March 11th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama camp calls for Clinton to drop Ferraro

 Ferraro is a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Ferraro is a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

(CNN) - Barack Obama’s chief strategist said Tuesday that a comment by one of Hillary Clinton’s top fundraisers that Barack Obama would not be a major presidential contender if he were not black – coupled with Clinton’s “own inexplicable unwillingness" to deny that he was a Muslim during a recent interview – indicated “an insidious pattern that needs to be addressed."

David Axelrod called on the New York senator to drop former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro from her finance committee. "When you wink and nod at offensive statements you're really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes," said Axelrod.

Ferraro, the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee in 1984, told the (Torrance, California) Daily Breeze that "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Ferraro said the New York senator had suffered because the press "has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign."

"I was reading an article that said young Republicans are out there campaigning for Obama because they believe he's going to be able to put an end to partisanship,” she added. “Dear God! Anyone that has worked in the Congress knows that for over 200 years this country has had partisanship – that's the way our country is."

Full story

(Update at 2:15 with Obama campaign comments, context)

– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (490 Responses)
  1. Janet Bollero

    Personally, after that arrogant comment he made, I dislike him even more. I hate to say I might just have to go with a Republican if Hillary doesn't get nominated. I don't like his competitiveness and superbia. That takes away from anything good he might represent, including but not limited to being a Democrat.

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Reid

    Texas Republicans give Hillary the primary "VICTORY" in Texas. Amazing how this is not on the radar anywhere. How come nobody talks about this big "victory?"

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Annamica, OH

    It's amazing that the same blacks who called Bill their "first black president" has turned on him, why? Because of their open-hearted support of Obama, a man who is not even fully black, but wants to be "the first black president." I guess black people can't be racist either? Michelle Obama and Jesse Jackson, among others, make statements daily about how blacks should back Obama because he is black…but that isn't racism. By the way CNN, Ferrarro never called Obama 'black', she said 'not white'. Please read carefully before you post things like this. Thanks.

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Esperanza

    Where are the results of Texas Caucus?? It is strange that we do not here anything at all

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Sam

    Funny how you can only support Obama by being sexist. It's completely inconceivable to dislike Clinton for any other reason than misogyny.

    I wonder what it would be like if Obama had surrogates running around saying the only reason he isn't steamrolling Clinton is because the press and country are racist.

    It's time for sexists in this country to start realizing the country would have no problem voting for a woman for president, just not THIS woman. Everyone knew she had too much baggage and ill will coming in and we all know she can't win the general election.

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Bob, Lyons Oregon

    She is exactly the kind of congress Obama is trying to change. Its been that way for 200 years, so lets not change it, Right. Its time to change our country. We have had this problem for far too long. We need to be united as a country, not divided. Old politics vs. New politics. Lets go Barack. we need to change the way it is and has been. She is a has been.

    YES WE CAN.

    OBAMA 08!!!!

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. GL

    hahaha
    of all people to be making such criticism, coming from her it is most surprising. if she were not a woman, she would not have been nominated for VP in 1984 and no one today would even remember her (Mondale planned to choose a woman or minority in that election, which he was bound to lose)

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Miles

    She ought to be fired as an advisor. Fair is fair. If calling Hillary a monster is grounds for dismissal, then THIS certainly is. Ball's in your court, Hillary.

    March 11, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. david

    now the racism is back yoohoooo

    go hillary iam proud of you... and she is keeping the party together yeahhhhhhhhhhhh

    Obama 08

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. siddique

    Clinton is a contender because she is the wife of Bill Clinton. George Bush is president because he is the scion of the Bush family. In contrast, Obama did not make it this far due to family connections. Love him or loathe him, acknowledge that fact Hillary.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    When 9 of 10 African Americans are voting for Barack Obama – what does that tell you? Who is racist and who isn't? Does the media make any comment, other than African Americans are part of Obama's base? NO, of course they don't.

