The media consensus seems to be that Barack Obama had a good night and Mitt Romney not so much, roughly in line with my own impressions.
But as often happens, things that I gave only a passing attention to in the debate turn out to grab a lot of attention in the media world. In this case it was Mitt Romney’s claim, in making the case that he was sensitive to women’s issues, that when he was elected governor of Massachusetts, he was given “binders full of women” that he could use to select women for high posts.
At the time I thought that his phrasing was a little awkward and the tone somewhat patronizing (surely he should have personally known qualified women) but did not think much more of it. But the phrase has widely caught on and gone viral on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube (similar to Big Bird after the first debate) and been the source of much internet humor, like this one.
David S. Bernstein points out that Romney’s implication that he instigated the search for qualified women is also wrong, that is was done by others before he was elected and that he merely used it to appoint women to agencies he did not care about.
But this episode once again shows how I have absolutely no feel for what might grab the public’s imagination.