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. Adam

    I can see the comment section is over run by Obama nut heads and us Hillary supporters cant get our comments posted.

    so I will try again…

    Oh..I get it..Its OK for Obama to say African Americans are voting for him and will not vote for her, but Hillary cant say Whites are voting for her? WHAT???

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. An Objective Observer, Toronto, Canada

    It is so unfortunate that Mrs Clinton is being racist – the inference to race is obvious: she is white (so vote for me). And in doing so, she is creating a greater divide to the Democrat party that CAN NOT BE REPAIRED IN NOVEMBER!!!

    Hillary firmly believes that unless she wins the Democrat nomination, the Democrats will lose. So if she does not win the Democrat nomination, how can she honestly, I REPEAT HONESTLY, support Obama to win in November???

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Jason Horse

    "white americans" "WHITE HOUSE" Black President tell me this is not an issue with all americans.......SELFISH, ARROGANCE, STEP DOWN the people have already spoken.
    IN SPIRIT
    FIRST NATIONS Horse IN CANADA

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Donna

    Poor thing, wait I mean rich thing, elitist, educated, and cheated on by her slick husband.

    I suggest Zanax!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Jorry

    Here is what Obama should do. Finish all the contests, get 50%. and take 100 delegates from the michigan and florida primaries. Let hillary have her wins of "big states". he will still be at 2025 and Hillary will not be the nominee.

    Hillary should stay in until she loses. but at the first sign she goes negative then she should be pushed out of th rest by superdelegages. This is not negative, she is stating a fact, most white people, based on polls seem to vote for her, just as most black people, based on the polls seem to vote for him. In NC it was 91% to 6%.........this is a fact, why is this racist? What is wrong with black people voting black but white people cannot vote white? does this mean that white people are not a race?

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. stephanie

    wow! I can't believe she would go this far. I for one am a white female and Obama has my support 100%! I used to think that I would stand by a democrat no matter what but Hillary has completely made a mockery of the party. It's time to bow out and save the chances of a democrat getting into the white house. FACE IT....YOU LOST!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Ms B

    My 16 year daughter asked me last night if in the voting booth one has to give "their race" before voting. What ever happended to the "human race"? Why does color matter Mrs. Clinton? You have stooped to an all time low!!!!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Annie, Muncie Indiana

    I am a 57 year old WHITE woman who cannot stand the sight of this self grandizing, "misspeaking", arrogantly smirking woman candidate.
    She should be ashamed of this statement!!! I definitely do not want this woman as our President. I am so proud of our Country for having
    welcomed Mr. Obama as the other candidate and hopefuly, if
    The "tarmak queen" bows out, the party will have time to rally together
    and ward off the "third Bush term".

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. OPO

    So she wants to win this thing by creating a racial divide? When will people wake up. Is this country to be brought to its knees by Americans without college educations? This is soooo sad. Is this a divide and conquer strategy because it sure seems like it? This woman will not unite this country which is clear because it is not even a theme in her speeches. She just panders to two groups of people: blue collar white conservatives (poor white people without college educations) and white women (preferrably over 60 years old). Can you see the common theme here? Yup, you guessed it. WHITE. I don't like to generalize because within those demographics there a many good people but I fear that there is still some prejudice within this group and its coming out in the way they are voting with a lack of credible arguments to justify their actions. All I hear is "I don't trust him" and "He's a snake oil salesman" and my favorite "If she's not the nominee, I'm voting for McCain." That last statement tells me all I need to know. Hillary and Barack have largely the same policies where McCain is completely on the other side of the map. Yet, people are willing to make colossal jump in policy to avoid voting for Barack Obama. Huh? Racism is the ONLY thing that could justify that my friends. You would take either of the white candidates than vote for the black one despite one of the white candidates planning on continuing the same policies of one of the worst presidents in history. WOW. This makes me sad that I should wish certain segments of our society that are either over 60 years old or poor and white to just leave this country I love and take their racial bigotry elsewhere.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Chris B

    I don't think its as racist as it is divisive. Racism is more of an act or saying something with the intent to belittle another group of people. White people voting for Clinton isn't racist. Black people voting for Barack isn't racist.

