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. michelle, atlanta GA

    hey hillary:

    why don't you shed another tear? maybe SOMEONE will comfort you......

    (by the way, i'm a 31 year old woman who is ashamed this woman is playing the sexist card.....we've come way too far for this.)

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

    Will someone put her out of her misery?

    Now, she is all out. Trying everything she can. She kept on saying how this is not about being a woman but in the end, she will use her one last forte.

    Oh, and what about all those women who are voting only for you because you are on?...Are they not 'sexist'?

    May 20, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Photon Torpedo Dallas, TX

    Ohhhhh... Please Senator. Just let it go. You are being sooooo reactionary now. this isn't a good look.

    Yes We Can & Yes We Should
    Obama 08'

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Mary Sue

    I guess playing the gender card worked in New Hampshire and after the February primaries, so why not try it a third time?

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. victor

    You can chastise all you want Grandma , you aint getting the nomination , you are a liar , a deceitful person

    Go Obama 08 and 012

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Chris

    Pointing the finger again... "it's not her fault, it's the media!!"

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. barr manus

    The very sad thing is The democrates will lose the general election in Nov. Barry O. every single state except a few that Obama won in the Primary he will not carry in the general election period.

    The Dems have done it again screwed themselfs by letting people that think they know better over the everyday americans. Guess what there are far more everyday americas then you know and they will not vote for Obama but they would have voted for hillary so on Nov 4th you will all say Hillary was right and where did you we wrong
    72 Mcgovern
    80 carter
    84 mondale
    88 Dukakis

    is there really more to say here oh yeah Clinton in 92 he won

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Bob

    Give me a break; the only reason Hillary Clinton was even consider for president is she's a women. (Former first lady's are women). Now she wishes to cry foul because she's lost to a black person? She's gets more sorry as the days go on.

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Jim

    This is the truth! In the US it is OK to be Sexist but not ok to be Racist. Sexism is almost expected in a lot of circles. Former Democrat here that will NOT vote for Obratma!! Clinton on write in vote if Obratma wins!!

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Alyx -- Pittsburgh, PA

    As a woman, I am ashamed of how Hillary has behaved throughout this campaign, and I firmly believe that by the time this entire election process is over (post-November) she will have made it nearly impossible for any woman to run in the near future. Her political "strategies" have not given her the numbers she needed to win, and now she resorts to blaming the sexist media for her tribulations.

    As a feminist, I believe that a woman's right to vote means voting for whom you think is the *best* candidate, regardless of sex.

    OBAMA '08

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Liar

    "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."

    And I suppose when some West Virginians were polled and admitted they voted based on race they were talking about Nascar.

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "Griff: They're trying to seperate the Women from the Men… They should seperate the Boy (Obama), from the rest…"

    1. Why do we have to separate ANYBODY? Isn't that the problem in the first place?

    2. Why the hell do you insist on referring to a grown man in his 40's as a "boy"?

    3. How old do you have to be to be called a "man"? Or, should I rephrase that question:

    4. What color do you have to be to be called a "man"? 😦

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. cr

    The Clintons played the race card, the gender card, and the media bias card! The deck is empy Hillary – give it up.

    You lost and its nobody's fault except your own.
    As a woman I'm offended by your continual whining and refusal to take responsibility for the failure of your own campaign!

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. Southern Girl

    Hillary Clinton said sexist attacks on her campaign have been "deeply offensive," and sharply criticized the press for not raising the issue. what? let me be the first of obama’s voters to say i’m sorry you are not winning.

    Hillary enough is enough, the media played the get all candidates cards, you, obama and mccain. no one got the special treatment. please for the sake of the democrated party take a look at all sources of politic news for the last five months, you will see for yourself.

    for the last two months your supporter swears out that you would not wine as they claimed obama does, oh well…..

    Why are you doing this to us, WHY? how do you think we the democrated party is going unite for the good when you continue to make these type of statement because you are losing. there was a time I thought about voting for you, but you have all but made me see that i would have regretted it.

    I’m sorry you are not winning.

    again, let me say for the sake of the obama’s now voters, we are sorry you are not winning, I mean this sincerely from my democrated heart.

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

    I will be so glad with June 2, 2008 comes so this woman and Ferrero
    can shut their mouths. Bitter old women! nothing could be worse than having this as president. One thing for sure you would not know what to expect in the White House with Hilliary. One lie after another oh but I forgot the new word for lie is miss-spoke . It is time for the Clintons to go back to Arkansas or New York or some island where there is is just her Bill and Ferrero.

    May 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Robert in Toronto,ON

    You wanna talk about divisiveness? Where was she complaining about sexism when she was winning? I want PROOF of instances when Obama OR the media OR the voters (???) were displaying sexism.

    And if you want to jump on that quote by Obama 2 days ago about the "sweetie" fine – it's easy to attach something so small as that comment when he has done NOTHING for the past YEAR AND A HALF of campaigning to suggest differently.

    Why don't people understand – people dislike Hillary Clinton because she is HILLARY CLINTON.

    It's disgusting how she's now trying to divide the country for her own political gain. I am outraged that she would stoop so low.

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

    I hope they find Ferraro's bottle of Lithium soon. I don't know how crazier or desperate she can become.
    This is a sad state. I guess Hillary and her supporters need to blame others for a debacle of a campaign.

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

    Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.......of course racism has played a HUGE part in this process. Without the 90+ % African American vote, Obama would have been gone along time ago.

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

    Oh, so now she's a 'victim'?
    But I thought she was so 'tough'

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

    Sexism is stupid and dangerous.
    Please help Senator Clinton find some
    specific examples of what she is talking
    about, so something can be on the record.
    Next we can boycott the media outlets that
    actively engage in prejudice.

    If there are no specific examples,
    the lets all just leave it be.

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

    Hillary Clinton, you are truly shameless.

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

    Hillary Clinton is losing this race because she could not control the people in her campaign. Bill Clinton tried to play the race card in South Carolina with the Jesse Jackson comment AND IT BACKFIRED.
    What happened to all this sexism when she was 30 points up in the polls?SHE LOST HER CREDIBILITY IN BOSNIA, how can she say Racism is not being played Wow, what a joke, so NOW it's sexism. She cant NOT stop with all the lie's now the press is wrong. But keep the black joke's going. She is old news that is why Obama is the front runner.

    Obama 2009,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    May 20, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Jessica, GA

    Hillary and her gurls. Hey ladies, can you tell me her best friend? The clintons are always the victims when things are going south. I think her problem is not her gender but because she symbolises polarization in American politics. Woman have to remeber that Bill Clinton was solely responsible for the Bush presidency, why should we award his wife?

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

    STOP DEVIDING US!!!!!!! We are democrats, americans, human forget your pitty game – o poor me, Stop it . Dont speak in my name . There are many females who long ago started refering to them selfs as HUMAN, not by gender. We are much more than gender. Stop that complaining touchy spin. Let us finaly get rid of that as feminin touch. Stop it and go home!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Jen -Portland OR

    Wow, I support Hillary Clinton, have never voted Republican in my life. Don't plan to vote Republican this time either. But I have to say by reading this blog that Obama supporters are just as nasty and bitter as any Republican I have ever read about or met. Stop with the insults and BS about Hillary. I am glad as a woman that she is bringing up this issue. She has to, because the media is ignoring it.
    Hillary 2008

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