The book, based on more than 700 hours of interviews, including one with Obama, 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.Ironically, as this book comes out, so-called "feminists" are busy raising money so women can enjoy four more years of a hostile work environment.
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 Suskind book as inaccurate. The book was reported with cooperation from the White House, but now it could backfire, raising questions about Obama’s management style in the early stages of his administration. Suskind’s full media blitz begins Tuesday with appearances on NBC’s “Today” show, public radio’s “Fresh Air” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
One of the most striking quotes in the book came from former White House communications director Anita Dunn , who was quoted as saying that, “this place would be in court for a hostile workplace. . . . Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”
Dunn says she was quoted out of context and told The Post on Friday that she told Suskind “point blank” that the White House was not a hostile work environment.
On Monday, Suskind allowed a Post reporter to review a recorded excerpt of the original interview, which took place over the telephone in April. In that conversation, Dunn is heard telling Suskind about a conversation she had with Jarrett.
“I remember once I told Valerie that, I said if it weren’t for the president, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace,” Dunn is heard telling Suskind. “Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”
Michelle Obama will put her star power to work as well, with a ladies luncheon put on by the Women for Obama finance committee. Co-hosted by DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the event will feature some of the biggest names in women's rights, including feminist author Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, Emily's List President Stephanie Schirock, and leading pro-choice activist Nancy Keenan.
All three events will raise money for the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising venture between Obama and the DNC.