May 30th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
6 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. 3rd wave feminist

    I'm a third-wave feminist and Ferraro does not speak for me. She represents the feminism of the past. A feminism that promotes tokenism as if getting women into office is going to advance equality. A feminism that questions my identity as a feminist because I am not supporting Hillary and "I should be" because I'm a woman. Ferraro's words are quite unfeminist to me!

    One last thing, yes the media (and turns out American culture) is sexist. How come this wasn't central to Hillary's campaign from the beginning? That would have been a moment of empowerment as opposed to this last ditch campaign effort that appeals to martyrdom/victimhood.

    Obama/Sebelius '08

    CNN never posts my comments.

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Steve from Florida

    It might also be that some of us are neither racist nor sexist, but think that Obama is simply the better candidate and don't like Hilary.

    A SHOCKING CONCEPT

    May 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. E. POWELL I MD, E POWELL MD II & ER. POWELL MD

    IS THIS THE SAME WOMAN THAT INJECTED RACE AND SEXISM INTO THIS NOMINATING RACE. HER WORDS ARE EVEN MERE OBTUSE THAN WHEN SHE WAS RUNNING FOR VEEP. NOW WE SEE WHY SHE LOST. WE ALL SEE THE TRUE COLORS OF POLITICIANS WHEN THEY CAN'T GET THEIR WAY. THIS WOMAN IS PART OF THE OLD WAYS JUST LIKE REGAN. THE REGAN DAYS ARE GONE FOREVER AND A DAY AND THANK GOD. THIS IS A NEW DAY AND A NEW TIME. WHY IS IT THAT THESE OLD STYLE POLITICANS COME TO THAT REASONING?

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. PAT FOR OBAMA

    THIS WOMAN NEEDS A REAL JOB, TOO BAD SHE WONT GET IT. HER CANDIDATE IS LOSING. SO I GUESS CNN IS LEFT WITH NO CHOICE BUT TO HIRE HER

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Nick

    This is true.
    Obamas candidacy is a product of insane media campaign by so called "journalists" (Russert, Mathieu's, Olberman, Borger, ..)
    I don't know their motivation, but i they lost their journalistic credibility, and the viewers are getting more and more frustrated with their comments.
    CNN you don't need Gloria Borger or Roland Martin. They are bias.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Vy, California

    NOT AS FRIGHTING AS WE FIND YOU, GERALDINE.

    we do not find Obama's campaign frighting, Geraldine, is this the new angle you and Clinton have come up with?

    What we find frightening is a bunch of people we trusted and respected turning out to be bottom of the barrel folks. Stop trying to tear the party apart and support our apparent nominee. STOP trying to steal the election!!! this is a democracy, and the people have spoken, sore losers.

    you and the Clintons, go away and don't rear your ugly heads up ever again!! I shouder to think you were almost VP and Clinton almost President!! GOD NO!! GOD DOES REALLY BLESS AMERICA!!

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Smarter than the rest

    CNN Here is my input as to how Obama will win –

    I'm convinced that Obama can win this election if he is smart. Here is what he needs to do –

    Get this Ferraro woman on his SIDE, not his team but his SIDE and have her help to show he's not sexist.....

    Make another speech about the greater good of the party inviting Hillary to make the pitch also. This will send a strong signal that they are not hating but fiercely competing. He has to be the initiator though to get credibility and buy in from Hillary's supporters.

    Address the FL and MI issue that he wasn't the one who decided... ASk them if he wasn't leading would the push be the same by his opponent? Ask them also, why should he try to give his lead away through no fault of his? He should be clear in saying and convincing others that if they look back at his campains the would realize that he would have been vigorously campaining in both states and the outcome would have / could have been much different....

    Make it clear that he can't make the decision to please all in the FL and MI issue, but thinks the 50% split is a reasonable deal......

    Should let America realize that he paid is price for the first pastor problem and shouldn't be paying again for another....

