May 8th, 2008
12:03 PM ET
3 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. Paul, Charlotte NC

    Booooooo

    May 8, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Chitown in Chicago, IL

    I can see her new campaign motto now: "Vote White! Hillary '08!" UGH!

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. RSH

    What a terrible statement. So if I am white, 54 years old and support Obama, that makes me what, stupid?

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. A White American

    She's gone completely Captain Ahab. Someone needs to gank her off the stage with a Gong Show hook.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Carl

    I'm not a Hillary supporter in the least. The Clinton love affair with the AA community was a disfunctional one sided marraige. Clinton ushered through many bills that were very harmful to the minority and poor. Welfare reform, minimum drug sentencing, and three strikes to name a few, so there are MANY reasons for Blacks to support Obama and feel that he understands their plight. Yet in saying this I will admit that after reading the interview I was not as bothered by her comments as I was after reading the headline. CNN looks to be engaging in some sensationalism here in order to create a controversy.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Florida resident

    So, quoting the facts in polls is RACIST now?

    What's next?
    Elect a black president over anyone else because not doing so is RACIST?
    Go to Rev. Wright's sermons because going to any white church is RACIST?

    Such hypocrisy from Obama and his supporters.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Scott

    white person here – voted for Obama. I live in Texas, and in a caucus room full of about 500 white people, Obama beat Clinton 72% to 28%.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. NoMoreMrs.NiceGirl

    Truth, loyalty, and abiding by the rules simply mean nothing to HiLIARy!

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. MicMacarac

    She didn't learn from Obama's bitter comment. You just can't offend any large voting block. I think this comment or position if she maintains it, ruins her chance of leaving the race with dignity.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Tre

    Hillbillary take your flip floping tail to WV,and lie to the people about how you grew up dipping scoal tobbacco,eating moonpies,and drinking root beer. I for one as a black voter will most definately switch republican,if she became the nominee.

    Obama 08

    Mccain 08 if Hillbillary the nominee

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Steve

    Not all white americans. Remember that Hillary is lagging way behind among all segments of young people and college educated – white or black. It seems that elderly whites and blue collar ( the most unlikely to vote for a black man) are supporting Hillary. At this point your the Ross Perot of the Democratic Party. Remember Bill loses to Bush without Ross Perot splitting the Republican vote. Now McCain will take the white house as Hillary splits the Democratic Vote.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Y

    Obama never said anything about black voters prefering him. The pundits are the ones who say that. Hillary made a gaffe.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Arlene Tognetti

    Well, Senator Clinton doesnt' realize
    that our area of the world, the NorthWest,
    and many surround states all the way to Kansas
    White collar AND Blue Collar workers and Unions
    and Labor Groups and "white America" has supported
    Barack Obama
    Take a look at Idaho, Alaska, Nevada, Illinois,Kansas
    Labor parts of Texas, and the list goes on.........
    In every Obama Rally we have watched across this
    nation: there are across the board support for Obama
    all races, creeds and colors....Obama bridges the gap!

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Bobby tray

    This sad but she is pulling the same tactic she thought worked in Texas, Ohio and PA. She is trying to reach the "closet" people who deep inside would not vote for someome because of their race. People of West Virginia and Kentucky; Is she right? Only you can prove her wrong. . .

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Michael

    Hillary is in it to win....2012

    The only way she can do that is prevent Obama from getting it in 2008, she would rather hand the White House over to McCain for 4 years than wait 8 to run again! There is no further explanation this is getting out of hand completely, this is one white guy that has supported Obama from the get go....

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. john todaro

    These truly astonishing comments are perhaps the most racially divisive remarks made to date by either the NY Senator or her husband.

    This talk is shameful and embarrasing. It is manipulative talk made by a shrewd seasoned politician who appears willing to do just about anything to get a vote.

    It's unfortunate that she can continue to say things like this and
    make it through yet another day without the major media holding her accountable, such as what would certainly be the case had it been the other way around.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Larry in Michigan

    Every time Hillary opens her mouth and says something destructive or divisive to the democratic party, I'd like to see 3-5 additional super delegates come out and endorse Obama.

    I would hardly call a 60/40 split voting along racial lines. As far as the 90/10 split among black voters, she only has her campaign (and husband) to thank for that. Blacks were originally for Hillary until Bill and her campaign started with the racially subliminal talk after Iowa.

    I have lost all respect for the Clintons. Please take whatever ounce of dignity you have and leave.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. jandon

    This is the last straw. As an African American, I see now she has stooped to the level of a white race card nuclear option. The mask is off of this hideous political beast. Her demented squirrel grin hid the racist that lurked within. I wonder how Maya Angelou and other blacks who supported her now feel in the glare of her blatantly racist appeal to whites to vote for her because she is white with them? I've been around for six decades, grew up in the South and I KNOW what real racism smells like, tastes like, feels like. I refuse and millions of Americans of good will and good conscience -black and white- refuse to lay down and take this snarling, desperate drivel from this obvisous deluded woman. This is an affront to the dignity of the nation.

    My prayer is that the Democratic super delegates will get off the fence, grow a pair, and do what needs to be done to stop her before she destroys the party. The longer they wait to see what and when she will do, the more damage is done. They can end it tomorrow if enough of them will remove the jelly from their backbones, give Obama the undeniable, overwhelming crushing blow of the number of super delegates required to put him over the top, and move on John McCain. Eight Belles comes immediately to mind. SHe ran a hard race, but in the end, she broke her ankles and had to be put away. I see striking parallels.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Jeff - Schaumburg, IL

    People making comments such as "the blacks are more racist than the whites" because over 90% voted for him are clearly as delusional as their sniper-dodging candidate. Have you also noticed that those with higher education are voting in higher proportion also? That women are voting disproportionately for Clinton?

