America's first black president criticized for white male cabinet
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The first black US president is coming under fire from some of his own Democratic Party for naming a stream of white men to key cabinet and leadership posts in his second administration.
President Barack Obama on Thursday named Jack Lew as his Treasury secretary, the fourth white male he has named to the most prized cabinet posts in recent weeks.
Lew's nomination follows Obama's pick of Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. He has also named former Senator Chuck Hagel to be defense Secretary and John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
Against this, he lost the first Hispanic woman in the cabinet when Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced her resignation on Wednesday. And last month Lisa Jackson, who is black, announced she was stepping down as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
"It's embarrassing as hell," New York Democrat Charles Rangel, one of the most senior black members of Congress, said of the Obama appointments.
New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, whose state has the only all-female delegation in Congress, described the appointments as "disappointing."
"We need a government that looks like America so we can address the concerns that we hear from across the spectrum," she said.
Republicans joined in the criticism with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee accusing Obama of waging a "war on women," using the same words Democrats coined to criticize Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the election campaign last year.
"Now a lot of those females who supported Barack Obama are scratching their heads, and they're saying, 'Whoa! How come there is so much testosterone in the Obama Cabinet and so little estrogen?'" the former Arkansas governor said on his radio show.
Obama beat Romney 55 percent to 43 percent among women, according to Reuters/Ipsos exit polling on Election Day. He also won large majorities of the African-American and Hispanic vote.
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