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. James Bailey

    This white New Yorker just wants her to go home – to Arkansas. Go away. Crawl back under your rock and leave us in peace. I want to read a newspaper without seeing you in it.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Matt

    I'm also a 50 year old white man and I find this comment offensive. I have felt she that during this primary season she had made cold cynical political decisions based on what she thinks people want to hear, not based on internal beliefs. I certainly hope that is the case in this instance and doesn't reflect her internal feelings.

    The last 24 hours I keep hearing the uncommitted superdelegates say Sen. Clinton has the right run as long as she wants and this won't hurt the party. WRONG - this garbage certainly hurts. If somehow she gets the nomination, I don't know if I will refuse to vote for president or hold my nose and vote for McCain. I have never voted for a republican presidential candidate, and I have voted since 1976. I never thought I would consider it after 8 years of Bush!

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

    GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD "HILLARY"
    you WILL NEVER BE COMANDER IN CHEIF of the most powerful
    arm forces on this planet. No woman will, history has shown us all,
    so go back to the senate (BTY) where no one cares and answer the phone when President Obama CALLS ON YOU.

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. An American in Canada

    OVER 90% BLACK VOTED FOR BARACK, IF YOUR BLACK YOU BETTER BE FOR BARACK.

    OVER 60% WHITES VOTE FOR CLINTON, IF YOU SUPPORT CLINTON IT IS BECAUSE SHE WILL BE A GREAT PRESIDENT!.

    AND THAT'S A FACT JACK!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Proud Obama Supporter

    OBAMA!!!!!!!! OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!
    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Heidi in Houston

    What a devisive person. If she hasn't shown it already, she certainly has today with this comment.

    Nancy Pelosi is considered a closet Obama supporter because of a remark she made when initially asked about the Obama/Clinton/Clinton/Obama dream ticket. She said that she couldn't imagine that ticket because Hillary herself stated that McCain was more qualified to be president than Obama. That was Pelosi reacting from the initial shock that a democratic candidate would tout the credentials of a rival party member during a presidential campaign season over a colleague candidate. She was stating in her own way that Clinton was hurting the party chances in the fall by making a statement like that and Pelosi was just expressing her shock over such a statement.

    Now Clinton says this and I'm sure Pelosi is not longer surprised! I got over Clinton's McCain versus Obama remark, but now, as she continues to stay in, she continues to make statements that cripple the democrats' chances in the fall. This doesn't just affect the presidential campaign, but all the down-ticket campaigns as well. Clinton does not care about any of this. She cares about winning and if not now, than in 2012, and to hell with her fellow democrats.

    She is a purely selfish candidate and I'm ashamed that I once considered voting for her. She's a disgrace to the party and to the people of this country who look for sound leadership to bring us out of the current turmoil we're in.

    Clinton will have defections to Obama over comments like this. She will also have her die-hard supporters, who, just like her, don't care what happens to this country, but only care that she becomes president by any means necessary. I write off these people who will vote for McCain if Clinton is not nominated as just a selfish, self-serving and uncaring as Clinton herself. These are the types of people that the HRC campaign has attracted and this just further proves to me, by their behavior, that Clinton is a self, devisive, rutheless climber who only cares about herself. The fact that she attacts this kind of following tells me everything I need to know.

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

    African-American may have voted for Obama at 90-93%, but we had supported many good white candidates like John Kerry, Al gore, and Bill Clinton. Yes, Whites do go for Hillary 10-15% more, but Obama does not tout this! They just did not win, and for Hillary Clinton to come out and say it.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Mike

    She is really losing her mind!

    Democrats never carry the white rural vote during the general election. What makes her think that she can all of a sudden get this vote. When the Democrats choose the "Obvious" nominee they are going to win the general election because America is really sick and tired of the whats going on in Washington.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. kay

    For all the people writing that Obama gets 90% of black vote and that is racist I want you to remember that Bill Clinton and John Kerry also got over 92% of black vote.......is that racist too.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Joy

    As an American citizen, I am saddened by Hillary Clinton's comments as they are derived from the unsavory philosophy of 'white fright" that is deeply rooted in America's history. Surely, she realizes the true measure of a champion is the ability to knowing when he or she is defeated. Is her individual desire to win at any cost more important than the needs of the Democratic Party to win in November?

