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. ALICE

    Oh no, Hillary, Think again– Not all whites want you!

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Plan 9

    Apparently Karl Rove and the ghost of Lee Atwater are advising Hillary. For God's sake, get out, Hillary, before you lose the last supporter you have. You are hurting the Democratic Party, attacking the presumptive nominee and GIVING JOHN McCAIN A FREE RIDE. Enough.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Danny

    I agree with Hillary. I think this country going to divide if Obama get President because 90% of black people their just choose their own color for vote so this is race and this not an American at all. It start in PA now
    and you going to see it in the future.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Tobias from Washington State

    This sort of tactic might pander to the good mountain people of West Virginia, but the fact is that she is lying. In my state and many other states, Obama won the majority of all peoples. She is inserting race into this race because her desperation for the white house is driving her to it. It's shameful and dishonest. Our nation needs a leader that doesn't use our differences to gather support. Have some respect Hillary, and aim your campaign against the party that uses those tactics. You don't have a chance. Bow out with some grace.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Steven

    She's trying to weaken Obama for 2012!!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Another Texas White Woman

    This white woman over 50 is also a Barack Obama supporter. My guess is those "white people with no college education" that are giving Clinton her support are those REPUBLICANS being recruited by Rush Limbaugh to get her on the ticket because it will be easier for McCain to beat her.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. LORRAINE

    YOU ARE A SAD AND PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A WHITE WOMAN,FOR A EDUCATED WOMAN,YOUR TRUE COLORS ARE FINALLY SURFACING,DO YOU BELIEVE WE WANT YOU TO REPRESENT AMERICA,RACIST,RACIST,RACIST.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. john

    Breaking news! Chelsea Clinton just endorsed Obama!

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. SynCity

    It saddens me when I see this kind of division! I am an African-American woman who was a Clinton supporter until most recently. I didn't care if she was a woman, if she was white, but what she stood for. As of late, I have seen a person of little or no integrity whatsoever, and not to mention the realization of not believing her because the people she claims she is going to fight against as President are the very ones funding her campaign. Not to mention, NAFTA and all the money that she and Bill have profited fund. Do you really expect me to believe that she only spends the millions that did not come from her NAFTA affiliations!! You see, it upsets many with an old way of thinking that the Black vote is a necessity in winning a general election. And tell me, wasn't it Bill that said that "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina too but that doesn't mean anything".

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Jim D

    Losing white Americans? What proof does she have? The demographics from North Carolina display no such data. Sounds like Desperation Hillary is upon us, and like Obama's spokespersons, very disappointing to read of this tactic.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Hoosier Values

    Well ... I guess the Clinton's decided to throw everything, including their last shred of dignity, at Obama in an attempt to win.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Clay

    After McCain is elected President in November, Democrats will be wishing they had listened to Senator Clinton.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    AGAIN , I POINT OUT TO ALL PEOPLE WHO MENTION THAT BLACKS VOTE IN A LOYAL BLOCK OF APPROXIMATELY 90%.. THEN SAY.. "SEE... THEY ARE RACIST"....

    WE VOTE TOGETHER FOR "SURVIVAL"..

    NEVER HEARD ONE COMPLAINT THE LAST 40 YEARS "UNTIL NOW"

    WHY IS THAT...

    PLUS... IF WE ARE RACIST... THEN WE LEARNED FROM THE BEST..

    FINAL WORD... (ITS HARD TO BE RACIST OPPRESSORS WHEN YOU ARE ONLY 12% OF THE POPULATION... AND HAVE NO POWER)

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. The Bu

    Please remember this, for those who are supportive of her remarks. Obama didn't go out for the African-American vote. Most African-Americans, before the race began, supported Hil-LIE-ary, so don't call it racist that black people are voting for Obama. They see a hope. They see what our ancestors fought so hard for and they're proud. I researched Obama, to find out what he was about before I went gun-ho for him. It's not racist for someone to vote for someone because they're proud of them. Is it sexist for women to vote for Hil-LIE-ary because she's a woman? NO! They are PROUD of her. Or at least, maybe, they WERE proud of her. Don't get duped America!

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Terry

    There we go again. People will not let race become a non-issue. This woman needs to shut up. DROP THE RACE ISSUE. We are AMERICANS and that is it. With comments like she is making, she is no better than Alan Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Jerimiah Wright or any other person in this country who chooses race sides and won't let it go. And I take the Bible and throw it at them all, because NONE of them know what it says.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. jandon

    Neil, WELL SAID!!!!

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Dean - Colton, CA

    "Small states don't matter"
    "Following the rules doesn't matter"
    "Fiscal responsibility doesn't matter"
    "Ethics don't matter"
    "Blacks don't matter"

    Who, I ask, is elitist?

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Nicole

    I'm a white woman and I reject and denounce Hillary Rodham Clinton!

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. stafa60

    Those suggesting that Hillary Clinton is simply "telling it like it is" are missing one critical point: she's not simply some detached, objective analyst giving her observations on the political landscape. Anything she does or says has to be seen in the context of her strong motivation to win the nomination. She's not stupid, so a thinking person has to believe that when she says in effect "Obama can't get the white vote" that there's an aspect of such a statement intended to help create its own reality.

    I prefer Obama, but I've never been a Hillary hater, and have always been quite prepared to vote for her if she becomes the nominee; however, if this statement is what it appears to be, she is indeed sinking well below where I think she ought to be going.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. outraged

    How you go down is also a measure of how great you are. hillary is ceryainly not going down with dignity. As a former first lady and senator with diverse constituents she should know better. I wonder how her NY constituents of color feel about her remarks. Shame! disappointment and deep pain!

    What she said invokes painful memories of a very troubled past.
    I would like to see the media, if truly neutral, dig into this further like they did with the Wright controversy.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Demorat to the bone

    Hillary Clinton needs to go to the republican party from where she came from. She is just staying in there so John McCain have enough time to pander his bs. How much are they paying you Hillary....I know you and old Bill will sell your souls for money...........And please stop making your racists remarks, When the Black people put your husband in the white house for two terms, you didn't have a problem with us then..........And no, you can't be VP. We can"t trust you along side Obama, you might do something to harm him so that you can become president........I am sooooooooo disappointed in you. I used to like you.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Beltway Insider

    Not only is this the most blatantly racist comment she has made in this campaign, but considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who have voted for Obama have been white, it is also a completely false statement.

    By the way, doesn't it seem she was implying that 'hard working americans' are white americans? She should get roasted over the fire for this one.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Fed up

    Is there any low point to which Clinton will not stoop? I'm caucasian, female and 60 years old. From the beginning, I have been sure that I would not vote for Clinton NO MATTER WHAT because we do not need more grid lock, business as usual, tit for tat politics. It is time to start voting to what a candidate stands for, not gender or race.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. ADTX

    Sorry, but it's true. It's Obamas fault. He tried to play both sides & got caught. Obamaites need to wake up! This guy is not who you think he is. There is so much dirt on him that you are not aware of. He will NEVER beat McCain. You people need to read/watch all media. Not just the ones that agree with you. Very dangerous.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. paranyu

    I can't deal with this any more. As a black man, I am saddened. Why not come out and just say that the 40% of whites that supported Barack don't matter and that the 60% that supported her would prefer McCain over Obama? Does she really believe that those "democrats" will choose a Bush third term over Obama?

    RACIST.

    I am EVEN more energized to make Obama the next president. I don't care I have to knock on a million doors on his behalf.

    May 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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