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. Chut Pata

    SEXISM? You mean gender discrimination? Lady! Wake up smell coffee, Obama beats you in support of female voters. Actually he also leads you in white voters.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Rising above the fray

    Equality means competing equally as men and women – black and white. Which means we win or lose without excuses or playing victim cards. You can't herald your accomplishments as a woman playing a man's game then play the Chick Card when start to lose at that game.

    If gender were really an issue in this election, then the two leading candidates would be Obama and Edwards; just as if racism were really an issue Clinton and Edwards would be the two leading candidates.

    I don't think it helps women in the big picture to play victim cards for a sympathy vote.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Ant928

    Give me a only won West Virginia because of the white vote and you're saying there's no racism?

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Steve in DC

    Hey Hillary...what about the racism that the press is also ignoring. Mainly from your supports in WV and KY...hanging up on people, death threats, bomb threats. You dont hear Barack crying about that do you? I guess when all else can pull this card.

    I hope you bow out soon and preserve what little dignity you have left.

    Obama/Bloomberg 08

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Jason, Texas

    What a load. Of course race has played a part among her uneducated white voters. Not all of them, mind you, but some. Also, she is crying fowl at the last minute... big surprise. I for one would love to have a woman president, but not her. She's definitely the wrong one for the job.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Susan

    I am still amazed how low she will swing in order to get what she wants. If she wants to complain about alleged sexism, why doesn't she apoligize for her "spoken"racism of both her and Bill Clinton. I am sorry, but you can't have it both ways. You wanted to play on the playground, but you also want to cry foul because your were picked on? I'm sorry Sen. Clinton, but as we say down south, "That dog don't hunt"!

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Pete

    That's really funny, because I have heard many more racist remarks than sexist remarks in this campaign. The only sexist remarks I've heard are coming from Ferraro.

    Clinton is grasping for straws. If she keeps this up, she'll be damaging any credibility she has left.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. James

    Hillary has put up with it all including the current attempt by the DNC to handicap her campaing by taking away Florida and Michigan! Why don't we take away two of Obama's biggest wins and see how things look afterwards. I agree completely with Geraldine Ferraro. These are the kind of women we could have running the country and getting results. Why not? But sex and race are not the problem when all is considered. Experience is! Intelligence is! Knowing where you want to take the country and how to get there is! Determination and courage in the face of difficult challenges, including foreign threats to world stability. Obama has none of these, so why select him to lose to McCain in November?

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. jeff

    Okay, so because she is a woman sexism has played a role which is a logical statement. Then she has the nerve to say race has not been an issue when her opponent is an african american. Go away you desperate pain in the rear.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. frank

    I would love to hear one peice of evidence of Sexism in this campaign.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Swift

    Hmm, Billery Clinidiot introdcued Race as an issue, even before the republicans did. And it was only Billery that raised her sex as an issue, to make it seem as if others were raising it.

    That is why Billery has no supporters, except for the republicans that only wish she was the nominee against McInsane.

    Obama 08,

    RIP for the GOP, finally- no more american-hating repugnicans destroying America.

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    OH More BS and excuses from a loser!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. James, Pennsylvania

    The mainstream media has clearly been in favor of Obama throughout this entire race. They also trashed Howard Dean and 2004 and annointed Kerry. How far did that get democrats?

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Debbie,NJ

    Somebody tell me what this woman is ranting about now. What sexism?

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. proud army and navy mom

    old girl need to stop crying. with all the overt racism that has been spewed at the obamas and she has ferraro complaining about a sign that says "iron my shirt?" are you for real.

    note to hillary, if bill refers to people picking on a "girl" and you play the race and gender card to suit your purposes, do not think this woman is going to come running to your side just because you have a vagina!

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. rumpusgoopus

    In other words: "Women, please vote for me today."

    And wow, could we use that one "Iron my shirt" guy once more? It's only been used 9,000,040,034,434 times since last week to prove that all of America is sexist.

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Bill

    Hillary, it's not that you're a woman. It's that you're a dishonest conniving woman. Big difference.

    If the Dems ran a woman who actually spoke the truth and didn't play to the lowest common denominator of the public, that woman would be winning.

    Your losing has NOTHING to do with misogyny.

    Nice try tho.

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Frank, San Diego

    I was originally an Edwards voter and now support Obama. But Senator Clinton is right on here.

    Sexism is more deeply ingrained in American society than racism and is more easily tolerated in the press.

    In fact, the press participates. Here's just one example. They label Senator Clinton's laugh a "cackle" while saying nothing about how Senator Obama's accent varies according to where he is speaking.

    More examples would be possible. But its clear that you have to go so far as to accuse the Clinton's of "pimping" their daughter to be called to account. Anything short of that, and the guys that run the networks don't even notice.

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. applecrispbetty

    Give some examples, please.

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. mdg

    Look below this article and see her with the nation's #1 misogynist!

    And Mrs. Ferraro this morning thought the Jay Z hip hop shoulder brush off was SEXIST? I think the "iron my shirts" guy was a Clinton plant – put there purposely to activate the women for her!

    Sorry, this hard working white female baby boomer has no sympathy for her.

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. The Truth

    Mrs. Clinton,
    With all due respect, you have been using the "woman card" whenever it has been advantageous for you during the entire primary.

    Now you are using it to gain sympathy from women voters now that you see that the race is over for you. SHAME ON YOU!

    BTW, a great deal of women and womens organizations have come out for Obama. It is what it is....stop trying to devide the country again.

    OBAMA '08!

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Bob Stephens

    Hillary's hit list for why she lost the nomination:

    1. The Press
    2. Bill and his lousy advice
    3. Voters that like blacks and would vote for one
    4. Voters that can count
    5. Her vote on authorizing the Iraq war

    Oh well, live and learn.....

    May 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Scott from Falls Church, VA

    Racism is definitely playing a role in the primaries. Look at West Virginia and Kentucky.

    I don't think I agree with the sexism claim. This seems to be another spin from her campaign, she always try to stray people away from the fact that she can't win the democratic race.

    May 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. OregonVoter

    It isn't sexism to vote against Senator Clinton. I do not like her personality, I don't believe she is trustworthy, and I don't think she is skilled enough diplomatically to get anything done for ourt country. I wouldn't mind having a woman president at all. I have had female bosses half of my working career and most have been wonderful. Sorry folks, it has nothing to do with her gender for me.

    It is interesting to note how many people will vote for her just because she is a woman. Think this out folks. Sexism works both ways. Sexism has helped her more than hurt her. Check out the exit poles if you don't believe that. In virtually every primary woman greatly out number men and in nearly all of those states the woman went for Clinton.

    Kind of silly to call the results of this election sexist.

    May 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Michael

    There has been little to no sexism in this campaign. If you attribute people choosing Obama over Clinton to sexism, then you need to think again... maybe Obama is favored for his stance on the issues, his intelligence, and his honesty. I'm all for a woman president, just not Hillary Clinton. But don't go telling me I'm sexist, because I'm not.

    This is just Clinton and Ferraro being sore losers because the better candidate is prevailing. Give me one sexist remark the media has made (other than FOX news) and I'll take this all back...

    May 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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