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. steve

    I agree completely........his popularity is linked to his being black. If he were running strictly on his record of political achievements and contributions, he would have been dropped from the race and news a long time ago.
    A terrible reason for this country to consider a candidate.
    In any event, no need for apologies for telling it like it is.

    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. RD

    We're waiting on the Clinton camp to cut-off ties with Ferraro. Con on don't delay. Wouldn't want the public to think there's a double-standard between the two campaigns. By the way, still waiting on Wolfson's resignation for the Ken Starr remarks, but I'm sure that'll happen any day now.

    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. tomdavie

    Look . I am a hillary supporter, but CNN is smarter than this.

    Just like Obama sayiing yesterday that Clinton 'hoodwinked' her on the African outfit photo......

    So is this REVERSE RACISM ploy. Clinton campaign will 'disagree' but Hillary herself wont say anything until the voting is closed.

    Hoping to score as much white vote as possible hopefully.

    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Marlene

    and if it were not for the fact that you are women, Hillary and Geraldine, you would be where you are either. just a stupid comment by a lady I thought better of at one time. maybe she needs to resign like the Obama supporter did this week. along with that hypocrite Spitzer. so we see our Dem party is no better than the GOP.

    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Tom Wittmann

    HILLARY benefits much more from the gender based woman vote as OBAMA does from the race based black support. As weall know, there are more women then afro-americans.

    By the way: Geraldine Ferraro has shown how little the VP matters in a Presidential election (at least, if the president is not old enough, as it was/is in the vase of REAGAN and McCAIN.


    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Stephanie, PA

    I am so tired of all these calls to "denounce and reject" statements from everybody and there mother! All of this political correctness is horible. There is a difference from what a ramdom supporter says and what a campagin staffer or advisor says. I'm a Obama supporter, but who cares what Ferraro thinks? I care about what the candidates think!

    Obama '08

    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Crockett, TX

    It is sad that whenever someone mentions Obama's race, and is not that race themselves, they are immediately called a racist.

    March 11, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Dylan from CA

    Sheesh. What century is she stuck in!?

    If I was Hillary I would repudiate this statement ASAP.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. rj

    Clinton should fire her for a racist comment such as that.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. sandy

    Here we go again! When your down and almost out, use the race issue. I am white, 64 years old and I don't care what color Barack Obama is, he is refreshing, smart, articulate and does NOT carry the race card with him on the campaign trail. So sad that Hillary and her crew have to stoop so low. It has really put a bad taste in my mouth that this woman could go to such extremes to become President. It also has surely hurt the democratic party. If she cannot play fair, then she does not deserve to be our next President.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |

    Americans this is the time for everybody to wake up and fight to retrieve our national pride once again,America of all,has come to be a world target of all evils,propelled by G.W.Bush who has the same evil mind that i found out in Rodham Clinton,a woman who knows and calls a fellow being and politician a man with a poor background and pretends she loves the million of people with poor backgrounds.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Jim Jackson

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the African American vote if Hillary snakes the nomination from Obama. If that happens, and I were an African American Democrat, I'd probably walk away from the party too.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Joan

    how is this racist? I mean I get that she is belittling his accomplishments, however many there are, but its not racist. The obama camp is making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Clair-WA

    I think these statements reflect the candidate these folk support. The Clintons thought they were Black for a while when they were in the South looking for votes, we even got a southern accent from Hillary. I think this lady Geraldine Ferraro is speaking what she believes and it is a reflection on how we still a pretty racisit and divided country. Obamas adviser resigned because she said Clinton was a monster, a pretty undescriptive, everyday comment, lets see if Clinton DENOUNCES and/or REJECTS Ferraros comments......

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Michele

    Your kidden me right?? lol Sounds like something an ignorant person would say.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. JT

    Right. It has nothing to do with the fact that he didn't vote for the war, he wants to minimize partisanship, he's against lobbyists in washington, his history is practically scandal free, he's an amazing speaker, he brings people hope for our country, he is a great personality, and he is determined to get things done and change our country...

    Yeah, right, it has nothing to do with that. It's just that he's black. Jesus.

    Last year people were saying he didn't stand a chance because he was black, and now it's the reason he's beating Hillary? Amazing. Absolutely mind blowing.

    March 11, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. annie

    All I can say is I was raising A family when the Clintons were in I did well I was able to send my kids good schools.We never lacked for anything because there were good jobs A good future.I am retired now thank God no major health problems but I carry medicare and A small suplement,I do ok.I want to say the Clintons can do A good job again she is well trained to what she stands for vote for the best Hiliary.

    March 11, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Stan

    Does the Clinton Campaign have any brains at all? The African American bloc is crucial to her winning the nomination, the presidency, the senate and house seats in the south and urban areas.

    The Clintons, if they are on any ticket, can kiss that bloc good bye. The Democrats need to dump the Clintons before they take the whole party down with them!

    March 11, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. rj

    Clinton should fire her for a racist comment such as that. The state of New York seems to be in disaaray!!!!

    March 11, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Pierre

    What a foolish statement. Would she admit that the only reason Hillary is in the position she is today is because she is female and Bill Clinton's wife.

    March 11, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Justice 4 All

    I guess Hillary is going to "Reject" & "Denounce" Ferraro's comments. Yeah, right!

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Crash

    And who will be the next Clinton lap-dog to say the devisive things HRC can't say herself?

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Pat, Bloomington, IL

    Years ago, I was a Geraldine Ferraro supporter. I was estatic when she was selected to run as Vice President. Now, however, I find Ms. Ferraro's comments about Senator Obama disgusting and if Hillary doesn't repudiate those words, then she is just as racist as Ms. Ferraro.

    How awful for this country that so many citizens still cannot see the person, only the skin color.

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. Andrew

    Come on Hillary, you got to make a move here. You flip out because someone called you a "monster". Oh no, a third grade insult. Yet, you haven't came out against this comment yet? (Letting little Howard disagree with it is nothing). What are you waiting for?

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Will

    She's half right. If Obama was white, this campaign would be a lot easier for him....

    -16% of Ohio admitted race mattered primarily in their vote and voted Hillary....

    -NOW says that those who don't vote for Hillary are betraying their own gender which is ironic because they are indirectly telling women to not think for themselves which in term is how women have been oppressed for thousands of years.

    -No one would question him being a Muslim if he was white

    -No one would have compared him to Jesse Jackson if he was white

    -80% of African Americans voting for him wouldn't be a problem if he was white. (90% voted for Bill Clinton).

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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