"I think it would be useful to wait and make judgments about this issue after the president has made the totality of appointments that he will make in the transition to a second term," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, when asked about the criticism.
Carney pointed to Obama's appointments of Janet Napolitano as the Secretary of Homeland Security, Rice as U.N. Ambassador, Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and two female appointments to the Supreme Court. He also summarized the analysis by the Times, in the same article, that close to half of Obama's appointments have been women.
About 43 percent of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been women, about the same proportion as in the Clinton administration, but up from the roughly one-third appointed by George W. Bush.
The photo highlighted by the Times was taken Dec. 29. Asked about that photo on Wednesday during the press briefing, Carney said it "is not reflective of the diversity within the White House staff or within the broader administration."
Wednesday's photo captures a meeting that took place on Tuesday. It includes Obama with White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Nancy-Ann DeParle, as well as Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Mike Froman, counselor Pete Rouse, senior adviser David Plouffe, director of communications Dan Pfeiffer and Chief of Staff Jack Lew, whom the president intends to nominate as his next secretary of the Treasury.
Updated at 3:55 p.m.