May 30th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
7 years ago

Ferraro: Reagan Dems find Obama campaign 'frightening'

Ferraro has been outspoken on race and gender issues during the primary season.
Ferraro has been outspoken on race and gender issues during the primary season.

(CNN) - Geraldine Ferraro – who sparked controversy earlier this year with her comment that Barack Obama was only a viable presidential candidate because he was black – wrote in an op-ed published Friday that the Illinois senator’s campaign and the media may be responsible for “the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign [which] have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day.”

“Perhaps it's because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn't an issue, but reverse racism is,” the former Democratic vice presidential candidate wrote in the Boston Globe Friday.

Reagan Democrats feel they have been mistreated during the campaign season, she writes, and since her March resignation from the Clinton campaign have repeatedly told her that “If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist...”

“They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white,” writes the former New York congresswoman. “It's not racism that is driving them, it's racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don't believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory ‘Our Time Has Come’ they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.”

Ferraro resigned from a post on the Clinton campaign’s finance committee following a media firestorm over her remarks about sexism and race.

“The reaction to the questions being raised has been not to listen to the message and try to find out how to deal with the problem, but rather to denigrate the messenger,” she wrote Friday. “Sore loser, petty, silly, vengeful are words that have dominated the headlines. But scolding and name calling don't resolve disputes.

“The truth is that tens of thousands of women have watched how Clinton has been treated and are not happy. We feel that if society can allow sexism to impact a woman's candidacy to deny her the presidency, it sends a direct signal that sexism is OK in all of society.”

She called on Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy to conduct a study, which she and other women would fund if necessary, to explore whether either of the Democratic candidates’ campaigns engaged in sexism or racism; whether Clinton was treated unfairly by the media; and “whether certain members of the media crossed an ethical line when they changed the definition of journalist from reporter and commentator to strategist and promoter of a candidate. And if they did to suggest ethical guidelines which the industry might adopt.”

“That sexism impacted Clinton's campaign, I have no doubt. Did she lose a close election because of sexism? I don't know. But I do know that it will never happen again as long as women are willing to stand up and make sure that it is just a one-time bad experience.”

soundoff (442 Responses)
  1. Virginia from PA

    Geraldine, I almost forgot you were there. You may go now.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Sharon - NC

    Could it be that Hillary would still be behind if she were a man? She'd like to think it's because she's a woman. It's mostly because she's not particularly liked, especially now that many have seen what others have known for quite some time.

    And someone please call the nursing home. Geraldine has escaped again.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. pmn

    It's official, this lady is nuts!!

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Jerry Lee

    The Democratic party IS divided because of people like Ferraro and continues to be divided because she continues these comments....Lets get real, a black man named Obama wouldn't be where he is if he wasn't black. ?????
    Tell that to all the people of Kentycky and West Virginia who voted against him because he is black.

    First it was "if you can't stand the heat"....now it's "poor me I'm being picked on".

    Clinton knew the rules and was too arrogant to think she had to follow all of them as she continues to attempt to change them. Funny how women see this exactly opposite the way it is.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Marlo (Houston, Texas)

    Everytime she says something, it gets more ridiculous. Please stop reporting on people that have clearly lost all sense of sanity. The Clinton campaign and her supporters are trying to start fires that really are not going anywhere, except to continue to divide the Democractic Party. Clearly they care nothing about the party as a whole, and should definitely start their own party, because these people are really starting to get to the point of hopelessness.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Alex

    Hey old lady, it is you and Bill Clinton who started the race card to frighten white voters. History will judge both of you. Ferraro, you are just bitter old lady with much to do. If you have time to waste, do some good with it by volunteering...there are many good things you can do with your time than dividing the party. Shame on you, for continuously trying to divide democrats with your venom message. Regardless of whatever you propagate, the will of the people will prevail and you will just end up as a racist bitter old lady and footnote when the history of this election is written.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Delaware Republican

    Lady, you are still talking?!?! SHUT UP.

    I'm a Republican and even I support Sen Obama.

    Please stop talking. Forever.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Walt

    Please lady, just go away!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Jane

    Blah, blah, blah. Zzzzzzzzzzz

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Apparently all the white candidates (for whom black people have always voted)for the last 200+ years have fully understood and empathized with the problems and issues of the black community.

    I swear white people think Obama's goal is to enslave the white race.

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. MG

    This is one disturbed woman. I hope she is getting some professional help for her widespread anger issues. I used to really admire her and now I kind of think she is a wack job.. I sort of feel sorry for her and the rage within her!

    May 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Allan

    And when they finish that study, they should also analyze the results of the 1984 election to see how much sexism played a role in that election. I bet the results would show that sexism was FAR more prevalent in 1984 than in 2008, but that wouldn't support Ms. Ferraro's argument, now would it?

    The outcome will be just as relevant to the fact that Barack Obama won the nomination in 2008 by having the best plan for winning pledged delegates while Hillary Clinton failed to ride her immense name recognition and husband's coat-tails to victory.

    An interesting poll recently delved deeper into why some whites are more comfortable with Obama than others. The result showed that whites who have what the pollster described as a high "racial resentment" score supported Clinton, while those whites who do not share this attitude preferred Obama.

