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. Erik B

    I can't don anything but laugh at this.

    she's digging herself a hole.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. vic nashville,Tn

    I remember in MSNBC one contributor said some thing about Hillary and her Daughter
    Really the media is mean to her
    Hillary 08

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. LLOYD from New York

    Can someone please give me ONE EXAMPLE (just one) of how the media or BO is sexist?

    If by sexist, HRC means explaining the reality that she has to win 80% of the remaining delegates (including supers) to even have a chance, and thus, is probably going to loose – then this Country is the most sexist country in the world!!! Gimme a break, its not sexism, its REALITY!!! Since when did a mathmatical deficity = sexism???

    If the media is hard on HRC its because she has BROUGHT THIS UPON HERSELF! She is the most polarizing, sneaky, negative, untrustworthy and corrupt politician in recent memory.

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

    Racism hasn't played a role but sexism has? What planet is she on? Race has obviously played a role. Via exit polling we can all see that. In fact, race has been crystal clear in some polls ie. WV, however sexism has not been as obvious. This women is incredulous. I was much more neutral at the beginning of this race, not anymore.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Independent Georgia voter

    Although I support Sen Obama I do not think that Sen Clinton should drop out of the race just yet. It is true that sexism AND racism most definitely exist in this country and both have played a role in this primary. These are factors that BOTH candidates have had to endure considering that they are the first viable African-American and first viable female candidates for the presidency.

    If Obama were not the front runner I would not find it acceptable for him to play the race card nor do I find it acceptable for Sen Clinton to play the gender card at this point. I do not think that it would be good for the party for either of them to make that argument right now.

    I would like for Sen Clinton to remain in the race but I think she should be careful of the arguments that she makes and bow out gracefully at the appropriate time without complaining about mistreament by the media. In all fairness the media has mistreated both candidates at their convenience. Face it folks the main concern of all media is RATINGS.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Jennifer from Atlanta

    Oh now she's a victim of sexism?!? PULEEEZE!!!! She's one of the most powerful women in Washington. This victim shpeel she's slinging doesnt wash. Hang it up Hillary with whatever dignity you have left.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Rant3000

    Racism is more prevalent than sexism in this campaign and do you see Obama himself crying out racism? Just admit you're a sore loser with too much pride to lose.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Dr Rene Contreras, Lt Col, USAF Retired-2005

    It is sad that Sen. Hillary Clinton finally said something about the press behavior that includes sexism. In my view, the Senator from Illinois has been equally guilty with his free sexist attacks against Sen. Clinton because Obama knew fully that what has become the Obama press would allow him to freely navigate through out his campaign in any manner that he or his campaign committee chose to follow. To make matters worse, most news networks hired sexy woman in their questionable attire that represented woman. When the media chooses those with ambition and does not report fair news, then American citizens have to wonder how worthless the media has become in getting truthful news.

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

    This latest tirade to justify Senator Clinton's apparent defeat in the nomination process is another frightening example of her complete break with reality.

    It has been reported that Sen. Clinton declined an interview with the New York Times to discuss gender and the presidential race.

    She chooses to ignore the topic throughout the campaign...then lambasts the media for their sexist and mysognistic ways...and then finally claims she's IMPERVIOUS to the insults.

    The general concensus of three dictionaries is that the word means: NOT CAPABLE OF BEING AFFECTED OR DISTURBED.

    Clearly, the senator is both affected AND the comments and, sadly, in general.

    I decided it was best to just ignore the comments related to a LACK OF RACISM in the campaign. How does one comment on this after the senator's comments about her own supporters being white and hard-working.

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

    Yet another desperate attempt to find her place in the spotlight. Talk about pathetic….

