Research

Obama’s Record On Women

Obama’s Record On Women
Democrats Accuse Republicans Of Waging A War On Women, Hypocritically Ignoring The Facts

DEMOCRATS AGREE THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN WAR ON WOMEN

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) Says There Is No Republican War On Women. RALPH REED: “So is it — Congressman, is it similarly wrong, then, for Democrats to say that the Republican Party is engaged in a war on women? Is that wrong?” REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER: “Yes, that is wrong. And I’ve never said it, not one time.” REED: “Ok, well, then perhaps we could – ” CLEAVER: “Mr. Reed, what we need — what we need is for you and me, and I’m willing to do it, I don’t think you would, but when that happens, do what I do. I condemn it. If it’s a Democrat, if it’s my cousin, it’s wrong. And I think we need to stop that. It is damaging the body politic and it’s further separating the people in this country.” (CNN’s “State Of The Union,” 4/8/12)

  • “In Separate Segments On CNN’s State Of The Union, Two Top Democrats Differed on Whether Republicans Are Waging A ‘War On Women.’” “Democrats didn’t have their message straight on Sunday. In separate segments on CNN’s State of the Union, two top Democrats differed on whether Republicans are waging a ‘war on women,’ a central line of attack that Democrats have reaped big political gains for amid the GOP’s recent push to limit access to contraception.” (Sahil Kapur, “Key Dem: ‘Wrong’ To Say GOP Waging War On Women,” Talking Points Memo, 4/08/12)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) Says War On Women “Probably Not The Right Term.” “U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a ‘war on women.’ The language appeared in a fundraising note from McCaskill’s mother Betty Anne McCaskill, as well as from an email signed by the candidate herself. Monday, McCaskill told PoliticMo while the phrase ‘‘war on women’ is probably not the right term,’ she thinks it is the correct sentiment.” (Eli Yokley, “McCaskill: ‘War On Women’ Not The Right Term,” PoliticMo, 4/10/12

WOMEN ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND IN THE OBAMA ECONOMY

The Unemployment Rate For Women Has Increased

Since Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate For Women Has Increased From 7.0 Percent To 8.1 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/9/12)

  • Since The Stimulus Was Passed, The Unemployment Rate For Women Has Increased From 7.3 Percent To 8.1 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/9/12)

Since Obama Took Office, The Number Of Female Employees Has Declined By 683,000. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/6/12)

While The Participation Rate Has Dropped

“As Former Department Of Labor Chief Economist Betsey Stevenson Noted On Twitter, Female Workers Accounted For The Entire Drop In Labor Force Participation.” (Travis Waldron, “Women Account For Entire Drop In Labor Force Participation Last Month,” Think Progress, 4/6/12)

  • The Female Labor Force Participation Rate Fell In March From 57.9 Percent To 57.7 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/6/12)
  • The Number Of Women Not In The Labor Force In March Increased From 52.8 Million To 53.1 Million. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/6/12)

In March, While Male Participation In The Labor Force Increased By 14,000, Female Participation Fell By 177,000. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/6/12)

  • White Women Account For 136,000 Of The Workers Who Dropped Out Of The Labor Force In March. “The unemployment rate fell to a three-year low of 8.2% in March, but it wasn’t because more Americans found jobs. Instead, thousands of people dropped out of the labor market. Who were those people? White women, mainly. Roughly 136,000 white women left the labor force in March. Their participation in the job market has been slowly dropping since mid 2009, and now it’s at levels not seen since 1996.” (Annalyn Censky, “Why Are White Women Dropping Our Of The Job Market?” CNN Money, 4/6/12)

WOMEN HAVE NOT FARED WELL IN THE YEARS SINCE THE RECESSION ENDED

“Women Aren’t Faring As Well As Other Groups In The Job Market’s Recovery And That Could Put A Dent Into Their Support For President Obama.”  (Vicki Needham, “Slower Job Growth For Women Voters Could Cost Obama In Election,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 3/25/12)

Female Job Gains Have Slowed Since The Recession Ended In June 2009. “While female workers largely held their own through the recession, job gains have slowed since the downturn ended in June 2009, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data on the demographics of the labor market recovery.” (Vicki Needham, “Slower Job Growth For Women Voters Could Cost Obama In Election,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 3/25/12)

