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. Grif

    What have you done Hillary? Mr Cafferty don't like you!!

    He says he's older than you. Still you must resemble some Female in his past life!

    Maybe some look-a-like turned hjim down for the School Prom!

    Way back then.................

    March 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |

    I believe that it is true that Obama has reached this point in his career because he is an African-American. The media was very hesitant to criticize him during Black History Month. This lack of investigation did play a part in some of Barrack's success because many citizens trust the media to report the news. This is a unique time in history where Americans are willing to put racism behind us, but we must not let a sense of shame force us to choose an inferior candidate. Look, Aberto Gonzalez was accused of reaching the Attorney General because he was Mexican-American. His critics said everything from his acceptance to the Air Force Academy, Rice, Harvard Law, ect. was because he beneficiary of Affirmative Action. He did enrage conservatives when he did not allow the administration to come down to hard in Michigan. My point is the Obama camp is living in a dream world if they think that race does not matter.


    March 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Frannie

    Ferraro's comment was just plain ugly.

    I am very disappointed in her.

    March 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Todd

    As an African American I have lived my whole life thinking that the Democrats where the good guys. How wrong I was to think that anyone who proclaimed they were a Democrat was blind to the evils of racism how wrong I was. Thanks Hillary for changing this country for the WORST.I hope it was worth it.

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. teri larney

    Since when it is 'offensive' to call a presidential candidate "lucky"? What Ms. Ferraro said is very true. Both Obama and Clinton are good candidates – however, I just wonder what the newscasters would be saying if Mrs. Clinton received 90% of the white vote? Mr. Obama's vote getting among black voters is extremely racist. No one on the air waves seems to be thinking that. As for myself, ordinarily I would vote for the more experienced candidate. But right now, I may just waste the vote and give it to Ralph Nader just to show my indignation at the way the media is covering this race. It is simply not right to constantly show one candidate as the great hope and the other as a lackey.

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. sonya

    what a is obvious that obamas campaign is race driven. ferraro is not controversial, she is telling the truth. are just as ridiculous. you condemn ferraro, yet while reporting the exit polls for miss. you reported that it is coming down to race and obama's huge african american vote.'s ok to report the facts, but not ok to state the obvious. ridiculous. obama is the biggest divider in the campaign.

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. mike

    CNN won't like this, but the only thing that is absurd:

    Is Barack Obama not coming to terms with the fact that he is black. I am an American. I will not have my hands tied about saying the truth. Let's be very frank. I like Barack Obama. I also like Hillary Clinton – in fact, I like Hillary Clinton more. Barack, part of the excitement behind your campaign is the fact you are black and you make good speeches. Get over it. Because, it's going to take a lot more to win in the General Election than those 2 qualities. And no, just because I do not vote for Barack Obama does not make me a racist. For example, I'd gladly vote for Colin Powell, a true American Patriot, Barack Obama not so much. Hillary or McCain. Thanks for your time, despite the fact this is not a pro-Obama comment and CNN is likely not to post it.

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Richard, FL

    Maggie Williams said "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". Obviously she didn't say that while looking into a mirror. The Clinton campaign takes a hit from Ferraro and another hit from its own stupidity.

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. lindy

    I think Hillary should both DENOUNCE and REJECT Ferraro's comments!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. Boomer

    Obama's advisor resigned last week after making a much LESS serious statement. I guess she was right after all and Hillary IS a monster! How dare Ferraro make such a totally biased remark. It sounded like something the KKK would say. Hillary should fire her immediately!! I used to be for Hillary but she is trying every old style political trick in the book. A lot of her supporters appear to be poorly educated white people who are obviously bigoted. I'm switching to Obama. I think Hillary is more right wing than McCain!

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. david Hunter, bend,or

    The Clinton’s have not released a scheduled tax return since 2002. There is no reason they couldn’t release,03,04,05,06 tomorrow and show where their millions are coming from. They have said that around April 15 they will release their returns. Come the 15th, they will have some excuse to postpone it past the 24th Penn. primary. Yes thats right, after millions of people have cast their ballots without this information.

    All of the other Democratic candidates have made public their returns long ago. What’s the story Hillary?

    Do we need a President that at 3am gets a call about a major problem in the middle east, and derives millions of dollars of her income from that area?
    Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Not only that its a major security problem. Will she be bought?

    Hillary needs to come clean with the American people.

    Tax Returns– White House Records– Clinton Library Archives


    Don’t let her hide!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Schwarz

    I don't care if you post this or not. I just wanted to get a point across. We listen everyday and hear nothing but NEGATIVE about Hillary Clinton. Her husband cannot say anything because there is always a negative. Yet Obama's wife, Oprah, Kennedy's, Shriver can say anything they wish and nothing is said. Hillary is constantly being talked about and ridiculed. You never hear anything about Obama. Now we talk about McCain and his cancer. Who cares.. The man has been in remission. Anyone of these people could have cancer next year. People should focus on what is important. We constantly talk about these candidates and the war. This is IMPORTANT. But what about moving on to other things like the ECONOMY, loss of JOBS, HEALTHCARE...Always the negative on Clinton.... This is so obvious on CNN...

    March 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. john

    The Clinton campaign sinks lower and lower, desparation is setting in, you only had to look at her facial expression today when asked about those racial remarks from Ferraro and her failure to distance herself. Coming on top of the Commander in Chief remarks she made expressing her position that McCain would be better than Obama, her campaign seems to be losing direction and coherence again, that look said it all; she knows she has screwed up again; made a rookie mistake and will pay big style.Simply put her expression said she knows she is staring defeat in the face and is losing all credibilty with the voters and superdelegates. Her message is now being trumped on a daily basis.

