Hannity denied unprecedented increase in minority appointments under Clinton

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

In response to Alan Colmes's December 1 assertion -- on FOX News' Hannity & Colmes -- that former President Bill Clinton "did more than any previous president did" to appoint minorities to powerful court and cabinet positions, Sean Hannity erroneously replied, "No, he didn't. It's not even close" to George W. Bush's appointments. When Colmes clarified his remark, stating "Bill Clinton did more than any president up until that time," Hannity insisted that Clinton's minority appointments were "insufficient." But Clinton's minority court and cabinet appointments far exceeded those by any president who served prior to him. And in fact, according to a Newsday analysis of federal personnel records, when political appointments that don't require Senate confirmation are included, minorities constituted a far greater percentage of Clinton's political appointments than Bush's.

NBC News quantified the dramatic increase in minority cabinet appointments under Clinton during its special coverage of "The Clinton Years" in December 2000: "Where his predecessor, George [H.W.] Bush, could find only one qualified woman, one African-American and two Hispanics for his Cabinet, Clinton nominated three black men, a black woman and two Hispanic men to join nine white Cabinet nominees -- three of them women. George W. Bush's push for diversity in his own Cabinet this year [2000] can be seen as an affirmation of Clinton's work on that front."

NBC News noted a similarly stark contrast in the number of minority court appointments under Clinton as compared to his predecessors: "In [former President Ronald] Reagan and [George H.W.] Bush's 12 years in office, of the 545 federal judicial appointments, 65 were women, 22 Hispanic, two Asian American and 17 African American. In Clinton's eight years, of 366 federal judicial appointments, 104 were women, 23 Hispanic, five Asian American, one American Indian, and 61 African American."

Although George W. Bush has nominated minorities for some of the highest positions in government (such as outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser and Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice, and Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales), Bush has actually appointed far fewer minorities than Clinton overall. Newsday reported in an August 30 article titled "Bush not strong on diversity" that an analysis of federal personnel records for September 2000 and September 2002 concluded that "[b]lacks held 7 percent of administration jobs under Bush, less than half of the 16 percent they held under Clinton," and blacks held only 6 percent of "senior executive posts" under Bush compared to 13 percent under Clinton. As Newsday observed, Bush "has assembled the most diverse cabinet and top-level officials requiring Senate approval of any Republican president, creating a profile that nears the record-setting diversity of Clinton. ... [But] just below those highly visible positions -- in the hundreds of little known but important appointments to senior executive posts that don't need Senate confirmation -- the diversity of the Bush administration fades."

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.