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. AK

    huh? why is Hillary standing up for these racist comments?!

    March 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. LB

    Hillary should ask Ferraro to step aside... FLAT OUT!! How she handles this is a reflection of how she will handle anything like this in the future.

    I have already lost all respect for Hillary and this just reflect badly on her.

    Hillary is inviting negative energy by the way she has campaigned so don't try to tell me that this fighter 'that will do ANYTHING to win' is a victim here. I am not buying that.

    Thank you Nancy Pelosi for denouncing the possibility of the team ticket because Hillary was using Senator Obama to get votes by telling people that if they voted for her they might get a chance to vote for both of them... BUSTED!!!

    We need REAL change in this country.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    March 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Rubennz Guzman

    Well, real issues need to be addressed .. Hilary is hiding tax returns and funs contribution and we know lot of lobbyists are investing lot of money ( Norman Hsu) contributes large donation to her campaign. we are sick and tired about politics as usual In washington. Lately and not the last Ferraro comments are disgraceful and unacceptable and need to be fully rejected and denouced, as Obama has done during his presentation.

    Obama 08

    March 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. MD in CT

    Unless the cavemen in the Geico commercial feel slandered, Ms. Power's
    comment about Clinton being a monster did not reawaken any of the bigotry that once dominated America. And yet she was immediately separated from the Obama campaign. If Ferraro in any way repesents Hillary, then maybe "the South will Rise again" but not in way that Ameica
    can afford.

    March 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. erin kelly

    What has happened to accountability? This astounds me...

    "Ferraro has refused to back down from her position. In a follow-up interview with the Daily Breeze, Ferraro stood by her previous statements and suggested that she is being attacked for this because she is white: "Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up," Ferraro said. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"[17]
    Ferraro also stated on Fox News that Obama should not attack her comments about his race because he needs her to raise money for him if he wins the Democratic Party nomination.

    She's such a well educated woman and the decent, responsible action would to have simply said "I spoke out of turn, and I apologize." These men and women in positions of leadership need to act with a modicum of decency. Race and gender (I am hoping) is not why any of us are backing our candidates.

    March 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  6. Ken

    Why hasn't anyone gotten mad about Obama calling the Florida primaries a "BEAUTY CONTEST" or gotten mad when his people accuse an entire state of being "RACIST LIERS".

    Perhaps she is correct about Obama getting special treatment just because he is black and if making the observation makes me a racist then I will not be alone

    Ken

    March 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Jacque

    I can't believe the media and the country is not jumping all over this. Obama consistently tries to bring the best out of Americans, while the Ciintons are covertly trying to stir up old divisive behaviors that have plagued this country. My thoughts... since they can no longer count on the Black vote and need the blue collar white vote, they're implementing the same tactics as the wealthy 1% Americans have historically used to distract Americans from asking the "right" questions regarding social inequality. For all we know, the Clintons are members of the elite 1%... we can't say for sure because they refuse to release their tax returns.

    March 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Deadly Buddha

    For anyone to say that the reason that Obama is leading this election in popular votes because 90% of African Americans vote for him is absurd. That would have to mean that the United States was mostly made up of African Americans.

    March 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. Virgil Warren

    The Obama campaign worker was dead on Clinton is a "monster" putting
    it lightly.

    March 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Linlo

    They disagree with her statements, yet Maggie Williams attacks Obama? Like what Ferraro says is his fault? These attacks are divisive, yes Maggie, and we should be focusing on the issues, yes Maggie, but the Clinton campaign and her surrogates are the ones who are throwing the attacks and doing the dividing. Clinton politics as usual – win at all costs. And if Senator Obama attempts to defend himself, then he's a whiner and he is the divisive one? DO YOU THINK WE ARE STUPID? I am a 49 year old white woman who finds Ferraro's comments unbelievably offensive. And since they have yet to shut her up, if anyone has seen Ms. Ferraro's equally offensive follow up comments, I guess they can let her help dig Senator Clinton's political grave. And good riddance. I used to have some respect for the Clintons and even Ferraro, but no more.

    March 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. KLM

    Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. I would so love to call you what I really think you are but I'm sure CNN wouldn't post it. That ancient mentality of yours is sooooo obvious. Both you and Hillary are terrible representations for women.

    OBAMA08

    March 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Dan

    Is she going to argue next that african-americans in college shouldn't really be there and that affirmative action is the only reason? Give me a break... For a black man to get this far is truly remarkable.

    March 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. enomisa

    I think Barack is a contenter only due to celebrity support providing much exposure, extremely positive coverage by the media, while Clinton was constantly bashed by the media, the caucus system favoring his demographic support group, and the illegal actions of the DNC by preventing votes to count and by changing the intended function of the superdelegates to favor Obama.

    March 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. JOHN

    DAVID HUNTER LET ME TELL YOU WHAT SHE'S HIDING. HOW ABOUT TAKING $850,000 FROM HEALTH CARE LOBBIEST WHO WANTED NOTHING TO DO WITH UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. YOU HILLARY LOVERS BETTER READ UP ON PAUL VS CLINTON A CALIF. CASE ABOUT THE CLINTONS TRYING TO HIDE OVER 700,000 DOLLARS IN CAMPAGIN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM A FELON PETER PAUL, HILLARY LIED TO THE WASHINGTON POST AND SAID SHE DIDN'T KNOW HIM, TWO DAYS LATER SHE WAS SENDING HIM A THANK YOU LETTER FOR DONATING TO HER CAMPAGIN. WHEN THE POST FOUND OUT SHE TRIED TO RETURN A $2000 CHECK FROM PAUL AT THE SAME TIME HER FIN. OFFICER TOLD PAUL TO TRANSFER $100,000 WORTH OF STOCK TO HER WORKING FOR FAMILIES GROUP. I TELL YOU THIS THING IS A MESS. BUT DON'T LISTEN TO ME READ IT FOR YOURSELF. MAYBE THIS IS WHY SHE WONT RELEASE HER TAXES...YOU THINK?

