White House a hostile working environment for women: Dunn tries to walk it back, but Suskind has tapes
Suskind--who used more than 700 hours of interviews with top administration officials, both former and current--to produce "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President"--took the unusual step of allowing a Washington Post reporter to listen to a recording of an interview with former White House communications director Anita Dunn. Dunn had given Suskind one of the sharpest quotes about the White House work environment, and Suskind played the recording back to prove that he had quoted her accurately.
"This place would be in court for a hostile workplace," Dunn is quoted as saying in Suskind's book. "Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."
Dunn told the Washington Post on Friday that quote was taken out of context.
On Monday, Suskind allowed a Post reporter to review a recorded excerpt of the original April telephone interview:
In that conversation, Dunn is heard telling Suskind about a conversation she had with Jarrett.
"I remember once I told Valerie that, I said if it weren't for the president, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace," Dunn is heard telling Suskind. "Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."
The apparent debunking of Dunn's denial follows backpedaling by Christina Romer, the former head of the Council of Economic Advisers. Romer told Suskind that, after then-economics adviser Lawrence Summers had excluded her from a meeting, she "felt like a piece of meat."
"I can't imagine that I ever said this," Romer, former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, told the Post last week.
Hmmm. Sounds like a non-denial denial, to me. Maybe other women will speak up?
NOTE Somebody should ask Elizabeth Warren her views on these episodes.