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. Which Way, Chief?

    HRC can't quit in the Clintonesque scheme of things. If she cannot be the Dem nominee then she must so damage Obama that McCain will win and she can run again in 2012.

    If by some twist she accepts the VP spot with Obama, then his life is worth nothing and she and Bill will have the Presidency anyway.

    Can you say "Vince Foster"?

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Carol

    Actually Hillary, Barack's supporters are much more diverse than yours. When was the last time you actually looked at the majority of people showing up at your rallies?

    It's starting to look like a mirror image of the republican party at your events.

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. PaJC

    WOW! The code is broken after all of these months. Who is elitist now? Who is "electable" now? This is 2008, right? Because I just had dreamed that it was 1956 again, and I wasn't born until the late 60s. MLK, JFK, RFK, LBJ and countless others all must be rolling in their graves now.

    I hope that those who say they wouldn't vote for Obama will reconsider. Clinton is presuming that "her" block of voters won't vote for Obama because he's black. This is a bare knuckled insult to her own constituency. Obama supporters are happy to welcome any Clinton supporters who have seen a glimpse of truth about HRC following these comments.

    They also said noone would vote for Kennedy because he was "just" a first term Senator and Catholic. I have reason to hope...

    Obama 08

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Fred--East Lansing

    That's the last straw. Hillary Clinton, once again, plays the race card. When all of this started out many months ago, all of us Democrats were going to bring the country together. Sad indeed! She has demonstrated what critics have said about her and Bill, that is they are, in fact, "Billary" and they will stop at nothing to get what they want. Just as we don't need any more Bushes in the White House, we don't need any more Clintons either.

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Kevin, Indiana

    It's really beyond words that Hilary is running on a "white" platform. I used to be a supporter of Hilary's ... now I wouldn't vote for her even if she won the nomination. Unbelievable.

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Glenn

    Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, John Edwards and Dianne Feinstein all need to step up and condemn Hillary's racist rhetoric. You need to endorse Obama and put this to bed. Your hanging back is causing the divisiviness that is hurting the party. Step Up!

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. DoneWithDems

    Hill......I couldn't agree with you more. You keep stumping. Your party needs you!!!

    McCain/Schrute 08

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I think one of those bullets she was dodging in Bosnia must have hit her head. She has lost even more whites with her lies and her conniving ways.

    She is so sad. I wish she would at least stop the racist remarks (since she stayed married to the "first black president", it doesn't mean anything, other than to show how mean-spirited she is).

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. DARRELL

    What is emerging, as Hilary very well knows, is a pattern where those groups which are more likely to be racists or have racist leanings are far more likely to support her. She can spin about the hard working, less educated, and senior citizens but the truth lies elsewhere.

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Whiteboy in PA

    This whiteboy is for Obama all the way...i don't care what a racist bigot power hungry Hillary thinks or says.........................

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Truth Be Told

    well, what can you expect from her? she had stated even before the pa primary that she will do anything to win even to the extent of dividing the party and the nation once again by pitting whites against blacks. did you not get the hint about the clintons' true character even before the south carolina primary closed, starting with bill's statement? if you didn't, i guess you're not really paying any attention.

    truly sad.

    May 8, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. RufusVonDufus

    Hillary's comments are racial and divisive–exactly what she meant them to be. She is now playing to the racist white population of our country. I am white and am voting for Obama so Clinton does not have the entire white vote as she would like you to believe. There are many like me who cannot stand the Clintons and are glad we will soon be rid of them. They will say or do whatever it takes to tear Obama apart. The Clintons are nothing but trash. Goodbye and good riddance.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. kevin from alaska

    If they count Florida and Michigan what's stopping some other states from moving up their primaries? Well if the DNC says their votes won't count it doesn't matter, they can just make a big stink about it and get their way. Pathetic.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. James

    I am an African living in this country, I am very disappointed by these remarks. I don't think most Americans are as racist as Hillary would like to put it. Americans reward hard work. Americans like honest people. Most Americans hate people who try to play race cards to get something.

    Hillary is just a hypocrite. She " people" should be judged by the content of their brains and not the color of their skin, yet she seems to allude that Barak Obama won't go to White House because he is a black man. And why does she feign her love for people like Martin Luther King?

