March 11th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp calls for Clinton to drop Ferraro

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Ferraro is a supporter of Hillary Clinton."](CNN) - Barack Obama’s chief strategist said Tuesday that a comment by one of Hillary Clinton’s top fundraisers that Barack Obama would not be a major presidential contender if he were not black – coupled with Clinton’s “own inexplicable unwillingness" to deny that he was a Muslim during a recent interview – indicated “an insidious pattern that needs to be addressed."

David Axelrod called on the New York senator to drop former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro from her finance committee. "When you wink and nod at offensive statements you're really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes," said Axelrod.

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."

Ferraro said the New York senator had suffered because the press "has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign."

"I was reading an article that said young Republicans are out there campaigning for Obama because they believe he's going to be able to put an end to partisanship,” she added. “Dear God! 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."

Full story

(Update at 2:15 with Obama campaign comments, context)

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (490 Responses)
  1. Cornel

    There's ignorant people in the world. Get over it. What's sad is that this actually made the news. Where's those tax returns???

    March 11, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. California Voter

    Take a white male junior Senator and run him for president and how special he would be treated by the press - that would be the real test.

    March 11, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. George in OH

    Since when stating the truth is negative campaign? This country has been buried so deep in political correctness and nobody dares to speak the truth and what they said in family gathering or to friends in public. This is really hypocritic and contradictory to freedom of speech!

    March 11, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. W. Artis

    Some people know how to set things back 100 years just by opening their mouth. Just like there are folk that don't like Hilliary, some don't like Obama. Hilliary is the one touting her "experience", her "toughness" with it.

    This man has every right to run for the Presidency as Hilliary.

    March 11, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Kay

    I have heard in the past few days, that in every state, during the democratic primary 80% to 85% of the Black vote has been for Barack Obama. So...based on that information, I would say that her comment was correct. He has other support yes, and Im sure some of those 80 to 85% are voting for him because they believe him to be the best candidate but to deny that some of his votes are not based on his race is not facing reality. I wish people would quit shooting the messenger and start paying attention to the message. Judge words by their merit not of how they make you feel.

    March 11, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Dale

    How about having Clinton "denounce" and "reject" the comment?

    March 11, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Hay Market

    Ferraro is absolutely right, in our family and friends circle we talk about it all the time, she just said publicly what people know all way around. With so poor resume and qualities BO would not stand a chance if he would be white. But in this country balcks have special treatment, not a big news

    March 11, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Dems Rule

    Such hypocrisy!

    The Clinton campaign demanded that an unpaid Obama advisor be "fired" for calling Sen. Clinton a "monster" (which is probably one of the more gentler things she has been called).

    Now they won't do the same for Ferraro's crazy, offensive remarks.

    Shame on you, Hillary! Shame on you!

    March 11, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Helene

    I also wonder if Mrs. Clinton will denounce and reject this abject commentary.

    March 11, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Jimmy P

    Yea right, the truth hurts buddy!

    March 11, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. Africa for Hillary

    Well , i am an African male , the fact that almost all black people voted and worked like mad for Obama , i am wondering why is that happening !!! i think she is right in what all what she said.. I call upon my fellow blacks to kindly just shun the race emotions before it is too late ..

    March 11, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Robert

    The lady is so wrong. 80% of Black folks in America is not voting for Senator Obama just because he is Black people! CHANGE! Complete CHANGE! No more Bush Clinton Bush Clinton in the with white house. Enough! Can't Black folks just vote with out people saying we are doing it just because he is Black. Please dont disrespect us like that. We have a brain also THANK YOU!
    We have been voting for white candidates all our lives. So what we are voting for Obama. So What! Its not racist. He is just the better person for the job! Period!

    March 11, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Slick

    Who cares what color skin a person has! He is taking the high road unlike them and will win regardless of what they do or say. Obama is the next President! Some whites are just in denial. I'm not.

    OBAMA 08 +12

    March 11, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. Emmitt Y. Riley

    As an African American, I strongly agree! Most African Americans did not back him until they whtie America accpepted him. Most African Americans have not ideas as to a clearly policy difference, they are voting for him because he is seen as a viable black candidate.

    March 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. stunned

    Wait until the general election. Do you think John McCain and the republicans will treat Obama with kid gloves?

    March 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. charo sholo

    please tell Barack to hire back samantha mo, it's ok for her to have an opinion on Hillary just like gerraldine has her opinion brushed off like it's not biased
    shame on Hillary!!

    March 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Liam

    Actually, if Senator Obama was seen as a White Man(His mother was a white woman) He would have the nomination locked up by now. He would have swept both Ohio and Texas except for those voters who would never vote for a black person.

    March 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Bandy, College Park, MD

    Just like Steve King's comments the statements are offensive but more importantly they are INCORRECT and thats what we should focus on.
    When Obama started his campaign it seemed like his greatest achievement would be being the first black candidate with an excellent shot at the presidency. When the campaign ends, the greatest achievement will be that the race achievement will be significant but completely overshadowed by everything else he and his campaign have achieved.

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Chris

    There's a lot of truth to Ferarro's comment. In our relentless quest to avoid offending anyone in this campaign, I truly believe a lot of Obama's status as a "teflon candidate" really is based on race. Like it or not, race AND gender are the two most remarkable – and historic – facets of the Democratic primaries.

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Vicky

    I think this just goes to show how desperate the Clinton campaign is getting! It would be funny if it weren’t so PATHETIC!!! They’ve been so busy working at tarring and feathering Obama’s campaign, his ideas and character...and yet...he’s still in the lead! 🙂

    I have faith that the majority of Americans are intelligent, thinking people – they are not deceived by these cheep tactics. For Same Hilary!...For Same!

    OBAMA 2008!

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Ed

    lets face reality whenever she is behind in the polls the gender card is happened in NH and 3AM phone card

    She is the master at playing this card very well!

    Mark my word, she will play it again to win PA!!

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. MIr

    Sure, there are plenty of reasons to choose Obama over Hillary, if you don't consider any of their respective accomplishments in the senate, even if you control for her time spent there. Obama could run on being a best selling author! That qualifies him enough. It's true that no female or other racial candidate could make it this far without a resume, or one as thin as his. He's running on charisma, not reality.

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. SF, CA

    To JDC, yes, they see it. That is why the black electorate has voted overwhelmingly for BO.

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. Lori, Minneapolis

    This is the first time I've ever agreed with anything Geraldine Ferraro has said.

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Glazed, Detroit metro

    The truth hurts, does it not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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