Romney on Black Employment

Wait, did he almost say "binders full of minorities" when asked about diversity in hiring?

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Black Enterprise interviewed Republican nominee Mitt Romney about his "Believe in America" platform and its emphasis on limited government and tax reform, with a special focus on what the plan might mean for black people. Romney didn't actually provide any responses specific to African Americans (not shocking -- even President Obama doesn't really do that when it comes to his overall economic policies), but he did come ever so close to echoing his infamous meme-inspiring "binders full of women" comment, with a racial-minority twist, when he said in comments that reflected a similar approach: "I wanted to get more diversity in my senior administration members. So I tasked our team with reaching out to other sources of résumés and to bring in people of a broader background."

Warning: If you were waiting to hear the Republican's deep thoughts on the economic status of black Americans before deciding how to cast your vote, you may be disappointed: From Black Enterprise:

Will the [Minority Business Development Agency] be a part of your agenda?

I don't know a good deal about the program. So I'm not going to tell you it's going to be eliminated or cut because I just don't know enough about it or about how effective it's been in terms of it stimulating minority business investment.

Are there any initiatives you'd develop to ensure black and minority
firms gain access to financing and contracting opportunities?

My ambition is to target and encourage small business. I don't have plans to provide a special set-aside for minority-owned businesses other than the programs that currently exist. So, I will continue to encourage small businesses to grow, and to be the most pro-business president we've seen in a long, long time.

Diversity is a large part of business. Looking at your 25 years of business experience, including Bain Capital, how did you apply diversity to recruiting executives?

In hiring, we try to hire the best person we could possibly get without regard to the gender, race, or the sexual orientation of the person involved. I can tell you that when I became governor [of Massachusetts] I noted that government by and large drew from the same pool of applicants. I wanted to get more diversity in my senior administration members. So, I tasked our team with reaching out to other sources of résumés and to bring in people of a broader background. So, in my cabinet I had a number of minority members….

You talked to the NAACP about addressing African American unemployment. What specific measures would you take?

The best thing I could do to help African American unemployment is to create growth of the overall economy which will lead to greater employment overall. I will get the economy going through the five major steps I described. That will put all Americans to work and it'll get African Americans back to work.

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