    My understanding now is that Hillary wants this nomination because she is a white woman. All her rhetoric about experience and ready on day one are just nonsense. I just wish she said what she said today 14 months ago.

    Can Hillary tell us when the U.S. will be ready for a black president so that people like Barak Obama, Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson don't waste their time competing for the presidency.

    I am very, very, very, very disappointed. I, however, still think American is a great country.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Phil

    Obama will NOT get all of the high school drop-out redneck vote. So what?
    Who cares? That was the old base of the party. Time to turn the page now.
    America today is so much more than just those folks. Progressive folks of all colors and intellect who long for real change will vote for him. Wait and see. Whites/browns/blacks/yellows/mixed/young & old people with more than half a brain are going to outnumber the rednecks this time.
    Time for all the racists to stand up and be counted, and to come out from the shadows where we can see'em!
    -will cnn ever post something of mine?

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. TOM

    Take a clue from THIS "white American". The only time in my life that I did NOT vote for a Republican presidential candidate was in the Nixon/McGovern contest. That's because by Nixon's second term, I knew Nixon. This year I plan to vote for Obama.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Kevin,FL

    Oh So CNN 97% of Blacks Voting for Obama is not a Problem? Thats Racist to me, you guys try to pick and choose what to report, Thats why if Obama is the nominee, I WILL VOTE JOHN MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT! So I could stick it to the DNC , for being so Stupid!!! AND POST THIS PLEASE,

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Democrat for Hillary

    The U.S. population's racial distribution in 2006 was as follows:

    White alone:73.9% or 221.3 million
    Black or African American alone: 12.2% or 37.1 million
    Asian alone: 4.4% or 13.1 million
    American Indian or Alaska Native alone: 0.8% or 2.4 million
    Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander alone: 0.14% or 0.43 million
    Some other race alone: 6.3% or 19.0 million
    Two or more races: 2.0% or 6.1 million[18]

    So she is saying she has the majority of the white supporters...60% in most states in the majority >50%

    To win...unfortuante based on our countries demographics, you need the white vote....

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Craig

    Wake up Hillary supporters. She is in this process for herself and her own legacy. She doesn't care about you, me or anyone but herself. Just as the chief priests told Pilate that they have "no king but Caesar", Hillary has no king but her unquenchable thirst for power. She will toss her blue collar friends aside as soon as they are no longer of any use to her.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. B Miller

    She is a desperate woman trying anything she can. She and her followers are in a stae of denial.....who would want to vote for a person that agrred to the rules on Michigan and then Florida....and now wants to change them because she knows she cannot win....along with that why would anyone want to vote for a candidate that lies.....Bonia affair,,,,,it seems to run in that family.....Remember,,i did not have sex with that woman.......all i can say...go Barak

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Eddie

    I find it amazing people commenting on the fact that Obama recieved 90% of black vote,when never has Obama went out and and pandered to just one group of people like Hillary has niether has he said african americans want him.How many blacks have the media asked why they were not voting for Hillary.I bet you could not find blacks in the democratic party who do not vote for whites because of race,and you know why.Since blacks have won the right to vote,it has been for white candidates,so your black racism argument does not work.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Ronald Ross

    Realy pathetic. I can't believe that I used to really admire the Clintons! I detest them now!

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. goObama

    To those quoting the stats of blacks voting for Obama. I challenge you to step back and measure over the past 40 years, what percentage of African Americans have voted for white presidential candidates in the past before you try to to define an entire race as bigots!

    Then for those of you who are going to have a pity tantrum and vote for McCain over Obama, when he is the nominee in the fall, then know that you will play a part in overturning Roe v Wade, an undying committment of money and blood to Iraq and a continuing failing economy. This is a guy who says he won't even consider a VP who is pro-choice and knows nothing about the economy.

    Get Real – Obama '08

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Stop that Woman

    Linda,

    Obama had to earn the black vote....orginally blacks voted for Hillary...Black America used to love the Clintons...but now we see them for who they truly are.....

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Auburn

    I'm sickened and shocked at the low esteem in which she must hold all of us regardless of our sex, age, color or education. When all else fails, divide us up, right? It's not going to work this time.

    May 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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