Jarrett: Diversity to come in Obama Cabinet posts
January 20th, 2013
12:26 PM ET
2 years ago

Jarrett: Diversity to come in Obama Cabinet posts

(CNN) - As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in on inauguration weekend, the White House continued to promise diversity as the president formulates his second term Cabinet.

"His Cabinet when he's finished - and he's far from finished - will have diversity including women, including people of color," Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told CNN's chief national correspondent John King and chief political analyst Gloria Borger from the White House shortly before Obama took the Oath of Office.

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The president has come under fire for, thus far, nominating mostly white men to cabinet positions. A White House released photo of Obama meeting with advisers, mostly white men, drew further criticism when it ran in the New York Times. The White House released another photo of the president meeting with a more diverse group of staffers.

One of his most trusted aides, Jarrett said in this case "One picture does not speak a thousand words."

"He believes he makes his best decisions when he is surrounded by people who have different perspectives and give him their best ideas," she said. "I spent a lot of time in the Oval Office and I'm in there with a great number of women who he listens to and whose council and advice he trusts greatly."

"The president has been surrounded by strong women throughout his entire life; raised by a single mom; lived for a while with his grandmother who was a great role model for him, obviously married to a very competent wife and his first Cabinet reflected the diversity of our country," she said.

Jarrett pointed to both Nancy-Ann DeParle, Obama's deputy chief of staff, who helped craft the president's signature healthcare initiative in his first term and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in charge of the Affordable Care Act's implementation in the president's second term, as examples of women taking on major roles within the administration.

Since winning re-election Obama has made a number of high-profile nominations for cabinet posts, including Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton who has said she will leave her post in the administration.

Originally, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was considered a favorite for the position but withdrew her name following intense criticism for her initial comments on the handling of the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel has been tapped for secretary of defense, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew has been nominated to be secretary of the treasury and chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan is Obama's choice to head the C.I.A. All three of these positions were headed by men in Obama's last term.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2013 • Valerie Jarrett
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. nothing new here

    Diversify.
    Get it done.

    January 20, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. n, tx

    President Obama is a good family man, he will have men and women of every race in his cabinet. Wait before passing judgment

    January 20, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Hugo

    Hey look, it is the radical leader of our country and Barrack Obama...

    January 20, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. anna troy

    obama when its said and done will be the best prez. ever. he does try to get things done the congress is the trouble. i think obama has been on both sides of the tracks. hes smart, he's nice, hes a very good husband and father. hes clean looking, he cares, hes a christian. he cares for the poor and the bible says always will be poor people. someone has to help them. hes 1/2 black and he will always have to do 10 times better then most people. the work for people will come back soon. he will get the gun law , he will get the state of tx. before over with. this county has change. we need to pray each day for him and its okay. god bless you all. red white blue tx.

    January 20, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. rla

    An idiot is still and idiot no matter the race- This guy will use diversity to divide the nation not for any consideration of their minority or race.... This thing about race as a qualifying aspect is some how beyond me>

    January 20, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    As more of them jump ship??????

    January 20, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. marita

    People should be choosen for their ability, NOT because there must be a Heinz/57 administration to be 'politically correct'! I dont care, if they're polka-dotted, as long as they do their job well + with integrity! – @Marita.

    January 20, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    Speaking as a minority woman who voted both times for the president, I am not at all disappointed in his upcoming choices (they are all qualified). Let's not forget, the president lives with four women and seems by all accounts to love and respect them dearly. Let's give him some time. I'm sure it will all work out.

    January 20, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |