Mitchell Reports | March 15, 2013
>>> welcome back, president obama has been under fire if some of his most ardent supporters over the lack of racial diversity in the second-term cabinet. congresswoman marsha fudge, chair of the congressional black caucus joins me now. you wrote to the president on monday, have you heard from president obama ?
>> i have not talked with the president. but i have talked to the white house . and i'm certainly confident after our conversations that the president is committed to diversity and so we're waiting to see what the rest of the cabinet is going to look like.
>> you got a call from the white house today, it took a couple ever days to get a call from the senior level of the white house . i have talked to other members of the white house , this is my first time talking with a senior member i feel very good about our conversation today.
>> what kind of commitment did she give you, we're talking about valerie jarrett?
>> there was not a commitment, except for the fact a that she was very definitive about the fact that they are looking at people who we believe at least from our perspective, we will be pleased to have in the cabinet. so i'll going to wait and see who is in that vetting process.
>> what positions are open. we've already had state and obviously the attorney general eric holder is a holdover from the last cabinet. but other than eric holder , who is in the cabinet --
>> there are a few positions currently transportation and commerce, the only two still open. so we're hopeful that one of those positions will be filled by an african-american.
>> explain to people why you think it's important.
>> well it's important for a number of reasons. all you have to do is look at the discussions that have been held around things like sequester. where poor people , minorities have been hit especially hard because sometimes we're not at the table. if you look at the pay force for the dock fix, which disproportionately affected high-important ty high-poverty areas, because we weren't at the table. if you think about some of the policies coming out of washington if we're not at the table and no one is speaking out for our interests, we get left out of the process.
>> but the man sitting at the head of the table is the first african- american president .
>> that is correct. and you have to understand that the president is there to represent all of the people and he can't always be in a position to carve out things for african-americans. so we need someone pushing from our perspective to make sure that our issues are on the table.
>> are you surprised at how white frankly, white and male, but now that it's a couple more women have been appointed, how white this cabinet is?
>> i've been surprised, but again, i am hopeful that it won't look like that when it's over.
>> there aren't, as you point out there only two big positions left.
>> that's correct.
>> and you, but you haven't met with the president yet?
>> i have not.
>> has the president paid enough attention to his base? has he met with the black caucus enough?
>> he has not met with the black caucus recently. we are in the process of scheduling a meeting. but let me just say this to you. people want to make their, at least make people seem that there is a rift, there really isn't a rift. this is our position. we expect the president to represent all of america. we expect the president to represent every single ethnic and religious and every other kind of group. we don't want any more than anyone else. but we don't want any less, either.
>> did you bring this up to him when the house democratic caucus met with the president yesterday?
>> we did not and he answered a lot of questions, but he did not have the kind of time to get into these issues yesterday and i didn't feel it appropriate to raise it yesterday. we were talking about how we go forward with the budget. i thought that that was the appropriate discussion to have.
>> thank you so much.
>> thank you.
>> marsha fudge, congresswoman and stay in touch. we want to know how this comes out.