    March 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Andrew Kenneth

    In South Carolina they said he wouldn't succeed and would have a similar fate to Jessie Jackson,
    Then they are now saying that he is successful because he is black,
    They practically endorsed Mcain , a republican saying he was more qualifed to be commander in chief, then floated the idea that Obama would be a good VP.
    What is it with Clintons these days they don't even have a unified position, I think this is as a result of all the infighting and disorganization they have,

    March 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Terry

    Sorry, Maggie Willams. There is no way to spin this one. Hillary needs to "reject", "denounce" and "FIRE", Geraldine Ferraro. There is no need for these type of comments during the campaign.

    March 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Long-term Memory

    Ferraro's comments were wrong and unfortunate, and Hillary Clinton did say she did not agree with them. Having said that, Ferraro is a fundraiser, not a paid member of the Clinton campaign, which means that this is not analogous to the Samantha Power flap. The Obama campaign did not call for repudiation of Gloria Steinem's (a Clinton supporter) comments about John McCain, although McCain's campaign did. And nobody has yet expressed sufficient outrage over Orlando Patterson's irresponsible and inexcusable op-ed piece in the New York Times in which he compares Clinton's 3AM ad to the white supremacist propaganda of "Birth of a Nation."

    Unless we plan on voting for a candidate for president based on who had the fewer or most (which would be more favorable?) denunciations of his or her supporters, we should probably declare a moratorium on denunciations, unless the person is directly employed by one of the campaigns. Otherwise we risk undermining the first amendment and spending too much time focusing on off-the-cuff or off-the-record remarks made by surrogates rather than the plans proposed by the candidates that affect millions of lives.

    March 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Go Hillary!


    Hilllary should fight back! Do not be too mercy to Obama. He is just liar who will be exposed one day!

    Go hillary

    March 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. david Hunter, bend,or


    1. Since both states violated the party rules there should be some consequence or we will conform what a lot of people
    think about the party– that we’re permissive and indulgent. That said, why not have a new primary but cut the delegates in half.
    Thats what the other party did and we didn’t hear any complaints about that. It seems they at least got that right.

    2. Since Hillary would probably win Florida 55/45 and Obama would probably win Michigan 55/45 (remember over 40% of the voters in Michigan went out
    in freezing temps to vote uncommitted, and with Obama’s name not even on the ballot). Why not divide the votes evenly and give each candidate
    half the delegates. This would save the party 20-30 million dollars that could be used against McCain. Lets not waste money because Florida and Michigan broke the rules.

    Finally, many of us have donated to the candidate of our choice to advance their programs, not to make good on Florida and Michigans bad decisions.
    It would make some of us think twice about giving again. Any primaries should be paid for by the DNC or soft money.

    March 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Mary

    People are always making comments. How can this be Stopped? Only Gods knows. The candidates and campaign leaders need to relax, chill and focus on their strategies, and not each other in a negative manner, unless, its revelant to the campaign. We do need strong leaders, but not at the expense of dividing the party.

    March 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Karen S. Carpenter

    The Obama campaign is correct. The remark by Ferraro is probably intended to pander to not only overt racists, but closet racists as well.

    Having lived in Alabama and Georgia myself. I am very familiar with that overt racism, as well as the undercurrent of insidious racism that pervades all areas of society.

    Furthermore, I cannot believe that Clinton is not also purposely pandering to those with a racist culture and history. Her so-called experience is in "politics" ie, getting elected and making sure someone else doesn't get elected. She seems to run a "monster" campaign. Maybe the Obama campaign worker who resigned was correct.

    When I learned of Ferraro's remarked, I imagined heads nodding in agreement all through the white deep south.

    March 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. Louis

    "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.

    where was this statement last week when the Clinton campaign was asking for a denunciation and resignation in regard to the Monster comment?

    By standing by and up for this position Hillary Clinton has made it clear where she stands on issues of race; black people are very nice for the most part, as long as they know their place.

    Such comments spit in the face of measuring people by the content of their character.

    But Hillary isn't a racist, lying, cheating, bigoted, closet Republican...As far as I know.

    March 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. WAKE UP!!!!


    LETS GET REAL!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Andy

    Geraldine nailed it.

    The media has created this phenom but Obama has no substance. Quite frankly a woman or white man would not have reached first base with the same Obama resume

    March 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. Time after time

    If the same were said of Maggie Williams, that the only reason she has a leadership role is because of her race, one suppose that would be reasonable as well? In fact, there are whispers that the reason she is there is exactly for the purpose of refuting claims of Clintonian bigotry, and she is apparently playing her role very well. It's unfortunate that for every Karl Rove, there is a Mark Penn, for every Clarence Thomas a Maggie Williams and for every George Bush, a Hillary Clinton. Let's break from this and move on to something new.

    March 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  25. thepeonview

    Jack you are an idiot for the coment that you made about Geraldine Ferraro. The insinuations behind the comments is true but eveyone is so sensitive about not offending the black candidate that no one is anymore allowed to say anything about Obama's blackness. I am a black woman, who inherently believe that Obama is unqualified and got where he got basically on concept. He hems and haws on the questions if they are posed to him as a direct question and not a rebuttal to Hillary's response. Cnn you make it so obvious that you are caught up in the Obamamania hype. You probably won't post this for this comment but it is time you report the news fairly and equally than reporting only in favor of the 'Rock Star'

    March 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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