March 11th, 2008
05:25 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton campaign manager rebukes Ferraro calls

(CNN) - Clinton Campaign Manager Maggie Williams said Tuesday that Obama campaign is making "false, personal and politically calculated attacks" over supporter Geraldine Ferraro's controversial comment that the Illinois senator is only in contention because of his race.

"This campaign should be about the leadership we need for a better future and these attacks serve only to divide the Democratic Party and the American people," Williams said in a statement sent to reporters.

Ferraro, the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 1984, told the (Torrance, California) Daily Breeze that "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

The Williams statement came a few hours after Obama senior strategist David Axelrod told reporters that Ferraro's recent remarks were part of "an insidious pattern that needs to be addressed."

"When you wink and nod at offensive statements you're really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes," he also said.

Obama himself also issued a statement on the Ferraro's comments Tuesday afternoon, calling them divisive and 'patently absurd.'

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Maggie WIlliams chiming in on the matter can only help Obama.

    March 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Patrick

    Hillary Clinton should fire Ferraro immediately, no excuses!

    There should be no tolerance for inflaming racist sentiments in this day and age, in this country. NO Mrs. Ferraro, Mr. Obama is NOT where he is because he is black. He is were he is because he is a talented and intelligent individual who is going to accomplish what you never could...WIN THE PRESIDENCY.

    I expect all leaders in the Democratic party to denounce Ferraro's comment.

    March 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Mia, Stafford, VA

    How Maggie Williams continues to defend this behavior coming from people representing the Clintons is reprehensible. She is unbelieveable.

    She blames the Obama campaign for what Geraldine Ferraro says, she blames the Obama campaign for being upset over the picture of Obama in Kenyan garb, saying he should be proud. These people have more than nerve!

    March 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. Larry Dickman Des Moines, IA

    I am starting to understand the strategy here. Have someone make bad statements against Senator Obama, and then when his camp gets upset and says it should be rebuked, press him hard on Senator Clinton's statements about this election being about leadership.

    March 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. C

    why was it SO IMPORTANT for Obama to Reject and Denounce the support of Farrakah but the same rules do not apply this this lady. Pelosi.

    What is the difference?

    March 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. Ashley OKC

    You, Maggie Williams, have crossed the line. To make excuses for this kind of behavior, this kind of racist behavior...

    I would start updating your resume...

    March 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Pete

    So, Hillary supporters, answer this question honestly. In the last two presidential elections, the Democrats won nearly 90% of the African-American vote. Both elections were decided by less than 3%, give or take. How, exactly, could Hillary expect to pull that much of the African-American vote with these scorched earth tactics. Never in a million years would I have EVER guessed that a Democrat would be calling anyone an Affirmative Action candidate the way Ferraro did. Disgraceful.

    March 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. Dazed and Confused in DC

    Divisive? Maybe. Patently absurd? Absolutely not. No doubt people in Ms. Ferraro's position shouldn't make these kinds of comments. It was, in a word, stupid for her to do so. But not because what she said is absurd. A white male or any female with Sen. Obama's resume would have been laughed out of the race a year ago.

    March 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  9. Barry

    Wait a minute, Williams is blaming Barack?

    March 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Amazed

    The difference between the two campaigns becomes clearer by the minute...

    March 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Chris

    Geraldine Ferraro, what a completely ignorant thing to say!

    Especially when it is just as easy to make the same point about Hillary...

    A woman who has unfortunately no other claim to fame except that she is the WIFE of a former President. This is dumb gutter talk in any case but if you want to poke someone in the eye be careful you don;t go blind in the process.

    March 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Niky

    Why can't some people see Barack beyond color? Why can't they see that he sure can bring a change to USA.

    The process has already begun... like I read somewhere (and agree with it) he did it just by running for the president. Look at the movement. Look at how many new voters are pouring in because of someone's promise that things will get better if everyone unites and works together for acheiving success.

    Obama '08

    March 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Jude

    She should be "fired" just like how Power was by Obama Team. There is no need for such language in the United States of America. The fact that Clinton's camp refuses to "fire" her shows the substance they are made of...their true colors!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. Irishspacemonk

    Did I miss something? It sounds like Maggie Williams is rebuking the Obama campaign. Wasn't it Clinton supporter, Geraldine Ferraro's racist comments that deserved the rebuke??

    March 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. ram

    I fully agree with Ferraro comment, but in America, (many times hpocratic) you can't talk the truth in public.

    March 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. SLO Bear

    Actually, what Ferraro said could be generously called an "attack." The Obama campaign is simply defending themselves and trying to preserve the party's November chances admidst a self-serving barage of dishonest Clinton attacks.

    March 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  17. JC

    I guess Hillary was lying when she said she would not tolerate these kind of remarks.

    March 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. John

    Obama is no better than any of the current Washington politian. He plays political game as much as he could. He told vote he against NAFT, but told Canadian government that that is only for election. He played racialism again and again before any voting state that has large black population. I don't care what color he is, but I am tied of his political games.

    March 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. OBAMA YES CLINTON NO

    THIS IS THE SECOND TIME THAT A HIGH PROFILE PERSON WHO SUPPORTS CLINTON, HAS INDICATED THAT OBAMAS PROBLEM IS THAT HE IS BLACK. THE FIRST WAS IN TEXAS BY A HIGH PROFILE LATINO LEADER AND NOW FERRARO. SENATOR CLINTON POLITELY SAYS SHE DOES NOT AGREE BUT CONTINUES TO SMILE BEHIND THE SCENES AND ACCEPT SUPPORT FROM THESE PEOPLE AND THE VOTES THEY BRING IN. SHE HAS NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH TO RENOUNCE THESE COMMENTS. THIS IS SO CLINTON.

    March 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Ron

    We love you Geraldine and we want you to be VICE PRESIDENT GO HILLARY AND FERRARO 08 FIGHTERS FOR AMERICA

    March 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Ron, TX

    The Clinton campaign is ACTUALLY standing by Ferraro's statements?!

    Oh. My. God.

    March 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  22. Alex from IL

    Wait, the Clinton campaign is defending the patently racist comments? Wow. Hillary should just quit the race now to save face.

    March 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Wallace, Sacramento

    What?

    "false, personal and politically calculated attacks"? You have to be kidding. That's exactly what Clinton continues to do!!!! Geraldine Ferraro made the comments, NOT Obama.

    Seriously HRC supporters, you really can't see through this comment by Maggie Williams? You and I both know that Obama won't stoop down to her level. Seriously.

    Maybe you can see through HRC, but you don't care. I just ask that If you're going to fight, fight for what's right, not just for the sake of fighting.

    Obama '08

    March 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. Michael

    When I first saw this headline, I first thought: oh good, the Clinton Campaign is taking some action. I should have known when I saw the name Maggies Wiiliams that it's the usual Clinton rhetoric of divisive and nasty campaining. Now they are whining that they are the victims of what Ferrarro said. If Clinton is elected, I will leave America!

    March 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Tom Wittmann

    How long we must continue to hear these insolent statements by the
    Clinton campaign ?? Obama, when an adviser insulted Hillary,
    booted ("resigned") her, the Hillary campaign, when Ferrero makes
    racist comments, attacks the Obama campaign because they objected to it !!

    TOM

    March 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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