second presidential debate
second presidential debate Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney set the Internet and social networking sites ablaze during Tuesday night’s second presidential debate when he answered a question regarding gender inequality in the workplace, by saying that in an effort to include women in his cabinet, when he was governor of Massachusetts, he was brought “whole binders full of women.”

Romney called gender equality “an important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.”

“And I -- and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are -- are all men.’ They said, ‘Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can't we -- can't we find some -- some women that are also qualified?’

“And -- and so we -- we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. 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.”

Within minutes, Twitter users latched onto the inadvertently funny comment, with "binders" and "binders full of women" being mentioned more than 40,000 times in one minute, according to data released by Topsy, a social web analytics tool.

Romney’s comments also caused viewers to launch a “Binders Full Of Women” Tumblr account, and Facebook page, which, just after the debate, had more than 100,000 likes.

A Twitter account, @RomneyBinders, had more than 30,000 followers as of Tuesday evening.

During the first presidential debate, Romney sparked a similar social networking frenzy when he said that as president he would cut funding for the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), invoking Sesame Street and the beloved children’s character, Big Bird.