December 22nd, 2008
02:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Why some women's groups are miffed at Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A poll shows 71 percent of Americans approve of Barack Obama picking Hillary Clinton for secretary of state."] CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - What's made up of five women, four African-Americans, three Latinos, two Asians, two Republicans and a Nobel Prize winner?

The answer: President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet.

Obama is taking the big-tent approach to governing and wanted a Cabinet that stretches the tent wide.

Watch: What does it take to get a job with the Obama administration?

"I think people will feel that we followed through on our commitment to make sure that this is not only an administration that is diverse ethnically, but it's also diverse politically and it's diverse in terms of people's life experience," Obama said December 16.

It might be diverse, but not everyone is happy. Some women's groups are disappointed. Among Obama's strongest backers during the election, they now say they don't have enough seats at the table.

That's because of Obama's 20 announced Cabinet-level posts, five went to women: Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary, Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Rep. Hilda Solis as labor secretary, Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador and Lisa Jackson as Environmental Protection Agency chief.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Ariana

    I'm a feminist too, but I think these women need to shut up.

    December 22, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Tanya

    Hey!! Why has Obama not selected more people of Russian origin? After all, if we're going to make nice with the Ruskies, we must have more diverse representation...oh, and do we have enough Chinese cabinet members....and, oh any reps from PETA???

    How about you all just stop your whining and find ways to support this administration, and, most importantly, recognize that each of our individual opinions, may just not be the one and only that matters.

    December 22, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Michael Templer

    There are 9000 appointments and while woman are 52% of the population only approximately 53-55% of you work so 5 or 6 of 20 appointments is actually right based on who works in this country. If woman's group want more power you have make woman like that Countess who was spending 53000 a week a cut back from 200000 a week to get off her butt and work. Remember Penny Pritzker decline Commerce because of the vetting process. I am shocked by the level of whining and intolerance on the left as someone who crossed party lines to vote for Obama. Where is the so called big tent?

    December 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Denise in MD

    Next, people will be complaining that Obama doesn't have enough Martians in his cabinet. There's not enough inter-galactic diversity. Where are the Klingons?

    December 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Matt

    Thank you Obama; for choosing your Cabinet based on the professional qualifications of those seeking the appointment, instead of "filling spots at the table".

    Keep up the good work.

    December 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Nicole

    Tired of Corporate Politics, you need to shut up! Obama was received death threats because of "that woman" you think he should have defended. By the way, when did Sarah Palin or John McCain speak up about that? Yet, Obama was supposed to speak up anytime anybody even dared to criticize that inane woman and that decrepit man. Give me a break

    December 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Scott NYC Independent

    What these women's groups need to do is stop being feminist and realize that it is not the gender that is important its what is done with the power.

    December 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Dan, TX

    Look, this is the media trying to make a story out of anything they can. I don't know ANY group that isn't miffed at Obama for not picking more of their group. On the other hand, pick any of the categories CNN says are miffed and I'll find more members of that group that are not miffed. This is BS and we all know it.

    December 22, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. indy

    NOW "National Organisation of Whiners", get over yourselves.

    December 22, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Nola

    I am a little sick and tired of all these groups wanting things their way – the man selected an individiual to fill a position that they were more than qualified for. If he had just went down the list a fill all the positions with females then the men would have gotta upset. People this country is in deep trouble we do not have the time to be sitting around complaining because the new leader has not done things your way. All I want is for some individuals to establish a plan of action that will help us address the problems WE all are facing – and then start working toward doing my share of work in getting this country back on track

    December 22, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. PA Law

    It looks like we like the idea of inclusion as long as it only means people like us....whoever the "us" group of the moment may be. People, he was serious when he said that he would be president of the whole country, not just a few special interest groups. That means that we have to make room at the table for everybody.

    December 22, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Michael Templer

    One more thing, Everybody knows Secretary of State

    is the biggest appointment in the Cabinet period

    Treasury, Hud, HHS, Homeland and Energy are more important now because of Economics and Terrorism

    December 22, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Joe in WV


    JOE – WV

    December 22, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. KJL

    Are those the same women who thought Hillary Clinton should have been nominated because she is female? Or who switched to backing Mccain because Palin is female?

