Katherine Fenton, the Long Island woman who’s question about fair pay for women at Tuesday’s second presidential debate sparked buzz over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe, criticized both candidates for not answering her query directly.
Fenton, a 24-year-old undecided Nassau County voter selected by the Gallup Organization to attend the debate at Hofstra University, asked both President Barack Obama and Romney what they would do to address pay inequality among women.
Obama answered the question by bringing up his first legislative act as president – passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which makes it easier for women to sue their employer if they have evidence they are being paid lower than their male colleagues.
Romney’s response centered around his now infamous “binders full of women” gaffe, in which he described how he sought out women to hire in his administration when he was elected president of Massachusetts.
Fenton said both answers were unsatisfactory.
"My question was, 'What do you intend to do about the issue?'” she told Newsday. "They talked about what they have done, but that wasn't my question."
She said she “was grateful to hear that they have done good things to help qualified women in the workforce, but I wanted to know their future plans."
Fenton said she didn’t think Romney’s “binders full of women” line would receive so much attention on the Internet, where memes, remixes and mashups featuring the phrase have been created.
"A lot of people are using it as a joke," she told Newsday. "But I hope it made some people actually think about the election."
Fenton entered the second presidential debate as an undecided voter. She did not say whether she has made up her mind following the debate, nor did she feel either Obama or Romney decisively won the face-off.
"The debate was very close. It was not a blowout for any of them by any means," she told the paper. Obama seemed more relaxed and more comfortable, she said. "Romney seemed prepared but a little more rattled."