May 8th, 2008
12:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Clinton touts support from 'white Americans'

 Clinton campaigned in Washington Thursday.
Clinton campaigned in Washington Thursday.

(CNN) - In what appear to be the New York senator's most blunt comments to date regarding a racial division in the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton suggested Wednesday that "White Americans" are increasingly turning away from Barack Obama’s candidacy.

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," Clinton said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Clinton cited an Associated Press poll "that found how Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

Exit polls from Tuesday's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina show Clinton won about 60 percent of the white vote in both states. That percentage is down from the Ohio primary on March 4, in which Clinton won upwards of 65 percent of the white vote. Meanwhile, Clinton garnered 63 percent of the white vote in Pennsylvania on April 22.

Speaking with the paper, Clinton rejected the notion her comments were racially divisive in any way.

"These are the people you have to win if you're a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election," she said. "Everybody knows that."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton called Clinton's statements "not true and frankly disappointing."

soundoff (1,572 Responses)
  1. missie

    I'm a white, hard working, older American woman and I DO NOT want Hillary. Please make her stop!

    May 8, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. The Bu

    This is utterly unbelievable!!!! Now, she's happy that she's winning the votes of White America??? What about African-Americans? Hispanic-Americans? Asian Americans? They don't count? She doesn't care about those constituencies? What does it say about her and her husbands antics that she can only get 8% of the African-American vote? It means that she has successfully split the Democratic party. This, coming from a woman who, at the beginning of the campaign stated that she didn't want this campaign to be about gender or race. My how times change. And she expects us to trust her to be Commander-In-Chief??? I don't think so.

    May 8, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Bob

    "how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me"

    Well, That's something to be proud of.

    May 8, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Non Racist White Voter

    Sen. Obama also won 33% of the white voters in NC. He has also won some 18 or so predominately white states like Maine , Wyoming, and Iowa. Their seems to be a lot of non-racist white voters in this great country. The media paints this as an issue of race , but it is equally about gender.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. a huntington NY

    Wow. Tread lightly... While those comments may not have been intended to be racially divisive, there's no way around the division.

    I recently conducted a poll where I work and found an astonishing correlation between voters' preference Clinton and for mayonnaise on their bologna sandwiches. Oddly enough, mustard was preferred by Obama supporters. Now, all we have to do to determine who the remaining superdelegates shoud support is to take a national poll to determine all Americans' preference of condiment on their sandwiches.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Phil

    When are we all going to realize that we are all Americans regardless of our color or our sex or our religious beliefs. Maybe we should all vote online where our vote is no better or worse than any one else's vote.

    Furthermore when are we all going to realize that we are all on this planet together and we are all equal regardless of what country we call home.

    Yes I know this is an overly ambitious goal but no goal is ever attained if you don't at least take steps in it's direction.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Jeff

    This is intolerable. I am a Democrat from the "white" State of Washington which went for Obama 2-1. Our two U.S. Senators, Murray and Cantwell who have endorsed Hillary Clinton need to seriously rethink their position very soon before Senator Clinton polarizes the party any more.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Kristina

    As usual...her true colors show. Clinton will say anybody and everybody is for her if it “seemingly” means that she will win. It's funny to me how, to Hillary, certain states are "important", certain people–so it appears now from her comments-are "important"...or more important than others. It's the old divide and conquer, I suppose–a truly typical “do anything, say anything to get what I want”…… politician. Everybody's vote in every single state is important because if only the "important" people and "important" states voted for her or for Barack, the truth of the matter is that neither one of them would be at the point they are today. More than this, in the general election, McCain would surely win Hillary or Obama very easily. To further my point, no one group of people-no one state or group of states can be PREDICTED to determine the outcome of this presidential race...now or later. Undeniably, God's will shall be done, and even if Mrs. Clinton gets the nomination by some unforeseen happening.....nothing truly good will come out of it because nothing good ever comes out of something when your intentions are in the wrong place. If you have yet to experience this, keep living.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    HRC.....you can stay in till the end of primary season but please stick to positive campaigning.....if you have some regard for the party, please do not make divisive statements like these at this point in time.....It is not a smart idea......