“Women Are The Only Group For Whom Employment Growth Lagged Behind Population Growth From 2009 To 2011.” “Out of all the groups represented in Pew’s survey — including blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians — women are the only group for whom employment growth lagged behind population growth from 2009 to 2011. During that time, female employment grew by 0.9 percent and lagged behind growth in the population of working-age women by 1.5 percent.” (Vicki Needham, “Slower Job Growth For Women Voters Could Cost Obama In Election,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 3/25/12) 

  • “That Has Led To Jobs Gains Of Only 600,000 — From 65.5 Million To 66.1 Million — For Women, Compared With 2.6 Million For Men During Those Two Years, The Survey Showed.” (Vicki Needham, “Slower Job Growth For Women Voters Could Cost Obama In Election,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 3/25/12)

“Employment For Women In The Final Three Months Of Last Year Was 2 Million Less Than Its Pre-Recession Level Of 68.1 Million.” (Vicki Needham, “Slower Job Growth For Women Voters Could Cost Obama In Election,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 3/25/12)

“The Growth In Male Employment During The Recovery, 3.5 Percent, Has Outpaced The Growth In The Male Working-Age Population, Which Was 2.1 Percent.” (Vicki Needham, “Slower Job Growth For Women Voters Could Cost Obama In Election,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 3/25/12)

The Amount Of Women Living In Poverty Has Skyrocketed

“The Poverty Rate Among Women Rose To 14.5 Percent Last Year, Up From 13.9 Percent In 2009—The Highest Rate In 17 Years.” (Leslie Bennetts, “Women: The Invisible Poor,” The Daily Beast, 9/14/11)

  • The Extreme Poverty Rate – Income Below Half Of Federal Poverty Line – Is The Highest Ever Recorded Among Women. “The ‘extreme poverty rate’ among women was the highest ever recorded, climbing to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009. ‘Extreme poverty’ means that your income is below half of the federal poverty line—and by 2010, more than 7.5 million women had fallen into that dire category.” (Leslie Bennetts, “Women: The Invisible Poor,” The Daily Beast, 9/14/11)

“The Majority Of Older Women In America Are Unable To Cover Their Basic Living Expenses, And The Percentage Of Those In Distress Is 50 Percent Higher Than That Of Men.” “The majority of older women in America are unable to cover their basic living expenses, and the percentage of those in distress is 50 percent higher than that of men, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Department data conducted by Wider Opportunities for Women, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on women and workforce issues.” (Leslie Bennet, “Census Data Reveals Elder Women’s Poverty Crisis,” The Daily Beast, 3/28/12)

  • Three Of Five Women Over The Age Of 65 Can’t Pay For Their Basic Daily Needs. “‘Three out of five women over 65 have incomes that won’t cover their most basic daily needs, whereas among men it’s 40 percent,’ says Donna Addkison, president and CEO of the organization.’”  (Leslie Bennet, “Census Data Reveals Elder Women’s Poverty Crisis,” The Daily Beast, 3/28/12)
  • Donna Addkison Of Wider Opportunities For Women: “Older Women Are At Much Greater Risk Of Economic Insecurity Than Older Men.” (Leslie Bennet, “Census Data Reveals Elder Women’s Poverty Crisis,” The Daily Beast, 3/28/12)

In 2010, 17 Million Women Lived In Poverty, Compared To 12.6 Million Men. “What all those statistics add up to is that more than 17 million women were living in poverty last year, compared with 12.6 million men. As usual, things were worse for older women; twice as many women over 65 were living in poverty, compared with men.” (Leslie Bennetts, “Women: The Invisible Poor,” The Daily Beast, 9/14/11)

  • The Poverty Rate Is 25.6 Percent For Black Women And 25 Percent For Hispanic Women. “And those numbers just represented the population-wide average. For Hispanic and black women, the poverty rate increased even faster and rose higher—to 25 percent for Hispanic women and to 25.6 percent for black women.” (Leslie Bennetts, “Women: The Invisible Poor,” The Daily Beast, 9/14/11)
  • More Than 40 Percent Of Single Mothers Live In Poverty. “As usual, single mothers are having the hardest time of all. More than 40 percent of women who head families are now living in poverty. With more than half of poor children living in female-headed families in 2010, the child poverty rate jumped to 22 percent.” (Leslie Bennetts, “Women: The Invisible Poor,” The Daily Beast, 9/14/11)

