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. Teresa in Kansas

    So, Clinton neither rejects nor denounces Ferraro's remarks. I guess that means that Clinton accepts and proclaimes Ferraro's remarks.

    The Clinton campaign seems to have a real problem with accountability...they ALWAYS blame the other guy.

    March 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. susan

    I suppose Ms. Williams believes that calling Obama Kenn Starr is not personal or calculated. She should be ashamed of her above comment. This is a new low for the Clinton campaign.

    March 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Nonna

    when is enough for Hillary Clinton?
    what Ms Ferraro said is just horrible, so much worst that anything is being sad about her.
    She is more than a monster, she is a devil that DEMAND to be president!!!!
    Give up Hillary. You will never get my vote, I will vote for McCain before I vote for you!!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. Well, well, well........

    These remarks that everyone seems to be having a problem with are stating fact folks............and so what about it? What is there to apologize for when all the polls – admit it – show Senator Obama taking the black voters 80%..............that clearly shows what else but that the black voters are voting for Obama?

    What would there be to fire anyone about? Senator Obama uses his race at every turn that he has available to him! Even Oprah when she was out getting the vote told the black voters to vote for him because he was 'one of them'...........what else is one to think? Senator Obama has someone say their piece (Oprah) and that is ok? Can't have it both ways!

    March 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Miles

    Good grief. Attacks? He hasn't attacked, and he hasn't been personal. He simply called you out on exactly what you're trying to do, just like he always does. You're seriously trying to say HE's the one who's out of line after YOUR advisor says racist comments? How about you just fire Ferraro as an advisor. Barack fired Samantha Power for far less. You should take some notes on how to run a campaign.

    March 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Pat M Canada

    The only thing I have witnessed as being patently absurd is Obama's Campaign.

    Let me briefly explain. A man who is running for the President of the United States of America on mere Orator's sub-standard talents, quotes from past statesmen and a mantra of Change and Yes We Can is in my mind patenly absurd!

    When you consider in addition to the above that he has yet to after months of campaigning, lay out any plans as to how he would bring about this Change he speaks about incessantly. He has yet to explain how he will implement his Health Care Program which leaves out a good chunk of the population. He has yet to explain how he will implement the deployment of troops and end the Iraq War. He has yet to explain how he will improve the present rock bottom economy. A Candidate who feels he can win the nomination on mere unsubstanitated words and phrases is indeed patently absurd.

    This man in my view is getting a free ride to the White House at the expense of the American citizens and their tax dollars. It is way past time he was asked to explain point blank as the two other Candidates have, to verbally back up his statements of plans by laying them out for the American citizens. I don't feel this is too much to ask given the other Candidates have already done so.

    March 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Ben

    Unbelieveable spin! Firstly, has anyone really questioned whether Ferrero made these comments without getting the OK from someone in the Clinton campaign first? Secondly defending yourself AGAINST an attack is NOT an attack. It is defense. This is the South Carolina strategy all over again – painting Obama as the exclusively 'Black' candidate who can't appeal to the wider electorate. Toxic, inaccurate and offensive. Welcome to Hillaryland.

    March 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Fredd

    Yeah, just like 88% of the African American population voted for Obama and no one else. So you call this a non racist & non biased election? I don't think so.

    March 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Sharon of Illinois

    Hillary benefitted from affirmative action as a woman as well. But as an attorney, please know that if he did not have the skills, affirmative action or not, he would not have been editor of the Harvard Law Review. Its amazing how blinded people are by their beliefs, blacks can vote for who they want, for whatever reason. If you have a problem with that, you should also think its sexist for women to vote for Hillary because she is a woman. Think an argument through before you make it because a lot of you seem like idiots.

    March 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. Chris in Va.

    Is there any depth to which the Clinton campaign and her cronies would not stoop? Concerning a joint ticket, I would not vote for any ticket on which Hillary Clinton's name appears.

    March 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    Hillary is tearing this party into two. She is acting like Obama is taking her rightfully bestowed presidency. Except she is the only one that feels this way.

    I myself started out as a Hillary supporter, Obama won me over with his poise, tact, and his NO vote on the Iran resolution. Fair and square.

