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. Steph, Philadelphia

    Obama is not where he is because he is black, he is where he is because he is "brilliant".

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Dave from NY

    I guess Ferraro has a point, considering that she would not have been on Mondale's ticket had she been a man.

    She is right: If Obama were not a Black man, he wouldn't have got all those Black votes in Iowa and upset Hillary. He clearly could not have counted on all those Black voters in Vermont, Maine, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, and Nebraska banding together and pushing him over the top there either.

    I guess Ferraro is still delirious and her head is still spinning from the whupping that Ragan laid on her and her man Mondale.

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. Chris11

    What she said is true. All the polls and results show it is about race. The African Americans are voting for him in too high a percentage to be looking at the issues only because we all know the thought process is more diverse than 90% / 10%. If Hillary had his opinion and issues and he had hers, then I would bet money on it that the African Americans would still overwhelmingly vote for him... too bad the truth hurts, I just hope it doesn't end up harming this country.

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Sue

    Geraldine Ferraro was not speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign when she made the statement about Obama. She should not have said what she said, but she was reacting to the extraordinary amount of bias and sexism against Hillary Clinton.

    While I think that this country will elect a black president in my lifetime, I think it will be many decades before this country will be ready to elect a woman. It's really too bad because I think Hillary knows better than anyone running what needs to be done to fix the problems of this country.

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Sunny

    Ferraro's comment was racist. Why don't the talking heads just admit it? They keep dancing around this fact. Bill Clinton and all the presidents before him were elected BECAUSE they were white. It is called white privelege! Obama is where he is because he appeals to the best in people, and people of all colors share his vision and value his experience, intelligence and ability to unite. If he were white, no one would even bother to say he is where he is because he is white.

    Shame on Ferraro. Shame on Clinton for using wimpy language. Shame on the political pundits for not calling them both racist.

    March 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. J in CO

    She says "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," but if Hillary's last name wasn't Clinton, she'd be a nobody, too.

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

    Ferraro and Mondale won exactly one state in the 1984 general election. She's about as interesting and important as the half can of dried paint in my garage.

    Keep it up Gerry, Hillary, and Maggie... the more moronic comments like this can only help bring your campaign to a quick end.

    March 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Objective voter

    It isn't about color- but it is about how Obama advanced his campaign by playing the race card early on and successfully shifting public sentiment and thus election results in his favor.

    Who cares about race? But we DO care about fair play and making false accusations to eliminate your competition. Like painting both Clintons as racist. Right. But it worked to Obama's advantage.

    Hillary is the one who got sabotaged by racial allegations and by negative media coverage and by corrupt DNC "rules".

    March 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Margaret Navarrete

    Hillary should ask Geraldine Ferraro and others to keep their mouths shut. But realistically she won't, want all of the media attention. Well I hope the voters will wipe her out today in Mississippi.
    As far as the dream ticket, I don't think Barack would want her on his team, she is too damm pushy, divisive, not a good choice. From California we are counting on Barack to win.

    March 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Cynthia Hilton-Wade

    I am confused about exactly what Maggie is ranting about. How is this statement made by Ferraro, apart of the Clinton camp, "false, personal and politically calculated attacks" by the Obama camp? Did Ferraro make the statement or not? If she made the statement, and according to the Daily Breeze she did where is the rebuke? And why are we not hearing an apology instead of the BS comment.

    I believe this whole campaign needs to get back to the issues and that I have enough of the personal attacks, politics as usual. I believe that everything that the Clinton camp does is tactical, enough already. The Clinton camp say "We ought to keep this on the issues. There are differences between us. There are differences between our approaches on health care, on energy, on our experience, on our results that we've produced for people. That's what this campaign should be about."

    And they are correct but they say that after she makes sucker punches, (hit and run, or when the other person is caught off guard) or when one of her gimmicks, whining, rhetoric doesn't work. If you did a poll on who started the division within the democratic campaign Hillary Clinton would win hands down. ENOUGH!!

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

    An aphorism says: "Tell me who you go with and I will tell you what you are." Maggie Williams has been in bed with the Clintons for a long time and it is no wonder that she, like them, will do or say anything to get the Clintons elected. To think that Maggie Williams, who should have been sensitive to years of racism in this country as a black person, will explicitly endorse Ferraro's comments that Obama is an affirmative action candidate, is absurd. I will organize for McCain and vote for him if Hillary is our nominee. Shame on Hillary! Shame on Ferraro!! Shame on Maggie Williams!!!

    March 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Annie

    Chicano Art,

    Are you ashamed of your culture then? What do you mean by an inferior candidate? It's inferior people like you that the people in the United States should be ashamed of.

    March 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Slap Stick, FLORIDA

    When I see or hear others condoning racist remarks, it is no wonder folks like Louis Farrakhan makes the comments he makes about America. Many of us as Americans are giving fuel to his very argument when we allow folks like Ferraro to make comments like she has made.

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

    Ferraro's comments are directed at forcing a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America. It is obvious to many that Obama lacks the experience necessary to be president of the United States.
    Why then is he doing so well in the primaries?
    Could it be perhaps that by favoring his candidacy we feel less guilty toward the painful racial history of this country?