Female Veterans Are Struggling To Find Jobs And Reasonable Housing

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA): “I Think It’s Very Clear That Women Veterans In Particular Lack The Services They Need.” (Eric Tucker, “More Women Vets Are Homeless, But Housing Scarce,” The Associated Press, 4/4/12)

The Unemployment Rate For Gulf War-Era II Female Veterans In 12.4 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 3/20/12)

Homelessness Among Female Veterans Has Escalated During The Past Decade. “Once primarily male veteran problems, homelessness and economic struggles are escalating among female veterans, whose numbers have grown during the past decade of U.S. wars while resources for them haven’t kept up.” (Eric Tucker, “More Women Vets Are Homeless, But Housing Scarce,” The Associated Press, 4/4/12)

  • The Population Of Female Veterans Without Permanent Shelter Has More Than Doubled…And May Continue To Climb Now That The Iraq War Has Ended. “The population of female veterans without permanent shelter has more than doubled in the last half-dozen years and may continue climbing now that the Iraq war has ended, sending women home with the same stresses as their male counterparts — plus some gender-specific ones that make them more susceptible to homelessness.” (Eric Tucker, “More Women Vets Are Homeless, But Housing Scarce,” The Associated Press, 4/4/12)

Female Veterans’ Homelessness “Is Exacerbated By A Shortage Of Temporary Housing” For Women And Children. “The problem, a hurdle to the Obama administration’s stated goal of ending veterans’ homelessness by 2015, is exacerbated by a shortage of temporary housing specifically designed to be safe and welcoming to women or mothers with children. The spike comes even as the overall homeless veteran population has gone down, dropping by nearly 12 percent to about 67,500 between January 2010 and January 2011, officials say.” (Eric Tucker, “More Women Vets Are Homeless, But Housing Scarce,” The Associated Press, 4/4/12)

DEMOCRATS HAVE REMAINED SILENT WHILE THEIR ALLIES DISPLAY A LACK OF RESPECT FOR WOMEN

CNN’s Erin Burnett Says “There Is A Real Inconsistency” In The Democrats’ Treatment Of Bill Maher And Rush Limbaugh. “Well, I went on to ask that question, of course. He did try to take that out, exactly as you’d imagine, Wolf, to say, well, I’m not involved with the Super PAC. In fact I haven’t talked to Bill Burton, who’s running the Super PAC, for a year, so I’m not the one making that decision. But, you know, it does seem, Wolf, that this whole, I guess, fig leaf that they’ve put on onto whether you’re saying something vile about a woman, whether she’s a public or a private figure, that there is a real inconsistency there. And it does seem that they’re going to have to be giving more answers on that question. But yeah, there is some follow-up where we talk about that exact issue and Mr. Axelrod does not want to go there.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 3/15/12)

“Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, And Ed Schultz Have Been Waging It [War On Women] For Years With Their Misogynist Outbursts.” “Did you know there is a war on women? Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts. There have been boycotts by people on the left who are outraged that these guys still have jobs. Oh, wait. Sorry, that never happened. “ (Kirsten Powers, “Rush Limbaugh Isn’t The Only Media Misogynist,” The Daily Beast, 3/4/12) 

David Axelrod Wouldn’t Condemn Maher Since His Words Were “A Little Bit Different” And He Plays A Smaller Role In The Democrat Party. “He added, ‘But understand that these words that Maher has used in his stand-up act are a little bit different than — not excusable in any way — but different than a guy with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most — in the most inappropriate grotesque ways. And nor does Bill Maher play the role in the … Democratic Party that Rush Limbaugh plays in the Republican Party, where he’s really the de facto boss of the party. Everybody responds to him. Which is the reason why I think Gov. Romney was afraid to take him on.’” (Maggie Haberman, “Maher And Limbaugh Are Not The Same,” Politico’s “Burns & Haberman,” 3/15/12)

