Obama’s Cabinet


(The Reagan Cabinet 1981/White House photo)

Thirty-two years ago, back when the Reagan first-term team was coming together, the Cabinet included only one woman, U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and one African American, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Samuel Pierce.

But the number of women and minorities increased later in Reagan’s term, and he named the first Hispanic Cabinet member.

Quick Loop Quiz! Who was that person?

Ah, you guessed it, Education Secretary Lauro Cavazos.

Cabinet diversity increased substantially in the Clinton administration as he worked to fulfill his pledge to have a cabinet that “looks like America.”

Clinton named the first women as secretary of state and as attorney general. In his initial Cabinet, he had five African Americans, five women and two Hispanics.

Obama appointed more women (seven) and more Asian Americans (three), putting together the most diverse cabinet ever in his first term.

The disconnect, the reason for the criticism, may be that now, with one vacancy left, Obama’s Cabinet has fewer African Americans and Latinos than Clinton had in his first term 20 years ago, and only one Asian American.

Well, there may be some openings before the term ends.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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