May 20th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
6 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. Tony-Minneapolis

    Another Clinton Whine!!! WOW! She runs a piss poor campaign where she thinks she is the annoited nominee of the democratic party and when an upstart kicks the crap out of her 13 times in a row she claims sexism. Hey Hillay supporters don't think for one minute she believes the crap she is saying now.

    You can't in one instance say I am a stronger candidate than Obama and will be a experienced president on day one and complain of sexism when the power was always in her hands to win or lose with.

    Women all over America should be ashamed that Hillary Clinton is the best representation of a Female Presidential Candidate they could produce. Ladies you could do so much better than her but you fail to see that in this " I am woman, he was mean to me, they're all sexist men" mindset that you carry. At some point you will run out of excuses and men to blame for your poor choices

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Toniette, Southwest VA

    Personally, I think it's all a bunch of baloney. Many women are voting for Clinton because she's a woman, many black people are voting for Obama because he is black and many white men are voting for McCain because he's white. And if they are not voting for McCain's whiteness, they are voting for Hiillary's whiteness :)) (seriously, I've heard people say that if they don't get McCain, at least by having Hillary there will be a white person in office). This is all a big game to trick people out of their vote. I seriously think that the most sincere of this bunch is probably Obama but hey, we'll see how it turns out in the end. I just want the crappy economy to turn around and I believe that it will when we get a new president in the office.

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

    Here is today Cafferty file question:

    To all who state Sen Obama won't win come November can you tell me what you will do if he does?

    (please stop wasting your energy dismissing Sen. Obama) He won or is winning FAIR and SQUARE.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. E. POWELL I MD, E POWELL MD II & ER. POWELL MD

    WHAT ELSE IS NEW. WE ALL KNOW WE LIVE IN A SEXIST AND RACIST SOCIETY. THE RHING WE TRY TO DO HERE IN NORTH CAROLINA IS TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM HEAD-ON. UNLIKE OHIO, WEST VA. AND PA., WE DON'T MAKE PROMISES AND NOT LET OUR ATTITUDES GET IN THE WAY OF WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY AND STATE. SOMETIMES IT TAKE MANY LIFETIMES TO CHANGE BUT WE HAVE CHANGED HERE. JUST LOOK AT OUR STATE ELECTIONS. WE GOT A FEMALE RUNNING FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR GOVERNOR. IT IS OUR OPNION THAT IF ANY OTHER FEMALE EXCEPT HRC WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, NO MATTER WHAT COLOR, SHE COULD HAVE GIVEN MR. OBAMA A HARD TIME IN WINNING OUR STATE. TO BLAME GENDER AND RACE ON A LOSING CAUSE IS JUST INSULTING. HRC FROM THE BEGINNING THOUGHT SHE WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT SHOULD BE THE DEMS. CHOICE. SHE NEVER THOUGHT THAT THAT POSITION HAD TO BE EARNED. WITH HONESTY AND GRACE. SHE BROUGHT, ALONG WITH BILL, ALL HER PROBLEMS ON HERSELF. TO BRING THESE THINGS TO LIGHT NOW IS JUST PURE EVIL. HER WHITE PEOPLE STATEMENTS WE THOUGHT WAS BAD BUT THIS TAKE THE CAKE OF EVIL TO ITS NTH DEGREE. SHE IS IN DENIAL AND WANT TO BLAME THE PEOPLE FOR NOT ACCEPTING A LIAR. GEORGE BUSH WAS ENOUGH.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Kentucky

    Senator Clinton needs to read the Chicago Tribute – Their is an article on KENTUCKY – "they will not vote for a black man" – What makes her think that she is so special. Senator Obama has had to deal with racism from the media and from many communities throughout this country. We have not heard him complain nor whin. Your words
    "If you cannot take the Heat then get out of the Race." It is your attitude that has led many many women to vote against you – you think that all you had to do was walk out and the people would bow down and you would not have to deal with anything.

    OBAMA (08)

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. rita/ohio

    If Hillary and her supporters think the press is sexist, how do they think John McCain will treat women if he wins in Nov? Voting for McCain will put the womens movement back 30 years. He will appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. Great women have worked hard for Hillary Clinton to be where she is today, lets not forget them.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. tom

    HOW ABOUT MICHELLE OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT AFTER HER HUSBAND SHE IS FAR MUCH BETTER THAN HILLARY SHE SPEAKS THE TRUTH I WILL VOTE FOR HER 24/7.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. samantha cottage

    Oh please! Hillary suffering again at the hands of the media. Obama hasn't faced racism? Hillary and Bill's well documented jibes have wounded Barak Obama personally and have jaundiced some of the public against nominating a black man.
    Hillary should stop the pathetic whining. Perhaps her defeat to Barak has been orchestrated by the "Great Right Wing Conspiracy."

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Elaine

    I can't believe my ears...Hilliary whinning???? Maybe she should get out of the kitchen if she can't take the heat!

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. AK

    If sexism was not an issue, what is this buzz all about ? Where there is a smoke, there is a fire indeed.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Donna in California

    Hilary is sad! I feel sorry for her.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. jAYjAY

    Hillary is poll driven.
    Did you see th pole where Obama is gaining support from her base?
    That is why she is trying to drive another wedge

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Waa Waa Waa!

