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. appealing to a HIGHER AUTHORITY.....

    GOD, Please... hear us....

    Hillary 'is' going to take this party down in flames with her...

    Please allow her the clarity, the humility, and the sense of purpose (beyond HERSELF).....

    PLEASE let her SEE the be mournful of her actions to put self over party AND country...

    in Jesus' name.... we pray...

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    So it's ok for Hillary to play the "race card"? She's so desperate now, she'll say anything.

    Guess what, Hillary? I'm white and I totally DO NOT support you or your bizarro concepts of enetitlement. GO AWAY...

    SING NOW, FAT LADY AND GIVE ALL US WHITE PEOPLE A BREAK!

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Brooke

    Thanks CNN for making race a issue, and to help pulling the country apart.

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Michael

    Now the cat is out of the bag. This is the premise on which the Clintons campaign is built on. Using race as a wadge to win nomination.
    Is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, really wrong?
    The debate continue.

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. ariel

    So -and this is the most offensive part- it is white voters,she's implying, who are "hard-working"? This is racism in its' rawest form and should give party leaders a pretty clear idea of how she'll conduct herself in the remaining weeks.
    If the tone of these remarks continue,the Obama campaign should withdraw offers of retiring her campaign debt or invitations to Clinton to give the Keynote Address at the convention.The Democratic party does not need a female George Wallace.

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Vincent

    "White Americans" want her... only if they are old.

    Did white Americans want her in Iowa? Wisconsin? Minnesota? Maine? Vermont? Washington State? Utah? Colorado? Delaware? Kansas? Wyoming? Nebraska? Idaho? Virginia? Alaska? NO. She won in OLD white states. Ohio and Pennsylvania are OLD states... Obama doesn't have a "white problem"; if he did, it would have been impossible for him to get this far...

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Ed

    Wont grace this with a comment !.......but what the white people who voted for Obama ..what are they? grey!!

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Lorraine Bates

    This white, middle-aged, working American woman DEFINITELY DOES NOT want Hillary Clinton!

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Pamela, Sacramento

    This is indeed the bottom for her!!! This is blatant misuse of the RACE CARD. I can't believe HRC made those comments. This presupposes that all white Americans are racists and that is a LIE! Politicians and regular Americans are drawn to Obama for his vision and change. How utterly pathetic. No HRC you are not presidential material!!

    THIS IS A SAD DAY IN AMERICA AND THOSE COMMENTS WILL HAUNT YOU FOR A VERY VERY LONG TIME!!!!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Petra

    Oh how devisive!!!! White Americans, Black Americans, Yellow Americans, Brown Americans... Most democrats, white and black will unite behind whoever is the nominee. This is really hitting below the belt. And to the Clinton supporter who said, "no we won't apologise for slavery" Shame on you. Obama has not asked anyone to apologize for slavery. He has both white and black blood running in him, in case you didn't realize. But I guess it doesn't matter. It is the skin color that says it all. Not the heritage; nothing. This is the politics of yesterday.

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Hey folks...........Clinton Receives her information from the EXIT POLLS...just like Obama has Learned who is voting for him and who supports him. Clinton is neither a Racist nor a Bigot; She's gets the Exit Polls just like Obama and everyone else in this country who checks the results of the primaries. Obama can't win in November from the voters who're supporting him at this time. Why? Because Obama is totally underqualified and inexperienced to be the Nominee.

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. John B

    Some please tell me how a DECREASING percentage of the white vote is a patter that supports Sen Clinton?

    Also, Lee, I'm not sure that race baiting is exactly what's going on here. While I don't find anything particularly wrong with her statements – it's fair to analyze this – I do believe that she only said it to get a little more press time on the cable news networks. At this point, she's doing anything for one more day in the sun. It's a shame, because I think she's better than this. I think she has important things to say, but it get's lost in the glare of statements like this.

