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. Kiran

    Doesn't she pride on being "tough" and "resilient" and "sipping shots with the boys" and blah blah blah...

    SO why does she start whinning about her gender?!

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

    Thanks Hill from all the young women who don't support you because you merely propagate negative stereotypes and have set women back 50 + years!

    May 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. 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!

    Obama '08

    May 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I would like Ferraro to point out one instance, aside from the "Sweetie" comment (which is only arguably sexist), where Obama himself has been "terribly sexist."

    May 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. mmartin arkansaw

    that's's not sexism,it's common sense.THIS woman shouldn't be president, THIS year.not because she's a woman,but,because of the woman she is.michelle obama is the type of woman i would want for president.she has integrity,and tells the truth.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Ex-Hillary supporter

    If sexism were really an issue, then why are women deserting Clinton in droves instead of rallying to support her?
    The problem is not her gender, but her character and all its flaws that have emerged throughout her campaign, chiefly her dishonesty and arrogance.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. K in MD

    She can dish, but cannot take it. Go put on some make-up. You're lookin' rough, Hill.


    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Thomas Crown

    Good god she looks old in that picture....She needs a face lift.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Patty Don't

    Since they were covering you they weren't ignoring it Hill. You commited the racism and then turned around and cried about non-existant (or extremely isolated) sexism.

    What you don't seem to get is that this isn't a rejection of women, it's a rejection of YOU.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Dave

    oh right, Hillary. just another excuse now. it has nothing to do with the fact you are a polarizing liar.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. NC Transplant

    She has not been as compelling a candidate as Obama. She started the game with high unfavorable ratings and didn't do much to salvage herself. I would love to see a woman president elected, but she did not fit the bill. I find the cry of sexism irrelevant. I am sure some older feminists will disagree, but this woman in her mid-forties doesn't care that Hillary is female, nor do I owe her allegiance on that basis.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Chris, Middletown, CT

    "sexism" is when you discriminate against someone based on their gender

    what do you call it when you discriminate against someone solely on their inability to tell the truth....Hillaryism?

    We do not support you because you are incapable of telling the truth – period!

    May 20, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Deb

    Just like Hillary to stir up a rally so that women do not vote for Senator Obama. Hillary move on and take Geraldine Ferraro with you.

    May 20, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. What the Huck?



    And by the way....

    OBAMA '08 & '12

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. skip

    she said. "I don't have time for their insults, I'm impervious to them." If this is true Hillary... then why are you making an issue of it.... Go Figure....!!!! Just another desparate attempt at getting sympathy just during a voting day.... see a pattern????????

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Tjaye

    Equality means that we compete equally as men and women – black and white, which means we get to win or lose like adults; no excuses. You can't herald your accomplishments as a woman playing a man's game and then play the Chick Card when you start to lose at the game.

    If sexism were really an issue, then the two candidates would be Obama & Edwards. Just as, if race were really an issue, then the two candidates would be Clinton & Edwards.

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. NickNas


    You HAVE to do what I want ... I am a CLINTON!!!!

    Yes it is true I have lost ALL semblance of respect for this woman and I don't feel ONE IOTA of shame mocking her. She has done this to herself and I am ashamed that I ever suppoted her or her husband.

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Beltway Insider

    Operation Chaos is still in effect. Do not get played for a fool by the republicans.

    Most of the democratic 'infighting' consists of republican plants posing as democrats.

    A vote for McCain is a vote for 4 more years of Bush, or worse. Don't let yourself get used and deceived.

    Vote Democrat '08

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Eric

    Ummmm, If Im not mistaken, she wore pant suits, just like Sen Obama. Your just in denial that you lost your chance at being the Democratic nominee and want to find another avenue to blame. GET OVER IT!

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Helen

    Today's new flash:

    Ferraro back in the 70's you didn't win b/c Americans to chose you.

    Today...some 30 years later.

    Hillary is not chosen b/c again Americans did not chose her. Woman have fought many battles and will continue even after Barack is President, but come on let's be honest.

    WE JUST DIDN'T THINK HILLARY (use her maiden name when convenient) Rodham Clinton was the person to lead the country. She used her first name to separate herself from Bill Clinton, but conveniently used it when she thought it would further her run.

    Not this time, not this year, not on this WATCH. Hillary ran a horrible campaign and I'm just glad she revealed the proof that was needed to see her TRUE self.

    Good Bye May 20th is a WRAP.

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Sara

    Whinning again?

    What she fails to understand that there are different types of women in the world, and that people actually want a female president... just not "her". She's strong and all... but offers a lot that a lot of people dont like (low ethics, no change, abrasive, little trust, duel presidency, lies, lobbyists, secrecy, the most earmarks, entitlement image etc.)

    I'm waiting for the next female candidate... probably within 20 yrs for sure by the looks of the upcoming generations!

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Chuck

    This is bull.

    You could not win the nomination Hillary because you are divisive, robotic, aggravating and just plain annnoying. It has obsolutely nothing to do with being a woman. Any male candidate with the same personality flaws would also not be nominated. If the voters and media are against anything it is people who are annoying regardless of their gender. And you Hillary are annoying.

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Tim

    Senator Clinton you are consistantly trying to lay blame on everyone and everything but you poorly run campaign. To put it in sports terms, you were simply outplayed. You, nor your team were prepared for this competition and it showed. First you have Farro lead in and then you follow with this garbage. The Democrats had two great candidates and one has prevailed. just swallow your pride and admit that you fought hard, but came up short. A true winner is know for nor how well he or she wins, but how he or she handles a loss. This is over. How you exit (good or bad) is entirely up to you. Time to unite the party. Please stop trying to mislead the voters to think this was stolen from you. Simply put, you lost.

    Obama 08!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. skip

    Playing the gender card? AGAIN????

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. What Sexism

    Is that the best she could come up with? Here is the kitchen sink!

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26