    We need the best, and if the best are female, fine. If not, get your daughters good educations and teach them the value of political involvement.

    December 22, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Former Republican

    Women get over yourselves. If you deserve the job, you'll get it. I personally hate the idea of women in charge of anything other than their children.
    Written by a former republican woman.

    December 22, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    This is such a non-issue it is laughable. The gays have arguably the best reason to be miffed. But most gays are more interested in reality of policy affecting gay rights than what person gets the biggest spotlight for saying a prayer. Civil unions with the same rights as marriage unions is needed. The use of the word 'marriage' is not as important as the reality of rights for civil unions. Once civil unions are accepted, the name it is called will fall away as an issue quickly.

    December 22, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. AJ

    wah wah... It could be all white men. Seriously... people whine too much in this country anymore. Nothing is ever good enough.

    December 22, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. CNN = Jerry Springer of News

    No incumbents 2010 December 22nd, 2008 3:12 pm ET

    "There is always a need for kitchen staff."
    More proof sexism and misogynism still exists. Are you an old man from the south? Those are typically the ones who make comments like this. I was once told, "I have some women's work for you," which entailed serving beverages and sandwiches to people. My male friend who was with me prayed for the safety of the elderly man who made the comment to me as I was a strong woman in her 20's at the time.

    What is sad is I have been hearing these kinds of comments more frequently from younger men lately. Not sure what that is about as I thought times were changing and this attitude was starting to dissipate, but we seem to be sliding back into complacency of thinking these types of comments are appropriate. And this comes from someone who was not on the bangwagon of, "the media is sexist" during the presidential campaign and thinks Obama picked enough women for his cabinet.

    December 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Joy

    I would rather he pick the most qualified people based on their credentials, and NOT what they have/don't have between their legs. How ridiculous! Why can't the women's groups focus on and be happy about the choices he did make? It's this kind of whiny BS that gives women a bad name to begin with it. And I am a woman.

    And I also don't think it's Obama's responsibility to stand up for or publicly decry when someone burns a woman, black, latino or gay person in effigy. How ridiculous! He is not the go-to spokesperson for your petty little causes. Grow up people, and grow a brain while you're at it.

    December 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Matt

    What all the special interest groups supprting Obama heard: "I am going to make sure we take over and snub everyone who disagrees with us and who my voters feel has wronged them over the years. It is now time for vengeance. If WE win, this will be OUR gov't and we will show THEM who's boss and see how they like being excluded from everything because we're right and they're wrong. Vengenance will be ours!"

    What Obama was saying: "I'll be everyone's president. There will be a place for everyone at my table because for true healing to begin in this country we need dialogue and real, tangible tolerance and the first step is to be the bigger person and stop your own hate and reactivity first. Teach peace by living it."

    School's in session.

    December 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Joe in DE

    Disappoint with Obama was inevitible. None of his supporters really knew waht his politics were – the main thingh known was that he claimed that he would be bring change not tied to the establishment. It turns out the really means to be a centerist and his appointments are pure establishment. Many of his camapign promises look doubtful such as not lobbyists, renegotating NAFTA,, etc.

    It is not possible to judge how good his administation may be; check back in six months.

    December 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Mike in Ca

    CNN manufacturing news by goading opinions, as usual.

    December 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Greg M

    That may have been the symbology of what he tried to project to the voters Laverne, but this guy is NOTHING more than a puppet and has sealed that fate with the choices he has made for those who back him up as their front man. He owes so much, he will never be able to pay it all back and he will be pulled like a piece of cheap taffey by forces from every side. This will be like watching a slow motion car wreck.

    December 22, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Angie-OHIO

    Godluvr December 22nd, 2008 3:12 pm ET

    I'm miffed at the "miffed women!" I say: shut the hell up and be happy! No one owes you anything

    I'm with you. President elect Obama picked the best and brightest. So they are not all women. Let it go. There are still more jobs, may not be the cabinet jobs but there jobs.

    December 22, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Greg, Atlanta

    Personally, I'm upset because there are NO left-handed, wood-carving elves in the cabinet.

    Let's get real people...the country is facing several crises right now and you want to argue about how many women should be in the cabinet? As long as the selected individuals work on solving the problems that our country is facing, I don't care about their gender or party affiliation, just get the job done.

    December 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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