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. HMMMMMM

    Well one or so above believe, punishing for past relations. Monica, Jennifer Flowers, all the others that will come out when she runs for president. Lets not forget WhiteWater, the fact she voted for this war like a capitualating coward. She is bragging about being a populist and non elitist. Yet she can fund her own campaign with 100 million they made last year. Obama has the support of the people. Bonnie above is a Racist, who apparently love guns, and claims to love Jesus but ignores his teachings

    May 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Deborah

    It is deplorable that the Clintons have so blatantly played the race card in this campaign. Have they no shame?! I am white, from North Carolina, and proud that America is ignoring race in this campaign. I wish the stop-at-nothing Clintons would get over it – they will not be installed for another 8 years of dynasty-white-house-shenanigan politics. We had that for almost 40 years and have dug a hole so deep for the country in terms of all the major problems that we must have a fresh face, a fresh start, and a new way of getting the job done!

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

    Judy,

    You need Jesus!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Interesting

    She is not racist, just ruthless.

    How can SDs watch her put doubts in the public's mind about Obama?

    She should drop out.

    I think the dems don't realize that women sometimes will choose emotion over logic. Her supporters will not necessarily unite as previous coalitions have in the past. They will probably stay home in protest. This is something Clinton is counting on.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. RG in MA

    May be we should have one president for each race – how desperate can she get?
    Clinton should quit the race today in a dignified manner and support Obama if she really cares for the country. If she doesn't, that means she wants Bush to take over the country for a 3rd term.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Jessica, MI

    Sick, Hillary, sick, sick, sick.

    Remember when Obama won 94% white Iowa? How about falling 2% short in 95% white New Hampshire? How about winning Wisconsin?

    Is she really bragging about how non-educated white people are supporting her?

    If this isn't the final nail in the coffin of the disgusting campaign that was Hillary '08, then there is something wrong with America

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Kellen

    It would really help us Democrats out if she started bringing the party together instead of trying to tear us further apart. Comments like these don't benefit anyone, not even Senator Clinton at this point who is fighting a losing battle. Howard Dean needs to start rallying those superdelegates around Obama so this charade can end and we can focus on defeating McCain in November.

    My family can't take a "third Bush term." We're barely getting by as it is now.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Frank

    This was an incredulous story to read. Hillary Clinton is playing the race card for all to see. She clearly tries to disguise it but, now that she is in the last throes of her campaign, she apparently will do anything to try and prolong her candidacy. This is a sad day for American poilitics when a respected Senator uses race to defefnd her candidacy. I feel sick inside to see this happen. Shame on both the Clintons!

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Andy

    Well Bonnie, Barack is not all the people you named. He is his own person with his own career, background, perspectives and cannot be held to every perspective, opinion, of people he knows and/or has come across during his professional life. Re: Hillary, very shameful for her to go down this road. She and others just do not get it-Barack would not be where he is without the white vote. Period.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Rob

    I am a 53 year old white, suburban New Yorker. My family and I have voted for Senator Clinton for Senate. These divisive comments have led us to contribute to the Obama campaign this year and we look forward to voting for her opponents in any future Senate campaigns.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Jo

    I am a white female, 61years old and an Obama supporter. I am absolutely appalled at this information. I have supported Hillary at different times but now I am completely done. I can't believe at how low she will go to get votes but I think this will backfire. She needs to drop out now but I know she won't. Very, very sad.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Chuck

    This woman will not let up and refuses to realize the outcome of her failed campaign. She is now pursuing a "scorched earth" policy and and has truly embarked on destroying Obama and splitting up the Democratic Party. Please, anybody of influence, talk to her a make her face reality before it's too late.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Renee

    I honestly believe that Hillary Clinton thinks that the American people are naive, not as intelligent as she is and will fall for anything. To make a remark like this, even if she thinks it, makes it all the more apparent that she is not Presidential. I for one would not be proud to call her President of the United States of America. She is not a uniter, but a divider.

    May 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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