On Tuesday, CNN's John King slowly repeated Jay Carney's statement that pay for women in the White House compared to men was, "...better than the national average." The illusory superiority of the phrase was allowed to hang there, giving it time to resonate with listeners. Raising his brows, King lowered the verbal boom, "I guess the coach would say, is that the best you got?"
April 8 is National Equal Pay Day, symbolically marking the number of extra working days the average woman has to put on her 2014 time clock to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2013. Although there is some controversy regarding the exact difference in pay for men in women across the nation, the fact that the gender pay gap includes the White House has put the Obama administration in an awkward position during the administration's push for equal pay.
The position won't be so awkward on the campaign trail for Democrats, however. Today, president Obama signs an executive order mandating that federal contractors publish wage data, by gender and race, to ensure compliance with equal-pay laws which prohibits contractors from retaliating against employees who compare salaries. The Pay Check Fairness Act is due to come up on Tuesday for a vote in the Senate.
Win or lose in the Senate, equal pay will serve Democrats as a rallying cry in key states where women votes are desperately needed for the Democrats to keep control of the Senate in 2014. With the executive order, Democrats will be able to point to something they support that their Republican opponents oppose.
The Democrat goal is to make it work as a sound bite to spur women votes, hoping all the while American women don't notice how hypocritical it is to push for equal pay when not even in the White House are pay checks equal. Democrats hope women will hear it as a pay raise for them and be eager to support a boost in their pay by voting for them.
This gap in pay favoring men at the White House "is not new," pointed out King. As far back as 2011 there was a study which revealed that women at the White House made 18 percent less than their male coworkers. He also explained that during the time Obama was in the Senate, there was another study that found that on average the men made $54,000 a year topping the women who on average only made $45.000 a year.
Obama can't be surprised to have these facts figuratively tossed "in his face" through questions directed to Jay Carney, his spokesperson. In the hot seat for Obama, when asked to justify the fact that the White House, itself, was paying women on average less than men, Carney responded, "Obviously, at the eighty-eight cents that you cite, that is not a hundred; but, it's better than the national average."
"He sort of knows he's sticking his hand in this blender," explained King of President Obama's awareness that the White House pays women less than men. Quoting the statistic that women who work at the White House get $.88 on the dollar of what men are paid, King described the White House's push for equal pay as "a textbook case... for do as I say, not as I do." The "wink, wink" was understood.