Biden Disputes Sexism, Insularity Portrayed in Suskind Book

Sep 27, 2011 1:18pm

Vice President Joe Biden today disputed the controversial characterizations of the Obama White House author Ron Suskind made in his new book,”Confidence Men,” as a bastion of sexism that was insulated from a diversity of opinions.

“I don’t know who they’re talking about,” Biden said of former White House aides who reportedly told Suskind that the administration fostered a hostile work environment for women. “Obviously, they didn’t talk to Michelle Obama or Jill Biden. Because if there’s sexism in the White House, the person engaging in it is in trouble.”

The vice president made the comments during an appearance on ABC’s “The View” to talk about his nearly two-decade campaign to end violence against women.

“I’m not suggesting there’s not some instance where a staffer thought they were not treated well,” Biden said. “But look at  the high-ranking staff on my staff, on the president’s staff — 70 percent of the high-ranking people on my staff … they’re all women. I literally, when this came out, I asked them, I asked them had they seen it. And nobody is aware.”

Biden also strongly pushed back on Suskind’s suggestion that President Obama only received advice from an isolated, exclusive group.

“When the president and I agreed that I’d be on the ticket … the one thing I asked, and he’s kept it this promise, was that I’d be the last guy in the room – literally the last in the room on any major decision. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that he has – he seeks opinions from everyone in his inner circle,” Biden said

“I have a bad reputation for being very blunt and straight, and I have made clear to the president my views. And on 85 percent of what he’s asked my opinion on, we’ve agreed,” he said.  ”I’ve been here for eight presidents. There are only two I knew who seemed totally prepared to listen to an alternative view. And if you made the better case they say, ‘Ok, I understand that.’ He’s one of those guys.”

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