Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s 2012 reelection bid, said that The New York Times’ coverage of the “all male look” of his inner circle is misleading.

“That picture is not reflective of what actually happens,” Cutter said on Morning Joe when shown a picture of the president with his closest advisers (ten men, plus Valerie Jarrett’s leg). “There are plenty of women in the president’s inner circle.”

Cutter mentioned Jarrett — whom The New York Times described in September as “the other power in the West Wing” — and Obama’s two deputy chiefs of staff, Nancy-Ann DeParle and Alyssa Mastromonaco to demonstrate the prominence of women in the White House.

It’s a surprisingly touchy issue for a president who dominates among female voters. “If it weren’t for the president, [the White House] would be in court for a hostile workplace,” former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn told author Ron Suskind. “Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”

The New York Times suggested yesterday that “Mr. Obama’s recent nominations [have] raised concern that women were being underrepresented at the highest level of government and would be passed over for top positions.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended Obama from such criticism on Monday. “The President does believe that diversity is very important and he also believes that picking the absolute right person for each job is very important,” Carney told reporters. “And [Obama], in that process, insists on diversity on the lists that he considers for the job because he believes that in casting a broader net, you increase the excellence of the pool of potential nominees for these positions,” Carney continued.  “But in the end, he’ll make the choice that he believes is best for the United States.”