WASHINGTON — Democratic women want to know why the top jobs in President Obama’s reshuffled second-term administration all appear to be headed for white men after women played such an important role in putting Obama back in office.
Now that Susan Rice pulled out of the race for secretary of state, U.S. Sen. John Kerry is the front-runner for the nation’s top diplomatic post, former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is Obama’s favored candidate to run the Pentagon, and White House chief of staff Jack Lew is likely to be treasury secretary if he wants the job.
“The boys network is alive and well,” Democratic activist Donna Brazile wrote on Twitter after Rice withdrew. “The war on qualified women continues here in DC.”
Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a close friend of the president, dropped out of consideration for the State Department job Thursday. That followed months of withering criticism from Republicans over her initial comments about the attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya — criticism several female House Democrats said smacked of sexism and racism. Rice is black.
Her withdrawal reignited questions about gender diversity in the upper echelons of the administration, a concern that has nagged at the Obama White House for years.