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. WilyUSA

    We now have a new way to identify racists in America: Someone who wants Hillary to win but says they'll vote for McCain if she doesn't get the nod. There can only be one explanation.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. disturbed in Va

    Hillary is really trying to mess up the race for all democrats and Barack Obama. She is clearly not going to receive the nomination and comments like this just help to make the party more divided. I hope white voters will come out in support and show Mrs. Clinton that she is wrong. Lets stop throwing out race in the campaign and lets talk about REAL politics!

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Pamela

    I am a 49-year old white woman who also works in a white-collar job.
    Obama still has my vote!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. JR, Plymouth

    Disgraceful...and disheartening to see any politician so shameless.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. James

    I think Obama's rep Bill Burton is a bit deluded!

    Bill Burton's comments on Emil Jones, Jr. statement that blacks not act like "crabs in a barrel" and drag down Obama's candidacy? Oh, he's just a "mentor of the Senator" but won't comment on the speech.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Larry

    Wow this will just go over "peachy" with the black vote.

    Wow Billary is like that over the hill athelete that just doesn't realize it is time to exit stage left. Time for the Superdelegates to act as a pet owner and take this campaign to the vet to put it down.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    Just sad......................................):

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. cm Buhl Minnesota

    Bill Clinton's face was beet red the night of the Ind-NC primary. These people are too desperate to get into the White House. We're all sick of this. This white, female, educated 58 year old is voting for Obama. So is my husband who is a member of a union in Minnesota.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Susan

    Hillary is just stating the truth and the polls reflect that as do the results from the primaries that have been held so far...the Obama supporters are so quick to call Hillary a racist and yet they don't have anything to say about Obama staying in that church of hate for 20 years...being friendly with Ayers..the Rezco slum issues...etc...there is a lot of baggage there that is being ignored...who knows what else is still in Obamas closet that will be disclosed...and with him getting 90 percent of the black vote....try and tell me that is not because he is a black man...he has no clear message for our country...all he has is a lot of rhetoric...he and his supporters are the divisive ones...and I am so sick of hearing that Hillary has gone negative again just because she states the facts and the differences between them...yet Obama can and does say anything he wants and doesn't get called on it....try and tell me about bias...Obama has been the favorite..the golden boy of the news sites...that is the only reason he is ahead...I am sure there are lots of voters who voted early on that wish they could have there votes back...just like me...I used to support him but the more I find out about him...the more I want Hillary to win.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Tara

    She is absolutely right , Obama campaign can't keep touting the support from black Americans and not to expect the opponent to feed into it.
    Obama was very devious when he first played the race card against Clinton ( without reason ) , because that was his strategy to get the black vote behind him.
    It worked but it also caused a rift and division in the party .
    So much for being a uniter.
    Obama is a phoney and will be exposed for what he really is all about.
    Hopefully it won't be too late..!!

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. never little o

    All elitest whites how many of youy go to black churches or live in black neighborhoods: BO won the whitest of states and the blackest of states as far as the democrat primary voters makeup (how about the racially mixed states: he did not win them: CA?NY?FL?MI?

    IT's obama who played the game and got all the black vote.

    Never O...b/c I cannot stand the obama Kool-aid drinkers! not b/c I am white

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. fernando

    Judy

    If you truly believe that white people want Hilary and black people want Obama only because he is black, maybe its time for you to open your eyes. I am sick of living in a country in which there is great racial divide. I personally do not care that Obama is an african american man or that Hilary is caucasion. By electing Obama into office, I hope that this country can take a major step towards finally eliminating the cancer of racism that has plagued this country for many years. As Americans, if we all made an effort to look at one another without discriminating based on the color of one's skin, we can make great progress into the future of America. Lets get past the mistakes of the past and move forward as a united nation for the rest of the world to emulate. If Obama was red, green or purple, I would still vote for him because he represents the hcange that this country truly needs.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Jay

    Was that the sound of the "Race Card" being dealt? You are killing your chances of a run on 2012.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. Matthew

    Great, Hillary! May as well not skirt the issue- keep making the case that a black man can't win, and that you have the corner on the racist wing of the democratic party. Pathetic.

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Chuck

    "The respect I had for her is now gone."

    Duh... you had RESPECT for her??????????

    May 8, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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