    Today I cant even see myself holding my nose and voting for Hillary in the national election, and her style of campaigning has done this, not anything that Obama has done.

    The only way she can win is that if she has way more super delegates vote for her instead of Obama, at which point there will be a riot in the Democratic party. How do I know this, Governor Randell has said that super delegates are to make sure the Democrats elect a "stronger" candidate, and to hech with people (I added this last part).

    You Hillary supporters are dillusional, and I'm noticing less and less of you every day, thank God.

    Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer and Al Gore need to pull the Clintons aside and let them know that it is over. Hillary's saviour will not be the super delegates.

    Nancy Pelosi is right, there will be no dream ticket, and after what Hillary's shinannigans, I don't want her anywhere near the whithouse.

    March 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. lee

    Thank You Geraldine Ferraro.................
    Its about time someone told the truth about Obama.....................

    March 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. Phil

    More Clinton hypocrisy.

    March 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Glenn

    The Hillary campaign is built on nothing more than lies, racism, dirty tricks and the lust for power Hillary and Bill.

    March 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. Sharon

    ***"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.****

    Well said, Mag. You prove yet again that your campaign is totally divorsed from reality. Clinton is running a campaign of attack politics instead of one focusing on "leadership" and dividing the Democratic Party by endorsing McCain.

    This does prove one thing, though. The Clintons can't admit when they are wrong. Do we really want that in the White House again?

    March 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Joe

    Both sides should stop the bickering. Why? They are just giving the Republicans ammunition for the general election. Everything and every word is being carefully recorded and analyzed by the Republicans. I wish all of these supporters of both sides would just keep their mouths shut.

    March 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Angelus

    It's unfortunate when someone you admired like Geraldine Ferraro, and hillary clinton for that matter, turns out to be as low as any right wing republican. I guess the vast right wing conspiracy was right after all. Barack Obama not only needs to win, America NEEDS him to win.

    March 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. jer

    This is more strategy to win Pennsylvania. They are shameless and they keep going to the bad in all of us.

    How can Hillary be good for our Country?

    March 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Sharon of Illinois

    In addition to my comment above, is there every any time whites think blacks actually earn what they get? You know there are plenty of blacks more educated than whites without affirmative action. I know its difficult to accept but it is true.

    March 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Arkansas Undertaker

    I think the Obama Campaign should rehire the lady the called Hillary Clinton a "Monster". She was just telling the truth.

    Hillary Clinton's true colors are really showing. She jumped all over Obama for the Monster staement. SHe also said her campaign wouldnt stand for this type of behavior, but she is NOT "REJECTING" or "DENOUNCING" Ferrarro's statements. HYPOCRIT!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. Mike, Toronto

    So, racism is OK if it helps the Clinton campaign; somebody should tell them that we're in the 21st century! Normally, Ferraro's remarks and Maggie Williams' clarifications should bring this race to an end...

    March 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. Bonnie

    Ferraro=Italian-American with smarts and depth, only woman to serve on Democratic ticket, states SD are to vote in party's best interest
    Pelosi=Italian-American with rich husband, Senate sinks to all-time lowest rating under her lead, states SD must vote with state delegates
    Answer to equation? Smart & Depth wins over Dense & Shallow

    March 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Schwarz

    Remember when Obama was invited to attend a black meeting or conference and couldn't go??? He said he would send his wife but they told him to forget it... Could you see if Hillary Clinton had said she couldn't go but would send Bill??? The media would have been all over that...................................... She is constantly picked on no matter what she or anyone else says.... Again, no one ever will dare speak of Obama... AFRAID..................... So one sided

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  24. Susie

    That's it, Hillary. I thought you were different. Turns out you are just like Bush. You just lost my vote forever.

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  25. Geoff

    Interesting, Hillary affirms she is "ready on day one", yet she is not able to hold people in her campaign accountable for these type of actions, she has not been able to manage her campaign effectively, running out of money, discounting caucus states and smaller states to the point she is behind in total delegates (but those states don't really count), doesn't seem as if she is demonstrating the characteristics of a "Chief Executive" and certainly not someone ready on day one.

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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