Female staff in Obama White House felt edged out: New book

Editors' Picks

  • Manchester United sponsors unaffected by the on-field crisis

    Manchester United sponsors unaffected by the on-field crisis

    Manchester United sponsors unaffected by the on-field crisis

    Manchester United sponsors remain unaffected by on-field problems …

  • Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity

    Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity

    Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity

    Sacked Manchester United manager David Moyes thanked his predecessor Alex Ferguson on Wednesday for having given him the opportunity to lead the Premier League club. In a statement issued through the League Manager's Association (LMA), the Scot spoke of his pride at being chosen last July and acknowledged fans had a right to feel frustrated by results since then. "I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter-finals of this year's Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex …

  • Scholes returns to help Man United interim manager Giggs

    Scholes returns to help Man United interim manager Giggs

    Scholes returns to help Man United interim manager Giggs

    Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes returned to the club's training ground on Wednesday to help caretaker manager Ryan Giggs prepare for this weekend's Premier League match at home to Norwich City. Giggs, with whom Scholes shared many title triumphs, was put in charge of the first team for the final four games of the season following the sacking of David Moyes on Tuesday. As well as Scholes, Giggs was also joined by Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, who was assistant coach under …

  • Rumour: Guillem Balagué claims Lionel Messi on Manchester United’s radar
  • Moyes axed by Man Utd after season of failure

    Moyes axed by Man Utd after season of failure

    Moyes axed by Man Utd after season of failure

    By Mitch Phillips LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United's succession planning for life after Alex Ferguson was left in tatters on Tuesday when manager David Moyes was sacked after 10 troubled months of failure and frustration at a club used to seamless success. Moyes, appointed with a six-year contract on the direction of retiring fellow-Scot Ferguson last July after 11 years at Everton, did not even get to complete his first season as the club's American owners, the Glazer family, ran out of …

  • United must move fast with vital window looming

    United must move fast with vital window looming

    United must move fast with vital window looming

    By Ed Osmond LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United must move quickly to appoint a new manager and give him maximum time to operate in what will be a critical transfer window for the club. A season of abject failure under David Moyes brought a swift end to the former Everton manager's reign at Old Trafford and United will have to act equally decisively to install the right man to try to revive their fortunes. Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal is the favourite and he has the necessary experience …

Washington, Sep 20 (IANS) Senior female aides in the White House felt threatened by the men who had greater access to President Barack Obama in the first two years of his office, according to revelations in a new book.

The friction about the roles of women in the Obama White House grew so intense that he was forced to take steps to reassure the senior women staff that he valued their presence and their input.

This is revealed in a controversial new book, 'Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President,' by journalist Ron Suskind, writes the Washington Post.

In fact, the tensions grew to such a level that at a dinner in November 2009, several senior female aides complained directly to the president that men enjoyed greater access to him and often edged them out of key policy discussions.

The tensions prompted Obama, urged by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, to place more women into senior White House positions, give them more recognition during staff meetings and increase the female presence in the upper ranks of the re-election campaign.

'There were some issues early on with women feeling as though they hadn't figured out what their role was going to be on the senior team at the White House,' Jarrett said in an interview Monday.

The book is based on more than 700 hours of interviews, including one with Obama. It quotes a number of top officials describing a difficult work environment at the time for women, due largely to the dominating roles of male officials such as economics adviser Lawrence H. Summers and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the daily writes.

The acknowledgment Monday by White House officials of discontent among high-level female staffers in the early days came even as Obama aides tried to paint the book as inaccurate.

One of the quotes in the book is from former White House communications director Anita Dunn, who was reported as saying 'This place would be in court for a hostile workplace'.

However, Dunn says she was quoted out of context.

Other episodes were relayed to Suskind by Christina Romer, former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Romer is quoted by Suskind as saying, after being excluded by Summers at a meeting, 'I felt like a piece of meat.'

The complaints began circulating early.

In interviews at the time, female officials complained that top aides fuelled the high-testosterone atmosphere. Footballs were occasionally thrown during staff meetings, by one account, and rough language abounded.

Obama convened a dinner with women on staff. It took place in the White House residence on the night of Nov. 5, 2009 - just hours after a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

'I really want you guys to talk to me about this openly because recently there has been this suggestion that there are some issues here,' Obama said, according to Suskind's account of the session. 'I'd like to know how you guys feel.'

The complaints seemed to subside over the last year, the Post writes, as officials made a greater effort to promote women.

The 2012 re-election team includes two senior women, deputy campaign managers Julianna Smoot and Jen O'Malley Dillon. At the White House, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama's former scheduler, and former health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle have been promoted to deputy chiefs of staff. Stephanie Cutter is now in a senior communications role. The White House counsel as well is a woman.

Melody Barnes, Obama's top domestic policy adviser who this year took on a wider role dealing with health care and energy, said that the president and other officials, 'including myself, have made great efforts to make sure women have prominent seats at the table,' the daily writes.

Most Popular Stories

  • Why I went in search of the erotica writer Mastram

    Grist Media

    A filmmaker remembers the heat and thrill this mysterious Hindi writer gave sexually curious boys in the 80s and 90s. But would he be able to find the man behind the heady pseudonym? …

  • Who will run this country anyway?

    Who will run this country anyway?

    Box Populi
    Who will run this country anyway?

    Modi offers us an alternative, but our collective survival will depend on our silence. …

  • 15 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

    15 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

    Tech in Asia
    15 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

    Samsung is the world’s – and Asia’s – top smartphone maker. But there are a lot of rival phone-makers out there aiming to dethrone the likes of Samsung and Apple. That competition is especially strong ... …

  • Mahela Jayawardene exchanges heated emails with team manager and Sanath Jayasuriya

    Mahela Jayawardene exchanges heated emails with team manager and Sanath Jayasuriya

    Sportskeeda
    Mahela Jayawardene exchanges heated emails with team manager and Sanath Jayasuriya

    Mahela Jayawardene exchanges heated emails with SLC official and Sanath Jayasuriya. …

  • Heart attacks could soon be history

    ANI

    Washington, Apr 23 (ANI): Johns Hopkins scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans. The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain. …