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Where’s The Outrage?

- August 1, 2013

Team Obama Is Markedly Silent On The Offensive Behavior Of Members Of Their Own Party

THE WHITE HOUSE HAS PRACTICALLY IGNORED THE CONTROVERSIES SURROUNDING PROMINENT DEMOCRATS

While Team Obama Assailed A So-Called War On Women While Running For Reelection, The White House Is "Conspicuously Silent" On Scandals Facing "Prominent Members Of Obama's Democratic Party." "When President Barack Obama ran for re-election last year, he and his advisers were quick to condemn comments from Republicans that were deemed offensive or demeaning to women. But now, with two prominent members of Obama's Democratic Party admitting to lewd online behavior and facing allegations of sexual harassment, the White House is conspicuously silent." (Julie Pace, "Obama Stays Silent On Dems Mired In Scandals," The Associated Press, 7/31/13)

The Associated Press Headline: "Obama Stays Silent On Dems Mired In Scandals" (Julie Pace, "Obama Stays Silent On Dems Mired In Scandals," The Associated Press, 7/31/13)

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Defended And Reinforced The White House's Silence

Yesterday, Jay Carney Defended The White House's Silence On The Recent Controversies Involving Prominent Democrats And Women, Saying "The President Believes His Job Is Not To Comment On Those Issues." QUESTION: "Given that the President, domestically and abroad, so often speaks about respect for women, creating a society where women can function at the highest levels, doesn't the fact that there are high-level controversies involving objectification and in some cases harassment of women involving the Democratic Party -- doesn't the President's silence say something in and of itself?" CARNEY: "Ari, no. The President is focused on what we can do for the middle class in this country, what we can do to help the economy grow, what we can do together through a grand bargain for the middle class to reform our business tax code in a way that's beneficial for American businesses and in a way that allows us to invest in the economy so that it helps the middle class grow and be more secure. I understand the allure of issues like this in the media, but it is not what -- and I do understand it, and I'm not being critical of it. But I'm saying that the President believes his job is not to comment on those issues, but to focus on what he can do to get this economy growing faster and creating more jobs. That is his fundamental preoccupation right now, and it will be for every of the 1,269 days I believe left in his presidency." (White House Press Briefing, 7/31/13)

  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, On Allegations Of Sexual Harassments Against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D-CA): "I Don't Have Comment On That Any More Than I've Had Comment On Other Similar Issues." QUESTION: "Jay, you mentioned that the President will be traveling next week to southern California. In San Diego, an eighth woman has now come forward alleging sexual misconduct against the Mayor of that city, Bob Filner, a former member of Congress, a Democrat. Does the White House have any new statements on this given the high-profile nature of--" CARNEY: "I don't know that we've had any old statements. The President is traveling to Camp Pendleton, which is not in San Diego, it's outside. And I don't have anything on that." QUESTION: "So I guess the question would be why not on that topic when so many leading Democrats have spoken out and the President himself has spoken out to members of the armed services very publicly given the circumstances taking place there?" CARNEY: "Well, I think you're talking about separate issues here. He's Commander-in-Chief -- he doesn't oversee municipalities." QUESTION: "And the head of the Democratic Party." CARNEY: "Be that as it may, I don't have comment on that any more than I've had comment on other similar issues." (White House Press Briefing, 7/31/13)
  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Offered "No Comment" On The Scandals Surrounding New York Democratic Candidates Anthony Weiner And Eliot Spitzer. QUESTION: "I mean, President Obama has inspired people from all over the world. So you don't have the need to say something about the political circus in New York, or you don't see---" CARNEY: "No, we don't. (Laughter.) The President is focused on what we can do here in Washington to help the middle class, to help the economy grow, to help regular folks out in the country have the resources they need to send their kids to college; have what they need even if they're not rich for a secure retirement; have what they need, the tools they need, to achieve that part of the American Dream that is associated with homeownership. And that's his focus. And I think I was asked this question the other day -- I'm not sure if my colleague was. We just have no comment on it. There's plenty of coverage -- plenty of stuff to cover without us commenting. QUESTION: "So you don't think that when a politician is saying something, is doing something else, and when he's refusing--" CARNEY: "No, I don't. In fact, I think that, going to my answer to Mark's question, I think that the President believes we ought to be focused here on the substantive issues that most Americans want their elected officials and their unelected officials in Washington to be focused on." ( White House Press Briefing, 7/31/13)