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Paul Dobro

    It will be hard to unite by November. And your helping the healing process with your comments? What is her solution towards healing the party?

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. DonnieJ

    Face it – you're irrelevant Geraldine. Go back to oblivion where you belong.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. Montana is Obama Country

    It is exactly this kind of divisiveness that Hillay Clinton is losing..

    neither of these women speak on my behalf or my belief.. sexism comes straight out of the Hillary Clinton camp... and her camp only...

    Hillary is divisive to America...........

    June 4th can't come soon enough...!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. mr g

    Hey Rob if you can not run with the big dogs STAY YOUR BUTT ON THE PORCH. FERRARRO IS A JERK AND SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A WASTE OF TIME. SHE NEEDS TO SIT DOWN BEFORE SHE FALLS AND BREAK HER CHICKEN NECK

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Clinton lost the nomination because she ran a terrible campaign with no plan post-Super Tuesday.

    Also, believe it or not, there are people who don't think she is the best candidate.

    Shocking, I know.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. George

    Geraldine Ferraro is sick. Senator has never played the "race card". This was introduced by Bill Clinton. Also he has never play the "sex card".

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. wonder

    When Obama said, IT'S OUR TIME, HE WAS BEING A RACIST. but it's funny the media and his SUPPORTERS/FOLLOWERS, don't see it that way. He's a racist and it's OK because he's black, and still going to the CHURCH WHICH ISN'T SUPPOSE TO BE POLITICAL, ARE THEY GOING TO LOSE THEIR EXEMPT STATUS???? They should, this wasn't the first time that they became political. And what is really disappointing is that THEY LAUGHED, they think being racist is OK as long as it's them and not WHITEY. give me a break. Obama's people have made race an issue all along and kept pointing to other people. I'm an independant and I want experience, Clinton or McCain. Prefer Clinton, but McCain isn't a BUSH, Obama's words of CHANGE are just how Bush got elected in 2000 when we trusted his words of CHANGE and you can see where that got our country. I don't trust WORDS, I trust experience. Lack of is another things Obama and Bush have in common.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Jariax

    Wow!

    Clinton certainly made the right move in distancing herself from that nutter. Imagine if she had actually become the vice-president. She would have made Dan Quayle look smart.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. John Doe

    This woman is going MAD

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. MB, Maryland

    Well now you know how Blacks have been feeling for years. What President in recent memory has been able to, or who even cared to, address the Black Community and their concerns? That is why many of us don't come out and vote. Now it is a group of so called Reagan democrates who "feel" they are getting the short end of the stick. They are scared of what a Black man in power will mean to them....well do what we have done for years......protest and get over it.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. McCain is Old

    This lady is like a wet fart; annoying and comes around when you least want it.

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Jon

    Egads, she's gone mad....

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Fairness

    Why is she not equally concerned about whether Obama faced racism in this campaign?

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. PAT FOR OBAMA

    GO AWAY AND NEVER COME BACK

    May 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. b

    I'd like to note that I'm a woman and getting really annoyed that women (not ALL women) think that Hillary has been "mistreated" because she's a woman. Enough already. To me Hillary has run a disgraceful campaign and I don't trust her, and has been throwing a hissy-fit over losing the nomination. She knew the rules of the primaries before starting, and by the rules of the primaries she has lost. She'll never beat Obama in delegates. For her to be in denial is now making her look more like Bush than anything. She's had her chance, and to continue on is selfish. She cannot mathematically win the nomination. She's just weirding me out now, and has been for awhile.

    May 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Nando, Florida

    SHUT UP SIT DOWN!!!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. usa

    ==============who cares what she says??===========

    =========she is loser, everyone knows that by now========

    May 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Jerry in Boston

    Ahh the irony. Ferraro makes some perfectly valid points, including the fact that ANY criticism of Obama gets labelled racist and what happens? The Obamabots happily prove her right by lashing out and calling her a racist.

    My God, you people are morons.

    May 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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