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. Jill K.

    CNN, why is it that at the top of the page you have links for "Election Center 2008", "The Political Ticker", "Hillary Clinton", and "John McCain". It's been like this for weeks (maybe longer, but that's when I first noticed). How about putting the candidate who is actually IN THE LEAD on the menu as well?? If there's not enough room, just put one link for "the candidates" and leave it at that.

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Norma

    As a Black woman, I'm not waiting for Sen Clinton to denounce nor rerect Geraldine Ferraro's comments but I am interested in knowing her spin on Peter Paul v Bill Clinton, trial date to be set in a hearing 4/25/08. This trail not only implicates former President Clinton, Sen Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, former DNC chairman Ed Rengel, who's now the governor of Pennslyvania. NO MEDIA COVERAGE ON THIS & this has been going on since her 2000 senate campaign.

    March 11, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Reality check #1

    What are you doing with my comments? For the past 2 days you have blocked everything I write. Is it because I don't approve of Obama? Fair reporting? I guess an obama supporter is doing the moderating. Anyway, Thank God she said that. We have all wanted to and I'm glad she had the guts to do it.

    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Sherri

    Actually the statement is correct, even if saying it isn't. I have been watching CL's rant and raves, before each and every primary. Not only are they slamming Hillary is every way possible, with horrible posts, and photo-shopped pictures, there are Black people on there posting to Vote for him because he is black, and they are urging all black people to do the same. Because of his color and no other reason.
    Racism does go both ways. It's just not talked about when it's towards white people. I believe this election will result in even racism in this country.

    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. john

    She called it as it is.
    If he was white or a woman, he wouldn't made it this far because the media would probably slammed him(her) out of the race or he would not get enough black support to carry him through.

    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Juan

    Very interesting indeed. I would like to remind Hillary supporters that the AA vote was 2/3 in her favor. Obama was simply not " black enough" to support. What turned the tide? It was race baiting like this from Hillary surrogates, including the former President, that led the migration to Obama. This comment from a party leader is disgusting.

    March 11, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Charles Hardeman

    i dont see whats wrong with this statement. i'd also implore readers to think about something, as long as thats ok with cnn moderators:

    Here in the rest of the world, Obama mania is waning. Increasingly, we find him somewhat arrogant, naive, holier-than-thou, messianic, and really just 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 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Jeff Radun

    Hillary had at least a 50/50 split with the African American vote before SC
    Bill was considered the 1st black president.
    The second Obama came onto the sceen African Americans were waiting to find an excuse to jump ship.
    90% of African Americans jumped onto Obama's band wagon after SC on a pretexed Bill said something wrong

    What would African Americans be saying if 90% of white Woman went for Hillary or 90% of White men went for John Edwards when he was in the race
    RACISM I am sure.

    I think Hillary or Obama would make great presidents and either would make a great vice president, however do not say 90% of African Americans are voting for Obama because he is the best candidate

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. JMS

    I am in total agreement with Geraldine and do not know why anyone finds that offensive. Race is the driving factor in this race and it seems alright for Obama to use that to his advantage and at the same time criticize anyone else for doing the same

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Chris

    As of 630am this morning, Hillary already said she was aginst these comments.

    BUT..ITS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Hillary Clinton has spent more time in her entire campaign and debates trying to discredit Obama. The only reason three of us in my family plan to vote for a Democratic candidate is Obama. Should he somehow lose the nomination, we would never vote for her. And as for Ferraro, "Good God" it's time someone tried to change the bipartisan nature of our government. That's the most hopeful message of this entire campaign!

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Mike, TX

    Why was it that when all the blacks voted for Bill, it was perfectly natural and no one raised an eyebrow.....he's a gifted politician. But when they vote for Obama they must secretly be planning on takin over the country and enslaving all white people?? This is the crap the Hillary people would have you to believe.

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Monte Brown

    I am a black man, and I totally agree with Ferraro. The Republicans who talk about ending partisanship are only saying that because they want the weaker candidate, Obama, to run against McCain.