    Obama has to deal with racism, and he doesn't whine about it. Imagin if he handled it like someone like Al Sharpton.

    Hillary has to deal with sexism, and all she does is perpetuate the stereotypes by whining.

    To plagiarize the movie "A League Of Their Own":

    "There's no crying in politics!"

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. David D Kollie

    She ought to chastise herself for reliance upon Karl Rove advice to stay in the race. K Rove is a loser. He was an advisor to President Bush and everyone knows how things look for GBW. Hillary could have done better if she not two-handed. On the Republican and the Demoncrats plateforms at the same time. She does not want to listen to the Demoncrats and she running on their ticket for the presidency.
    She listening to the Republican and not running for them as a candidate. It's just funny how she wants to eat with two hands at the same time. Karl Rove will not help HRC but mislead you like he did to Bush.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Motov8n

    Choose your battles wisely. Oh yeah, by the way "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen". Or did you forget Bill and Hill. You said it best!!! 50yr. old Female!!!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. RAY IN NJ

    HRC will use whatever it takes to get attention and to persuade certain demographics to vote her way. Let's see, earlier it was the "working, hard-working, white" voters. This week she's trying to anger women and make them vote for her. Shameless manipulation! What's worse is that so many people seem to enjoy being manipulated. So, let's all just wait and see what group she goes after next week. Stay tuned, same time/same channel!

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Mike from WI

    Impossible for a candidate to be responsible for all the off the cuff remarks of his or her supporters. And sexism is still far more common than acknowledged. Barack Obama was wrong to call the reporter 'sweetie', but he did apologize for that slip. Moreover, he has worked hard to de-emphasize race and appeal to all Americans, women and men.

    For one, he never has claimed hard-working 'male' voters as his constituency as Hillary did with 'white' voters. Likewise, despite the underlying similarity of their policies, Obama has never found it necessary to pander to voters using the chest-thumping stereotypically masculine dogwhistles that Clinton has–'obliterate Iran', the guns & drinking & 'good-old-boy' persona, 'McCain and I are the only ones fit to be 'commander in chief', etc.

    Obama has as much a claim to being 'feminist' in his policies as Hillary does–he needs to better highlight his strengths in this area. And women for Obama need to speak up against Hillary (& Geraldine) trying to make gender a wedge issue.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. R. Squibbs

    Why doesn't she scold herself, and her staff, for running a lousy, disingenuous campaign?

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Go Obama 08/12

    IF Hillary is so against her quotes she should revisit her nasty kitchen sink quotes strategy.
    She starts whining and making up false statements when loosing.
    Forget her math where did she go to school ?Her math lowers the meaning of ementary.
    Hillary 's kitchen sink dipping so low as to such things as accusing Obama not patriotic of not wearing a FLAG PIN but take note she isn't wearing one .
    She has bragged on McCain 's great leadership for president and now look who she is quoting Carl Rove ?
    HILLARY IS A REPUBLICAN "A GOLDWATER GIRL AND QUOTES HERSELF AS GOLDILOCKS?

    GOOGLE THIS –

    "THE HIGHEST ROAD the last word + Anna Quindlen "

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

    It was Hillary who said "We can make history by electing the first woman President", she has used the gender card to garner votes since the beginning of her campaign. Hillary would not have gotten this far in the Primary If she wasn't a woman. She also used the race card "I have the white vote". Shame on Hillary, shame shame.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Debra, St. Louis, Missouri

    I feel that there has been far more racism than anything else. If Hillary feels there was sexism, most of the blows she's suffered were brought on by her. She has done more harm to herself than anyone else. The media gave her more help than any of the other opponents, she continously attacked Barack Obama, even when he in his gentlemanly fashion tried to ignore her. She has played every card in the deck and still refuses to go away which is what most of America wants to see her do. Playing the victim when you've slashed your own wrist will not do. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

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

    Ms. Parker was absolutely correct when stating that "she is a monster". She is utterly shameless. It is time to dispatch Sen. Clinton's campaign to the great beyond. She claims that she is best qualified to lead yet shuns responsibility for a poorly planned and executed campaign as well as the horrendous fiscal management. Yet she claims that she is uniquely qualified to manage the economy and the nation. Sadly, her pattern is cast blame everywhere whenever thngs go poorly. After all, deficient results are not her fault. All would be weel if not for all the consprators working against her.

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

    it's time she look in the mirror for the reason she finds herself in this position. I'm sure she can find blame anywhere she wants but she had all the advantages from the start and if it weren't for the brilliant campaign run by the upstart with a message the country was ready to hear she could have spun herself to the WH. If the positions were reversed this would have been over in February.

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

    Hillary makes me ashamed to be a woman...

    May 20, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. bill in nyc

    there has been no element of sexism in this contest at all...at least not in an explicit and obvious way, which is what she seems to be referring to...there is always an underlying element of discrimination, but she acts like she's been the victim of sexist attacks...give me a break...this is laughable, even coming from hillary clinton's mouth...

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