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. Cincy Nurse

    It is really so unfair when she calls a spade a spade and then gets knocked for racism...come on....92% of the Black Vote in N.C. and that isn't racism....This is so unfair to a white person. I think NC was racist and all bigots....unbelievable...

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. GT-Neutral

    Hi CNN,

    Now, what are you going to say about this? Do you have questions for her? Is this comment racially oriented or not?

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Ronnrl

    If this is Senator Clinton's reasoning then is it valid to say that she cannot win the, white college educated, african american, or young white vote.

    Don't you also need these votes to win?

    Just another way that Senator Clinton demonstrates she will stop at nothing to win and say anything even if in the long run it is hurtful to the party to create this narrative among potential November voters.

    Very disappointing

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Shame on you Hillary! Proof that you will do and say anything to win - who are you trying to kid - this campaign is all about YOU!

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. K-Money

    End scene.

    She's done.

    If she wasn't done before, she's done now.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. GL

    Super Delegates- Not only has she lied to the voters, now she has lied to you. There will be no graceful exit. There will be no putting this party back together. And with three more weeks of crap like this there will be no Democratic Party.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Yankee Air Pirate

    This is too funny.The party of inclusion coming apart at the seams.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Obama's a token candidate. It's tacky. He married the black girl in his office and now all the black people vote for him. Even though he's only half black.

    Right............

    Guess what?

    Obama's half white TOO and he still can't gain the white vote. This is because he doesn't appeal to common sense, he's 'exotic' and appeals to the chablis drinking limousine liberals just like he said!

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. carlo

    I am very disheartened at some of the comments on here. I've never understood reverse racism. How can the majority, the mainstream, the ones in power, claim reverse racism? Black people have faithfully supported Democratic nominees, including bill clinton. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson ran for President, but we all did not vote for them (me included) because they weren't, in my mind, qualified. Even those who voted for them voted for the white candidates and didn't feel badly about it.

    For some of you to imply that black people blindly support other black people is ridiculous. We are not monolithic. Most black people supported Hillary when this race started! She LOST our vote, because she started off with it, so save that argument.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Teresa

    I am a middle aged white female and I support Obama. I liked Bill as a President, not fond of Bill and Hillary as human beings. I am not going to say that Hillary is a racist, I just don't like or trust her. I do not know if I will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee. I do not want to see an Obama/Hillary ticket either. I don't think that would be good for the country.

    I am really, really tired of the media and analysts running the Wright issue into the ground when it is such a non-issue to me. I do not hear anyone talking about religion in the lives of Hillary or McCain. We should also see the tax returns of Cindy McCain but she says that she will never release them. Why are we stuck on Wright?

    I think most people will tell you that this animosity within the democratic party is tearing it apart. This is the worst thing that could have happened in this election year. We had an edge following eight years of the worst leadership in history, but we have really blown that edge. I live in the middle of the bible belt where you can be shot for declaring yourself a democrat. There is a bumper sticker around here (not on my car) that says, "Anyone but Hillary". Do you think we are going to unite by November? I sincerely doubt it.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Alex, MI

    The people have spoken, it is Obama Americans want not Hillary. This is the time for the superdelegates to act and act decisively to affirm the voice of the people by joining the Obama train. this has to be brought to an end even before Tuesday May 13 before Hillary and Bill desroy our party.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Jason

    Is it just me, or does her comment make it sound like "white-americans" are the only "hard working" americans?
    Yikes, that's a scary comment. I was already convinced before that I would vote for Nader if she becomes the nominee, but now I'm 100% convinced.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Shelley

    More than white people count, Hillary. This one, even given all the outrageous stuff coming out of the Clintons during this primary is just unbelievable. What happened to the old Clintons? I guess ambition trumps your old sense of fairness.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Joe

    I'm white.

    And I abhor the ignorant statements by Hillary.

    Shame on you for generalizing all white people.

    May 8, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Pamela B

    perhaps it is honest of Clinton to say what she believes. And yes, maybe it's from the exit polls.

    But here are two things that bother me:
    1 the "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" quote. Does this somehow imply that nonwhite Americans aren't hard working?

    and

    2 the "much broader base" she says she has to build a coalition. it seems to me that "working hard-working Americans" isn't a broad base at all, but a highly narrow one.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Simon

    Hillary – Obama has MANY intelligent, educated white men and women supporting his worthy and honest cause. He could not have the majority of votes on his side just with black votes. They are not the majority. Your math stinks. Your integrity stinks. Every time you speak you are even more offensive to me than Rev. Wright. Just shut up.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Denice, PA

    I am so sad to see such a lady resort to these divisive tactics to keep America from moving forward and discussing policy concerns. I would never vote for her now as a God fearing, patriotic, hard working, professional black woman. The country has had enough of politicians who exploit our differences for political gain. Move over, Hillary, you are done. I will not be a democrat if the party gives this primary to her at this point.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Glenn

    So sad! And Hillary was hoping Obama would somehow blow a gasket and stumble and she would win the prize! What we see is what we all really knew: Hillary lacks character and integrity and she is an out and out racist! She is divisive and polarizing.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Susan , Miami