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. SB

    She keeps stooping to new lows. If she is so desperate to be president that she is willing to act like Karl Rove, then maybe she needs to run for the Republican Party's nomination instead. The fact is that the Democratic Party is meant to stand for certain things. If she is unwilling to uphold the ideological standards of the party (in this case, a promise unite Americans across race), then she really doesn't deserve its nomination.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Dee New Jersey

    I think it is ashame that she has to throw out the race card. Wouldn't it be nice to just have a campaign that is focusing on what ALL AMERICANS WANT!!!!!!! Economy, Health Care not worrying about how you are going to pay the next bill what do you cut on food products. Instead she is so intent on winning that she now has to bring up race. I am a white female over 60 I am also supporting Obama. I don't care about things that have happened 10-15 years ago I worry about today.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Posn

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!! The voice of the desperate. Now who is racist and who is using the race card........... I think that equals the bitter comment.

    I just want a great president I don't care about the pigmentation of his or her skin.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Chuck

    We should all make sure to contribute to Hillary's campaign!

    At this time, every dollar given to Hillary, is equivalent to a vote for McCain!

    Thanks, Hill... for all the work you've done to help Republicans get elected in November!! ;-)

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Ronnie in PA

    So true...it saddens me to read that a large percent of Dems will vote for McCain intead of uniting the party. If Obama was a white man would the leap be so great. NO. for those that are willing to vote for McCain please tell me what are your reasons especailly when Obama and Hilary share so many of the same views?

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Montserrat

    So now we've come to the heart of the matter Hillary, it all boils down to race. How unfortunate that someone in her position has made the choice to divide the Democratic party. Not only are her marks divisive but I find them to be obnoxious and insulting. If a presidential candidate can't move past the race issue then how can we as a Nation do so. Remember Hillary when all this is said and done you have to return to New York and deal with your constituants here, and some of us are very disappointed by that comment.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Jeff Grand Rapids, MI

    I am a white, 56 year old, hard working blue collar male.....and I do NOT want Hillary Clinton...or John McCain.

    There are many, many of us out here who do not want the past, we are sick of the past which is drowning us in its chaos and distractions and useless partisan fights.

    Barack Obama should be given the chance to help guide and shape all our futures into something strong, respectful and thriving. He is the Democratic Ronald Reagan. Republicans respect him, as well.
    Let's give this honorable man his chance. All of us.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Rob Burger

    Dear Senator Clinton..... when you're in a hole.... it's always a good idea to just stop digging.......

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. P

    Very shameful indeed. As Lee says, she is a smart, calculating politician. She is fully aware of what she is doing and why. She is attempting to create a schism in the party. Two things: 1) Obama needs to stay above this and campaign hard against her political pandering, and 2) the party elders need to step in.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. delegate at large

    OBAMA: " BLACK AMERICANS want ME!!"

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Yetty

    Exactly what is wrong with her

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. Joseph

    It is the Obama supporters that continue to cry racism when none exists. Hillary is stating facts pure and simply. This reverse racism by the Obama camp is cuased by people who want to win using any means possible.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. sue

    I am not a bigot but I think Obama is. He has been listening to a minister who bashes Whites on a weekly basis for 20 years. That is what scares me. I have always voted Democratic but if he gets in, with the people he has been listening to all these years, I will NOT vote for him. I will probably have to throw my vote away on Ron Paul. McCain loves war too much and I will not vote for bigot Obama.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. OKNOW101

    this is exactly what I thought she was doing. she is counting on white america saying we won't vote for a black man and that is purely despicable win at all costs approach.

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Matt

    Comments like this make it very clear that she is not running for President in 2008, but simply seeking huer Obama's chances by stirring up racial divisions. How does she think will build a "strong coalition" with transparent commments like these. This will come back to haunt her in a big way, whether she plans to run for Governor of New York or seeks the role of House Majority Leader. Who is going to support a candidate who so clearly seeks to undermine the party's nominee? How do you expect to win as a Democrat when you go out of your way to piss off minority voters?

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Zazzahmat

    I did NOT realize The United States of America was an all white country. I thought the United States of America was a country of many races and many cultures and many ethnic BLENDS. As I recall Hitler want a pure breed nation. Doesn't this hit anybody strange but me?

    May 8, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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