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. tidho

    If the media has been 'unfair' to Hillary its only because she underperformed against expectations that she was invinsible.

    The underdog is always a better story.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Seems to me that how one perceives 'media bias' depends entirely upon whom one is supporting. It's easy to read whatever you want into press coverage.

    No doubt there has been sexism and racism in this race - it's unavoidable. But - as someone said decades ago - if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the fire.

    Let it rest, Hillary. What happened to all your make-nice words last week about uniting the party?

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

    Give it a rest people, it's over.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Rob Johnson

    I voted for Cynthia McKinney several times when she was my representative in Congress. I thought she was the best candidate running in my district, and the fact that she was a woman and the other candidate was a man didn't stop me from voting for her.

    I can imagine that there are lots of Obama supporters who have voted for women before, either for local office or for Congress. It's not that we don't want to vote for a woman–it's that we specifically don't want to vote for Hillary.

    However, since Hillary and so many of her supporters have decided that she is the avatar of all women everywhere, anything said or done against Hillary Clinton is construed as an attack against all women.

    Women of America, you can do much better than Hillary. If you tie your dreams to her political career, you will just be weighing yourself down.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. SeanJohn

    Please cite one example of when OBAMA was "terribly sexist."

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Chris11

    SEXISM is alive and running rampid every single day in this world! What Senator Clinton says is 100% true, but most of the reactions on this board only solidify her remarks all the more. How unfortunate, that the truth cannot be tolerated by the well-thought Obama supporters. All the mocking and degrading that the MSM has done, particularly Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Tucker Carlson, and yes even the mole himself... Anderson Cooper, just to name a few. Senator Clintons batte has been twice as hard, yet she still stands.... In the end no matter what happens she will still be standing at the top of that mountain polished like gold! Can't say the same about the chosen one. Obama sweetie is going to have a force to be reckoned with if he thinks he is even going to have a chance with XX's.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Tom Bulger

    What happened to, "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen?"

    Everyone dealing with the public knows a certain percentage are bigots beyond salvation. Jesus said, "Kick the dust from your sandals and walk on." It's what Senator Obama does concerning the KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists. It is what Senator McCain does with people who won't take him serious because of age.

    Think of America and don't dishonor your record of good service.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Posn

    I have been following this election to the point of obession and I am a woman and was a Hillary supporter, I have seen no evidence of sexism. I believe a woman can be President but she is not the right leader or woman. I just do not trust her anymore. She changes with wind, but a woman has the right to change her mind. OOps was that sexist.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Jaci

    First the JayZ brush your shoulders off is "sexist" , which I am appalled Ferraro would even part her lips to mention.
    And now it's the medias fault.
    She is losing because she is Hillary Clinton.
    Her campaign was mismanaged she underestimated Obama and she got left behind.
    This is really offensive to me as a woman!

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. kc

    The issue is so much of sexism, it is who she is as a person. I lost respect for her in many ways. To be honest, both candidates have a lot to complain or whin about. Now since she is not the lead, it is about being a woman, sexism..
    She will do anything to get individuals not to vote and to divide the party. She is really getting on my nerves.

    obama 08

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Griff

    It's Racial to Vote for a Guy............. Just!!!!!! And only just, because he's Black.............. That's Racism........... Women voting for Women!!
    Is Feminism.... Women, Being Women...............Where would we be, without them......................

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. OKC Doc Struble

    Hey Hillary, that's called a double standard. You should be ashamed of even bringing that up when you're opponent is half-African. Have you so quickly forgotten American history? Racism affects everyone, male and female...and didn't you say if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen? Has your name led to you being falsely linked to militant muslims? I think not...

    It is sad you are now resorting to this. But we should have seen it coming after your magical number creation, Karl Rove citation, and delegate flip-flop.

    America 08

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. sky

    gender has absolutely no place in this campaign. To narrow this important a decision down to race or gender would be disasterous. Ask yourself this; are we voting for a person; for an individual; or are we voting for a cookie cutter image. It is imperative that we look at these two people as individuals away from outward appearance and superficial and shallow things. There isnt a single Obama supporter I know who is sexist. Or who is voting for him because they dont want a woman to be president. I am a woman. The reason I am voting for Barack is because of the individual he is. The human being he is. For me to base my vote on outward appearance would be totally unacceptable. This is about who you are as a human being and to try and make this contest about outward appearances; race and gender takes it to a shallow degrading level. Wise up Hillary.Im not voting for you because you are egotistical, and dishonest

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. bp

    How is this helping the democratic party? Wasn't Hillary the one who said Obama can't get the votes of White Americans? Where's the evidence of sexism here?

    We are all on the same team and the superdelegates need to come out and put an end to this bickering because it's obvious that Hillary won't.

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Richard

    I guess sexism only matters when you're losing.

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Pandering

    Yes, sexism has played a great role in Hillary's campaign. That's why so many women are voting for you.... What do you call that? Reverse sexism? Isn't White Males voting for Hillary in numbers? Is that sexism or racism?

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Andy in MN

    Clinton's "core feminist" support is very loyal, but does not reflect the preference of most women, which, according to the most recent Gallup poll, shows Obama with a slight majority of all females who are leaning towards the democratic ticket. She and the former president, as well as their campaign are once again spreading disinformation, and they remain unwilling to acknowledge the facts–no surprise there.

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Steve ILL

    Its an insult to all Americans Black & White.
    It just goes to show Hillary will say & do anything to get elected.
    She nothing more self-centered, narcissistic elilist!
    Living in her own delusion world

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. ILuvObama

    I think this is more BS from Camp Shillary. I am a women, I have found no sexism.....stop crying, you lost on your own merits, fair and square.

    Call it a day and move on...and take the bitter beotch Ferraro with you!

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. No Hillary

    Yes yes yes...always other people's fault....... Hillary...just accept ... people like Obama. SO just recognize that he is the the superior competitor .

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. greenfun

    You would have to be blind and deaf not to notice the blatant sexism.
    The media and political establishment obviously have an issue with powerful women. The sad thing is how young women don't respect what their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers did for them. They weren't around 30 years ago. They just take it for granted. The success of Victoria's secret is directly related to young women letting others define their identity.

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. lil

    Maybe black people should go and stand on the other side of the street and protest for african american to get some of the minority business loans
    that white women get because they get all of the minority business
    loans and sholarship.

    Start thinking before you speak.

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Bill

    Why didn't CNN mention about the Gallup Poll showing Clinton beating McCain but Oboama losing to McCain.

    Talk abbout media Biased, it is all over the place. It is time that the media stop playing this game and stop picking our next President!

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. hope you print this CNN

    BREAKING NEWS: Past hopehul losers endorse Sen Obama


    Superdelegates are like the wind "shifty)

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Dianne, Bourbonnais IL

    Sexism? There goes Ms. Divisive making things up again! She expected to be able to walk right back into the White House because she is a former First Lady. When things started going badly for her, she, the former President, and her team decided to make this a mean campaign. The Obama camp fought back. She really should stop making herself look so foolish.

    May 20, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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