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. Bill, Virginia

    Now she wants to be a sore loser. She thought she had it in the bag from day one, but then came along this new guy. He's ahead because most of us are fed up with the old crowd in DC and we need some new blood with some new thinking.

    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. aaron from minneapolis

    Sexist? They've almost split the male vote right down the middle. This woman is nuts. Name me one time Obama was sexist against Clinton? Just one. Give me a break!

    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Sharon Minnesota

    The good old boys club cannot fathom what she's talking about. It's not in their DNA structure to recognize when women are being treated unfairly for some of these power hungry guys. There's a long way to go for women's rights in this country, unlike many other areas of the world. What a shame since Americans are supposed to hold up the standard of equal rights for all.

    I love men who love women and treat them with respect and fairness. The rest can get their kicks on a power trip that doesn't include real women which is no way to find real happiness.

    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Craig T

    Hillay has gone of the deep end. She's turned into a dillusional crazy women. Could she really be Glenn Close. It's not the case that people are against a woman being president, JUST NOT THAT WOMAN. The sooner she understands that the better.



    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. NeedsSpecifics

    "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.'"

    Will someone provide an example of Barack Obama acting "terribly sexist". Not his supporters, not some anonymous person wearing a T-shirt, but Senator Obama himself.

    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. rachae

    She is a sore loser and a lier. She says racism hasn't played a role. And she tried to use it to show that white people wouldn't vote for Obama.

    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Barbara

    As a 47 year old professional woman, I imagine I should be able to sniff out sexism in the media. I can't say I've detected it. The Clinton campaign seems to be doling out both gender and race cards. It seems time for them to fold and go home. I wish I could support her, but from the law suits against service workers caucuses in Nevada, to the delegates who won't be seated in FL and MI (rules to which she agreed), to her "I should get credit because it takes me longer to get ready in the morning", to complaining about getting the first questions in debates (which should be an advantage), every possible reason has been trotted out for her poor campaign. This is enough.

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. ed

    So now it's sexism that caused her to lose, it had nothing to do with running a bad campaign, lying to the American people, changing views depending on hwo to get votes from and flat out trying to change the rules in the middle of an election. NO all of those things had nothing to do with why so many people in the U.S. don't like her. Hillary it's only you that most people and now Hillaroldo is another that people don't like. Count to your self how many times you lied to the American people, count to your self how many times you and Bill brought up the race card, count to your self the times you brought up gender. All of these things were really touched on most by your staff. So don't come playing the gender card now!

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. New Yorker

    Can someone please give me an example of how the press has been sexist against Hillary? Was it sexism that made her lie about being under sniper fire in Bosnia?

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Paul

    Oh, it is the press. Lame. Ferraro is a loser, about to be joined in the loser ranks by Hillary.

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Ken, Los Angeles California

    We will not accept blanket statements regarding this campaign, I believe democrats have given you a fair shot at this election, it is time to concede, do not drug the democratic party that low.

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Jimi NY

    Give it a rest already!!! Sexism, racism, elitism . . . The only "ism" America needs now is optimism and that is what Obama is bringing to the table. Get with the program and help unite America. It's not about you, Hillary. It's about US!
    Obama '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. larry

    Geraldine Ferraro was once one of my heroes and now she is cuckoo. To suggest that Obama is sexist is as ridiculous as her suggestion that he was ahead because he was black. I don't see her as a racist just a little less intelligent than I once gave her credit for being.

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. rumpusgoopus

    Specifics please!

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Peggy, Greensboro NC

    Oh God. As a forty something white woman may I say, shut up. You are making women look bad and ensuring we won't have a viable woman candidate anytime soon.


    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Relevant


    What sexism, Hillary? Name one incident of sexism!

    Kitchen sink strategy at the last minute? AGAIN?

    How dare you treat the American public like fools, believing that they will fall for your unsubstantiated remarks?

    You and Ferraro deserve each other.

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Thewaz

    Senator Clinton and her supporters are now whining about shabby press treatment. Next we will get the crockadile tears, perhaps followed by a Nixonian farewell saying "at least the press won't have me to kick around any more!!".

    What a joke!! Six months ago she was the "certain nominee". But in that time, she has demonstrated a lack of executive leadership in her own campaign that shows her up to be a weak candidate for POTUS powers.

    May 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Gerry Ferraro and the P.C. police need to give it a rest. Beauty is only skin-deep, but ugly goes all the way to the marrow, or even further to the DNA...

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Daniel

    Hillary, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE give it a rest!! What is WRONG with this woman? Yesterday, she was reduced to quoting Karl Rove, now she is trying to incite anger in women voters by crying sexism!! She and Geraldine Ferraro are in cahoots! She needs to shut up and unit this party! GOSH I'm sick of this already!

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Independent 2008

    Clinton and her campaign will stop at nothing to tear their party apart. It was her chief supporter Geraldine Ferraro who said Obama was there because of his race yet Hillary is now telling us race played no part in the campaign so please which of Hillary's claims do we believe?
    I remember after Louisiana and Mississipi Hillary blamed her defeat on racial demographics, I remember Bill Clinton doing the same in South Carolina, yet the same person is saying there was no issue of race but rather sexism. We are yet to be told what the specific instances of sexism are.

    I guess the democratic party should just deliver the nomination to Hillary and her "white hard working Americans" so we can be done with this primaries already.

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. steve in mn

    Where is the sexism? Where? This is an absolutely ridiculous claim. And to add that racism is not a factor after the things Ferraro and Bill have said? That too is ridiculous. I wish this lady would just go away. Even is she were a man and said the things she's said I wish the campaign would just go away.

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. pat ny

    she's right...people hold signs at her rallies saying, "iron my shirt"...and no one in the media mentions it. You bet your sweet potato the MSM would be all over signs at Obama rallies that said, "shine my shoes," or "pick my cotton!"

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. bernice

    This woman knows nothing about true feminism!

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. M.S. Indiana

    Give me a break... there was way more racism coming out of your camp then all the sexism in the whole world...

    You lost, deal with it... Obama is a better candidate and it shows....

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Jane, College Park, MD

    Supporters of both candidates need to grow up, else, you will totally turn Independents off – PERMANENTLY.

    Hillary supporters should not behave like spoiled little brats, and Obama supporters should not kick those who are already down.

    The goal is to send the Republicans to political purgatory. Do not lose sight of that. You all need to grow up, right now!

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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