Obama Played Racist, Sexist Game at Press Conference, Only Called on White Women

CSPAN Obama Presser Women Only
Montage posted to Twitter by C-SPAN’s [email protected]

Obama Presser 12192014 NY Times Twitter

Photo of White House briefing room, December 19, 2014 Source

President Barack Obama used his final press conference of 2014 to play a racist, sexist game of calling on only white women reporters. Was he pandering to a coveted Democratic Party voting bloc that supported Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections?

At the beginning of the press conference Obama noted he had been given a ‘naughty or nice’ list of reporters to call on by his staff. Obama called on seven white women in a row to ask him questions.

April Ryan, a Black woman who is the White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Networks forced Obama to go off script and call on her as he was trying to wrap up the press conference and leave the podium.

(Ryan is also the author of the forthcoming book The Presidency in Black and White.)

The seven white women Obama called on were Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown, the AP’s Julie Pace, Bloomberg’s Cheryl Bolen, McClatchy’s Lesley Clark, Reuters’ Roberta Rampton, the Wall St. Journal’s Colleen Nelson and the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin.

The Democrats were reported to have a problem with white women voters in the recent midterm elections that saw a historic drubbing for Obama and the Democrats.

“When you look at Tuesday’s election results by gender, it seems that the Democrats and Republicans split the women’s vote pretty evenly, with a few percentage points in favor of Dems. But when you examine that data by gender and race, you’ll get a wholly different picture that highlights an Achilles’ heel for Democrats: white women.

“Exit polls released by CNN show that white women’s votes went to the Republicans by a margin of 13 percent. Fifty-six percent of white women voted Republican while only 43 percent voted Democrat.

“And if you look at the numbers for black and brown women, you see just how big the race gap really is. Ninety percent of black women and 67 precent of Latina women voted Democrat. (It’s worth noting that Black and Latino men also voted for Democrats more than white women did—86 and 58 percent respectively.) Even when you break it down by age, the white vote went to Republicans. These numbers mean even more when you consider that white people make up two-thirds of the electorate, with the vote evenly split between white men and women.

“While the long game may be to focus on the emerging majority-of-color electorate, Democrats may be sacrificing today’s elections by overlooking the power of the white women’s vote. Both times that Barack Obama was elected president, there has been a pretty consistent line among advocates in the progressive feminist movement: “Women won the election.” But a small-but-important detail is often omitted: He actually lost with white women…”

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