May 20th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton chastises press for ignoring sexism

Clinton said sexism has played a large role in the campaign.

Clinton said sexism has played a large role in the campaign.

(CNN) - In her most wide-ranging comments to date on the role gender has played in the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton said sexist attacks on her campaign have been "deeply offensive," and sharply criticized the press for not raising the issue.

"There should be equal treatment of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head," Clinton told the Washington Post in an article published in the paper's Tuesday edition. "It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists."

"…I believe this campaign has been a groundbreaker in a lot of ways. But it certainly has been challenging given some of the attitudes in the press."

Listen to excerpts from the Clinton interview.

Clinton, who is banking on a large win in Kentucky Tuesday to keep her presidential hopes alive, also said she doesn't believe racism has played a role in the presidential campaign. But the New York senator said sexist attitudes among voters and members of the media have been a constant detriment to her White House hopes.

Speaking with supporters on a Friday conference call, Clinton said she regretted that many of them have faced sexist attacks.

"I deeply regret the vitriol and the mean-spiritedness and the terrible insults and rhetoric that has been thrown around at you for supporting me, at women in general, at many of those who support my campaign because of who they are and their stand based on principle," she said. "I don't have time for their insults, I'm impervious to them."

Some of those supporters are taking up Clinton’s complaint. Several pro-Clinton and women’s groups are holding rallies Tuesday in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan, and outside network studios in Burbank, California.

“If you want to have your voice heard saying, ‘enough is enough!’ then please join us in support of all American women who refuse to be diminished in the American Press,” says Professionals for Hillary in a statement e-mailed to supporters and posted on the group’s Web site.

“We need your support at these rallies to show America that women are not putting up with this anymore! Please send this information to all your Hillary friends and family. Bring your Hillary signs. We need to send a strong message to the media and the Democratic Party that says, ‘not so fast!’”

In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro – who supports Clinton - said she may not vote for Barack Obama if he is the party's nominee and said he has acted "terribly sexist."

Speaking on NBC's Today Show Tuesday, Ferraro also said, sexism was "rampant" in this year's presidential campaign. "There is a real difference in this country. It is not okay to be racist. It is just not. It is almost acceptable to be sexist," said Ferraro.

Ferraro has not shied away from discussing the impact of race and gender throughout the Democratic presidential campaign. In March, the former congresswoman told a California newspaper the chief reason Obama's candidacy was successful was because he was black. She maintained her comments were not racist, but ultimately resigned her finance post from the Clinton campaign after they caused an uproar.

Speaking with NBC Tuesday, Ferraro pointed to New Hampshire Clinton rally during which a man in the audience displayed a sign saying "Iron my shirt."

"Suppose somebody at that Barack Obama rally said 'Shine my shoes,'" Ferraro said. “The person would have been swamped by the media saying, ‘what, are you a racist?’ Hillary barely saw press on this. It is not only the Obama campaign. It is how the press has handled this."

soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. Lana

    Oh give it up already Hillary.

    Maybe it had a little bit to do with it but the vast majority of the reason why you aren't doing well at all is all the crap you've pulled while you campaigned..

    We all know it. So do you, but you refuse to bow out and are trying to pull any card you can to stay in.

    We see the light. So be quiet already and go away.


    May 20, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Christine V from Dallas, TX


    your american idol obama will lose november


    May 20, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. The Truth

    Hey if the polls suggest that Obamus has an insurmountable lead, did the pollsters go to Kentucky? Did they tell Kentucky and West Virginia about it? Why so much negative press about Hillary.

    Every day I pick up the paper or turn on the TV there is negativism about Hillary. Surely the pundits and other idiotss could think of bad news for Obamus or McClain. Let's give Hillary a break.

    I am sick of the negative press for Hillary

    May 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. LaShanda

    As a woman, I'm appalled by all of this whining about sexism. Did Barack whine when his office received bomb threats in Indiana? Did he complain when his campaign headquarters in racist West VIrginia was VANDALIZED? PLEASE!

    May 20, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Jana Delray Bch, Fl

    The press has been very bias against Hillary, especially stone face
    Jack Cafferty. Especially when he reads his bloggs, he makes sure
    he gets all the positive about Obama, and all the negative about

    How can CNN possibly have someone on the air that slobbers all
    over himself at the mention of Obama's name.


    May 20, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. USAF Sr. Airman


    "she doesn't believe racism has played a role in the presidential campaign"

    Can you say "WEST VIRGINIA"?!?!?!?!?!!!!

    No.. Racism doesn't play a role because it doesn't hurt Hillary. Sexism does though since it hurts her.

    That works both ways. You have women voting for Hillary only because she is a woman.

    Give me a break.

    May 20, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Christine V from Dallas, TX



    May 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Adam, Los Angeles the victim...cue the violins...shed a tear.....and curtain!

    May 20, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. Alice

    hmmm... after 2 years of campaigning, and all else fails, she launches a new complaint: sexism

    where was her concern about sexism when she was preparing for her coronation?

