presidential candidates
presidential candidates Reuters

President Barack Obama made his first reference to Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment that set the Internet and social networking sites ablaze during Tuesday night’s presidential debate.

"Science and technology, engineering, and math ... we should make sure all our young people, our daughters as well as our sons, are thriving in these fields,” Obama said as he was campaigning in Iowa Wednesday afternoon. “This should be a national mission. I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women to learn and teach in these fields right now."

The Obama campaign is also running a promoted tweet when users search for the phrase on Twitter.

“Mitt Romney still won’t say whether he’s stand up for equal pay, but he did tell us he has ‘binders full of women,’” the tweet reads.

Romney answered a question during Tuesday night’s second presidential debate 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.”

One top female administrator whose resume ended up in Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” and was hired by the former Massachusetts governor said Wednesday that she wasn’t bothered by his comments during Tuesday’s debate on a question of equal pay, Politico reported.

Ruth Bramson, former chief human resources director for Romney, said that she watched the debate and did not have a negative reaction to the “binders full of women” comment.

“Yes, I was a woman in the binders. I don’t think that’s true at all,” she told Politico. “We were the women in the binder. There was no question about it. While he may not have initiated the process, he certainly used the resumes of the women in the binders to bring in some very talented people.”