    How must those supporters of Hilary feel..the ones who are not white, privileged, educated etc. The same supporters who have no doubt made contributions to her campaign of money that is probably tight and could be used for gas or food. The same one's who have supported her and shown up at her rallies, unless my vision is impaired, they were not all "white american"?? SHAME ON YOU Hilary, as a white, educted woman, I would be disgusted to be in the same room as you. Any and all respect that i had for you has most certainly gone. It is time to heal the racist divide in America not inflame it.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. scott frates

    Did she really say this???? OMG. It would appear that she will do ANYTHING. And this comes out right before the primary in West Virginia to where most of the state are working, hard working, white americans. I am stunned as I right this. The facts are the facts, and it is true that Obama did not do as well in the midwest with whites, but for her to use this to create doubt within party leaders and citizens minds is to take advantage of the reality she cites. Now she is obviously denying that this charge is racially divisive, but can anyone really believe that? Throughout this campaign season I have watched this woman paint herself as the inevitible, the experienced, the camander-in-chief, the underdog and Rocky fighter, and the hard-working blue-collar american. She has been from New York, Texas and Pennsylvania. She has lied and said she mispoke, and we accepted it. She has used every opportunity to disparage the caracter of her opponent, and claimed to be unfairly attacked on policy and fact. She agreed that Florida and Michigan would not be seated for violations under the DNC and attempts to blame her opponent for disenfrancising millions of voters. She has used the important state argument, the swing state argument, the superdelegate argument, whenever it was suited. Now... its the white argument! Where is this going to lead the democratic party and america?
    I am a 34 year old white american, living in Georgia where I work as a mechanic for a dealership. I have a college degree and have a black wife with three mutiracial children. The only time I have ever voted is when I was 18, and I voted for Ross Perot. Politically I would identify myself as a libertarian and conservative. I am one of the americans that have been turned off by politics (or politicians) that has been drawn into the fold because of Barack Obama. Before his presence on the national scene I was a strong cynic of both the Republican party and the Democratic party.
    Another comment... meek is not the same as week, the person who reminds you constantly of their toughness is usually not so tough, and tearing things apart is much easier than building things back up.
    Finally, there are so many great problems in america and the world. Having said that, I believe that the problem between white and black americans takes precedent to almost all others. Barack shared with us that black americans are dissatisfied and that whites are too. The bible says to man that we are all sinners. But there is forgiveness if we are willing to acknowledge our sin, apoligize for it and then turn away from it. Jesus said "I am the truth" and "the truth will set you free". I believe that Barack can help all americans through the racial recovery that is so needed. Clinton... she just reminds us that she can win the white vote. Scott Frates

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. Susa

    Hillary is in grave danger of not just losing this nomination, but losing her political career.

    She is really starting to anger me. My best friends mom, who is 80, white and a Texan voted for Hillary, but told me she has had buyers remorse since watching how Hillary has conducted her campaign since Texas. She NOW is for Obama.

    Hillary herself is starting to become the most divisive thing in the entire democratic campaign.

    My message to Hillary –
    If all the white folks were voting for you honey, you would be ahead now. Clearly they are not. Just because they voted for you does not mean they will vote for McCain if you aren't the nominee. I can say for a fact the women I know who did vote for you WILL vote for Obama if he is the nominee. Two of them already regret having voted for you in the first place.

    AND in case nobody is watching, approximately 25% of the Republican voters in Indiana and North Carolina DID NOT vote for McCain..... interesting.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. White votes

    Obama supporters are all for "telling like it is" unless its something they don't lke to hear. Hillary is getting the "white vote" and Obma is "getting the black vote". Is that new to them??? Obama does need our votes to win the GE. If anyone does not want to vote for Obama, Hilalry or McCain that is THEIR BUSINESS AND THEIR RIGHT. Call them all the names you would like, but no one has to bow to anyone for how they vote. No one should be called names, or intimated by how they feel about any candidate. You Obama supporters want a black president so bad that everyone else is either "nuts, stupid or a racist if they do not agree with you.

    If all of you cannot take the chance that your candidate can lose, then that candidate should not have entered the race to begin with. Over the years many have lost and many have one. This race is no different no matter how you want to spin it.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. John

    Charles in NJ:

    Sure forget the young vote, it is not like they will be controlling the future of this country some day. Open your eyes, the future is the younger generations, anyone over 50 better be kissing their behinds, they are the only ones who will be able to support you!

    People are ignorant... no wonder you all support Clinton. Put her in office and in 4 years I hope there is no complaining when there is nothing left of the US.

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Corey

    As a reminder 92% and 90% of African Americans voted for Indiana and North Carolina respectively. 91% in Mississippi. 89% in Pennsylvania. Hello?

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Rick

    Anybody for Obama, white or black doesn't know much about what he stands for and has done, which is nothing. All he brings to the table is radical racist people who he has surrounded him self with. So, do the math. Obama will and has already divided this country, where it wasn't before. At-a-boy Howard Dean! Anybody but Obama in 08............

    May 8, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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