(Yahoo!News) Melanne Verveer, Hillary Clinton’s longtime confidante and former chief of staff, isn’t defending a picture of President Barack Obama’s all-male inner circle. To her, it naturally begs a question: “Where are the women?”

Verveer, the first ambassador of the State Department office for Global Women’s Issues and now executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, also didn’t criticize the reaction that followed an early January New York Times story topped with a photograph of Obama facing 10 male top advisers.

“Well, you heard the reaction—it reverberated across the country,” Verveer said in an interview with Yahoo News. “Any woman looking at that, what was the message to her? Well, ‘women don’t belong.'”

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