By Meghashyam Mali - 10/18/12 12:45 PM EDT
Axelrod was asked during an interview on CNN about Romney’s statement during Tuesday’s debate that he had compiled “binders of women” when trying to staff positions as governor.
“I think the 'binders of women' formulation was an awkward formulation,” said Axelrod, “but the point the governor was making was that he couldn't find qualified women and so he reached out.
“He explained at the time that, 'Well, you know, business schools aren't graduating more than a handful of women.' Actually, at the time, Harvard Business School was 25 or 30 percent of their graduates were women and Gov. Romney apparently didn't reach out for the binders then when he was trying to staff his own business,” added Axelrod.
With both campaigns targeting female voters in the run-up to the election, Romney’s “binders of women” comment has drawn sharp attention.
Democrats pounced on the remark, with President Obama suggesting it revealed Romney’s attitudes toward women.
“I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women,” Obama said at a rally in Iowa on Wednesday.
Republicans, though, have defended their nominee's record on hiring women, saying that the remark was Romney's effort to explain that he had actively worked to bring competent women into his administration.
His former Massachusetts lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, said Wednesday that Romney had “always promoted women in the workplace.”
Axelrod, though, said Romney’s record in Massachusetts was “no better and maybe worse than the previous administration.”
“I’m less concerned about his awkward construction and what it might say about his attitudes than I am about his record, which is poor, and it’s reflected in the policies that he is advocating today,” he added.