Obama intern-recruitment video overplays role of campaign’s few non-white HQ staff

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Barack Obama’s Chicago campaign has released a new video that showcases the arrival of a few non-white interns at its overwhelmingly white-staffed campaign office.

The video comes after the campaign released a damaging April photograph that showed just two non-white staff in a sea of nearly 100 Caucasian staffers, despite Obama’s reliance on African-American voters to bolster his Democratic base.

The April photograph prompted not-for-attribution complaints from some of Obama’s African-American supporters, who decried the gap between the campaign’s quiet hiring of a white campaign staff and Obama’s declared advocacy for African-Americans.

The photo also highlighted the gap between Obama’s personal policies and his well-publicized enforcement of controversial race-conscious hiring rules covering corporations and non-profit organizations.

The new video, “Being an intern at Obama for American — Apply Today,” focuses on a few non-white interns, ignoring the vast majority of the whites who are seen in “wide” shots, staffing the office .


The roughly two-minute video includes 52 segments, 21 of which include African-Americans, two Indian-American interns or a lone Asian intern. Several of the non-white interns appeared numerous times, partly because the larger intern group is overwhelmingly white.

Four brief segments show the interns listening to campaign strategist David Axelrod or to deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter in a meeting room. Those segments also suggest that a large majority of the roughly 30 interns were white.

Several background shots of the campaign’s office showed the office staff, including very few non-white faces amid dozens of desks occupied by the mostly white, male staff.

The video only shows three African-American males. One is President Obama. Another walks through a staged scene but does not speak.

Thirty-four of the segments include women. Only six segments showed exclusively white males.

Several of the campaign’s recent videos, including those featuring Cutter, place the campaign’s few non-white staffers in clear view of the camera.

The campaign declined to comment when asked by the The Daily Caller.

The April photograph prompted sardonic comments from employment lawyers, who said Obama’s hiring rules would support a disparate-action employment lawsuit by a non-white job applicant who had been denied a job at the campaign HQ. (RELATED: Obama campaign office staff lacks racial diversity, may violate civil rights law)

Since 2009, Obama has extended the enforcement of controversial disparate-impact laws, which allow lawsuits against companies whose color-blind hiring routines yield a workforce significantly different in color, ethnicity or sex from the pool of qualified labor.

Many conservative civil rights lawyers, including Roger Clegg at the Center for Equal Opportunity, say those laws and regulations should be rescinded in favor of a greater enforcement focus on cases where employers engage in deliberate racial, ethnic or sexual discrimination against job-seekers.

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