Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debate #2, part 2: Romney's affirmative-action fib

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Well, well, well....

Remember the debate segment last night where Romney bragged about seeking out qualified women to serve in his administration when he became governor?

Not true, says our sister alt-weekly, the Boston Phoenix.

When Romney was asked last night what he would do to help women achieve pay equity, Romney adopted a tactic both he (and Obama, too frequently) used throughout the night: rather than answering the question, tell a personal story. In Romney's version, as he prepared to appoint people to high positions in his administration, he noticed that all of the resumes his advisers were giving him were of men. "Gosh," he says he said, "can't we — can't we find some — some women who are qualified?"

And he went to women's groups asking them for names of possible candidates. And they gave him binders of women's names.

As somebody pointed out on the PBS analysis afterwards, that's affirmative action at work, and it might turn off some conservatives.

But that's not the best analysis of the night. The Phoenix's David Bernstein posted some info that he's written about before: Mitt Romney didn't seek out those names. He didn't go to those women's groups. They went to him. They had met before the election, came up with names of women who were qualified for administrative positions, and agreed to get together with whoever was elected governor and push to get women appointed. Romney won, and they gave him the binder.

(And, Bernstein says, none of the 14 women Romney hired were put in charge of the key departments that Romney felt were important.)

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