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CBS's O'Donnell to Obama: What's the 'Most Important Thing You Can Do to Help Working Women?'

Promoting an upcoming White House summit on working families during an interview with President Obama aired on Monday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell lobbed a series of softballs on the issue, starting with: "I know you said in your State of the Union, 'When women succeed, America succeeds.' What's the single most important thing you think you can do to help working women?" [Listen to the audio]

Obama seized the opportunity to spew talking points: "Well, the question is not just what can I do, but I think what we as a society need to do. And this is an issue that's near and dear to my heart. I was raised by a single mom....And now I've got two daughters. So I want to make sure that their able to balance family life and the workplace much better..."

In her follow-up, O'Donnell fretted: "I mean, you look at even as your oldest daughter does an internship, do you look and say, 'Wow, much hasn't changed and this is kind of a problem and I don't want my daughter to have to go through this'?"

Obama proceeded to tout the throughly discredited claim that "in the aggregate, women are making seventy-seven cents for every dollar that a man's making" and asserted: "Discrimination is still taking place."

On April 8, CBS This Morning completely dismantled the misleading statistic. However, O'Donnell failed to challenge Obama on still using the faulty data.  

Instead, she teed up the President to bash Republicans, lamenting: "Why is it then – I mean, the majority of the American people back paid family leave – that you can't get it through Congress?" Obama ranted: "We've got, unfortunately, I think, a faction of one party that says no to everything and maybe the summit can highlight that this is not a partisan issue. This is a middle class issue. This is an American issue."

In the first part of the interview, O'Donnell pressed the commander-in-chief on the chaos in Iraq:

You ran for president promising to end the war in Iraq. You did....And now you're redeploying troops – some troops to Iraq. Are you worried about your legacy in some ways? That there might be an establishment of a terrorist safe haven in the middle of the Middle East?...Would that vacuum exist had we backed the moderate rebel forces in Syria?

Here is a full transcript of the exchange on equal pay aired on June 23:

8:04 AM ET

CHARLIE ROSE: The White House holds its first summit this morning on working families. Issues like equal pay, the minimum wage, and paid family leave are on the agenda. President Obama discussed the event in his interview last week with Norah O'Donnell. He says working families' needs should be a top priority for businesses and lawmakers.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Focus on Families; President Obama On Workplace Challenges]

NORAH O'DONNELL: This is the first ever White House summit on working families. I know you said in your State of the Union, "When women succeed, America succeeds." What's the single most important thing you think you can do to help working women?

BARACK OBAMA: Well, the question is not just what can I do, but I think what we as a society need to do. And this is an issue that's near and dear to my heart. I was raised by a single mom. Probably the most important financial bedrock of our family was my grandmother. And both of them were strong hard-working women, but they experienced the glass ceiling. They dealt with child care crises.

I'm now married to a pretty strong woman in Michelle Obama and before we got to this place, she was dealing sometimes with me campaigning or being away and her having to deal with two small children while also working.

And now I've got two daughters. So I want to make sure that their able to balance family life and the workplace much better than – or at least their choices will be better than some of the choices that existed before.

So the idea of this working summit is to really lift up conversations that every family all across America has every day. The workplace will be more productive and people will do better, if, in fact, they've got a little more flexibility than they currently have.

O'DONNELL: I mean, you look at even as your oldest daughter does an internship, do you look and say, "Wow, much hasn't changed and this is kind of a problem and I don't want my daughter to have to go through this"?

OBAMA: It's important for us not to not deny the progress that's been made. Women occupy positions of authority and are able to take advantage of career opportunities that a generation ago might have been blocked. What's also true is that, you know, all too often child rearing burdens fall on them, they've got to juggle more stuff.

What's also true is that across the board in the aggregate, women are making seventy-seven cents for every dollar that a man's making. Discrimination is still taking place. And so, part of what we want to do is to lift up the possibilities of changes in federal policy but we don't want to restrict it to just federal laws. We also want to show that companies on their own initiative will discover that it's good business sense for them to take advantage of – or to offer workers more flexibility on the job.

O'DONNELL: Why is it then – I mean, the majority of the American people back paid family leave – that you can't get it through Congress?

OBAMA: Well, you know, we're – we're unique among developed countries and not offering it. We've got, unfortunately, I think, a faction of one party that says no to everything and maybe the summit can highlight that this is not a partisan issue. This is a middle class issue. This is an American issue.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.