  • Comedian Bill Maher Donated $1 Million To Obama’s Super PAC, Priorities USA. “Comedian Bill Maher announced tonight that he will donate one million dollars to President Obama’s re-election campaign.  At the end of his groundbreaking comedy special, ‘CrazyStupidPolitics: Live from Silicon Valley,’ which streamed live on Yahoo!, Bill brought out a check, making a personal donation of one million dollars to Obama’s Super PAC, Priorities USA Action.” (Alexander Burns, “Bill Maher, Super PAC Man,” The Hill, 2/24/12)

A “Parade Of High-Profile Liberals Make Up His [Bill Maher’s] Guest List,” But None Have Confronted Him.   “Liberals—you know, the people who say they ‘fight for women’—comprise Maher’s audience, and a parade of high-profile liberals make up his guest list. Yet have any of them confronted him? Nope. That was left to Ann Coulter, who actually called Maher a misogynist to his face, an opportunity that feminist icon Gloria Steinem failed to take when she appeared on his show in 2011.” (Kirsten Powers, “Rush Limbaugh Isn’t The Only Media Misogynist,” The Daily Beast, 3/4/12) 

Bill Burton Says Priorities USA Will Not Return Maher’s Money Because He Is Just A Comedian. “Right, but the notion that there is an equivalence between what a comedian has said over the course of his career and what the de facto leader of the Party said to sexually degrade a woman who engaged in an important debate of our time is crazy. There’s just no similarity about what Rush Limbaugh said, lying about the argument that miss Fluke was making, a law student at Georgetown, and what a comedian has said in the past.” (MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 3/8/12)

  • Former Democrat Governor Of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell Says Democratic Women Want Priorities USA To Return Maher’s Money. “It’s not just conservatives who are calling for us to give it back; it’s Democratic women. I was on the phone just a half hour ago with a very active Democratic woman and she said we’ve got to give it back. We’ve got to make this slate absolutely crystal clear, we stand for everything that’s good about women’s participation in politics and we’ve got to have no gray area. It’s got to be our good record against their terrible record. And what’s a million dollars?” (MSNBC’s “Now With Alex Wagner, 3/16/12)

THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE IS KNOWN FOR BEING HOSTILE TO FEMALE EMPLOYEES

An Unnamed High-Ranking Female Official: Obama “Has A Real Woman Problem.” “‘The president has a real woman problem,’ an unnamed high-ranking female official told Suskind. ‘The idea of the boys’ club being just Larry and Rahm isn’t really fair. He [Obama] was just as responsible himself.’” (Nia-Malika Henderson and Peter Wallsten, “Book: Women In Obama White House Felt Excluded And Ignored,” The Washington Post, 9/16/11)

“The Notion That Women Have Long Been ‘The Heart Of The Obama Organization’ Doesn’t Necessarily Line Up With The President’s Largely Male List Of Political Advisers And Senior Staff.” (Alexander Burns, “Women For Obama,” Politico11/15/11)

  • Anita Dunn: Obama’s Problems With Women Began During His 2008 Campaign. “Dunn told Suskind that the problems began during the 2008 campaign. At one point she was viewing a television ad with other campaign officials and was shocked to see no women in the spot. ‘There isn’t a single woman in this ad,’ Dunn said. ‘I was dumbfounded. It wasn’t like they were being deliberately sexist. It’s just there was no one offering a female perspective.’” (Nia-Malika Henderson and Peter Wallsten, “Book: Women In Obama White House Felt Excluded And Ignored,” The Washington Post, 9/16/11)

Obama Is “Responsible For A Work Atmosphere That Marginalizes And Ignores Women.” “Coverage in the Washington Post and a new book by Ron Suskind has focused attention on the frustration of Obama’s female advisers. But the problem has been obvious almost since Obama took office. And while the explanations so far have blamed members of the mostly-departed boys club–Robert Gibbs, Rahm Emanuel–Obama himself is responsible for a work atmosphere that marginalizes and ignores women.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  

