Chao: Obama "can do better" on cabinet diversity

CBS News

Last Updated Jan 10, 2013 12:04 PM EST

(CBS News) Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao blasted the lack of diversity in President Obama's cabinet today on "CBS This Morning," directing a message to the president, "I think you can do better."

With the imminent departure of Hilda Solis from the Labor Department and Hillary Clinton from the State Department, only three cabinet posts will be held by women. And to date, all of President Obama's second term cabinet appointees have been men.

And "for this president," that's "especially noteworthy," Chao argued, given his "particular history" as a person of color and "the campaign rhetoric about diversity and the female vote."

"In an America that is so diverse these days," she said, "We should have a cabinet that looks like America."

Asked about White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's defense - that the White House is simply seeking the best-qualified appointees -- Chao said, "I'm shocked at that statement," calling it "an excuse that was commonly used 20, 25 years ago."

"We're not talking about special treatment," she said. "We're talking about going out and finding the most qualified people."