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Klobuchar: Obama has a 'strong track record' on women in government

WASHINGTON — Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she’s not fazed by a growing mini-controversy over the gender of President Obama’s political nominees.

It hasn’t been the White House’s best week when it comes to news stories about the diversity of the Obama administration. The president has or is going to nominate three high-level advisers this week — all men. His labor secretary, Hilda Solis, announced her resignation on Wednesday. A photo of Obama meeting with aides during fiscal cliff talks drew criticism for featuring 10 men and no women in the frame.

The New York Times crunched the numbers and found,

The Obama administration has compiled a broad appointment record that has significantly exceeded the Bush administration in appointing women but has done no better than the Clinton administration, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times. About 43 percent of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been women, about the same proportion as in the Clinton administration, but up from the roughly one-third appointed by George W. Bush.

Klobuchar, who has become a advocate for increasing political participation among women, told MSNBC on Wednesday the president has done a good job diversifying his administration.

“He does have a strong track record here,” she said, highlighting female Obama-appointees like Karen Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration; Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court; and cabinet officers Kathleen Sebelius, Janet Napolitano and Hillary Clinton.

“Not all the nominees have been announced yet, obviously I would like to see some women in there,” Klobuchar said. “I think it’s very important to reflect the country that he represents, and I’m sure we’re going to see some more women down the line.”

Klobuchar has praised the growing diversity in the U.S. Senate, where there are now 20 women. On MSNBC, she said she’s serving as a mentor to newly-elected Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer and called on Congress to pass a Violence Against Women Act that received unanimous support among the Senate’s women last year.

She also repeated one of her favorite lines, telling Andrea Mitchell the country has now seen its first “traffic jam in the women’s Senate bathroom.”

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Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com

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