    I also agree that if Obama was not black he would not have come thus far in the race. To me that is insulting. The people supporting Obama are simply patronizing him.

    March 11, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Charles Hardeman

    So... the Obama campiagn is now the champion of the status-quo political correctness and the dulling of honesty.

    March 11, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Thomas

    So basically John McCain should be President because he is an old, white man, right? I guess that means Senator Clinton shouldn't be a candidate either because she is a woman, let alone the fact that she is trying to ride her husband's coattails all the way to the White House.

    March 11, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Jeff

    I think she is totally right... If he were white and had the experience he has now, noone would consider him.... I think people are voting for him simply for the novilty of having the first black president. I think we should wait for a more qualified canidate. If Obama fails as president our fickle country will never let another black man into office again.

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

    There was a white version of barack obama.

    his name was JOHN EDWARDS.

    look how that turned out.

    March 11, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. Matt, Fort Worth, TX

    Isn't this a funny thing for a Hillary supporter to say? Because if her last name weren't Clinton, then she wouldn't be a major presidential contender either!

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. aliou salam

    for 400 years this country has been lead by white people. All y ou had to do to be a candidate was being white. If you were black, your vote had not always been evident, let alone being a candidate.

    Mrs. Clinton had all the money, name recognition, and a former president to run for her. She had the establishment running for her. She squandered this capital on personal and racial attacks on Obama. The lies didn't help her either.

    Things are going to get worse for her as many are now processing her sleezy manoeuvers with the Canadians to win Ohio and Texas. Well, it might have been a good win for her, but I predict she is done winning. no one in this country likes her tricks.

    I wonder how she and her husband ever got elected in any office given their bagages.

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Tom

    Ferraro's comments are, perhaps more than anything else, just rather sad. They demonstrate so completely why her time and the time of those who think as she thinks is past. The remark that she made about "how the country is" is just pure reification, in this instance, treating something produced through human choice as if it were somehow ordained as a natural state of affairs. She implies that we must accept partisanship as the natural state of politics. Do you suppose she would argue for accepting patriarchy as the natural state of gender relations?

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Mike Brians

    Every word that the former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro said is true. Truth hurts isn’t it? I think the media and Obama campaign is extremely hard and negative on Senator Clinton. If she says he is black, she is a racist. If she exposes his unpopular photos, she is playing low. If she simply doesn’t have time to file the taxes, she is corrupted…

    I feel so sorry for Obama for hiring such a bunch of idiot campaign managers, foreign policy advisors… They just didn’t get it. Hillary is preparing this campaign for more than 10 years; you guys would think she is stupid enough to have some financial scandals for the year of presidential election?? Get a grip!!!

    I can’t wait to see Obama’s disappointment on April 15th.

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. v.ananthan


    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Craig

    It's the Clinton attack machine. Pure and simple. Have someone attack and then have someone say it was not authorized. If you believe that the words were not approved by a Senior person in the Clinton group then I have a bridge to sell you.

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Kate from Maine

    This comment is awful. Clinton complains that she's getting treated more harshly by the media than Obama, and hints that it's partly because she's a woman. Yet, this racist comment from her campaign is allowed against Obama. Shame on YOU, Hillary. Just because he's part black doesn't mean that's the reason people are finally excited about the political process again. Remember Jesse Jackson?? Al Sharpton?? Obama just happens to be the right man this time around, regardless of his racial background. Get over these petty attacks and find something with substance to argue about.

    March 11, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Kevin, Evansville IN

    What's hypocritical of course is that Hilary Clinton is running as a female candidate.

    But every time Hilary wins a state, I don't hear Obama's camp dismiss the win with an excuse like "She won just because she's a woman." There are more women than black people, of course.

    Obama is not running as a black candidate, but as a candidate that happens to be be black. The Clinton campaign, sadly, keeps trying to bring up race and gender.

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