    [btw - I am a 57 y.o. white female]

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Jason

    I think she's finally lost it. Does anyone respect anything she says anymore? Such a shame to see the Clintons, with a history of great accomplishment, run their name into the ground with such speed.

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Danielle, TX

    This is laughable!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. Robert from Washington

    Too many women are eager to portray Hillary as a victim. As I see it, she started out with enormous advantages, and her campaign squandered its opportunities, made crucial mistakes, for instance having no plan post Super Tuesday. Apparently, as far as Hillary is concerned, everybody's to blame but the candidate and the campaign she ran.

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Independent for Obama

    This article is just sad. There has been racism and sexism in this election – both were surprising to me. I thought people in America generally were better than that.

    At the same time, I think it is moronic to say there has been sexism but no racism – the exit polls have shown in multiple states that people who said race was important to their vote overwhelmingly voted for Hillary. Frankly, we have more hard evidence of racism there than sexism!

    The sad part about the article is that Hillary is saying there hasn't been any racism, just sexism – somehow it is always about her – she knows better than anyone that it is a long, hard road to the White House, and that it has been tough for both her AND Obama.

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Linda from PA

    So I guess this will be her excuse for losing the nomination...always blame it on someone else. Isn't that the Clinton mantra? Couldn't possibly be her own vitriol, divisiveness and hatred that lost her the votes.

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    When all else fail, blame the press.

    Another page right out of the Republican handbook.

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Proud1of 26% in WV

    Look up the word hypocrit in Webster's Dictionary and it says "see Hillary Clinton"How many times have we heard ,"I'm staying in this race for women all over this land."hard working white voters are for me"If these aren't sexist,racial statements what are they.Are there any groups called Men For Obama'?I did'nt think so.June 3 cannot come soon enough,then bye-bye!!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Tracy---Indianapolis, IN

    Hillary is just gasping at anyhing to try to stay alive in this race. She is not going to win. I really think she is trying to damage Obama by staying in this. She knows that she is in debt and if her supporters feel so strongly about her winning then why don't they bail her out of debt instead of Obama and the DNC?????????

    Obama 08

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Republican for Obama

    Oh give me a break Hillary. Does the word grace mean anything to you? I live in a house of women and I tell my daughters every day they can do anything they want if they are willing to work for it. I would love to see a female president but not you. Why you ask? Because you are dishonest, and yes men don't have that market cornered. I teach my kids to do the right thing and conduct themselves with integrity and honesty. How could I do that and then turn around a support someone who has been caught so many times lying? Yes there are some who will not vote for you because you are a women just as some will not vote for Obama because he is black (at least half). But don't label everyone as sexist because you are losing, your lack of integrity got you there!

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Venus

    Nice way to try and say she lost because of the media!
    Since when does the person behind the frontrunner gets equal news coverage?

    The issue "race" color?

    Hillary has used that race-card! So good to see she can't have it both ways!

    Maybe she has a little point! A couple of weeks ago right before Indiana and North Carolina – all the news-media gave Rev. Wright 46% news coverage to Hillary's 42%! She wasn't complaining then!


    It got to her last week after her win in WV – got blown off the planet the next day with John Edwards and Obama news coverage and then the next day with the statement from Bush ----- so last week Hillary didn't get much coverage – because she is not the frontrunner!

    Yes! The media focus on Mc Sane and Obama has got to be killing her!

    Go Obama! Great to see a rookie bring down the Clintons!

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Waha Whaaa

    How many kitchen sinks does this lady have !?

    ""she doesn't believe racism has played a role in the presidential campaign"" which is why hillary always refers to "WHITE" voters.

    Hmmmmmmmmm........keep spinning "Sweetie!"

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Uh... ok.

    Oh no, there's no racism in this election, just sexism against Hillary. What a joke. Guess she didn't hear some of the comments coming out of West Virginia. I can't support this woman.

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Hillary Huckabee Romney McCain Rodham Clinton

    Sorry, Hillary your brand of corporate feminism is outdated and demeaning to the female gender. We are now in an age of global feminism that embraces a philosophy far beyond your myopic view for the rights of women everywhere.

    May 20, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. KiloWhiskey

    Sexist??? Let's IS hard to remember she's technically female......

    May 20, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Cammi317

    As a woman, I can say that I do not believe it is sexism. She is being treated like every other candidate. The problem is, as a woman, she is accustomed to being treated with kinder gentler gloves. She can't have it both ways.

    May 20, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    Barack Obama has never used race in his campaign yet Hillary often said to her female audience "Let's make history together". Using the gender card was OK for her when she was winning. What would Clinton supporters have said if Obama went in front of a black audience and said the same thing. C'mon people ... stop using excuses.

    How many women voting for Hillary said it was because they want to see a woman as president during their lifetime?

    And Ferraro.....that woman needs therapy.

    May 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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