    March 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. Craig in Texas Democrat and supporter for Obama

    Its funny cause i go through the same kind of foolish racism. Like since Barrack is black he is only where he is by luck. I am African American why is it so hard to believe that a Black man can
    make it to a position of power by his skill and determination. Not to mention over half the country who supported him by voting. Ferrero you are a idiot and you should be ashamed of yourself. Lou Dobbs leave Obama alone cause he will be your next President.

    March 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. Barack Obama Supporter from Lawrence Kansas

    So Ferraro makes a stupid, racisit comment, and the Clinton campaign has the GALL to blame the Obama campaign?

    I don't get it.

    March 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. Young Rep

    I don't consider Ferraro's comments to be racist. I think it's called thinking outside the box and looking at the citiation in a bigger prospective. He Obama was white he wouldn't be in the same position. Personally, I don't consider him black or white(I only consider him black sense that's how he describes himself)... I would describe him as being bi-racial. Sense he has a white mother and black father. Obama is involved in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)... who wouldn't allow a white rep. from tennesse to join even though 60% of his constituents are African American. Look it up!! BY THE WAY CAN AN OBAMA SUPPORT PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY HE BELONGS TO THE (CBC) AND HOLDS NO LEADERSHIP OR HEADS ANY PART OF IT. DOESN'T MAKE SENSE RIGHT?

    We as humans tend to only see and hear things we want to hear while blocking out those things we wish not to know. Think About it!!!

    March 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. C. Wilson

    G. Ferraro was making a point about media coverage. Read the whole article. It wasn't a great thing to say, but that wasn't the point she was making.

    Obama's campaign says race isn't an issue, but if Hillary is out campaigning in a black suit, then everyone calls it racism. Obama's pastor says all kinds of racist remarks against white people. Should Obama renounce him? His marriage?

    What everyone seems to forget is Obama is only 50% black. You can't say you are cousins to Dick Cheney, where's my trust fund in one sentence, and then cry foul when someone tries to point out a possible reason as to why the press loves Obama. It isn't because of his resume.

    So, let's all get off the silly wagon and act like the adults you all are claiming to be.

    Judge not, lest ye be judged. Let's have a political election and let's go. This other crap has to stop.

    Dem from Indiana

    March 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. Mr. Bilek

    The Clintons campaign machine demonstrates clearly that they are ready well before Day One to replicate the Rove/Cheney/Bush machine.

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

    hillary will do anything to win. she has experience by proxy. I cannot claim to have medical experience because I am married to a doctor why should hillary claim experience

    March 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. B. Smart

    . . . .It is sad and telling of an ugly segment of America that has not died when Senator Obama
    is the only candidate that has to defend his race..You can tell when Hillary is going into states where she thinks she
    can exploit race. Thank goodness that Senator Obama's supporters
    are not voting by race, but intelligence on the issues, as seen in his diverse pool of
    voters. The majority of Senator Obama supporters are voting intelligence
    on the issues. Voters of ALL races are supporting Senator Obama. As
    we've seen in G. W. Bush, a person's race doesn't determine
    intelligence.

    March 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Drew in Cali

    Obama needs to toughen up and stop whining. How will he ever deal with the Republican hate machine? Can you just imagine if Ferraro had called Obama a "MONSTER" just goes to show that you can bash women but don't dare offend a black person. Give me a break.

    March 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. Darin

    The only reason that we know the name of Geraldine Ferraro is because she is a white woman. We must consider that Jesse Jackson had received the third most popular votes for the democratic nomination 21% but, received only 8% of the votes at the convention. Walter Mondale added her as his running mate in an attempt to appear progressive hoping by adding a woman to the ticket that African-American and white women would stand behind the party following its clearly un-democratic and racist actions at the convention. It only worked for white women. Until Senator Obama’s win Iowa many African-American’s including myself felt that was no in the Democratic Party for us. Yes, Reverend Jackson ran as a Democrat in 1988 but, there was little evidence that the outcome would be any different and our support was in hopes of sending a message to the party, I am not sure that they got it. It is clear that African-American’s were not fooled by Mondale’s pandering to the female vote by nominating Ferraro and that Ferraro would not have been selected if she were a man. It appears that many of the Clinton’s and their supporters are no more prepared to unite the party today than was Mondale in 1984.

    Darin Independent voter in Maryland.

    March 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Andrew

    What she said is politically incorrect. But it's not racist.

    And there may be some truth to it too.

    March 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. SHERYLANNE

    Well, Obama is claiming he is African American (because of his father, who is from Kenya, and left when he was 2 yrs old) and was raised by his white mother and white grandparents. Never has he mentioned this or considered himself bi-racial and in his book he writes:

    From "Dreams of My Father, " I FOUND A SOLACE IN NURSING A PERVASIVE SENSE OF GRIEVANCE AND ANIMOSITY AGAINST MY MOTHER'S RACE".

    From 'Dreams of my Father', "The emotion between the races could never be pure..... the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart."

    From 'Dreams of My Father',
    "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites"

    Obama (and his wife) are the one playing the race card the minute he declared himself an African Christian man.

    March 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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