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. deb

    I think Obama has selected a very well-rounded group of people. NOW is being ridiculous, if the so-called complaints are even true. The media spins so much crap that it's hard know who to believe. Obama has stayed true to his word so far. I'm not thrilled with Rick Warren's politics or religious beliefs but Obama is trying to bring this country TOGETHER. He never said he agreed with the man's policies. The women he has selected for his cabinet seem to be a diverse group. Let the man get into office before you start condemning him! Jeez!

    December 22, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Joe Fattal

    I bet OPRAH is one of them. She is mad like hell that Obama didn't offer a position after all the money she spent on his election. I heard she is moving to Washington DC, or looking for a house close by.

    December 22, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Ex-Republican

    --Amy Siskind, co-founder of the nonpartisan group New Agenda, accuses Obama of taking "shocking steps backward" and said "this constituency does not matter to the president-elect."--

    Hmmm.....Amy sounds a bit partisan don't you think? Non-Partisan so long as it's mostly women! Who cares if they have insanely intelligent people in his's all about there being WOMEN. Don't find the best person for the job...find a woman for it by golly!

    Amy, you suck and are a walking symbol of hypocracy! I support true NONPARTISAN policies, and as such, think you are a joke for claiming 'bipartisan' while at the same time rallying to the cause of only women! Stick it where the sun don't shine you wretched piece of garbage!

    December 22, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. janet , ohio

    Many who claim to be for diversity are actually only interested in promoting the interests of their own faction.

    December 22, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Disgusted with the whiners

    I am still amazed that Americans continue to be so selfish. Do we really want change? It appears that every self interest group is going to come forward to say they were treated unfairly or they were not represented fairly. We are really a nation of whiners. I am so ready to move foward. Rome was not built in a day folks. Give PEBO a chance. Geez. We are in a an unprecendented crisis. He nominated people who are brilliant in what they do-that was priority number one! Is that not priority for you? It makes me wonder why a lot of people voted for Obama. It seems like selfish reasons to me.

    December 22, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Ajaye

    Some of these groups just want to be in the news so they just come up with stuff , and stupid stuff at that , to gripe about. Please give us all a break and go bake cookies for the holidays or find something else to do because you're really starting to get on people's nerves.

    December 22, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Steven

    NOW is a 100% sexist group so why are they still around? What narrow minded idiots support them? Oh I know – liberals.

    Second, Senator Obama is a puppet. He cut deals with Clinton, Kennedy, Pelosi, and the unions to get nominated. He is not picking any of these people, he is being told who will be in his cabinet.

    December 22, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Matt

    Yep, it's a numbers game for these people...always was. It has nothing o do with ensuring that we get people elected who espouse the same ideals, support equal treatment, etc. It's all about playing the statistics game and relying on numbers. You see, NOW doesn't think it can its efforts brought about progress if it can't say that it helped force a 50% female cabinet. And you can bet your bippy that if Obama did appoint 50% women to the cabinet, NOW would be first in line for trying to take credit. What we need is people who see past the numbers, the quantities, to the qualities...those kind of people to step forward. Obama is such a person. Most of the special interest group leadership in this country is decidedly NOT.

    December 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Rob

    And this is what happens when you sell your vote. You make promises to people and they demand that and more.

    Oh, and kudos to Mary Mitchell, the Chicago Sun Times columnist who's main beef with Rick Warren was that he wasn't black. Nice how all during the election the lib whiners were posting on this site that the Republicans were racists, and here we have a lib being incredibly racist herself. But I guess that since she is black that she has the right to be racist. Question Mary, what justification do you have for being an idiot?

    December 22, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Sally from Cali

    You cannot please all of the people all of the time.

    No special interest groups...not even the women's groups.

    December 22, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. A loner in NC

    I just wish people would just support the administration instead of whining about it. I would rather have him to pick the most qualified person there is instead of trying to please others.

    Let's just see what this administration can do, and if they don't succeed at most of America's problems, then complain.

