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. joanna

    Wow! Geraldine is right! If he were not black, he would not be where he is . White people's feelings of guilt for the years that blacks were left out of power is behind this surge for O. presidential bid. White voters have overlooked better qualified candidates because they want to play catch up. Sorry state of affairs but Geraldine is speaking what we have known all along.

    Take that B. O.!

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. John

    Whatever Mrs.Ferraro has told is 100% true. I still don't believe why this male dominated media is very high on supporting Obama. I'd blame the media for all these nonsense. WHy you guys are not pampering Obama's Rezko trial,NAFTA wink,Mrs.Powers stroy abt Iraq etc..Don't you media guys this all these are double talks. You guys are spending more time on pampering Hillary and not Obama. He is still enjoying a free ride. She is getting all the hits eventhough she is a woman. She is really THE FIGHTER and TOUGHER.


    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Jesus

    Well I think enough said that she disagrees with this comment. It's not her who said it, so what is the big deal? This is just publicly "outed" the same as the primary day of Mississippi, but WHEN was this interview done. And CNN sat on it because....???

    This is a case of the media trying to influence voters on voting day. I hope you guys realize what you are doing here, and that you post this.

    The media needs to stop trying to influence this election so much. It is making this all personal and I like BOTH Clinton/Obama, or Obama/Clinton tickets, so let's not make them hate each other please!

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. nina

    Hope is just a hope, nothing to grasp on.
    I hope I hope the world will go to the senses and stop wars and killings,I might be able to get a better car, I hope the cancer will go away, I hope the global warming will stop.....and so on.
    Hope without a plan, and executing the plan is nothing else than just a plain hope. Just a mirage, fata morgana........

    We need more than just a hope. We need to do, to have , to deal, to solve.... we all hope for better, there is nothing new on this saying, what makes the difference is to make the plans, and to make these plans work.
    Hope, where is the solution to solve the problems? Hope is just a hope, nothing to go by.

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Luis

    Truth hurts sometimes, huh Borat?

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Right on!

    She's right….if Senator Obama was not Black he would not be carrying 80% of the black vote. That's all. And without carrying 80% of the black vote he would not be in this position. So what is to retract on?

    If there were not the Oprah's of the world saying to vote for him because he is 'one of them' then perhaps the nomination would not be based on race – but it is and that is the fact of the matter! And if the Black super-delegates weren't being squeezed to change from Clinton to Obama he would not have the super-delegate count he has…to say this is not about race is just flat wrong!

    This is precisely why Obama will win Mississippi – anyone checked the percentage of black people in Mississippi lately? Has nothing to do with credentials, experience, or issues – strictly race!

    Essentially one race in these United States is having an impact on who will perhaps be the next nominee of the Democratic Party. So, I think there is a flaw in the mindset of the people. Voting for someone just because they are black is foolish….but it is happening in this nomination process.

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Arnold, WV

    It's a sure bet that Hillary wouldn't be there if she wasn't a Clinton.Obama lost Ohio and 2/3 of Texas because of remarks from top advisors.We will see what affect this has.

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Jason Carter

    Gender is not why Hillary is doing so well, and race is not why Obama is doing so well. Both Hillary and Obama get a sizable boost along racial and gender lines, but that isn't the only thing driving this campaign. They are both exceptional, formidable candidates, who happen to be female and black, respectively. If the historic nature of this race causes more people to vote Democratic in November, I should think supporters of both campaigns would be thrilled.

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Progress

    Lots of blacks have turned away from Hillary after Bill introduced the Race Card in South Carolina. Bill also used the term "Fairy tale", undermining Obama's ability. He also used the term "Flipping the coin", implying that everything will turn upside down. Now they want Obama as Vice President. Are they having second thoughts about Obama's ability or they are trying to use him to get more votes from the undecided voters? Bill and Hillary, Americans are disillusioned.

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. MCillary

    Hillary will not do anything there are two standards in this race one for her one for Obama. One wich is old and one which is new. Shame on you Hillary.

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Doug, DC

    If Obama was a white man, then the race wouldn't have made it to the March 4th primaries. Hillary would be supporting the Democratic nominee right now so I don't want to hear that he's hear ONLY because he's black. He's here because he represents what the majority of the American people are thirsting for and that's REAL CHANGE in our politics and government!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Les

    I find it interesting that CNN chooses to put this story as the headliner on its webpage instead of the story setting Clinton straight on her foreign policy record. So much for media bias huh Geraldine?