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

    The same people who spew hatred and animosity when anyone dares breathe the word "Clinton" will swear that Obama lost (in November) because of racism. This is my prediction!! However, Obama will lose because only the young (young people had a greater opportunity for higher education than older people) and the black have been bamboozled by Obama's pretty words.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Its a little late for this "ism" Hillary. Would this be a card that you would be playing if you were President??? How about some of the foriegn countries and leaders that you would be dealing with??? Would the Saudi's and Muslims be exposed to your sexism issues because of their cultures??? You should have thought about all of this BEFORE you made the committment to run. I do not recall Rice or Albright complaining of sexism ????????

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Larry from LA

    This is the final straw. The fact Hillary is a women has absolutley nothing to do wirth why she has lost this nomination. She lost it because of some of Bill Clintons remarks and some of her pandering remarks and negative attacks. Hillary should just look in the mirror.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. bchboy1

    I just don't think Hillary is a good choice for Prez! It doesn't make me sexist.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    Well somebody should tell Mrs Clinton if she believe only sexism plays a part in this Democratic presidential race she don't know what time it is. Racism playes a bigger role in this presidential race. when 92% of European American in west Virginia vote for mrs. Clinton race is a factor.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Former Obama Supporter

    Wow. I have been saying this from day one. Americans seem to accept sexism. They just accept it and ignore it. They are more concerned with racism. Obama supporters are most guilty of this. They believe that everyone is a racist if you don't vote for Obama. They fail to realize that sexism STILL exists.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Esther

    My perception is that the Democrati Party has intern war leadership against the Clintons. You all will see very soon in incoming years. Jelous about they power in democrats fans.
    Hillary Clinton is the best candidate in the democraty party..... will see after novembe 4th, 2008.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. obamacrat

    She says racism has not been a factor but she also says that Obama cannot win the white vote. Which is it? You can't have it both ways here.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. gp

    Her good friend Ferraro is right in one thing- neiter her nor Clinton would reach so far if they would not be females and I am saying that as female.She have run whole time , when ever feelt loosing ground under her feet the same old -O POOR ME NO ONE IS NICE TO ME.Unfortunately her poor me- mighty me did not fly this time . That is a fact.Hilary should look self in the miror and explain self how she have scrude up , and get back to us who once upoon time were willing to support her!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Tom Hopkin

    Come on Hillary! You can't add nor follow the Democratic rules. Please GIVE IT UP!!!

    Concord Il.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. corin

    OMGA Hillary shut up!!!!!!! I am a woman and i find her accusations ridicilous. Hello everybody do you see her trend...... when she is not winning or if the spot light isnt on her she calls out sexism. Well hillary if you do something constuctive maybe she would get some media attention! Hillary please stop being a grinch..... now this is what i call a double standard. This is hillarys favorite quote: "if you cant stand the heat get out the kitchen! "

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |

    SHE HAS NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHAME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHECK THIS OUT Gallup Poll – Election News
    Key Clinton Constituencies Moving Toward Obama NEW May 20, 2008
    Barack Obama’s widening lead over Hillary Clinton among Democrats nationwide brings with it important gains among Clinton’s core constituencies, including women, whites, and the non-college educated. Obama is now the overwhelming favorite among 18- to 29-year-olds, men, and postgraduates

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Jacob S

    I agreed with Clinton up until where she said that racism is not a factor in the presidential race. Who's she trying to fool here? There are videos all over the place of voters who said that they don't trust a black man as president, or think Obama is a secret Muslim or something. I think it's pretty clear that both racism and sexism are factors in the Democratic race.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. KMAN

    It's Hillary's hormonally driven older female voters who say "it's either her or it's no one" ... who are truly guilty of sexism. How many Geraldine Ferraro like women do you suppose are only voting for her because she is a woman? The number of women voting for Hillary because she is a woman greatly out number the males who are voting for Obama because he is a man! My guess her sexist voters are probably equal to her racist voters! She is such a devisive candidate that she should never have entered the race in the first place ... shame on her for her Bushlike fear-mongering! She has been a great weapon for the GOP during the democratic primaries.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. tim in carroll ia

    Maybe the fact that things didn't go well with the Clinton campaign has more to do with the fact that she started the campaign with a 58% negative rating across the country – and it hasn't changed much.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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