  • In Obama White House’s “Rough-And-Tumble Environment … Female Staff Members Often Felt Bruised.”  “In this rough-and-tumble environment, the book reports, female staff members often felt bruised. At a dinner with Mr. Obama in November 2009, several top female aides — including Anita Dunn, who was the communications director, and Christina Romer, the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers — told the president about being talked over in meetings by male colleagues or cut out altogether.” (Mark Landler, “Book Details Dissension In Obama Economic Team,” The New York Times, 9/15/11)

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett Admits “Tensions Over The Role Of Women” In The Obama White House. “Tensions over the role of women in the first two years of President Obama’s White House prompted him to elevate women into more senior positions, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a Washington Post interview.? (Olga Belogolova, Jarrett Confirms Tensions Over Role Of Women In Obama White House,” National Journal. 9/20/11)

Former Communications Director Anita Dunn: “This Place Would Be In Court For A Hostile Workplace.” (Nia-Malika Henderson, “Book: Women In Obama White House Felt Excluded And Ignored,” The Washington Post9/16/11)

  • Dunn: “It Actually Fit All Of The Classic Legal Requirements For A Genuinely Hostile Workplace To Women.” (Nia-Malika Henderson, “Book: Women In Obama White House Felt Excluded And Ignored,” The Washington Post9/16/11)

Ellen Moran, Obama’s First Communications Director, Quit After Just 92 Days In The White House. “Other senior women have complained that their arguments seemed to disappear into the ether at meetings, unacknowledged by Obama. Ellen Moran, Obama’s first communications director, was the first member of his team to leave the White House, resigning just 92 days into the term.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  

Former Economic Advisor Christina Romer: “I Felt Like A Piece Of Meat.” “‘I felt like a piece of meat,’ Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, said of one meeting in which Suskind writes she was ‘boxed out’ by Summers.” (Nia-Malika Henderson, “Book: Women In Obama White House Felt Excluded And Ignored,” The Washington Post9/16/11)

Romer Felt “Slighted” By Obama’s Approach In Meetings. “Obama’s Socratic approach left one participant feeling slighted. Romer, the sole female economist, reached down for her purse, took out a business card, and scribbled, ‘Either he acknowledges me soon or I’m leaving.’ She passed it under the table to Summers, sitting next to her. She knew every one of the economists here. She had sat on panels with them, had spoken at testimonials for some of them, and she might as well have been serving them the food. Summers, who could do his math as well as Romer—they’d run in the same circles for twenty years—read the note and passed it along under the table to Geithner, who read it himself, and then waited for a moment to pass it to Obama. ‘Let’s see now, Christy,’ the president said lightly, a moment later. ‘We haven’t heard from you yet.’” (Ron Suskind, Confidence Men, 2011, p. 275)

  • “Even When Women Are In The Room With Obama, They Are Sometimes Seen But Not Heard.” “Even when women are in the room with Obama, they are sometimes seen but not heard. At a 2010 symposium on women in finance, Christina Romer, then the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, talked about the difficulty she had getting the floor in policy discussions.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  
  • “Suskind Relates The Story Of How Obama’s Reacted Angrily To One Suggestion By Romer, And Yet Calmly Heard Out The Same Suggestion From Larry Summers A Few Days Later.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  

Women Are “Mostly Absent” From White House Flickr Album Which Shows Obama’s Oval Office Meetings From His First 100 Days In Office. “The first time I noticed something was awry, I was flipping through the White House Flickr album from Obama’s first 100 days in office. About halfway through, I realized something was missing. Shot after shot showed Oval Office meetings filled with men in dark suits. But apart from occasional appearances by Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett–and one photo of an Oval Office meeting that included Jarrett and several other female advisers–women were mostly absent from the workplace shots.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  

In November 2009, “Several Senior Female Aides” Complained That Men “Enjoyed Greater Access” To Obama. “Friction about the roles of women in the Obama White House grew so intense during the first two years of the president’s tenure that he was forced to take steps to reassure senior women on his staff that he valued their presence and their input. At a dinner in November 2009, several senior female aides complained directly to the president that men enjoyed greater access to him and often muscled them out of key policy discussions. Those tensions prompted Obama, urged on by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, to elevate more women into senior White House positions, recognize them more during staff meetings and increase the female presence in the upper ranks of the reelection campaign. ‘There were some issues early on with women feeling as though they hadn’t figured out what their role was going to be on the senior team at the White House,’ Jarrett said in an interview Monday. ‘Most of the women hadn’t worked on the campaign, and so they didn’t have a personal relationship with the president.’” (Peter Wallsten and Anne E. Kornblut, “In Early Obama White House, Female Staffers Felt Frozen Out,” The Washington Post, 9/20/11)

