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. An Independent in Oregon

    Shut up and get back in the kitchen! Now didn't that sound as stupid as you need to pick more females? For goodness sake women, Pres. Elect Obama knows who the best candidates are and you don't. Being the spokesman or spokeswoman of a special interest group doesn't qualify you to make cabinet selections. Just be glad it wasn't Sen. McCain and what's her name.

    December 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Rick

    lol...yep, you dems were sold a "bill of goods".

    December 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Paul from NYC

    Im miffed he didn't pick enough 'Paul's'

    December 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. AJ

    Yeah, big tent. Not big enough for the LGBT community apparently.

    December 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Jeremiah in Phoenix

    do the womens group want to know why there arent very many women arent in the cabinet?.... because A) there arent enough smart women.... B) the women who are smart, arent smart enough to apply, or C) They are doing as the were intended to do.... stay in the kitchen, iron and take care of children....

    December 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Matt

    @ Greg M

    Too bad none of what you say is evidenced by anythign that has happened so far in terms of Obama's cabinet appointments. In fact, the evidence is quite contrary to your opinoin of him as a puppet. He wouldn't be angering the special interests that helped elect him if he was the type of same-old-same-old politician we get, who views such things as a debt which must be paid back with favors. The FACTS show he's precisely what he said he was and is doing precisely what he said he would do. The FACTS show that a lot of people out there who voted for him, were hearing something else and hoping he'd behave like politicians always do...with favors and paybacks.

    December 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Peter TX

    much as i love women, i dont Obama has to fill his cabinet with all the staff from Victoria's secret. u ladies(the ones that are complaining) need to get a life!

    December 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. waukone

    He must be doing something right he is miffing the one issue groups. Me on the other hand have more than one issue to worry about.

    1. Economy
    2. Healthcare
    3. War
    4. Environment
    5. Justice

    No where is there one demographic group. I'm pro-choice, civil unions, labor unions, prosecute white collar crime sort of person. If he deals with my 5 issues most of my other concerns sould come later.

    December 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Barbara, WA

    Oh, cry me a river. Five women is pretty good. There was a time when there were NO woman or one token. I think Barack is doing a pretty good job.

    The Secretary of State is a WOMAN–get over yourselves.

    December 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Linda

    One reason women voted for Obama was his stance on reproductive rights. This is not diversity, this is a slap in the face to women (and men) everywhere who believe in a woman's right to chose.

    December 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Adrienne

    Obama needs to pick people with talent and that who can work with him. It is his choice... and I think he is picking women with a high talent. Not just women.

    December 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Carli - Seattle, WA

    As a woman I say, "Get over it!" I would much rather Obama pick the best candidate for the job than the gender, sexual-orientation and whatever other political groups that are out there.

    He is fulfilling his promise to bring all sides of the table together to have a beneficial, coherent discussion. If that means "your side" doesn't get to be in the majority, then so be it.

    Let's be logical here, folks.

    December 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Shannon, CA

    I'm a woman and I'm extremely happy. Everyone is going to have some gripe. I don't like Rick Warren and wish he'd stay home, but I can't have everything I want.

    Barack is doing just fine.

    December 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Steve McKenney

    I hate this. A group of people don't think they are represented fairly. They don't consider that a person that was chosen ahead of whom they want to see at that position might be more qualified to fill it.

    In these times that we live, it's the responsibility that the President uses his best judgment to appoint people who will be the most effective at each specific position. If it's a man, so be it. If it's a woman, more power to her.

    I have never been a fan of affirmative action and that is what this is, with the exception that it's for women instead of men.

    December 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Adrienne

    I've been thrilled with all Obama's choices so far.
    I voted for him... but I never fully understood how smart he was until he started filling his Cabinet. Obama is long-headed.

    December 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. alvino

    How many picks have a tie to big oil, or have an oil tanker named after them?

    December 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. CanIcallyouJoe

    Yeah, don't appoint the person who is best for the job.... step back, take a look at their genitalia, and then make your decision. IT'S SO OBVIOUS!!


    He appointed the women who were fit for the job. If you cannot do the job, you don't get the job. Settle down.

    You complain about this, yet we're under the most freedom oppressing regime in American history and not only was a woman an extremely serious contender for the presidency, but now that very woman is one of the president's closest advisers.

    I think some people have yet to get over the results of the primaries......

    December 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. James

    @Extreme Feminists

    Until you have to sign up for the draft, quit your complaining about equality.

    December 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Cary Lacayo

    President Obama has managed to compose distinct or unlike elements or qualities of people holding these positions in his cabinet. I am pleased to see a major change from the normal way of doing things regarding the past presidents...It has been the good ol'e boy methodology for far too long...

    Your Excused, females out there for not seeing the big picture based on his decisions in those he has chosen to surround him during this historical time we face as a nation.

    December 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. I'm Not Missing The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    Not enough manufactured controversy and scandal with your other FAUX NEWS reporting CNN?

    December 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. kc


    December 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Maggie from Virginia

    This is not news... No matter what any POTUS does, some group is going to be miffed. This happens with every administration. So far, Obama has the most diverse cabinet I've seen.

    December 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. John Q

    Those cabinet positions are responsibilities that could change the way the world they're very important. We shouldn't forget that administrations rarely end with the starting lineup. Relax....the games just started.

    December 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Thomas5

    "More proof sexism and misogynism still exists."


    At least learn how to spell "misogyny" before you go proclaiming that someone suffers from it. And while you're at it, do something about your own misandry. Physician, heal thyself.

    December 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Tay in Texas

    Give me a freaking break!!!!! How is it possible that every group feels that Obama should more heavily stack the odds with their demographic? If that is the case then I may as well throw my hat in the ring!

    I am seriously miffed that PE Obama has not selected ANY single, African-American females under 5'0" tall! How is that possible? I thought he was supposed to be the president for everyone??? The lack of short black women on his team obviously indicates a lack of concern and regard for my issues!!!! Why doesn't he care more for me and MY demographic. WHY, GOD, WHY??????

    December 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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