The latest instalment of the spectacle that is the US presidential election conformed to the script as expected,a more aggressive Barack Obama showed up for the second of three presidential debates and gave the Republican challenger a hard time. The debate in a town hall format this time,thought to foster a more conversational atmosphere was a combative event,as befits a close race where the candidates have serious disagreements on the role of the government in public and private life. After a soporific performance in the first debate,Obama supporters will be glad to note that insta-polls this time around gave him a lead of anywhere between 7-15 percentage points,arresting Romneys momentum.
But just as in the last debate,it is a Romney statement that is dominating the post-debate conversation. If last time his threat to cut funding to Sesame Street and Big Bird was the line that launched a thousand memes,this time it was a phrase from his answer about equal employment. Romney patronisingly described how he,as Massachusetts governor,tried to find qualified women to fill his cabinet and how his concerted effort in that direction led him to womens groups that gave him binders full
Perhaps spoiled by Romneys past gaffes,an expectant internet grabbed the opportunity with both metaphorical hands and before the hour was out,binders full of women became a meme with its own Twitter handle (@Romneybinders has over 30,000 followers),a Tumblr and a Facebook page that has 2,00,000 likes. Romney one-upped himself; this time he didnt need a Muppet to create a pop culture phenomenon. His tone-deafness and condescension was enough.