  • Obama “Initially Discounted The Complaints” Of Female Officials. “Some early efforts to elevate women foundered. The first White House communications director, Ellen Moran, departed quickly, after a rocky tenure. Others never quite fit in, or failed to be ‘in the jet stream’ of the most important events of the day, one official said. According to another official, the president initially discounted the complaints he heard that women, particularly on his economic team, were making.” (Peter Wallsten and Anne E. Kornblut, “In Early Obama White House, Female Staffers Felt Frozen Out,” The Washington Post, 9/20/11)

Obama Eventually Had Dinner With Female Workers At The White House To Discuss The Problem Of The “Boys’ Club.” “A dozen women, including virtually all the president’s senior female staffers, were sure the dinner would be canceled. But they gathered anyway for cocktails in the residence, a nice opportunity for all of them to be together, only to be surprised, and delighted, when the president managed to arrive twenty minutes late. Their meeting with him was clearly a priority, and it was not the first time Obama had heard directly about the gender issues. In June, the afternoon of the jobless recovery meeting, Valerie Jarrett told the president he needed to meet with Romer and that a space had been cleared on his schedule. Romer talked about the boys’ club problem for many of the women—the way they were excluded from key meetings or ignored when they attended; the bullying atmosphere that prevailed—as well as the specific issues for her. ‘Have you ever tried to get a word in edgewise when Larry and Tim get going?’ The president was skeptical about there being a problem, but attentive. Romer brought matters full circle to him: ‘If you give power to Rahm or Larry,’ she said, pointedly, ‘you’re responsible for their actions.’” (Ron Suskind, Confidence Men, 2011, p. 353)

  • “One By One, The Women Ticked Off Examples And Frustrations. The Problems Seemed To Be Universally Agreed Upon.” “Before the dinner, Jarrett approached Anita Dunn, saying she was ‘worried people are going to be afraid to speak up. Do you mind saying something to get the ball rolling?’ Dunn said she would be fine doing that. As the women settled into their chairs, Obama set the table: ‘I really want you guys to talk to me about this openly because recently there has been this suggestion that there are some issues here. I’d like to know how you guys feel. Valerie felt this was something we should do, and I want to thank her for putting this together.’ Before Dunn had a chance to chime in, Carol Browner, the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, kicked things off. ‘Mr. President . . .’ One by one, the women ticked off examples and frustrations. The problems seemed to be universally agreed upon. Obama listened awkwardly, as the women tried their best to present their issues without becoming too personal.” (Ron Suskind, Confidence Men, 2011, p. 353)
  • “The President Listened, With A Posture Of ‘Okay, I Hear You,’ Said Another, ‘Though Not Really Offering Much In The Way Of Apology Or Suggestions About What He’d Do.” “‘And then it ended up being focused around Larry and Rahm, and some Peter. And obviously . . . less about Axe and Gibbs, who were equally guilty but who everybody was terrified of.’ The president listened, with a posture of ‘Okay, I hear you,’ said another, ‘though not really offering much in the way of apology or suggestions about what he’d do.’”  (Ron Suskind, Confidence Men, 2011, p. 353)
  • The Women Were Disappointed With Obama Who “Seemed To Be Acknowledging, And Tolerating, The Problem.” “At the conclusion of the meal, the president looked around and, in classic Obama fashion, delivered a conclusion that was both placating and earnest. ‘You might think because Axe and Gibbs can walk into my office that I don’t recognize your value. Not true. You’re important to me. You have this perception that they are more important. Just because they are out there doesn’t mean I listen to them on your issues.’ That explanation was perplexing. Obama seemed to be acknowledging, and tolerating, the problem. Inferring that some of them thought he should consider dismissing Emanuel and Summers, Obama paused. ‘Look,’ he said, evenly, ‘I really need Rahm.’ ‘That, to me, was one of the more unsatisfying things. ‘They are really important to me. I know they are assholes but I need them,’ one of the women said. ‘After the dinner we [the women] all decided we’d rather have had dinner just by ourselves.’” (Ron Suskind, Confidence Men, 2011, p. 353)

