Mitt Romney raised eyebrows during the presidential debate Tuesday night when he claimed that as governor of Massachusetts, he had been so dismayed at the lack of female cabinet candidates that he sent women's groups out to find them.
"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," he said.
In fact, Romney did not direct women's groups to bring him female candidates, Boston Phoenix reporter David Bernstein points out. A non-partisan collaboration of women’s groups called Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP) was responsible for the effort in 2002, when the group's leaders realized that women held only 30 percent of the top appointed positions in the state.
Romney boasted that during his term as governor, Massachusetts had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America. "Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort," he said.
This statement, too, is misleading. While 42 percent of Romney’s appointments during his first two and a half years as governor were women, the number of women in high-level appointed positions actually declined to 27.6 percent during his full tenure as governor, according to a 2007 MassGAP study.