Obama's DNC Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL), Refused To Call For NYC Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner To Drop Out Of The Race

"Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Said Wednesday She Won't Call For Anthony Weiner To Drop Out Of The New York Mayoral Race." (Breanna Edwards, "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Not Calling For Anthony Weiner To Exit Race," Politico, 7/31/13)

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz Stopped Short Of Calling For Weiner To Drop Out Of The Race. WASSERMAN SCHUTLZ: "[Dropping out is] a decision for Anthony Weiner to make. Anthony Weiner's not a public office holder. He's running for office and…every candidate has to make their own decisions when it comes to the controversies swirling around Anthony" (MSNBC's " The Daily Rundown," 7/31/13)

  • Wasserman Shultz: "Whether He Stays In The Race Or Not Is Up To Him." WASSERMAN SHULTZ: "He and Huma [Abedin] have been dealing with this personal struggle, I think those struggles are personal, but clearly the conduct that Anthony's engaged in…has engaged in in the past is inappropriate, but whether he stays in the race or not is up to him." (MSNBC's " The Daily Rundown," 7/31/13)

THE WHITE HOUSE HAS A HISTORY OF FAILING TO ADDRESS WOMEN'S ISSUES WITHIN ITS OWN RANKS

During His First Term, Obama Received Ample Criticism For His Anti-Woman White House

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)

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)

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)

  • According To Valerie Jarrett, "Early On, Some Women Did Not Have A Direct Relationship With The President." "'Early on, some women did not have a direct relationship with the president,' she [Valerie Jarrett] said later. 'I felt direct interaction, where they could speak freely, would help.' The first lady did not attend, but she was an invisible presence: for years, she had urged her husband to open himself up to a more diverse array of advisers, including by gender, and she quietly let it be known that she thought the story raised important questions." (Jodi Kantor, The Obamas, 2012, p. 147)

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 Post , 9/16/11)

  • 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 Post , 9/16/11)

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 Post , 9/16/11)

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)

"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," Politico, 11/15/11)

  • 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)

And In His Second Term, Obama Faced Rebuke For A Shrinking Female Representation In His Cabinet

Obama's Cabinet Nominations "Raised Concern That Women Were Being Underrepresented At The Highest Level Of Government And Would Be Passed Over For Top Positions." "But Mr. Obama's recent nominations raised concern that women were being underrepresented at the highest level of government and would be passed over for top positions. For instance, many Democrats had hoped that Mr. Obama would name Michèle Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, to the Pentagon post. They had also hoped that he might name Alyssa Mastromonaco or Nancy-Ann M. DeParle, who are top White House aides, to the chief of staff job, or Lael Brainard, an under secretary at the Treasury Department, as secretary. But speculation about the chief of staff position now rests on Denis McDonough, the deputy national security adviser, and Ronald A. Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. For the Treasury position, most expect Mr. Obama to name his current chief of staff, Jacob J. Lew." (Annie Lowrey, "Obama's Remade Inner Circle Has An All-Male Look, So Far," The New York Times, 1/8/13)

"There Were, After All, Just Eight Women Among The 23 Cabinet-Level Officials In Obama's First Term. And That Number Will Be Even Lower In His Second." (Jennifer Epstein, "Obama Diversity Disappoints Again," Politico, 5/5/13)

  • National Organization Of Women: "More Women Should Be In The Cabinet." "President Barack Obama completed his second Cabinet this week with a nod that might have been expected to delight women's groups: he picked longtime supporter Penny Pritzker to serve as Secretary of Commerce, selecting yet another woman for a high-profile executive branch position. Instead, the National Organization for Women's response sounded a relatively ambivalent note. 'Penny Pritzker Appointment is Good, But Still Not Good Enough,' the group said in its first statement. 'More women should be in the Cabinet.'" (Jennifer Epstein, "Obama Diversity Disappoints Again," Politico, 5/5/13)
     
  • There's "No Denying" Obama's Cabinet Not Only Fails To Represent The Current Demographics Across The Country, But Also Those Who Elected Him. "But overall, there's no denying the group he wound up with isn't just less diverse than the current demographics of the country, and far less representative of the coalition of voters that got Obama reelected. It even falls short in virtually every category of the marks he set in his first term." (Jennifer Epstein, "Obama Diversity Disappoints Again," Politico, 5/5/13)

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