Rahm Emanuel Dismissed The White House’s Women Issue As Nothing, A “Blip.” “Later, when Emanuel was asked in an interview about the women’s group and their issues, he was succinct. The concerns of women, he said, were a nonissue, a ‘blip.’ As to the fact that the White House’s women rather strongly disagreed with him on that point, he said, ‘I understand,’ and then laughed uproariously.” (Ron Suskind, Confidence Men, 2011, p. 353)

There Is A “Looseness To Obama When He’s Hanging Out With The Boys Club” That Is Absent In Events With Women. “There’s a looseness to Obama when he’s hanging out with the boys club that doesn’t appear in co-ed gatherings. Sometimes he even literally engages in locker room humor, as in this photo before a speech at the University of Texas. The President blows off steam on the golf course with male colleagues and friends. He takes to the White House basketball court with NBA stars, men’s college players, and male cabinet members and members of Congress.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  

  • ABC News Reported On The Discriminatory “Boy’s Club” Atmosphere In The Obama White House In 2009. “And as ABC News covered at the time, in the Fall of 2009, many of the women who worked at the White House expressed concern that the ‘boy’s club’ atmosphere was in some ways discriminatory.” (Jake Tapper, “White House Officials Attack Book, Author, With Whom They Cooperated,” ABC News’ “Political Punch,” 9/19/11)
  • “There Are Any Number Of Strong Women In Congress Or Serving As Chiefs Of Staff At Cabinet Agencies Who Were Qualified For The Post. But No Woman Seems To Qualify For President Obama’s Innermost Circle.” “Stephanie Cutter has a role in the communications shop, although Jen Psaki just announced on Tuesday that she is leaving her post as deputy communications director. And yet when Rahm Emanuel left the White House last fall, the list of possible replacements for White House chief of staff was filled with men. Jarrett was the only woman in the running. Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff over at the State Department, could have easily been at the top of the list. There are any number of strong women in Congress or serving as chiefs of staff at cabinet agencies who were qualified for the post. But no woman seems to qualify for President Obama’s innermost circle.” (Amy Sullivan, “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has A Woman Problem,” Time’s “Swampland,” 9/21/11)  

There Has Been An Impression That “Mr. Obama’s Closest Advisers Form A Boys’ Club And That He Is Too Frequently In The Company Of Only Men.” “The technical foul over the all-male game has become a nagging concern for a White House that has battled an impression dating to the presidential campaign that Mr. Obama’s closest advisers form a boys’ club and that he is too frequently in the company of only men — not just when playing sports, but also when making big decisions.” (Mark Leibovich, “Man’s World At The White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say,” The New York Times, 10/24/09)

  • As Of November 2009, None Of Obama’s 23 Rounds Of Golf Had Included Women. “Ben Finkenbinder, a junior press aide and scratch golfer, was recently invited into a foursome with Mr. Obama. (In records kept by Mark Knoller of CBS, the president has played 23 rounds of golf since taking office, none of which have included women, though Mr. Knoller allows that the press office does not always release the names of every player. A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said Friday that Mr. Obama planned to play this weekend with Ms. Barnes.)” (Mark Leibovich, “Man’s World At The White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say,” The New York Times, 10/24/09)
  • “White House Aides Of Varying Levels Of Seniority Typically Play Golf With The President But Until Sunday, The Games Were All Male.” “President Barack Obama’s weekend outings to play golf have become regular events, especially when the weather cooperates. But Sunday afternoon, an almost picture-perfect fall day, marked the first time in Obama’s presidency that a woman joined the golf game. White House domestic policy aide Melody Barnes was among those who headed out to the Fort Belvoir army installation in Virginia to play golf with the president.  White House aides of varying levels of seniority typically play golf with the president but until Sunday, the games were all male.” (Caren Bohan, “Woman Joins Obama Golf Entourage For First Time,” Reuters’ “Tales From The Trail,” 10/25/09)