NBC’s Mitchell Lauds Obama’s ‘Effortless’ Creation of PC Cabinet

When it comes to building a quota Cabinet that fulfills liberal demands for “diversity,” Barack Obama is far smoother than the “artless” and “calculating” Clintons were back in 1992, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell argued Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC. In contrast to the Clintons, Obama’s approach is “effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic,” Mitchell enthused.

Talking about the naming of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as the new Secretary of Commerce and whether Hispanics would demand other slots in Obama’s Cabinet, Mitchell panned the approach taken by Bill and Hillary sixteen years ago:
They were trying to pick one from column “A” and one from column “B,” and diversity was such an important goal, that there were a number of very, you know, top level Democrats who happened to be white men stashed in hotels in Little Rock waiting and calling reporters like me and saying, ‘Have you heard? Am I getting Transportation? Am I getting Interior? What am I getting,’ you know. But first they had to check off all the other boxes.

It was very artless and very calculated in the way they did it, and what this seems to be is effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic. Perhaps it’s that America has come so far in the intervening years that there are so many highly, you know, qualified and experienced women and minorities who are already in big positions that it is less exacting a science.
Neither Mitchell nor anchor Norah O’Donnell seemed at all bothered by the racial and gender bean-counting of either Democratic administration, but both seemed happy that Obama was having an easier time of pleasing his liberal constituencies. O’Donnell even wrapped up the segment by saying she “loved what Richard Stengel of Time asked Madeleine Albright, ‘When is there going to be another male Secretary of State,’ because there hasn’t been one in a while -- it’s been women and now with Hillary Clinton.”

Obviously, former Secretary of State Colin Powell would disagree with the notion that it’s been all women in the job in recent years.

Here’s the relevant transcript of the exchange that took place shortly after the top of the 3pm ET hour on MSNBC Live during a report about Obama’s introduction of Richardson earlier on Wednesday:
NORAH O’DONNELL: [Bill Richardson] has already held a lot of Cabinet roles and big roles in government. Striking the theatrics about today -- I mean, we’ve seen the national, the economic team rolled out where there were several people. We’ve seen the national security team, where even Hillary Clinton was amongst others standing there, and yet Bill Richardson got his own day today, his own press conference today. In terms of a nod to the Hispanic community, how significant is that? And what else do Hispanics want in terms of cabinet posts?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, they want more than just a photo opportunity and a press conference for Bill Richardson. So they want other, other people to be named, you know, leading members of Congress of the Hispanic community, the Latino community, they want at Interior potentially and at, the U.S. Trade Representative. There’s talk of the trade representative being Congressman Becerra from California. That’s one possibility. So they do want other positions. They want to be heard, and what you heard Bill Richardson say in Spanish -- and what he said in Spanish was not what he had said in English in his news conference -- was to tell the Latino community, “I’m going to be fighting for you and there will be more, and this is just the beginning.”

And what Barack Obama said, I think, was very powerful — that we’re interested in experience and in diversity and it is a mix of goals here. And what you don’t see is what we saw back in 1992 when Bill and Hillary, you know -- very importantly Hillary Clinton -- were creating that first Clinton cabinet. They were trying to pick one from column “A” and one from column “B,” and diversity was such an important goal, that there were a number of very, you know, top level Democrats who happened to be white men stashed in hotels in Little Rock waiting and calling reporters like me and saying, ‘Have you heard? Am I getting Transportation? Am I getting Interior? What am I getting,’ you know. But first they had to check off all the other boxes.
It was very artless and very calculated in the way they did it, and what this seems to be is effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic. Perhaps it’s that America has come so far in the intervening years that there are so many highly, you know, qualified and --

O’DONNELL: Women and minorities.

MITCHELL: -- experienced women and minorities who are already in big positions that it is less exacting a science.

O’DONNELL: Yeah. I loved what Richard Stengel of Time asked Madeleine Albright, ‘When is there going to be another male Secretary of State,’ because there hasn’t been one in a while -- it’s been women and now with Hillary Clinton. Andrea Mitchell, as always thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters