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. Angela

    The Obama camp needs to grow up.

    Her comments weren't racisit – they were factual. She didn't say he is lucky to be 'where' he is'. She said he is lucky to be 'who' he is. Isn't he?

    Obama made some pretty racial comments after the Texas primary.
    His father was lucky enough to come to America, get and education and marry a white girl. Racist????

    Are not HUGE numbers of African Americans voting for him? Racist??

    Why is Obama the only one who can bring up race?

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Whats Next

    The only person lucky in this race is Hillary for being the wife of an Ex- President, for having a silver spoon priviledged life, and lots of old haggard politicians in her pocket. She wouldn't have gotten this far if she was just a senator with less than 2 terms. Also, Ferraro was in the House for 6 years before she was asked to be VP. Double Speak at its best.

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. MIkeo

    This Maggie Williams lady is now defending her boss to a point of irrationality. So Obama is to blame for a patently racist statement by a Clinton's campaign insider? when was the last time that Hillary or the campaign spoke about policies or what really matters to voters. All we hear from her and her campaign are negative attacks or if you dont vote for me all your children will die!

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  4. kay kay

    Geez Maggi, are you trying to get rid of the last of Hillary's support? We reject any comment that Obama is where he is as a black man, as we would reject any comment that Hillary is where she is because she was the wife of a former president. Oh, wait, that second part is true.

    March 11, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. David S Houston,TX

    I am 99% Democrat. I make $11.50 an hour and have tighened my belt to send Obama's campaign over $250 so far becuase he has refused to take any Lobbyist or PAC money. I decided to volunteer for his campaign when I kept feeling inspired about the change he wants to bring about in Washington. By the way Obama is doing so well becuase of his message not race or gender. We are feed up with the way things have been going in Washington and he is the most agressive person to take the steps to create change. I will not donate money to any campaign that takes Lobbyist or PAC money and this negative campaigning by the Clinton's is making me consider voting for McCain if Clinton is the nominee. If McCain, and I think he will, runs a respectful campaign I would be more inclided to vote for him. I want someone that is respectful to other people to respresent us here and abroad.

    March 11, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Phil

    This is Bush / Rove campaigning at it's finest. Hillary's campaign is following in Bush's footsteps. Her integrity diminishes every day. Just more proof that we need to abolish politics as usual.

    March 11, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. John

    Well ...I guess that Hilary's not going to "rebuke and renounce" Ferraro and her comments. Does that mean Hilary doesn't have to stand up to the same standards that she sets for others or is it just one of those sexist things where everything they do is OK because they're women?

    March 11, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  8. Cedric, Memphis

    This is starting to get disgusting. Hillary is starting to act more like the "Monster" she was referred to. Obama should hire back the Foreign policy advisor who resigned, because she was right! Hillary is now cashing in favors with old friend, who are acting ugly on her behalf. These are old politics and letting go is getting hard. The superdelegates should start casting after tonight's primary in Mississippi. This will stop her from acting any more uglier and save the Clintons reputation. A Democrat turned Republican in the middle of the race. WOW!!!!! Someone (Dean) make the Super Delegates cast now and force her to "Go down with some dignity left".

    March 11, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Tanya

    There is no place for this kind of talk in this race, and the fact that it is coming from Clinton's campaign does not surprise me in the least. I am increasingly disgusted by pretty much everything that comes out of the Clinton campaign – and I used to support her in the beginning of this campaign process. Now, if she wins the nomination there is no way she will get my vote. Her tactics are disgusting and it's obvious she will do anything to win.

    March 11, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. chris

    Clinton wouldn't be where she is either...

    1. If she wasn't married to Bill
    2. If she was Male

    Still amazed at the double standard the Clinton camp has

    Clinton is old school – back stabbing polytics... we need change. (also... experience doesn't mean you're good at something... I'm still looking for something significant that she's done – not taken credit for someone elses actions)

    March 11, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Jay

    She is not paid by Hillary to be Fired. Do your homework before you post things you nothing about.

    March 11, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. rob

    Wow I thought only the evil Carl Rove and Repulicans were "divisive".

    The Dems are finally seeing these people for what they are. Everybody looked the other way with the Clintons but now I hope they are done and we can move forward and have real dbates about the real issues that face us.

    March 11, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. James

    She should also REJECT her DENOUNCE her and FIRE her.

    March 11, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. d

    Oh my gosh; she spoke the truth. Obama is raking in 85% A-A votes. Shame !

    March 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Susan

    I am amazed at the response to Ferraro's remarks. She is completely – and I mean completely – correct. I have been saying this for many many weeks – Obama would NEVER be experiencing his current position as a mouthy, non-substantive candidate, spouting his empty verbiage if he were a white man, or if he were Asian or Hispanic, for that matter. He is black – and blacks are his rallying promoters, twisting arms of super delegates to change their votes to support him because he is black. I will not vote for Obama for many reasons, not the least of which is because he says nothing of substance, and is full of only rhetoric – but he is riding this ride on his race – and currying the support of others simply because he is their black candidate. Color him white keeping the same speech contents and demeanor, and he would not garner the attention of anyone interested in listening to what he is saying, not just being dazzled by his "style". Mr. Obama should preach from a church pulpit and stay out of serious politics until he has established a record of serious accomplishments. The New York Times got it right with their front page article this Sunday.

    March 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Ardnuas

    Voters....Who represents AMERICA best ?
    Who would our FRIENDS around the world like to UNITE with?
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    March 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. AJ

    Honestly, who cares!

    March 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  18. Tarelton

    And why did Ms Ferraro's and her presidential candidate not win in 1984?

    Additionally, as much as I am repulsed by her insipid statement, I must commend the south for not agreeing. Take a look at the primary results. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Louisiana (Jim Crow's founding State). The southern whites – many of whom left the Democratic Party largely after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (of which Hillary Clinton worked against with Barry Goldwater) – have embraced Senator (future president) Obama.

    March 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. Bill

    We are living in the real word watching the self destruction of the Clinton influence on American Politics.

    March 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. Tom, Cville, VA

    Clinton's campaign just sinks lower and lower. If she wins, I doubt I will vote for her, and that is hard for me to say. I think she has better positions than McCain, who strikes me as a well-meaning man who unfortunately is Bush Lite, but I have pretty much lost all trust and respect for Clinton. I hope Obama goes on to win, but if he doesn't, it looks like the Green Party for me. Futile, I know, but I just don't think I can pull the lever for such a slimer as Clinton. And by the way, does anyone think Clinton would still be in the race if she weren't a Clinton? She would have been laughed off the scene. Offering the frontrunner the vp slot in her campaign? Laughable, and despicable.

    March 11, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. jimmy vekmen

    NEW YORKER REPORTER ON THE TUCKER TALK SHOW CALLES HILLARY CLINTON " THE IRON LADY"
    YES SHE IS AN IRON LADY. AFTER TAKING ALL THE NEGATIVE ATTACKS FROM NOT ONLY OBAMA'S CAMP AND REPUBLICANS AND STILL STAND UP AND FIGHT , SHE DESERVES THE TITLE.

    SHE IS NOT THE FRAGILE , EASILY , DISTRACTED BY ATTACKS ON HER CANDIDACY. AFTER OBAMA'S STRING OF VICTORIES, HILLARY (;LIKE THE IRON LADY) FOUGHT BACK AND WON TEXAS, OHIO AND RHODE ISLAND EASILY ERASING OBAMA'S LEAD.
    WYOMING IS REPUBLICAN AND WILL NOT HELP OBAMA IN THE GENERAL ELECTION. WHEREAS, TEXAS, OHIO AND PENNSYLVANIA, FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN WILL HELP HILLARY CLINTON.

    March 11, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. Wayne, Greenville TX

    It's time for Hillary to denounce and reject Geraldine Ferraro.

    March 11, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Bob

    Let me get one thing straight, I will be holding my nose and voting for McCain in November for policy reasons. But what Ferraro said is patently racist, and wrong. Obama is simply the only natural leader running, and it shows the way he draws supporters from across all divides, even from among Republicans. He is where he is because he has the leadership and communication skills of a Kennedy, Roosevelt, and yes, Reagan. Hillary is where she is because she and her husband are ruthless political animals that will do and say anything for personal power.

    March 11, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. Kris

    "A white male or any female with Sen. Obama's resume would have been laughed out of the race a year ago."

    Not true...Bush? Bill Clinton? John KennedY? Abraham Lincoln? And I don't remember Ferraro herself having a wealth of experience either.

    March 11, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. Bruce

    Shame on you, Hillary, for not firing Ferraro immediately! This is putrid racist nonsense, and it serves no place in public discourse. My God, I can't believe people like this call themselves Americans

    March 11, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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