Ballotpedia

A New Mystery Website Says It Will Drop An ‘October Surprise’ That Will Change The Election

via Business Insider: 


A mysterious new microsite promising an “October Surprise” for the presidential race popped up online this week, and is promising to release damning documents related to one of the two candidates.

So far, we don’t know much about the site,, which went live Monday with a linked Twitter feed @OctSurprise. The site warns that “one of your presidential candidates isn’t being honest with you,” and subsequent tweets say that the site will unveil six pages of “irrefutable” documents at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. Blurred images of the documents, which all allegedly relate to the same topic, have also been posted online.

Here’s what the site looks like:


october surprise



Of course, there is an outsized possibility that the “October Surprise” is just an elaborate troll. The New York Observer reports that the site is run by two developers who work for the Discovery Channel, and BuzzFeed reports that the two developers were behind an Internet prank known as “The Greatest Rick Roll Ever.”

Obama Has Completely Lost His Lead In Wisconsin

via Business Insider: 


President Barack Obama has lost his once-decisive lead in Wisconsin and now stands tied with his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, according to a new poll from Marquette University.

Barack Obama

The poll — taken before the second presidential debate — found the race in a virtual deadbeat, with Obama edging out Romney, 49% to 48% among likely voters. That’s down from the 53% lead Obama held in the poll last month.

The shift to Romney was particularly significant among independent voters and women, two key constituencies. Independents, who supported Obama by a 49-40 margin before the debate, now back Romney over the president, 49% to 45%. Among female voters, Romney has closed Obama’s double-digit lead to just four points, 51% to 47%.

The results reflect a growing enthusiasm for Romney in the wake of the first presidential debate. Among those likely voters who watched the first debate, Romney holds a 50-48 percent edge; while Obama leads Romney 50-42 percent among those who did not watch the debate.

The tightening race is further evidence of Wisconsin’s new status as one of the country’s key battlegrounds. Once solidly Democratic, the state has been trending rightward for several years, and was put into play in the presidential race after Romney selected native son Paul Ryan as his running mate. Following this latest poll, veteran political handicapper Larry Sabato officially labeled Wisconsin a “toss-up” in the presidential race. 

This Is The Exact Minute When The Internet Decided Obama Won The Debate

via Business Insider: 


During the second presidential debate, people discussing the second presidential debate were pretty unsure who was actually winning until the last minute, according to new data from digital marketing firm Taykey.

The company, which monitors real-time sentiment and volume of issues from numerous social media sources, found that the moment people decided that President Barack Obama had bested Mitt Romney in the debate came during the final question, when the President told his opponent that he did, in fact, describe the assault on Libya as an act of terror. Romney disputed this. Obama demurred. Crowley pounced, Romney stammered, and the Internet called the debate for Obama.

Here’s the chart that proves it: