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. Linda

    "Former Republican" you are so blinded by your ignorance you haven't a clue as to why women object. Get a life. Woman are fast moving into the places they should have been for ages, and I hope one of them stomps all over a small minded (note I said minded, may have been thinking something else) man like you!

    December 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Perusing-Through


    [1.] – Hello Jessica Yellin of CNN. Since you wrote this piece, let me make it clear as to what your readers understand you are saying. We are hearing from you and women's organizations like NOW, that you DON'T want Obama to bring into his leadership cabinet the 'best person' for the Obama-Biden Dream Team; what you really want is for Obama-Biden to pick cabinet leaders using Affirmative-Action Policies. Am I correct?

    [2.] – Hello Kim Gandy, President of National Organization for Women (NOW) and Amy Suskind of "The New Agenda". Kim, as President of NOW you couldn't carry Hillary Clinton's 'day-old panties'. And because Hillary carries the weight of half the members of NOW, she along with Valerie Jarrett (PE-Obama Sr. Advisor) and Michelle Obama will do a better job of ensuring women’s concerns are front and center on all issues.

    December 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Female Voter in NJ for Obama from the Start

    These "women's groups" need to shut it. This country is in SERIOUS trouble, and all they can whine about are the reproductive organs within the President-Elect's cabinet. Get a life, all of you.

    December 22, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Travis In Colorado

    Okay, I didn't vote for Barack, I didn't support him, I don't think he's the right person for president. I don't like Barack Obama and think that ANYONE would have been a better pick for president. I don't like the fact that Barack ran on a campaign of change, and now we're getting experienced Washington Insiders as his cabinet picks. However, I think that people should shut up about who and how many of which group Barack picked for his cabinet. This is not a game of "let's see how many of each group we can put there" but a serious deal about who is QUALIFIED to be where they are. Not everyone is going to be happy, and people don't always get what they want. I didn't get what I wanted and instead I got Barack as my president. Oh well. Live with it. Work harder for what you want, but don't just stand there and complain. It gets you nowhere and you look like a moron doing it.

    December 22, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. GA Independent

    sigh. All y'alls should just STOP! Think!

    You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you get what you need....

    – Mick Jagger

    December 22, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Alex

    they need to get the hell over it. MLK dreamed of an America "judged not by the color of [its] skin, but by the content of [its] character." apply gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, veteran status, et al. to 'skin', and you have the same point.

    Cabinet selection is not a numbers game in demographics. it is inherently about who's most qualified, and rightly so.

    December 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. shelby

    What a surprise ladies. So you thought if you threw Hillary under the bus, BO would be eternally grateful and repay your betrayal with power positions? Hello, he's a man and he used Naral, NOW, etc. to get the POTUS and he's not looking back. Suckers!

    December 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Perusing-Through

    So what do women like Kim Gandy (NOW) and Amy Suskind (TNA) want PE-Obama to do? To pick female cabinet leaders via Affirmation-Action policies? If that is what you want, then say it!

    December 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Quit Crying

    I'm miffed that this is such an issue since he now has the most diverse cabinet position ever.

    December 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    Obama is bringing a host of backgrounds to the table, and these people he brings bring with them a wealth of knowledge concerning different things. And, these people are very diverse and colorful on a physical level, as well. What does it matter that "only" 1/4 of the cabinet is female? 25 years ago, we'd be satisfied to get 1 woman in the cabinet!

    I swear, it's feminists like NOW who give the real feminists a bad name!

    December 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Bernie

    Obama, I hope you're picking based on credentials and nothing else. It's stupid to be angry that there aren't "enough" of a certain type of person in a position. How about we just make sure there are enough SMART AND QUALIFIED people, and forget what kind of body houses the mind and ability.

    December 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. anonymous in Big D

    Phoenix – when was Michelle Obama was attached? Where? Did I miss it, darn it! I saw no such thing but what I have seen is the press making a mountain out of "that one's" totally unfit for first lady wife! She can't dress, she has a permanent evil scowl on her face, my lord, someone please help that woman before the inauguration! And, if I hear one more person say she's in line with the great Jacqueline Kennedy, I'll absolutely puke! Jacqueline had more grace in her little pinky fingernail that Michelle has in her whole being, now and ever!

    December 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Charles Atlanta

    So far so good.. The incoming President and his cabinets will face the most serious crisis in our lifetime. For those who didn't vote for him and still complaining, you're nothing but a loser. For those who did vote for him and complaining his choice, you need to calm down and give these cabinets a chance to solve all the problems we have today.

    December 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. c from stl

    you know what, I'm a woman and I am tired of WOMEN complaining about everything with this incoming administration. May the best person get the job! If it so happens to be a woman then great, but I would rather the best person be in charge especially during these tough times.... sheesh!

    December 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. PA-Danielle

    Making a staffing decision based on gender is what almost made Sarah Palin Vice President of the United States.

    True feminists are not interested in taking over the world; just gaining a seat at the table of consideration and to be judged on the same criteria of qualifications. Obama's process for selecting his cabinet was fair, equal and should be respected.

    December 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. labman57

    You cannot please all of the people all of the time.
    So long as the people selected to cabinet positions are qualified, can effectively work as a team to implement Obama's policies, and conduct themselves ethically, most Americans will be satisfied.

    December 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Arlene Illinois

    Could anyone imagine what a McCain cabinet would have
    looked like, all white hair, male, and old.

    December 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Billy (Jackson, MS)

    Hey liberals! "Inclusiveness" does include people that do not think based on your own ideology. If youre going to preach it then practice it.

    December 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. charles

    CNN has become fox news! Please CNN stop this!!

    Even the picture you could not get any better?

    December 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |

    everyone want something at the table; but life is not fair to all the people all the can't please everybody.

    John McCain's economic adviser Phil Gramm may be right afterall: "we are all a nation of whiners!....................."

    we all can cantibute towards helping the new president to restore the dignity of our nation, without actually sitting at the front of the table.


    December 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Perusing-Through

    Future Secretary of State and current New York Senator and America's previous First Lady Hillary Clinton will carry the weight of so many women; she will count for 20-women leaders in the Obama-Biden cabinet. Kim Gandy of NOW couldn't carry Hillary's day-old panties.

    December 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Paul from Phoenix

    Are you kidding me? Clinton and Napolitano are arguably in the two most important roles in the administration. In my opinion, both Homeland Secretary and Secretary of State are even more important them the Vice-President.

    Kim Gandy is a whiner. Obama could have every cabinet position filled and she still wouldn't be satisfied because a man is making the decisions. Here's a question: if it is so important, did Ms. Gandy vote for McCain and Palin? I doubt it.

    Seriously, go away!

    December 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Rick in WA

    To Matt: If what you say is true, then why is hanging a black person in effigy considered a "hate crime"? Why would hanging Sara Palin in effigy be considered any less hateful?

    December 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Ted

    Oh please. These groups are pathetic and need to stop complaining about every little thing.

    December 22, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Dem in SD

    Neither Obama nor anyone else can pick a cabinet right now that is split 50/50 men and women because their are NOT an equal number of qualified candidates WITH EXPERIENCE out there right now. Do you want him to pick a less qualified woman just because she is a woman? Is this the feminist affirmative action movement?

    December 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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