    In other words, white people don't prefer Clinton to Obama: only white people who resent the gains that black people have fought for and won do.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. SingleMother

    Not to be disrespectful to G. Ferraro... Can someone explain to me why what she says about anything should be important enough to be in print on CNN? Who is she anyway?

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Peg

    Being an older, white register nurse, working in a male dominated health field (with mostly male egocentric Doctors), I can understand how women feel regarding sexism and gender bias. I personally feel, Geraldine Ferraro is engaged in racism.

    However, this is ridiculous! Hillary is actually playing the "victim" card here and clearly shows her as NOT a true leader. Would Ghandi or Buto do such a thing? Ofcourse NOT! Hillary has lost the campaign because of Hillary not because of sexism. Is Obama winning because of racism? Of course NOT! It's time to get over it, and understand our responsibility, as Democrats, is to vote Democratic in the fall, regardless of our own personal feelings! We need a Democrat in the White House....so please stop saying you will vote for McCain or not vote at all....if you truly care what happens to this country (and party), you will "hold your nose" and vote for the Democratic candidate in the fall.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. VirginiaVoter

    Obama will lose by a landslide!! period

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. John Philadelphia,PA

    Geraldine Ferraro is a loser. 1st Obama wasn't a godd canidate because he was black, now he isn't a good canidate because he is a man?

    Clinton ran a poor campagin, period. She had this election in the bag. Money, a name , powerful contacts. She did not treat Obama as a threat, she thought he was just a stepping stone. Ferraro please go back under whatever rock you find stay there if you have drinks Hiliary will come with you.

    Ferraro was on Clinton campaign’s finance committee over 20mil in debt- for a fighter she sure complains alot.

    If Obama had no chance to win would he continue his race – doubt it DNC would not have it. There are plenty of women that would have ran a better campagin this Mrs. Clinton and finished the election she did not. If your are with the DNC lets ride the wave to the whitehouse. If not just continue your tacticsand welcome MCcain to the whitehouse. Thanks

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. HDiaz

    It's amazing that Geraldine Ferraro would choose to interprete 'Our Time Has Come,' apparently spoken by Barack Obama after his win in No. Carolina as referring to blacks. I interprete it as him referring to Democrats' time has come. Amazing that her spin and take on that has a racial connotation. I really feel sorry for her. She appears to be extremely bitter!

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Obama v McCain

    WHERE IS MY GAS-TAX HOLIDAY???>?
    bunch of pandering liars.

    McCain/Hillary
    i will vote for them half past never!

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Scott Hughes ATL

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    If you hate Obama, then you will probably always hate Obama, but guess what… Everyone is not crazy or a traitor, hypnotized, etc… You have to ask yourself why people from all walks of life seem attracted to Obama's message and style.

    Most of these people from all walks of life, seem to be leaving other constituencies to come to support Obama.

    And those that seem opposed seem to be, just "seem" to be the same ole type of people that are running this country into the ground. They refuse to accept change. They can't understand why people are so dissatisfied with our government not working for them. They seem to think that breaking from the norm is a bad thing. Or they want to return to 1990. My mom used to say, "You can have everything you want in life… EXCEPT the way it used to be…"

    These same people are seeing a major decline in their own standard of living but because of some deep seeded hatred, or flawed tradition, can't seem to step into 2008.

    Well I guess they have every right to live in the past, when things were good for just a few… But they do not have a right to hold the rest of us in that past. Nor do they have the right to be angry with us for wanting a policy shift in government to the inclusive, rather than the exclusive… So stop with the made-up excuses as to why you hate him and just say you don't like him. (But don't insult the rest of us by saying it's for a substantive reason...)

    My sadness comes when I think about whether Obama does a great job as president or not, those intrenched boneheads will do their best to bring him down every single day of his administration.

    I pray for his stamina in the White House… (Obama, quit smoking… You'll need the energy…

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Carl

    Reagan dems and Ron Paul supporters are scared to death for Obama and his campaign.

    Why do you ask? We will become closer to the government of the USSR under Obama than we would as a free America.

    That is what scares us.

    The bigger a federal government is, the more control it has over you and your life, and that IS AN AWFUL THING TO HAVE.

    Why many of you can't understand this is simply beyond me.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Former Clinton Supporter from Maine

    Can you say bitter?

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. West Virginia

    The only racist here is her.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. CT voter

    WOW this lady is crazy. Seriously, she's so filled with hatred it's...useless...seriously, what a waste...I can't believe how entitled she feels for Hillary to get the nomination just because she's a women.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Mary in AL

    This white woman will never vote for clinton NEVER-EVER.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. soy

    this lady is seriously sick in the head. How has Obama played the race card in this election? He's made a conscious effort not to do that including not dividing voters into black, white, hispanic, asian, old, young, blue collar, educated, wealthy, etc. He's tried to be inclusive in his campaign but the same can't be said about the Clinton campaign. She's rode on the back of racism, sexism and all other isms out there. Obama at no point throughout this election fueled all of these sentiment but the same can't be said of Clinton. She continues to alienate voters along all kinds of lines including race, sex, socio-economic status, even size of state they reside in. People can do any analysis of both campaigns throughout and you'll find that the Clinton campaign resorted to all kinds of dirty politics to win this but it didn't work and so they're placing the blame on everything else except themselves. Ferraro should go away and stop fueling all kinds of divisions that only exists in her eyes

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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