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. chicago chris

    thanks for being even more devisive. lets make all women pissed at the media and not vote.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Lynda

    To test the theory, let's say that a woman had run with the exact same platform, speeches, and experience as Obama. She would never have made it as far as Obama has, because people would have said she was delusional to think she could run with such a lack of experience, clear policy plans, and a vague call for change. Women have to work twice as hard to be seen as equally competent.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. April in Texas

    Racisizm and sexsizm is only there if you see it when you look in the mirror.. We are all americans no matter what color or gender. It is time to let this all go as we are approaching the 21st century.. I am white 39 female and proud to be an american with all my brothers and sisters.

    Obama 08/09

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Mick

    Is she for real? There's solid evidence that says those two men in the audience holding the sign that said "iron my shirt" were planted by her campaign. And she certainly didn't have a problem with racism when Obama was forced to address it over and over again. With the Clintons, it always has been and forever will be "everyone's fault but mine". Let's see what else Senator Clinton can do over the next month two further ruin the Democratic Party's chances at winning the Presidency.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Linda Johnson

    Delusional. Delusional. Delusional. If the new Gallup numbers are any indication, the Dems are finally waking up to the ridiculous lies of Hillary Clinton.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Lisa F. SWPA

    Now it appears as though Hillary will play the "girl" card.

    Why not admit that her campaign was not prepared to go beyond Super Tuesday? She surrounded herself with incompetent leadership and they ran her campaign into the ground. Playing the "girl" card demeans the rest of us women who value organization, hardwork and humility.

    She was the front runner out of the gate and many supported her. If she wants to blame a sexist government, media, constituents then so be it. I supported her as well until Bill made it clear that her four years would be his as well. No thank you.

    Quite honestly though, she has shown the voting public that she could not select winners to manage her campaign so how could she be trusted to provide sound leadership for this country.

    I do however think it is time for Hillary to throw in the towel and hope for a cabinet position or some leadership role in the Obama administration. Its time to move on.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Beezer, Boyd America

    Give me a break

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. RH

    So it's going to be, "I lost because of sexism?" Give me a break.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Latin Momma for Obama

    my lord, she is so hypocritical, she uses this card when convenient, then she does not, then again,

    I can not stand her lies, and hypocritical stand, soon she will claim people are not only sexist but racists towards her..

    the billarys, have no shame.. they are so hunger power, it is so shameful.

    and the women like Ferraro who support her racist tactics, her division, her fear tactics in the conservative areas, they all should run together,
    I am a woman, and i can not wait for a woman to be president, just that I like a woman who does not run on her cheater husband's experience, a woman who does not lie every step of the way to say she has experience, a woman who has earn her way up like many of us..

    so it is not like we women do not want women to be presidents, or that we are blinded, not it is not it is that we want a woman who is honest, has worked hard, who does not feel entitled to the presidency, a woman that means what she says, that walk the talk.. not only talk and lies adn attack..

    we want someone honest..
    how can anyone truly vote for her, and ask themselves, oh I dont care if she lies.. that is not a big deal??
    how is that not a desqualification?
    she is racist?
    she uses the race card when convenient!!
    she uses fear at all times
    she uses the gender card when convenient..!!!

    it does not matter how much you like her, think about it, carefully, she sends the message that is OK to cheat, to stay with a cheater, ..........what a message from a woman...

    mmm wonder about the women supporting her.. i really do.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Brien

    Okay okay....first she said that it didnt matter if she is a woman or he is black. NOW, it still doesnt matter that hes black, but she has been treated unfairly due to sexism. WOW are we all sure that John McCain is the biggest "flip-flopper" of the bunch!? Need I remind everyone that she also said flatly "Michigan and Florida dont count...", of course that was when she was winning.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. marian


    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Izzy

    What a hypocrite! If she can't stand the HEAT . . . geez. If she hadn't already played the race card, she might get some support on this. Sexism and racism are both alive and well. But Obama hasn't sunk to either level. And that makes one of them.

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Nevada!

    Come On! I have only heard things about race and sex from supporters. The media hasn't attacked either one, and EVERYONE has made it an issue. To me it is two people. A man who believes he is qualified and a woman who believes she is qualified nothing else. People, please stop looking into ridiculous crap. She lost because she lost. He won because he won. There was nothing holding her back. The same amount of offset was felt by both because of there differences from the norm. Excuses are the final step to giving into defeat. You know it is over so before you bow out you must point blame... (That's if you are five and don't know how to lose like an adult.)

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Smart People for Obama

    Ridiculous. Sexism AND racism ARE playing a part. When 22% of voters admit that race played a role in their decision, that proves racism. Clinton has it no tougher than Obama. They have a level playing field, and Clinton needs to get over it and quit hardening her feminist supporters. It's time to unite, not divide. Clinton, you're done. GET OUT.

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Terry

    Hilliary complaining about vitriol and mean-spiritedness?! Good lord the gall of this woman!

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Sean Deason

    Jesus H Christ! Now she's pulling the sexism card and playing THAT as an excuse as to why she's losing in every measure possible? She's constantly complaining about being disadvantaged and discriminated against, but why is it that she seems to be the only one who sees it? She is the one who spins and re-spins every angle she can come up with and constantly tries to change the rules of the game when the outcomes don't favor her. What a relief that she won't be our presidential nominee this election, I dont think I could put up with the constant whining for another 6 months!

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Judy

    I'm so weary of Hillary grasping at every last straw! Whenever she starts these diversions, she ends by sounding shrewish, not strong. I'm a 68 year old white working woman, with 2 1/2 years of college, raised four children as a single mother, have worked since I was 16 and I'm an Obama supporter. I just want us to get on with the real business of putting a democratic administration in the White House and bidding adieu to that little buffoon who's in there now. This has been an interesting (to say the least) primary but it's time for it to be over.

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. What Really Happend


    OBAMA 08

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |

    Racism has not played a role...???

    Well, bill clinton, geraldine ferraro and west virginians don't agree

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. LP

    I think the Senator from NY is absolutely right, and it is a shame that our media with slogans like "Fair and Balance" or the "Best Political Team" or "News you can Trust" have failed to live up, and simply report the news without injecting bias or favoritism. We shall sit back and see how they handle the McCain/Obama contest without mentioning race which they have totally ignored thus far although Obama has been getting 90% of the Black votes and Clinton has been getting 70% of the White Votes.

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Shane


    May 20, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Mike, NJ

    Just when I thought I had seen and heard it all from Clinton...

    I am having an extremely hard time figuring out what her mindset it. The people around her are also to blame, because obviously the ones who aren't jumping ship are the ones encouraging her to do this.

    What a shame. Clinton, it's over. Now act your age and remove yourself from the campaign. For once in your life, do the right thing and unite the Democratic Party!!

    Bama '08

    May 20, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Vinnie

    Seems like kitchen is getting too hot for Hillary!

    May 20, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Brirobs in MA.

    When is she going to smell the coffee and wake up? She's stubborn, on an ego trip, and out of touch with reality. Thank God the Clinton era is finally over.

    May 20, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. MIke

    Blame it on the rain...look for a better excuse. LOOSER

    May 20, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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