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. Rikki, S. Africa

    Ferraro is absolutely right !!

    March 11, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. nina

    nice comment, Shavon.
    Everybody should read it again and again and again.

    March 11, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Tom

    ok, so then it is fair to say that most of hillary's main support is from women because she is a women. If she were a man, she would not have gotten this far and the gloves would have come off for her opponents a long time ago.

    March 11, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    Yeah, he's winning because he's black, just like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson led their primaries because they were black... oh wait...

    March 11, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Martin Law

    Get Race out of the race.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Betty Rosado

    How different? white woman -blacK man; Black man- white man; black woman- white woman; black man- black man; black woman- black woman? We Know the media work the discourse very different. Gender and race is in their minds more than in the minds of the candidates.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. GOPHater

    Truth is that Hillary Clinton wouldn't be a contender if she wasn't Bill Clinton's wife.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Paula

    Thank God for Geraldine Ferraro and Rosie O'Donnel. We need a few tough women to speak out. I think if Baraka Obama wasn't black, this would be a different campaign. On the other hand, having a tough opponent has forced Hillary Clinton to get out from behind her cool shell and show the country her meddle.

    Last night on Fox O'Reilly had on some whiney man who complained how terrible it would be to have a woman president because God forbid she would be a voice for women and children. He's probably the type of guy who thinks men shouldn't have to pay child support either.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. byrdlegs

    Is there any doubt that our drinking water is tainted? I swear people in America are getting dumber by the day. Only in America could the #2 losing candidate for the presidency invite the #1 leader to be her VP. Especially when he isn't supposedly good enough, according to her, to lead the country, but good enough to be the VP...And to add to the fray, we now have Elliott Spitzer and the Ho's and now Ferraro with her racist remarks. Im so glad this election will be won by our youth so we can rid ourselves of this outdated thinking. Go OBAMA !

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. sacto joe

    Senator Obama is where he is because he has incredible charisma. He is a very, very special person. And that has NOTHING to do with his pigmentation!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Wellstonian Democrat

    First I'll denounce and reject the comments from my fellow Minnesotan "Hill Supporter from Minnesota." Please, this woman is clearly in the wrong. This is not okay behavior, and I think his winning has to do with a lot more than his race.
    And whoever said that there was not a single white face at an Obama rally has obviously never seen one. There are some of the most racial diverse gatherings I have ever seen.
    Moving on, Clinto should denounce and reject these comments. Not to is implicitly racist because it implies that those who vote for him, especially African Americans are not informed, which I would say is definitely not true. We wait for your apology Ms. Clinton.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. David, NJ

    This is ridiculous. I am a black man and no matter how you spin it people like her wont ever except a black man or woman. She says Obama is in this position because he is black. Others say he cant win because he is black. The two statements contradict each other. Which one is it? Being black has nothing to do with the position he is in. Al Sharpton was black and so was Jesse Jackson. Neither of them ever made it this far! Race is not the issue. Its the positive message of turning page of the Politics of old and approaching the country in a different way.

    March 11, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Chris

    Hillary should reject and denounce this statement.

    Seriously, what if one of Obama's big guns said "A woman could not be a major presidential candidate"? Hillary would fricking HAMMER HIM.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Dean

    I totally agreed that, The Media just not like Hillary without any real reason, I hear people talk about this issue, it is quite not fair for her.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. donnajp

    I believe that when 80% of one race is voting for a candidate because he is black is accurate but I do not believe that this is the reason white's are supporting Obama – they are supporting Obama because they are idealistic and really believe (as we in th 60's believed) that things can change – well, let's get real – nothing will change in Washington but who is president – everything else will remain the same.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. rachae

    Hillary has also benefited from being not the normal white man and she has even stated that her being elected would give girls hopes and dreams. Obama never touches the black thing because he knows he would lose support. The Clintons is such a joke.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Charles Hardeman


    Here in the rest of the world, Obama mania is waning. Increasingly, we find him arrogant, naive, holier-than-thou, creepily messianic, and a typical politician disgusing the inner ego-trip by whooping everybody up and making people believe its about 'Us' and 'We' when it is most definately all about HIM.

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

    I think it's very unfortunate and sad that this man has his credibility and know-how stripped of him just because he is black, that being stated as the reason for his current political fore-runner stance. I wonder if he were a white man and Hillary was in the lead, would Ferraro then say she is only in the lead because she is a woman. I guess when it comes to the political game, it doesn't matter what you've done or what you're doing or plan to do, all it boils down to is what you look like. Ah, America!

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. M Payes

    This is a case of objectivity forgotten and political correctness gone stark raving amok.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. Kevin

    "That's just the way the country is!" she says.

    Unbelievable. I suppose that's the attitude enslaved people should have had...that's just the way it is (and always will be?).

    Or women's right to vote, or right to work and receive a fair wage...what if women had all just given up and said "that's just the way it is! Oh well! Back to the kitchen!"

    Talk about out of touch with reality, lady. Out of touch with your own roots.

    March 11, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Angela

    Calling this woman an old crow and crazy broad is as sexist as some claim her comments to be racist.
    My take on this is that she was commenting on his lack of notable qualities that would make him stand out. I do not think she is racist or the comment is racist. It is a personal opinion and observation.
    Obama has charisma and a unique message but does not have outstanding experience to any degree – the fact that he is visibly half African American is what has helped him bring his message and charisma to the forefront of this campaign. I admire the man but would not vote for him at this point in time – maybe later, after he is battled hardened.

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. sacto joe

    Oh, and by the way, I'm a white male in his sixties.

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. George Rolff

    My God,

    If any White person was talking like Obama we would have already coronated him king.

    George Rolff

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. OD

    Even in the 21st century you still have deep seeded racial prejudices in this country. In her mind, Obama is not a presidential candidate, but a black presidential candidate which is really unfortunate. Just when I think we have made great progress, a statement like this pops up showing that some people are still stuck in the past. What Obama offers is hope for a change from the way things have been done in Washington. This is his appeal, not his ethnicity. If he were Chinese, Jewish, Latino, or Anglo, he would have my vote. Christians for Obama!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Mr. Bilek

    When was the last time the Clintons campaign had a constructive, honest, sincere message to deliver to the electorate? Can you say "Clintons Fatigue"?

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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