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. NittanyLion4Bama

    I love the last qoute about partsianship and how it's inconcievable to think that the government should or will ever be bi-partisian. Typical of what the current politicians stand for and what Hiliary's campaign stands for. Come november her campaign is going to be all about democrats and nothing else.

    OBAMA, cause he's an independent in disguise....

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Jim

    uhhh....she's right.

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. changing times

    She's only speaking what Hillary has already shown by her behavior in this campaign. She is furious and so are a lot of white women, that this black man is winning over her. How dare he?! How dare America?! Let this happen.

    Disgusting that we still think that way.

    Obama wouldn't have gotten this far, if he didn't have something to offer this country, and that has nothing to do with the color of your skin!

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Eli

    Why are my comments not being posted. Two of my comments have beeing waiting moderation for the last hour. CNN is so bias of Hillary Clinton. This is not a racist statement made by her this morning. Some would love to try and twist it to be just like they tried on Bill Clinton in South Carolina. ALOT of HYPE

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. DavidPS

    Geraldine Ferraro is a washed up has been... like Billary Clinton will be next year at this time. I am not for Barack Obama because he is black. I think he is the one who will bring about change in our depleted and ruined government... both here and abroad.

    I am a white Democrat and far from the moral majority... but I will never vote to put Bill Clinton back in the White House he disgraced. If Hillary had divorced him ten years ago, I would be supporting her now. If she is our party's nominee, I will vote Republican against her. Truly.

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. B Johnson

    You know one thing gets me... Just because Obama is HALF kenyon, does his hertiage of anything else even matter??? As I being a mixed child have a sense of both communities, families and origins, but what I hate about these comments are that his black kenyon side is only reflected by what is seen by his tone, and not more of his upbringing...I believe other Black members have run for president before with little promise....Why do we reject what his hope is doing? Because no matter how we look at it, negative campaigning gets the best of our human nature I guess : /

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Jay Adams-Feuer

    Funny that Gerry Ferraro, who only got nominated for Vice President in 1984 because she is a woman, says that Obama only got where he is because he is black. Mrs. Clinton also only got where she is– United States Senator from New York and major presidential candidate, because of whom she married. I am offended by this and I am a Clinton supporter.

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Phil Marette

    And just how stupid do they think Americans are. They can't even figure out who is ahead in this race. Most Americans know that 1535 is a greater number than 1424. Who wants a president who can't count?
    Black or White!

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Dan, Virginia Beach

    Nothing like someone from the past to try and take us back to the past!

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Ohio

    Sen. Clinton, yours, my dear, is a political implosion: backer after backer; friend after friend.

    Gideon, revisited.

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Wljoe

    Who care what that "never was has been" is saying...

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. KMAN

    Hillary would be absolutely UNKNOWN today on the national level had she not married the serial womanizer that she did ... I lost a good deal of respect for her as she repeatedly played the dual role of the victim and enabler. I do not see her as a positive role model for self-respecting women and with the kind of campaign she has been running, what little respect I had for her is completely gone.

    Ferraro is simply an idiot and puts feminism ahead of humanism in a very ugly racial sort of way … fortunately, she and many like her are relics of the past!

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Kevin

    This is an obvious plant by the Clintons again to minimize Obama before an election w/ a Black majority. The Clintons have turned this whole thing into a circus. I almost hope she wins the nomination and loses miserably to Mccain in November so she can wither away like the wicked witch on the Wizard of Oz that the house fell on!

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Nod

    To all of you who even suggest a comparison between Ms. Ferraro and Farrakhan please go read and learn who Farrakhan is first: what has he said and what an overt antisemite and racist he is.
    Then, think again.

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. James

    A whole lot of people would not be were they are had they not been white. Including her.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. matt

    just one point aout the partisimship part at the end, george washingotn said in his farewell speech that politicla parties would be the death of the united states.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. B

    No, the turht is that Hillary is just what everyone was warning about, she is a polarizing individual. People like myself, 32, white, and an Obama supporter simply won't vote for her. I fear a McCain Presidency but will stay home if Hillary manages to steal the nomination and run against him. She will not receive my vote. Period.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Lindsay

    The Clinton campaign "disagrees with her remarks." That's it!! No rejecting or denouncing? Just a weak little "disagree[ment]!" The hypocrisy of her campaign is ridiculous.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. gideon

    And while Susan Rice was giving examples on MSNBC's Morning Moe about Obama's experience on senate foreign relations MSNBC ran clips of Hillary on the campaign trail. Not one clip of Obama campaigning.
    So what media bias is she talking about.

    Ferraro is playing the race card and its repulsive that she would stoop so low.

    Shame on Geraldine!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. Lynn

    There's one point many people are missing:

    Black people did not vote for Al Sharpton when he ran for president in 2004. We did not vote for Carol Mosely Braun either in 2004. We voted for John Kerry, a white, Irish senator because we believed he was the best man for the job.

    Why is it that all our presidents can be white males and everyone says they got their jobs based on qualifications (LOL), but the second ONE, single black man gets the nomination everyone says he gets it because of race? Sounds like Ms. Ferraro is bitter because her candidate is losing...and maybe a few of you are as well?

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Terry

    Ferraro's just stating the obvious. 90% black voted for Obama in those states. if he isn't black, would he get 90% black votes? if he doesn't get 90% black votes, would he be ahead? you don't see 90% white voted for Clinton, or 90% women voted for her. if you vote for someone because of the skin color, that's racism, period. Ferraro is right on the mark.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Lee Chang

    Slick, yes who cares – that's the hypocrity of it all – but people do care! Yes, Ferraro is right, dont think Obama can change 200 years of politics with just 'WORDS AND SPEECHES" – but Ameicans are so shallow – thats how an Asian look at you. And yes, Obama is lucky to have his skin black.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Georgia

    Ferraro says that Republicans are campaigning for Obama because they believe "he'll put an end to partisanship". She then says that's BS and that government has always run on partisanship.

    Get a clue – THAT is exactly what is wrong with the same old Dems. Do I think partisanship will be gone if Obama wins? No, but he seems likely to take step in that direction, at least in comparison to Hilary or McCain.

    It will probably take decades, but so did equality for women, people of color...

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. April

    sure black folks can vote any way they want. But if white folks were voting against Barack in a 90/10 split, that sure would be telling wouldn't it. Man I can see the outrage now, how we would all be racist and just voting for the white woman. Racism goes both ways

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Keith

    IT IS TRUE PEOPLE!!! Barack has won ever democratic African-American majority state. Mississippi will be next. Over 35% of the democratic base in Miss. is African-American. He has won almost every caucus state, which I have seen for myself, and the reason .... you guessed it (heavily favored by african americans). This is reality America. However, this is a non-issue. Move on.

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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