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. Debbie

    Hillary is correct. It's true for Hispanics too...
    That's exactly why Obama is winning in states full of blacks...
    So...here's what'll happen...he might get the Dem. nom. and lose the Presidency...

    For me...if he wins...I'm voting for McCain...

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. faye

    Hillary is worst then Rev Wright and is using America for her own selfish ego centric image. She would like for this to be about race and thinks that somehow whites are better then blacks. THIS IS AMERICA AND WE ALL ARE FREE AND CAN DO ANYTHING THAT IS RIGHT, MORALLY THAT IS.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Glenn

    This shows what a sick woman Hillary has become through her quest for power. This is just pure racist on Hillary's part!

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. satish Mirle

    This is the most disgusting statement I have heard. I was a staunch supporter of her and over time that has eroded. This statement is the last coffin in the nail.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Tom

    While I may not agree with how Clinton approached this issue, she does make a valid point. In an Obama v. McCain lineup, there will be an old-school race issue for many white Democrats. This is something for the Obama camp to consider and address in his presidential run. As for Hillary, she should of found a better way to make her point since she comes out sounding like she is pitting blacks vs. white American.

    Obama needs to address this issue so he can appeal to Americans (mostly white) who still have issues about his race, questions about his religion, and questions about his trustworthiness.

    Clinton on the other hand is shooting herself in the foot with this comment. As a Clinton supporter, I feel that she is getting desperate and is fumbling the ball.

    In the end, say no to Bush's third term. Either Demoncratic canidate will be better than that. Keep that in mind.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. GKDEUCE

    OH NO SHE DID NOT GO THERE!!!

    So basically, as an African-American, my vote should not count because who cares about my vote when its the "white vote" that really determines the presidency.
    THIS IS A STATEMENT from a DESPERATE WOMAN.

    Shame on you Mrs. Clinton for continuing the politics of racial division.
    I'm glad I support Obama.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Lilia from MD

    There you go again. First it was Bill, now she wants to spell it out herself. I hope that segment of population will wake up and realize their mistake. WEST VA. Pls. send her a clear message, so that our future generation will learned, that the approach of DIVIDE AND CONQUER does not work.

    Thank you W. VA

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Dakwxr

    farts

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Mary Sengewald

    You only have to look at the actual numbers in Obama's highly touted North Carolina win to know she is right The black voters made up one third of the democratic voters and he got virtually all of them. Why then did he only win by 14 points? I really don't think he can win the general election. No matter what people say ,you don't know what they re actually doing "behind the curtain" when voting This is why the superdelegates have not closed the deal. Its not about jobs or offending anyone. It is aout winning.

    /

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. CJ

    She went into a meeting yesterday and was told they were giving the nomination to Obama because they didn't want to upset the black people...But what about the white, hispanics, asians and everyone else. SHE HAS EVERY REASON TO BRING IT UP!

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. ash

    Nothing like bolstering the great race divide, Hillary, just to try to achieve your decades-old ambition of being president.

    People like you, Hillary, only serve to further break our country apart, add to hatred. I am female, white and a senior and I would love to have a woman president but never, not ever, anyone with your despicable, deceptive tactics.

    And how can you relate to blue collar workers when you can write yourself an $11.5 million loan to buy the presidency?

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. rj

    Lee, unforuntunately the uneducated people that she appeals to do not see through her. That's the problem. She knows that no matter what she says to her supporters they will believe it. They won't check facts or as in the case of the gas tax holiday–see exactly how much it would really help them. they just know that if she says it...they have to go along with it. Just like Rendell said in the PA Primary that PA people will not vote for a black person–so they didn't. The same is true with her statements. If she wouldn't be making these divisive statements things would be different. She is purposely trying to kill his general election hopes so that she could say I told you so and then go after the nomination in 2012. Unfortunately many people will forget how vile and evil she is but there will be some who will remember.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Pam

    The gap between Obama and Clinton among white people is far smaller than the gap between them among black people. If she somehow scams this nomination, she will get NO support from black voters and therefore hand the White House to McCain for a 3rd Bush administration.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Sarah Coulter, Raleigh, NC

    She's wrong about this white American!

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Barb from Gilbert

    Democrat, you forgot one thing, Liar. Hillary will do and say anything to get to the White House, both she and Bill are power hungry and don't care who they hurt to get what they want. I wish both Hillary and Bill would take a drive into that huge sink hole in Texas!

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. san jose, ca

    Someone earlier mentioned that Michelle Obama is a racist? On what grounds may I ask? This is getting ridiculous.

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Ohioan

    Billary's Next Steps:
    1. Run the game out as long as possible to injure Barack
    2. "Gore" Obama by appearing to support him while doing everything possible to undercut his candidacy against McCain.
    3. Slink back into the swamps to await 2012.
    4. Reinvent selves and make yet another "come-back" in 2011

    May 8, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Bill

    Even if you give her the benefit of the doubt and consider her remarks the result of exhaustion or more "misspeaking," they have the very real negative effect of making her look like a race baiter. And while racism is certainly still alive and well in America, we at least have arrived at a time and place where we no longer condone that mentality.

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. DC

    I am thoroughly disgusted by this base display of gutter politics. Hillary, you have lost. Go home and lick your wounds.

    Superdelegates, get off your behinds and stand by Obama NOW. Put this primary season to bed, and lets get on with the business of crushing McBush like a bug in November!

    Obama 08

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    Typical Clinton tactics! DIVISIVE AND DECEPTIVE!

    For her own personal white house quest, she does anything and says anything just to get votes for her!

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Anne

    godlesspriest May 8th, 2008 12:16 pm ET
    Clinton touts "broad coalition of uneducated whites"….man, I feel inspired already.
    ======================

    If you're going to use quotations, make sure you get the quote right!!!!

    GO HILLARY!!

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Darryl Thompson

    Obama is fighting the name "Clinton". It is really deceitful to pretend that because so many whites vote for Hillary there is no way they would vote for Obama in the fall when the choice in McCain (NOT Hillary) or Obama. Bill Clinton is a household name in America and has been for over 25 years. The American public is just beginning to get to know Obama. It is incredible that Obama has done so well as to beat an American Institution like the Clinton so so short a period. He could not do that with just the African-American vote and young White-Americans.

    Obama will beat McCain in the fall if given a chance, remember, no one (including the Clintons) gave him a chance last year before the race began.

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. AJLP

    So why is it not racist when 92% of blacks support the black candidate, but yet people say it is racist if 92% of whites support the white candidate?

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Obama girl

    Until a couple of months ago, I was leaning to Clinton. But I gave her a "dishonorable discharge" and will now vote for Obama. These latest comments on race is just one of a string of bad behavior. Clinton has no honor, and we've had enough of that.

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Joseph

    Sen.Clinton now reveals her true self ,she has to get the top position by any means possible.This is no longer about the country but about the Clintons and yet the media is not asking her to talk about this constituency that is baptized "blue collar uneducated white workers" who in essence is a subtle way of referring to white Americans without appearing racially biased.
    Sen. Clinton only appeal to super delegates is that she is a white woman candidate and Sen.Obama is black and on those grounds she rates herself higher and more deserving than her rival.If democratic party was indeed democratic the only cliteria to used would to follow the popular vote and higher pledged delegate count.Let the truth be told as it is.
    Things are not what they appear to be nor are they otherwise.

    May 8, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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