    March 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. Rachel, Portland OR

    Hey everybody!! Clinton supporters, Obama supporters (like myself), Democrats, everyone!!

    Look.... Let's focus on supporting our candidate, not tearing down the other candidates. I see the same amount of Obama and Clinton supporters claiming the media has an AWFUL bias against their candidate. While I have my own thoughts on this, I'm going to call a draw on the bias of the media since so many people have differing views on it. I think everyone else should too.

    What else.. Um.. OH! Let's be positive. In the end we need to be united! It'll be hard for me to vote for Hillary Clinton, but if that's what it comes down to.. I mean.. I guess that's what it will come down to.

    March 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. Red

    Hey, Maggie, thanks a lot. No, really. Thank you for the further advancement of people of color in this country.

    I wonder, what would you have said if Ferraro's comments had been directed at you? Would they be "false, calculated, political attacks" then? Hmmm? Enjoy your position. You've earned it.

    Oh, and stop doing us favors, okay? You do know why you were brought into the forefront of the Clinton campaign, don't you? Think about that.

    March 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. jl

    WHEN MAGGIE WAS FIRST HIRED(and before pics were posted to remind us of what she looked like), I TOLD MY HUSBAND THAT I BET MAGGIE WILLIAMS IS BLACK AND THAT THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN WILL USE HER TO DELIVER THEIR RACIST RANTS.

    I WAS RIGHT.

    REGARDLESS OF HER SKIN COLOR, MAGGIE WILLIAMS IS JUST AS WRONG AS THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN AND FERRARO FOR SPEAKING AND NOT DENOUNCING AND REJECTING SUCH VILE STATEMENTS.

    March 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  18. Chiman

    When 80-90% of african americans started voting for O (when they used to be in favour of Clintons in the recent past) – what message does this send out? Are Americans stupid to understand what is going on? Why does CNN and others report exit polls based on race? Is that not being racist?
    I agree with Ferrerro's comments that the media is afraid of O due to his race and is giving him preferencial treatment.

    March 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. Nancy, Oklahoma

    For years persons of color have had to experience prejudice and racism. What Ferraro said is deplorable. Should persons of color be grateful because for the first time in our country a man of color has reached these extraordinary heights? If Obama had been a white man Hillary would have been blown out of the water a long time ago. Shame on you Maggie Williams. I pray the superdelates are making note of these ever so subtle racial statements.

    March 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  20. liz

    Ferraro does not work for Clinton Campaign she is a Dem. with an opinion. Should not allow her to have her opinion or are we going to throw away free speech for Obama. It might be differant if she was part the Clinton campaign.

    March 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. kelly WI

    I wonder if people in the states that haven't had their primaries yet, are aware of this stuff and read the blogs.
    Pelozis daughter is or was, married to Hillarys brother. I can't remember if that is the wife or ex wife who is mad at him for not paying child support. Any one here know about that?
    I don't need to be p.c. She is a monster. and Ferraro is a witch, to put it mildly.

    March 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Angie

    Americans really do have short-term memories. What would people say if Hillary received 80% of the black vote? Not a single word! Just like when Bill received over 80% of the black vote! It's ironic that if the majority of black people vote for a white candidate, that's fine...but if they vote for a black candidate, they're racist. Yes, black people do have the capacity to overwhelmingly support who they feel is the best candidate, regardless of race. Why is it that SOME white people are so offended and concerned about black support for a black candidate when black voters have also shown that same support for inspirational white candidates in the past??? How quickly we forget. Blacks are part of the democratic base for a reason.

    I can't believe that Hillary didn't reject Ferraro's comment after all that noise she raised about the "monster" comment! Enough with the double standards...

    March 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. Amused

    When will CNN start reporting accurately instead of twisting words? Ms. Ferraro's statement, ripped from context was: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) 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.”

    However, Ms. Ferraro bookended her unfortunate comments with two sound observations: 1) The media seem to dislike Clinton largely because of her gender, and 2) Obama is foolish to suggest that he will end partisanship. “Dear God!” she said. “Anyone that has worked in the Congress knows that for over 200 years this country has had partisanship—that's the way our country is.”

    Why were these not accurately and completely reported? Why the need to selectively pick out a sentence or two?

    BTW, I am a registered Republican who is going to vote for John McCain but am really amused that the media is taking sides when they should be reporting unbiased or at the very least, present a complete picture so that people can draw their own conclusions?

    Unfortunately for our country, it is not just the politicians that are divisive but also the media. If there is no controversy, there is no 24×7 News – right CNN?

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Mitch

    Say what?? Typical (and really sad) Clinton spin tactics, trying to place blame on the Obama campaign for denouncing Ferraro's inexcusable race-baiting.

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Hilda Olson

    I am a whte female VP of a major not for profit, with a Masters degree and substantial salary. Many of the bills Hillary Clinton has supported have helped foster children and the vulnerable. However, if she wins the nomination, I will vote for McCain. Her personal character, made clear in her whining, sniping, and her willingness to undermine the Democratic party at large for personal gain has turned my stomach. When the right female comes along, they will have my vote. Whoever is citing polls that claim educated white women are voting for Hillary better take a closer look. In my wide circle of white, college educated (and beyond) group of women doctors, lawyers and CEO's, we are unified in our support of Obama.

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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