    Maybe the white vote is skewed lower than it otherwise would be because of Hillary Clinton-style racists who can't bring themselves to vote for Obama. Maybe African-Americans, who culturally have tighter-knit communities than many other racial / ethnic groups within the nation became interested because of his race, but stayed interested because they can more easily see the truth than many who are blinded by subconscious prejudices, reinforced by their race-baiting candidate.

    Not everyone voting for either candidate is doing so "because he's black", or "because she's a woman", but I'd be willing to bet Hillary has garnered far more disproportionate women's votes than Barack has garnered disproportionate votes from African Americans.

    (White, College-Educated, Two-Time Bill Clinton voter for Obama)

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. JMH

    If that's not playing the race card I'd like to know what is. I am a bi-racial American who was raised in a largely white, suburban region of Washington State. The majority of persons in my home town voted for Barack Obama by a large margin, so did the people in Seattle and the surrounding region, all predominantly white. Most of my closest friends are white and they all voted for Barack Obama. My mother is white, as is her entire family, they voted for Barack Obama. I personally know what it's like to grow up as a multi-racial individual. I think people often forget that Barack is as much white as he is black. There is a serious problem in this country when persons such as Obama and myself are labeled as African American simply because of the color of our skin. I love black people as they are a part of my genes, and i likewise love white Americans as they are also a part of my genetic makeup. Simply calling us black is an insult to the full scope of our heritage, as would be calling us white, we are multiracial individuals blessed with a firm understanding of both cultures and if there is anyone who can fully understand and try to heal the racial divides in this country it is multiracial individuals such as ourselves for our loyalties inherently fall on both sides. This is something all Americans must understand about Barack Obama. Clinton's statement seems to be saying that white americans would not vote for Barack Obama period. That is a fact which is simply not true and this attempt to play on the racial divides of this nation is sickening. Although black Americans are overwhelmingly coming out for Obama, he has not once said that they would refuse to vote for Clinton during a general election. I hope that all Americans, white, black, hispanic, native, and asian will realize the destructive and disgusting nature of these comments. Dr. King dreamed that all individuals in this great nation of our would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. The character displayed by Clinton over the course of this campaign has been absolutely disgusting and these comments are deplorable. This statement seeks to drags us back to the racial divides of the 50s, 60s and previous decades and I will not stand for it. My mother has time and again said she would never vote for Clinton because she holds strongly to the belief that people should be judged by the content of their character. Prior to today I would have gladly voted for Clinton during the general election despite all of her character flaws because I recognize that the other choice McCain would be unacceptable. I will not vote for McCain, and as of today I will never vote for Clinton, her lack of character has shown in its full light today and revealed something quite ugly. If Obama is denied the nomination as a result of the bigotry of a small remnant of individuals who still think race is more important than what a person stands for I will not vote. I respect all the work Clinton has done for our country but I can no longer respect or claim that I would support her presidency in any fashion. I am greatly disappointed in Clinton, I thought she knew better than to draw on racial divides as a reason for super delegates not to vote for Obama...It seems I was wrong.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Betty

    This is so terrible! This woman will do anything and say anything to promote herself and this puts her about as low as a human being can get....At least it is out in the open that she is a bigot as well as a liar and a fraud...I wish people would start really digging into the Clinton past as they may be very surprised at the lies and deceit in that family..
    This 58 year old White AMERICAN is voting for Obama...a Black AMERICAN...Hillary..your true self is showing....

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Joyce memphis, tn

    SAD BUT TRUE!!!! The voting African American population only makes up 17% of the General election population. In 2004, Bush managed to get 5% of the AA to vote for him, thus resulting in a razor thin victory. So, what does this mean? This mean that BO needs over 95% of the AA votes (which is very easy) plus a sustantial percentage of whites, hispanics, asians, and others (1%). There are white republicans who are crossing over to vote for BO in the general election while there are white democrats who want Hillary to be on ticket. She has alot of Asian and Hispanic support as well. If BO manages to get the 60+% of the whites to vote for him in the General election along with a sustantial number of republicans, then he will win. I'm an AA woman with a college degree who supports Hillary but I'm voting DEM in November. I can't say the same for the blue-collar white workers. They were coined the "Reagan Democrats" at one time and they just might become the "McCain Democrats" in November. And that's the arguement Hillary is trying to make.

    CNN PLEASE POST

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Samuel

    Being a black man, and following the primary. I am sad to here all this race negitivity. People have forgotten about white water, And half of our jobs that are over seas was done in her husband term in office. Please answer why a person would kill himself to keep from testifying during the white water investigation. This type of information the clintons don't want to talk about.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. michelle

    Less than college educated WHITES are voting for HRC.
    BLACKS are voting for BO ( 98% duh)
    So who's callling who racist????
    What about those Blacks not voting for Hillary beause she's not black??????? If BO were white, HRC would be the nominee by now. Everybody knows that.

    Go for the gold, Hillary. If you win it will be because you EARNED IT and not had it handed to you on a silver plater like BO.
    You have the cajones to be president.. You speak the truth whether or not some of your opponents are going to label you racist. You know this election is not just about African-Americans or appeasing them. This election is about ALL Americans.

    WITH YOU TIL YOU SAY IT'S OVER, HILLARY.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Peter Damoah-Afari

    The whole world will see the Clintons. It is good that she is showing the true colors now to the American public. People say they don't know more about Obama, but I believe they don't know more about Hillary too. She is coming out now from her hypocrite shell and Americans will see another Hillary.

    May 8, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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