- Child killed, 4 injured in Idaho elementary school bus crash
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
Jarrett: ‘Insulting’ to call White House a boys’ club
Chicago politics ‘child’s play’ compared to D.C.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Wednesday disputed the notion that the President Obama operates a tight-knit boys’ club of top advisers and aides and bemoaned the hardball politics of Washington, D.C., saying Chicago politics are “child’s play” in comparison.
Speaking to audience of mainly women at the Atlantic’s “Women of Washington” series at the Newseum, Ms. Jarrett said Mr. Obama relies on the advice of several top women aides and Cabinet secretaries, especially Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is in charge of implementing the president’s signature health care law.
“When people say it’s a boys’ club, it’s a little insulting to the women who are actually playing very critical roles,” she said. “You may not see them on television as much, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate the impact they have and the influence they have with the president.”
Besides Mrs. Sebelius, Ms. Jarrett named Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and newly-tapped Secret Service Director Julia Pierson as women with prominent and important roles in the administration.
Inside the internal operations of the White House, Ms. Jarrett said several key women have the president’s ear when it comes to strategy and organization, citing deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco; Danielle Gray, the deputy director of the White House National Economic Council; and White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler is integral.
“We don’t make a move without consulting with Kathy Ruemmler,” she said.
Throughout his first term, Mr. Obama has been criticized for preferring male-dominated environments, such as frequent golf outings with mostly male colleagues and friends and off-hour hoops with NBA basketball stars, male Cabinet officials and congressmen.
The criticism reached a crescendo in 2011 after Ron Suskind’s book “Confidence Men” quoted veteran Washington political adviser and former White House communications director Anita Dunn calling the White House a “hostile workplace” for women. She said the quote was taken out of context.
Even though some of his brashest, testosterone-pumped aides such as Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley, his two former chiefs of staffs schooled in in-your-face Chicago-style politics, left the White House, and David Axelrod, his senior adviser, moved to run the campaign and hasn’t returned in a formal role, the president has faced a nagging perception of the White House as an exclusive boys club.
At one point in late 2009, women in the White House felt so marginalized that Mr. Obama held a dinner to let the senior female aides voice their complaints directly to him.
Undeniably one of Mr. Obama’s closest aides, Ms. Jarrett shrugs off such suggestions and admits she has a think skin, having previously served as deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whom she admitted was more than a bit “intimidating.”
Still, she says, Chicago politics are nothing compared to what goes on in the nation’s capital.
“This is a tough town,” she said. “I thought I grew up on Chicago politics, and everyone’s heard so much about Chicago. But let me tell you, Chicago is child’s play next to D.C. It really is.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Blast of winter weather heads to D.C. area
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!