President Obama’s conference on women got off to an awkward start Friday when Mr. Obama seemed to play on some throwback stereotypes about women lacking professional decorum in his opening remarks.
“I was going to head over here earlier, and they said, no, no, this place is full of women and they’re still settling down,” Mr. Obama told the room. “I said, what do you mean settling down? What are they doing over there? Just creating havoc.”
It wasn’t clear from his remarks who told the president to wait until the women had “settled down” before coming over to the conference, but the comments caught the attention of Republicans who posted the clip on YouTube under GOPICYMI. (Click here to see the comments)
The president went on to say that it was his pleasure to be surrounded by “so many talented, accomplished women.”
“It makes me feel right at home, although usually, I’ve got my wingman Bo with me,” he said, referring to the Obama family dog.
The Bo-as-wingman remark elicited only tepid laughter from the women in the room, who may have still been wondering exactly what the president meant by his strange opening lines. He went on to recite a laundry list of work he had done on women’s behalf and reiterate his commitment to advancing issues that matter most to them such as working for equal pay and health care coverage to include contraception and mammograms.
At one point during his remarks, the president noted that fewer than 20 percent of the seats in Congress are occupied by women and suggested that more would get done on Capitol Hill if more women were elected.
“Is it possible that Congress would get more done if there were more women in Congress?” he asked, before turning to Vice President Joe Biden to see what he thought. “Is that fair to say, Joe? I think that’s fair to say. That is almost guaranteed.”