    December 22, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Jeff

    I wish that applications for jobs did not ask one thing about your gender, age, or race. That would be the only way fair decisions could be made. It should not matter about any of these things. I think the best qualified people should get the most powerful jobs in the US.

    December 22, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Ratgurl

    As long as he's hiring the MOST QUALIFIED for the jobs, I could care less what their genders or ethnicities are. The difference with Obama is, he doesn't DISMISS a person because of their gender or ethnicity.

    December 22, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Mari

    @ Laverne.... thanks! You are correct.

    One of the reasons the far-right-nuts disrespect the liberals so much, is that we run around trying to make everyone happy ...... or equal. And really that's silly. Women's groups need to simmer down! They should be on their knees thanking God that our new president is NOT.... grandpa McCain!

    I am OFFENDED by all the critics of Obama, who actually voted for him, yet complain all the time! Give the man a chance! He IS facing the WORST disaster in the History of our Nation! Your little problems pale when you consider the reality of the ........... Bush Disaster!


    December 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Drew in ATL

    I'm sure that most of the complainers are disappointed Hillary, Palin and McCain supporters. You can please the majority (he won didn't he?) but you can't please everyone.

    December 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. Lh

    Oh come on! Is this for real?? Are these the same women who threatened to vote for McCain??? How many posts did they want? 5 out of 20 ain't bad considering all the other groups he needs to satisfy. The man isn't even president yet and people are trying to find ways to bring him down! Wow.

    December 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Sunil

    Can women EVER be happy?? Can AMERICAN women ever be happy??

    I am beginning to think that's an impossibility and that everyone needs to stop trying. They just whine all the time, and there's nothing anyone can do to change that.

    If Obama had six women in his cabinet, they'd want eight, if he had eight, they would want ten. If he had ten they would complain that these were not the right kind. And on and on and on it would go.

    I am sorry to say this but American women are nothing but a bunch of whiners.

    Now go ahead and call me names.

    December 22, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. sandee in Portland

    I am so tired of all these women's groups calling out that things are unfair or sexist. Get over it. I wish CNN had named these women's groups. I would like to write them and tell them exactly what I think and obviously, I am of that gender. There's an old saying that "you can't please all of the people all of the time". I'm tired of the gays saying they deserve equal rights, the african american's saying they're prosecuted because of their race, the femisists calling out sexism, and on and on and on. The people of our country have all been reduced to only wanting what is best for their own personal interests, not the interests of our country as a whole. Personal greed, greed, greed...and that's what got us in this mess to begin with.

    December 22, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Alfred Black

    The Obama administration features a series of czars in White House advisory roles. Some of these positions could be as powerful as Cabinet secretaries, as they are expected to coordinate policy across sectors; it seems to me that the secretaries will be expected to focus on operations/delivery, while the White House staff establish and oversee the implementation of policy (Health Czar being the exception that proves the rule).

    I would be interested in learning of the gender (and other representational) ratios among these senior advisers, as my recollection is that quite a number of powerful ones were women, blacks etc.

    December 22, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. karen

    Do you make up these allegations???????? Women are proud of Barack and his choices – although I,m not happy about Hillary being in the administration.

    December 22, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. docb

    Sour grapes..They got clinton who will surely screw this up!!!Napotanio will be wonderful–so will Solis..They rest will at least serve the president's agenda..Unlike Hclinton but you get what you pay for!!

    December 22, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. florida girl

    I prefer Vulcans over Klingons myself, Denise in MD.

    December 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. Phil in KC

    Good grief! Obama has one of the most diverse cabinets ever and they still want to complain? Get over it!

    December 22, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Soccer Nana

    Could it be, just maybe, there were no other women he feels is qualified to be a part of what he whats his cabinet to be like at this time? Just a thought.

    December 22, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Sick & Tired

    NOW is giving women a bad name. 1/4 of Obama's cabinet is female...ENOUGH!

    December 22, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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