    Expecting people to vote for you and being put in office because your in the ethnic majority isn't racist. It's anti-democratic and anti-meritocracy. Let's call it what it is.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Deb

    If you think this is bad, wait until the Republicans have at him. As Get Real said, you can't win if you criticize Obama because it will always be interpreted as racism. That's why the press tip-toed around him so much in the beginning.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Dave

    I had been undecided, but just made my decision. Mr. Obama, you have my vote.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Deb

    Bonnie – heads up! You sound like a moron.

    Hillary hangs onto the support of these under-educated, racist, genuinely ignorant Americans – wow – nice claim to fame! I have faith that the intelligent people of this country clearly see through Hillary's perpetual twisting and spinning of facts and figures. If she somehow connived her way to the Democratic nomination, I would have to WRITE-IN Barack Obama's name on election day.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. ANance

    This is getting ridiculous. And how dare you insinuate that no other support counts that white rural Americans! If HRC did make these statements, then that is the most divisive, racially toned remark I have heard! It insinuates that her supporters are all white, and they are the only ones that matter. I am insulted and appalled by such blatant and derogatory remarks. I can't believe she thinks like that!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. virginia

    Way to polarize the country Hilary!!! The writing is on the wall and it's time for you to pack up your pantsuits and head back up to Westchester County. You talk about average Americans and what they need and want for the future....what would you know about "average" anything? You, and your husband, will do anything possible to get what you want, and that happens to be the house that "WE, THE PEOPLE" own. Give this thing a rest and allow the party the time to try to gather their wits about them and get the support that will be needed to win this thing......

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Tom

    Why are so many seemed surprised by Hillary's comments?
    This is very Clintonian: self-serving, it's-all-about-me. The ghost of Monica Lewinski coming back to haunt?

    But I don't want Osama, Obama, or Chelsea's Mama!.

    Go McCain!!
    (Betcha CNN won't publish this.)

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Tom

    They are true whether Obama's campaign wants to admit it or not. White people all over this country are seeing the 90% + black vote going for Obama and know how racist that is. They hear angry comments from black people about how now "the country is going to give us what they owe us" and so on. And they feel that black people are voting fairly in this contest and are voting race only. Naturally there's going to be backlash against that. Especially when you throw Michelle Obama's comments, Barack's own comments in S.F., his lack of ease around these lower income white people (and he thinks his grandmother has an issue – so does he in the opposite direction), Mr. Wright and on and on. You put all this stuff in a pot, stir it up and you get what many people have known for a long time – Barack Obama will NOT be President. He WILL NOT get this lower income white vote. And it has nothing to do with racism, rather it is a backlash , in part against BLACK RACISM. It isn't and never has been the Clinton's that brought up race – they have simply noted what black people have been doing in this political race......and they're right and whites across the country have been watching and noting the same thing. We all heard about the possible "black out" if Hillary was nominated and many thought – "how about if we have a "white out" if Obama wins the nomination? It's all a reaction to what we see the black community doing.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. SY - Indianapolis

    WOW...I'm a 37 y/o WHITE female who is college educated and voted for Barack. My mother is 70 y/o and voted for Barack and she worked in the blue collar industry for most of her adult life. BTW – Barack won the all "white people" county here in Indiana that my parents live and it is made up of mostly blue collar workers.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Chelsea Clinton

    Heading into W.V and Kentucky in which Parents are also siblings she is pandering to the rednecks.

    Her rallies this week will be at cross burnings.

    Aint she grand. So dericive, So devicive, So devoid.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Aaron, ATL

    I seeeee youurrrr truuuuueeee colooorrrrsss shiiiinnniinnngg throuuuughh! LOL

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Abe Schenck

    I can excuse HRC, I would say some stupid stuff if the ship I was on was sinking.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Barbara from Seattle

    Yes, Hillary. Play the race card. You are white, so you get the white vote. Brilliant!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Barbara

    I'm 64, white, live in the Midwest and I will vote for Obama as will my friends who share my demographics – it's not that simple is it, Hillary?

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. JD

    It's stupid. Everything she says is irrelevant. She's finished, and I don't understand why she thinks she still has a chance.

    GIVE UP HILLARY.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Tobias

    I don't blame her for saying it Obama and his surrogates have been playing the race card this entire time. His ridiculous speech on race did nothing but broaden the divide and anyone not supporting him was called a racist. It's not about color or gender it's about choosing the best candidate and she is the best candidate. Obama is not qualified to be president and he is unelectable. Vote smart, vote Clinton.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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