President Barack Obama's White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett says her boss is plagued by the perception that he doesn't include enough women in his administration. But, she insists the president has been surrounded by strong women all his life, according to Politico
The White House has been taken to task for a New York Times photograph that showed Obama meeting in the Oval Office with 10 white men on his senior staff, and showed just Jarrett's leg from behind one of the men.
Jarrett, though, argues the picture doesn't tell the whole truth, Politico reports, and that women are very much a part of Obama's administration.
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She also disagreed that Obama is only surrounded by people he's comfortable with, and disputed statements made by a former colleague who emailed: “They really just need new people. Everyone is so dead tired. They need new energy, new life, new ideas.”
Jarrett has been friends with Obama and his wife, Michelle, for 21 years, since their Chicago days.
“I think I take criticism constructively,” she said, noting Chicago is a “tough town” like Washington D.C. “I cannot erase a 21-year friendship, nor would I want to. And I try very hard to make sure that I am available to people here — particularly, I think, women often come to me.”
Jarrett also doesn't take personally complaints that her liberal background makes her hostile to business, as she was chair of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange and a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The Obama administration has an “alignment of interest” in the business community and “we are now in a position where the president wants to really focus on a growth agenda which will create jobs,” she said.
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