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

Clinton chastises press for ignoring sexism

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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. h

    did I miss something? was she treated any differently than any other candidate...if you want to play with the boys then don't expect to be treated differently. I'm sure the press would have reported every possible sexist comment made about her in a public forum, after all aren't there a number of female reporters.

    May 20, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Dan F

    This woman isn't strong on self-reflection, is she? I liked her better when she was "just a senator" and nor running for president. Carl bernstein had it right when he said she morphed back to her "old" Clintonian ways that he thought she'd shed.

    How any rational person could argue that rascism, or sexism isn't a factor is beyond me. Of course they are an issue :people have biases, whether they acknowledge them or not. In her case, she was WELL AWARE she was playing the race card bfore South Carolina. I'm not willing ot place the full balme of her husband.

    So what an irony that now she disowns that any racism exists, and sees ONLY sexism!

    Grasping at straws, in a now prototypical Clinton way.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Chuck

    Of course racism has played a part in the campaign, particularly in West Virginia. Much of it has come from within her own campaign with subtle and not so subtle attacks on BO. Sexism, to some extent, most certainly has played a role. There are many individuals who will not vote for a woman. Many of the "sexist" comments that have come from the media are often in response to Sen Clinton's personal demeanor which has been more female than presidential (sarcasm, vitriol, whining, etc.) Maybe she ought to think whether the kitchen is too hot.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Laura PA

    Yea let's blame everyone for Hillary's defeat except her & her campaign strategists. She chose loyalty over experience just the way the White House would have looked & the country would have become. Hillary's campaign run is the only experience that I can judge her experience on & she failed. She is not ready on Day 1 because I unlike many of her supporters do not count First Lady as experience. She is doing as well because of her husband – if former President Bill Clinton was not her husband she would not have done as well as she has. Listen to her supporters things were good when Bill Clinton was president, I know the Clinton name, etc. This does not take anything from the former president – I did vote for him by the way but his 8 years should not be the backbone of Hillary's experience because she is not Bill

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Debby

    I don't think gender took a role in Clinton's loss since alot of men iron their own shirts. LOL I think Dean played a big role in Clinton's loss with stupidelagates when he came out with that comment for them to make up their minds and fast. They could have had a meeting on Michigan and Florida earlier than May 31st. This shows me deals were made in time so Obama would get the nomination and Michigan and Florida would be moot for Sen. Clinton. What a back biting party the DNC has become with bozo Dean as the leader.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Pookie

    Dont you have to be an actual woman to claim you have been a victim of sexism in this case?

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. WeLuvObama

    /Will Hillary ever stop? Why can't she just complete the rest of the primaries with dignity. This will be her next big spin. She didn't win because of sexism. I am a woman and I feel that racism was played more in this primary than sexism. Hillary and her supporters are sore losers. It is like she is trying to make the SDs turn on Senator Obama because all of her women supporters are crying foul. Hillary please stop the madness. We need to unite around our presumptive nominee to defeat John McCain in the fall.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. george

    She is spoiling her image in a democratic party. she can still be a respected leader of democratic party. she started talking nonsense. I wish God gave some words of wisdom to her.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Marie-Lynn

    Both hillary and bill have many things to hide. If she is the nominee watch Mccain jump on it. Karl Rove knows a lot about it. They face a trial in november. Peter Paul vs Clinton the biggest fraud in politic, and now what she claim that the media are not reporting 'sexsim' Please go away it's still time...

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Todd

    Hillary Clinton is losing this race because she could not control the people in her campaign. Bill Clinton tried to play the race card in South Carolina with the Jesse Jackson comment AND IT BACKFIRED.
    What happened to all this sexism when she was 30 points up in the polls?SHE LOST HER CREDIBILITY IN BOSNIA

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Mohan from california

    Obama must distance himself from the Clintons who are desperately hungry for power.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. A.Masabo Canada

    Hillarous! You really losing your bearings as.................u know what i mean.You still say that the other Clinton never used the race card ou you are going to say that you mispoke too?
    WOW that's why you losed,HUH?okay(Sarcasm)

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. James Jones

    If you can't take the heat, than get out of the kitchen!

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Skip

    I was just wondering why CNN has not mentioned that Mr.Obama's Superdelegate count lead has increased to 28 more than Mrs. Clinton, I feel that if it were reversed it would be a HEADLINE–please be fair.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Lady in Lubbock

    Wow is this woman stupid or what, what does she mean when she says that race has not been an issue in this democratic race to the white house. Again we see that Hillary is obviously on another planet because she is still no in touch with the realities of what this race has been about.