    White voters are not voting this way. Women are not voting this way.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Ernest

    .Former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro's comment is tragic and regretful. Birds of the same feathers fly together. The Clinton's are getting desperate. OBAMA ALL THE WAY! CHANGE IS INEVITABLE

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Tony Z- MD

    Some people need to feel important. This agains shows a deep division that is happening inside the Democratic Party. Folks need to realize the Republicans are not just going to hand over the keys. It is time for the SuperDelegates to end the rhetoric and begin to unite the Democratic Party.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Pete

    And how much press would Hillary have ever gotten if she weren't a woman and the wife of a former president?

    And as a young republican who thinks that Obama can reach across party lines and at least ease the bitterness that seems to exist in congress between the two parties, I take offense to her implication that I am naive.

    Also, the "that's the way our country is" comment coming from the first woman to be on a major presidential ticket is rather amusing. Our President/VP has always been a white male, and too bad for anyone else cuz "that's just the way our country is" right Geraldine?

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Amy, Kazoo

    It was wrong of her to say that. The campaign disagrees with it, perhaps they need to go further.

    That said, PLENTY of Obama supporters here have shown that sexism is alive and well, so think carefully if you are one of them before you criticize. At times I've come here and have had a hard time I'm reading a CNN blog in the USA. It amazes me what some people will write and how much hate they allow to flow from themselves. The same goes for hatefilled comments from Clinton supporters. People should expect more from each other. I do.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Annamica, OH

    t's amazing that the same blacks who called Bill their "first black president" has turned on him, why? Because of their open-hearted support of Obama, a man who is not even fully black, but wants to be "the first black president." I guess black people can't be racist either? Michelle Obama and Jesse Jackson, among others, make statements daily about how blacks should back Obama because he is black…but that isn't racism. By the way CNN, Ferrarro never called Obama 'black', she said 'not white'. Please read carefully before you post things like this. Wake up America, ANYONE can be racist!

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. orlando

    I agree with her and admire her to dare say it. Some people are playing the race card. Obama is one of these people.
    Support Hillary.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Black Man

    Finally it comes out in living color, no side comments, no backroom chatter. Her campaign strategy has finally come full circle. What a racist and dispicable strategy. This comment is the worst i have seen yet and they wont reject this comment, they will run with it. Clinton, even if you did win the nomination, I wouldnt vote for you. If you do win, i will register as an independent for the rest of my life and never come back to this party. You have definitely lost the black vote with this one. Try winning in november without it!

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. MiddleAgeMan

    Yet another surrogate playing the race card... desperate times, desperate measures.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. VNC

    Yeah Hillary, reject and denounce these comments!

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. Scott PA

    I think she has a point. He has 75% of the african american vote because he is african american. The numbers don't lie. Ask yourself this question....if he was white, would his percentage among african americans be so high?? Whenever did louis farahkan (or whatever his name is) endorse a nominee besides this time??? If the answer is never, then why this time??? Because obama is african american. I'm not racist at all, but the numbers don't lie......

    Go Obama!

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Marguerite

    Why doesn't Hillary reject and condem this remark and Ferraro's support? I mean, after all, she isn't a racist... as far as I know.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. TJ

    Sometimes i think prominent people who support a candidate should entirely avoid giving any interviews because comments like these could end up ruining your candidate's chances of being elected. Just declare your support and then shut up!

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. RFI Santa Rosa CA

    Does anyone still care about the issues? What happenned to them?Maybe the debates showed the candidates have similar ideas, but it would be great to hear more about how they plan to deliver on their promises. All we hear now is this distracting noise.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. Maryland

    HERE'S ANOTHER ONE WHO DOESN'T GET IT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT WANT PARTISAN POLITICS IN WASHINGTON ANYMORE!!!!!!! WHEN THAT HAPPENS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE THE ONE'S THAT LOSE. THIS IS WHY OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN IS SO SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE SOMEONE IS FINALLY SAYING WHAT WE WANT TO HERE. WE WANT TO CHANGE DIRECTIONS MS. FERRARO. IF HE WAS A WHITE MAN RUNNING THE SAME CAMPAIGN AS OBAMA HE WOULD HAVE LEFT HILLARY IN THE DUST BY NOW.

    AND NO I AM NOT BEING NAIVE THAT OBAMA WILL CHANGE WASHINGTON BUT IT IS A START AT LEAST.

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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