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Mike

    JUST remember all you whites VOTED FOR GEORGE BUSH so you are just as responsible for the FAILED IRAQ WAR and the BAD ECONOMY!!!


    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Sandi Saunders, Hardy VA

    Between Ferraro and Clinton, I am ashamed to be a woman! Go Barack Go!

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Luis de Souza

    There are two problems here:
    1) GF is trouble–she has been trouble since 1984 when Dems didn't win against Regan and is just trying to get back into the spotlight;
    2) What GF said is characteristic of the Hillary campaign that is trying to infuse everything they think is negative into this race.

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Clev

    If this was someone that supported Obama and was a major fundraiser for him then the Clinton campaign would ask him to " DENOUNCE AND REJECT HER". This is hypocrisy at it's best.

    Hillary needs to say that she will not take any money from someone that has these racists beliefs!!!!!


    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Jim Kansas

    Hate to mention it, but he is. And Robert, he is pulling a substantial percentage of the black vote because of that, and that has nothing to do with disrepect, it is simply the facts of life. It's okay to attack Clinton as former first lady, where she probally obtained more experience in one month married to the President than he did in a year in the political sence of Illionois.

    It just so happens that Americans want change this year in the worst possible way, and that we have a first generation American born of a Black (foreign) father and a white (American) mother running against a woman who happens to be a former first lady.

    Get over it. Listen to what comes from their mouth of substance and then cast your vote.

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Richard

    First play the race card. If it doesn't work, play the gender card. If that doesn't work, go back to the race card. Brilliantt!!


    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. YOUUU

    It doesn't matter if he's black or not.

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. eclectic7 from Washiongton, D.C.

    In response to Hay Market, maybe you are right. Black folks such as myself are given so much treatment that we get special privilages like excessively longer and harsher prison penalties for the same crimes as white offenders, proprtionaly higher victims of predatory loans, not to mention bias against getting loans in the first place, even with good credit, continued hate crimes, etc. Also I must say this......I do hope you realize that black america was relatively cold to BO in the beginning as we have been generally loyal to the Clintons. Things changed when they played the race card and totally disrepected a portion of their base. Furthermore. I personally support BO not because he is a person of color (because there's no way on earth I would would vote for Condolleza Rice ever!), but because I find him to be refreshingly honest and yes, qualified with good judgment to lead.

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. allen

    Just because black people are voting for Obama does not make this a racial issue. I am sure that if obama was running as a Republican, he would not have 95% of the Black vote. He is getting the votes because he has a plan that all people believe in and he is in a party that identifies with that core constinuents! So what if all black people vote for him, do you think that will get him elected president or help him win the nomination? NO!
    All you out there claiming racism because blacks are supporting a black candidate need a CAT scan because that is ridicilous! The Black vote can't carry him to a win in november, obama ia a strong candidate BECAUSE of his appeal to voters not just black ones.
    Hillary is losing the black vote because of comments like these. if you all recall it was only 5 mos ago that she was handily beating him in the black vote, then she made dumb comments to seal her fate. Hillary has no one to blame but herself!

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Republicans!

    And you thought republicans were the racist ones!

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. HM

    Ummm...has she forgotten about all those women who voted for women in New Hampshire? Would she really be where she is if she wasn't a woman? What qualifications does she really have? This is all flopped. We're really lucky to be able to vote for people with a different perspective. Nothing wrong with that. These are both smart, capable candidates and we have the privilege of being able to vote for someone that we think might be able to understand our problems and our perspectives. It doesn't seem to be an issue to vote with your group for a qualified candidate. But voting against a qualified candidate just based on race or gender? That's another issue entirely. Ferraro- don't belittle Obama or us. We like what he says, we like his policies, we like his experience. Clinton got to where she is through hard work, perseverence, and her husband's career. We can't be fooled!

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Nicole, IL

    Jihad is an idiot and is probably typing his obscene post from one of the Clinton campaign offices.

    And why is being Muslim considered a slur???

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. John Karsten

    Robert, you are right man! I have always said that if I were black, he would get my vote, just because he IS black. 400 years of opperssion and servatude, it is time for Aferica-American(SP) to have their time. As a white man, I understand this. If you can't, then I have no idea what to tell you. It dose not bother me in the slightest that people vote for him soley for that reason. What would we white people do if the situation were backwards, I thought so, get get of your "high horse".

    March 11, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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