    OBAMA 08

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Chas in Iowa

    At some point hilary is going to have to get a clue,.....
    Upset that the press has ignored all the terrible sexism that has occured,..........I have to ask?????? What sexism?

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Joseph, San Antonio, TX

    Saying that you're losing because the general public and media are women haters is doing a big disservice to the people who voted for someone else because they actually liked who they voted for. To say that you did not get my vote because I don't like women is ridiculous. That argument only adds to the original case your campaign made in the beginning by presuming to be the nominee before the campaign even started. Never mind that you just didn't win. Your campaign has been mismanaged all year long. Now that you're going to lose, you want to take all women down with you. I voted for Sen. Obama and against you based on merit. I could care less about your gender. By arguing gender, then you're saying you are beneath men and have to fight differently. That's an insult to all of the voters who didn't vote for you. Almost 20 million people can't all be wrong. Try to figure out what went wrong within your campaign rather than blaming men and media.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Confusesus

    This statement displays precisely why Hillary has failed. Two weeks ago she was talking about how the "hard working" whites wouldn't vote for Obama, which was code language for what everyone knows; there are white people in this country who will not vote for a black candidate. Now two weeks later she wants to play the victim and claim that racism doesn't exist.

    The more I hear from her, the more I understand why she is so popular among people without a high school diploma. Once you develop critical thinking skills, it's too easy to see through her b.s.

    And for my own personal story, I actually voted FOR her in my state's primary months ago, but her antics and tactics have made me an Obama supporter.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. SLO Bear

    I'm hoping for better examples for my daughter (and my son) than shriveled soul Ferraro and say-anything-to-win Clinton. If the media bites at this latest ploy, they are prize-winning idiots and debilitating our country's future.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Michael, Montgomery Alabama

    Ferraro, Clinton and Proffessionals for Hillary don't know what they're talking about. I know for a fact that Obama and his campaign have faced and endured many subtle and public racial insults and slurs. It was at the direct request of the Obama campaign and Sen. Obama himself that as little attention as possible be given to those cave-men because 1) He didn't want to be distracted with answering questions about what the insults personally meant to him and his family, 2) He didn't want to be painted as weak or a whiner and 3) He knew that ultimately his opponents would turn around and say HE was playing the race card.

    Ferroro, Clinton and Proffessionals – Admit it, you can learn something from the best run campaign since Bill Clinton

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. fred

    LMAO, Obama has had help from all Media, DNC and Republicans (crossing over in early caucus to keep Hillary out). He has bought this election...he won't buy it in November.

    People need to stand up to the media and stop them from letting these people control the outcome of this election.

    GO HILLARY!!

    WRITE IN HILLARY or VOTE FOR McCAIN

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Peter

    Oh dear. Now its a sexist attitude and the fault of the press that Sen Clinton is trailing in the Democratic nomination race. She and her campaign have blamed everybody but themselves. They ran a negative campaign believing she was pre-ordained to win; they neglected, at their cost, independents and young voters, andthey placed little importance on caucusses. When things started to go wrong it was the fault of the Party for excldung Florida and Michigan.

    The simple fact is that most Democrats prefer the vision of Obama to the 'head in the sand' approach of the Clintons; his desire for change is more apealing that the `same old politics" with different players; his willingness to talk to our `enemies` holds more hope for future peace than nuking those we dont like.

    Senator Clinton and her advisers should stop blaming everyone else and lok in the mirror.

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Charlotte

    This has been flagrant through out this primary. Jack Cafferty is the worst offender. He has picked some of the most slanderous of comments on his "tell me how you really feel." The worst one he picked was regarding Hillary as Obamas' VP. I won't even repeat it, you all know what it was. He needs to be fired. I have not watched the Situation Room since he 'selected' this vile, accusation against Hillary. He has made his segment an Anti-Hillary place to vent. His withou a doubt a misognist. This will probably not get posted, but it is the truth.

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    I am a 61 year old white working woman, and I don't see that sexism has been an issue at all in this race. I am sure that if you look hard enough it is possible to find evidence to support any position you care to take, but the evidence supporting this one is pretty weak. Hillary did not lose because of sexism. She lost me by being nasty and mean and her campaign was disorganized and underestimated her opponent. I understand that losing is difficult, but refusing to take responsibility and blaming others is unbecoming. Having a tantrum and refusing to vote for your party because your candidate did not win is juvenile.

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. CW in DC

    I tried my best to try and stay positive on these blogs but goodness does she make it difficult.

    Does anybody else see this as a ploy to get all the women riled up to vote for her? It's hard for me to not see everything this woman does has a motive behind it.

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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