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. Bridget

    I want to bring a relative issue to light. I agree that Clinton's latest comments are divisive and desperate, but I'm wondering why it was okay for people to openly say, "Well, Obama will win NC decidely because of its large black population."

    Flip that for a second and say, "Hillary will win Pennsylvania handily because of its large white population."

    The second one would never be said on the record, yet the first one is said all of the time.

    No doubt the Clinton campaign used a similar rationale internally to justify her recent statement.

    May 8, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. ashamed

    In ref. to concerned:
    I am a devoted democrat so I will vote democratic; unfortunetly I have family members who refuse to for BO.
    I hate it, an it drives me crazy, as I don't know how to make them realize that no matter what we need a democrat in office to help get our country back on the right track.
    This is very disturbing to me.

    May 8, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Carmen

    The only pattern that is emerging, Hillary, is that you are a SORE LOSER who is too delusional to DROP OUT.

    I have no respect for Hillary after this comment.

    Signed,

    Highly Educated Non-White Woman who Would Never Vote for Hillary

    Obama '08/12

    May 8, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. susan Clarke

    Hillary Clinton is even more disgusting than I thought. Obama treats her with the respect she doesn't deserve, but she'll sat or do anything – a desperate woman!! She truly is dispicable!!

    May 8, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. A.

    I'm a white jewish girl from Florida and I definitely do not want her.

    May 8, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Margeaux

    I support Hillary, but really, probably not the best comment to make.

    May 8, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. For the love of this independent

    The funny thing is many black americans don't have a problem with what she said. It is not the black folks who are saying this is race baiting. From readin the comments the majority of these statements are coming from other white americans

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Susan

    Ms. Clinton's comment.."working, hardworking,..white Americans"is straight fromthe 1950s KKK handbook. Beyond offensive to millions of black Americans, immigrants, college-educated Americans. Inexcusible display of racist bias. Hillary just disclosed her true self..she must go rapidly. If Obama had uttered such a filthy line you all would have immediately stripped him of all delegates. Ugly, offensive, beyond words.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Chuck

    Well this is one "white American" who backs Obama!!!

    My choices for President...

    1. Barack Obama
    2. John McCain
    3. Anyone but Hillary Clinton!

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    PLEASE DON'T CALL CLINTON'S STATEMENTS RACIST, IT'S NO MORE THAN POLITICAL PANDERING TO SKIP AROUND THE (FACT): BLACKS DO NOT MAKE UP A LARGE POPULATION IN THE U.S. SO YOU DO THAT MATH. HILLARY IS NOT SPEAKING TO BLACK VOTERS, SHE'S IS SPEAKING TO THE LARGE POPULATION OF WHITE VOTERS THAT SUPPORT OBAMA. CASE CLOSED.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. NancyC

    Setting aside for the moment the racially divisive aspect of this analysis, it is meaningless to talk about the "white vote" for Senator Clinton without at the same time identifying what percentage of those white voters were women and where they fell in the age categories.

    It's not the white vote Clinton is winning, it's the female vote above a certain age. The Democratic Party has been losing the white male vote for decades, so by definition, the white Democratic vote is majority female and in the states such as Pennsylvania, Clinton gets a higher percentage because the white female population is older in that state.

    If she concedes graciously with a message of celebration of how far women have come as symbolized by her campaign and encouragement and hope and get's behind Obama, I guarantee the overwhelming majority of Clinton's white female voters will vote for Obama in the general, particularly once McCain's position on appointments to the Supreme Court get adequate coverage.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Dark Gable

    Might just be a case of reverse psychology. She "takes one for the team" and says something so outrageous, that it forces her base to shift to Obama. It gives him momentum in states he should not have won and gives him the appearance of going into the convention strong among his new found base. She quietly steps back, gets her debts retired and is able to retire knowing that she has ensured the Obama gets what he needs in order to stop McCain.

