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. Mary K

    What in the world is she talking about? When this race started she had a 30 point lead over Obama. Last I checked she was a woman back then. Does she think a 30 point lead turned into a 20 point defecit because of the shocking news that she's a female?

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. chad

    Hillary is very unlikely to get the democratic nomination. Obama seems to answer questions by NOT answering questions which America seems to be okay with. People seem to jump on the show wagon (Obama) instead of the substance (Hilary). Let the chips fall where they may.

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Lande Sanusi - Chicago, IL

    Is she for real? Watch out, here comes the kitchen sink ....

    Both of Hilary and Barack got positive and negative press. She has the most delegates and popular votes of any woman in American History. Even more that a lot of MALE president nominee hopefuls. But because she didn't win, now it's because the press ignored sexism. As a woman, I was going to vote for you, Hillary. But then I saw how you and your attitude completely changed when Obama blindsided you. How vicious you were. YOU were the one making women look bad by having mood swings every day of the week! Remember "Shame on you, Barack"?!

    Hang it up and move on. You are a party divider, Mrs. Clinton.

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. your husband

    well, you are a girl.....

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Mary

    I think she is looking for a scapegoat.

    No racism? When 22% of people in an exit poll say that race played a factor in their decision not to vote for Obama?

    Hillary is playing that card because women were her last hope. But, now, faced with voting for John McCain who voted against raising the minimum wage, would do away with a women's right to choose and would send our sons and daughters off to fight in Iraq and Iran, or voting for the man who will take up our banner on those issues, we must all unite to elect a Democratic president.

    Democrats unite- let's take back our country!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. The Truth

    Please give it up...What part of you lost do you not understand?

    OBAMA '08!

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. nic, bellingham wa

    Did she focus on any specific examples of sexism in the media? Or is it sexist to report that she's losing?

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Pandering

    Is this a joke? If that was the case, Obama would have wrapped up this nomination long ago. On the contrary Race has played a bigger role than sex in this election. West Virginia & Kentucky is plain proof.

    Hillary is in a dream world!

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Aaron in new mexico

    Hillary: Maybe the press has focused so much on the racism of Obama's detractors because your campaign made darn sure they did so. By contrast, maybe there hasn't been the same focus on the "sexism" of your detractors because Obama has waged a respectful campaign.

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    You know why you are losing?


    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. JoeMamma

    Must be the vast right wing conspiracy again.
    Bush / Clinton / Bush / Clin -no thanks.
    It's over lady.

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. weir

    If it were not for the fact you are a woman you would have been forced out of this race a long time ago. Stop being selfish and let this party get it together for some thing more important than Hillary.

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Tired

    Why does she keep saying things like that. does she not notice that her rallies are usually majority women... Obamas followings are usually very diverse.. Isnt that what your country needs. come on Clinton.Stop that stupid argument.

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. hrao

    Women have yet to reach high offices and in spite of many honest efforts they are crowded out. Who is responsible? In this case, the press esp. Chris Mathews of MSN BC and others who feel that free press means foul mouths. All for what ? For an election where there is almost no policy difference. It is indeed sad. Sexism aided by women has the better of racism. No one showed up with a shirt at a Obama rally asking him to wash it. for him. That answers the question is there sexism here – YES, YES-------YES. The blogs above convince some not to vote for Obama.

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. taylor richmond virginia

    I don't think there is any doubt that sexism and racism have reared their ugly heads in this election. In a general election both candidates would have to face these ills(Obama-racism, Hillary-sexism). Its time, as Americans, that we stand up to racism and sexism. This race has shown we still have a ways to go.

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Ernesto Lopez

    Can she be more devisive?, This proves once again she will do anything no matter what just to have a few more chances to get more votes, you'd expect some integrity at least from someone who wants to be president

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Jamie

    Hillary, people don't like you because YOU SUCK! Now, was that sexist?!?!

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. GAman

    This is ridiculour. HRC is now stooping so low that she is hiding behind anything and everything that comes her way. First was the Karl Rove 'MAP' and now its sexism?.

    Wonder how much more are we going to see/hear this crap. On the other hand, we have to admire Obama for campaigning against one of the most formidable political machines of this country, the CLINTONS.

    What he has achieved so far is unbelievable and HRC got totally blindsided by the Obama campaign.

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Oh no she din-nt'

    SHe had no problem when one of her own superdelegates said she had the "TESTICULAR FORTITUDE" needed for the presidency.

    That came from a supporter not the media. Time and Time again she has been pushing the gender card. "The best man for the job is a Woman," c'mon Hillary.

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Larry

    All the world revolves around Hillary. Can we get a Clinton holiday? Maybe that would appease her.

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Gabrielle, Lancaster SC

    Her argument is ridiculous. How has sexism really impacted her campaign? Race has been more of an issue in this campaign, and it is evident that the Clinton camp tried to use that before the South Carolina primary. Clinton is a champion of women's rights by her own admission; however Obama could never say he is a champion of minority rights or he would seem racist and exclusive.

    Yeah, Sen. Clinton, you have had a tough road. You actually had to fight, and it seems to me that you were ill-prepared. That has nothing to do with your sex. It just has to do with the fact that the bette politician is winning.

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

    Can someone, anyone give me some examples where Senator Obama has been overtly "Sexist". So much so, that he demishes women. And please, don't trivialize the claim with him calling someone "sweetie".

    Please, Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Ferraro, anyone some substantive instances where Barack Obama has been overtly "Sexist"?

    Please show me....

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

    If racism has not played a role, it's not Bil Clinton's fault.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. AR_Teacher

    Sure there was sexism... just as there was racism in this campaign. The difference is that Clinton was the one trying to play the racism card against Obama. Obama never said anything about her being a woman, nor did he make comments about only being supported by males. Unlike Clinton's remarks about having "a broad base of support" from "white Americans". Obama has white, black, other, male, female, young, old, educated, uneducated,

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Mary

    The main stream media has been biased against Senator Hillary Clinton and a nationwide poll showed 72% of Americans agreed. People should go to REZKO WATCH on the net then click on 5 articles titled "Curtain Time for Obama" and read all the articles is a detailed report of the investigation of the Rezko/Obama ties and how Obama supported Rezko in his fraudulant activities through legislation and power brokering. Senator Obama, Tony Rezko and others who have confessed all need to be in jail together. All are dishonest and criminals. Certainly Senator Obama should not be considered as a Presidential nominee. Main stream media has not been reporting truths.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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