March 11th, 2008
05:27 PM ET
14 years ago

Ferraro: 'They're attacking me because I'm white'

(CNN) - Geraldine Ferraro is defending her controversial comment that Barack Obama’s campaign was successful because he was black, telling an interviewer Tuesday that she was being attacked because she was 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," she told the (Torrance, California) Daily Breeze. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

In another interview Tuesday, she compared Obama’s situation to her own 24 years ago, when she was the first female candidate for vice president.

She told a FOX News interviewer: “I got up and the question was asked, ‘Why do you think Barack Obama is in the place he is today” as the party’s delegate frontrunner.

“I said in large measure, because he is black. I said, Let me also say in 1984 – and if I have said it once, I have said it 20, 60, 100 times – in 1984, if my name was Gerard Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I would never have been the nominee for vice president,” she said.

In her first interview with Daily Breeze, published late last week, Ferraro said
"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," Ferraro told the newspaper. She also said Hillary Clinton had been the victim of a “sexist media.”

Obama himself has called the comments “patently absurd,” and his chief strategist, David Axelrod, has called for Clinton to cut ties with the former New York congresswoman, who serves on her campaign’s finance committee. Clinton has said that she does not agree with Ferraro’s remarks.

UPDATE: Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Eleithee told CNN's Sasha Johnson that "Ms. Ferraro is speaking for herself. We have made clear that we do not agree with her remarks."

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Kris

    I am a white woman who is so tired of the "racism" whine. Please read this article from October on CNN...Hillary had the lead and blew it. Don't blame blacks for not standing blindly by a candidate who repeatedly insults them directly or via proxy (staff, Bill, Ferarro...)

    Among black registered Democrats overall, Clinton had a 57 percent to 33 percent lead over Obama.

    That's up from 53 percent for Clinton and 36 percent for Obama in a poll carried out in April.

    The 26-point difference between black women and men underscores the fact that the nation's vote is divided not only by race, but also by gender, said CNN political analyst Bill Schneider. "Black women don't just vote their black identity," he said. "They also vote their identity as women."

    March 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. kay kay

    No....they're attacking you because you're a stupid racist.

    March 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Liam

    White women in Geraldine Ferraro's age group are among the most hardened racists I know. I meet them all the time, and since I am white, they feel free to speak their minds. The will never vote for a black person for President, and will go out of their way to stop that person from even getting close. Many of them tell me that they are only voting for Hillary to stop the colored guy. That is how they refer to Senator Obama. Many of them say they can not stand Hillary, but they will vote for her in the primaries, and will vote for McCain in November.

    That is the real reason why they have been turning out in such large numbers for Hillary.

    Geraldine Ferraro knew what she was saying. She was telling that particular group: what you believe is alright. That black guy is not qualified and he does not deserve to be where he is. That message was targeted to those older white women. Ferraro is a very successful attorney. She does not go around making statements in an unpremeditated and unplanned manner. She crafted the message, and the Clinton camp picked her to deliver it because she fits the profile of those the message is targeted to have an impact on.

    March 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. Terry

    She's too sick for me to comment!!

    March 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Fox

    She is absolutely correct. How come when a black person says something against white person, nobody reacts and it is not a big deal. If a white person says something against a black person, it is a big deal especially to the black community! Until this is resolved, we cannot have full equality in this country!

    This is a biased election, almost 90% of the African-American community supports Obama, HILLARY does not have the same support because she is not black. So tell, me, this is not based on race????

    March 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Max Kil

    That is very unfortunate to see a knowlegeable representative to make this type of comments. May be this is a sign that she is aging and needs to retire from politics.

    March 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Scott

    She took the words right out of my mouth! I will never vote for Obama and I don't care what color he is. I prefer substance over style.

    Hillary in 08.

    March 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. sacto joe

    Stick a fork in Clinton – she's done.

    March 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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