    How scared would McCain be if Obama swung West Va and Kentucky by good numbers and was able to use it as a springboard to reach out to Hillary's base? It would SEVERELY cut into his target demographics and put him behind the eight ball in terms of media coverage and momentum.

    This one might not be as it appears folks....

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Richard

    KKK Endorse Hillary, vote Clinton, vote white supremacy. What an idiot!!

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. CJ

    And black americans are not "hard working?" As a white american I am completely offended by this new, desparate and dishonest ploy. This is the last nail in her coffin I think and Billary will lose a lot of white america based on this kind of talk. What is she thinking?

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Brian Collegeville, PA

    Fact: Senator Clinton has gotten more of the blue collar white vote.

    Fact: She has gotten more of the older white vote especially older white female.

    They are a voting blocks that are strong supporters of hers, however, does she really mean to say, "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans"

    Does this mean, that the only hard working Americans are the white blue collar voters? There are no hard working African American, Latino, or Asian American? Huh? This is extremely unfortunate.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. MIFemale

    I am a white woman and will not vote Hillary! Not just because of this comment, but many other reasons. However, this comment does seem to be blown a little out of hand. Obama has most of the black vote and no one seems to be making a huge deal out of that. I do think Hillary needs to drop out. She is not making herself look any better as time goes by and she needs to face reality that she will not get the nomination.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Dave

    USA Constitution:

    "EVERY CITIZEN HAS EQUAL RIGHTS"

    Clinton Constitution:

    "Senior Vote has more right than youth vote; White Blue-Collar vote has more right than black vote; Graduate/post-graduate Votes have NO right"

    If Obama has more votes than Clinton, in democracy he wins
    If Clinton has more votes than Obama, in democracy she wins

    STOP FIGHTING... Respect Democracy and value EQUAL RIGHTS

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Still waiting for an intelligent comment from Texas.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Mike G

    Look at the type of divisive tactics that this woman resorts too in the face of defeat! She can't win, so she is going to try and take the democratic party and Obama with her in a blaze of self glory. She cannot win, so now all she wants to do as make sure Obama loses so she can say "I told you so". She is going to continue to say this and hopes that it sticks in the minds of everyone just like her claims of experience and how she opposed NAFTA. She is following up on the defeated comments from Rush Limbaugh that came out yesterday. It says a lot when someone starts quoting and following the lead of an addict like Limbaugh! America, don't be distracted. Vote with your wallets.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. bsdc

    So now Hillary is going to try scare tactics. I'm white, educated and would definately vote for Obama before I would vote for Hillary. Not because she is a woman, but because she is Hillary Clinton. Wake up people........

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Christina

    The only pattern that is emerging Mrs. Clinton is a spirit of oppression and racism that has been around for decades. The is what SOME Americans cannot shake and Mrs. Clinton for trying to capitalize on this...SHAME!

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Justin, VA

    This is clearly an under-the-belt and desperate political attack on Senator Obama (all done in an attempt to swing superdelegates).

    The Clinton legacy among African-American supporters is slowly but surely being ruined – at least it is for me.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. Owen

    What ever happened to the notion that "Bill Clinton" was America's first black president. I must say that I am totally amazed at what is emerging now that the "Real Clinton's have arrived! I never would have imagined that Hillary would have stooped so low – Shame on you Hillary! You just lost me. Anyway, thanks for taking the mask off.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Mika- NC

    Wow Senator Clinton- Shame on YOU! I want to see how much media attention she'll get b/c Obama got lots of attention for the "bitter" statement. I hope they cover this for the next 2 weeks. I'm so tired of her. She needs to bow out, no longer gracefully b/c she messed up with this statement....

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. andyg

    Even is this shows to be true, this is something you dont say, you let the numbers speak for themselves. Lets flip this...traditionally the most consistent block of democratic voters in my lifetime have been african-americans, and Hillary can't carry them. If they dont vote in November she has no chance. Her "white american" base wnt carry her to a victory, and she is certainly alienating whatever african-american support she could muster.

    May 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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