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. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    Since Clinton was so persistant about Obama REJECTING AND DECOUNCING such negative and racist comments, making the point that Obama did not do enough to reject farrakhan, then Clinton needs to REJCET AND DENOUCNE this woman! I am personally offended and outraged, that because he is black, he somehow gets a special treartment.

    Is she suggesting that there is no way that Obama is naturally smart, and deserving to run as president? how insulting, and racist!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Pete

    Another reason to nominate Obama. The only way Hillary can win the nomination is through a back room deal at the convention in Denver. Good luck trying to convince African-American voters to go along with your ticket, especially in light of increasingly frequent comments like Ferraro's coming from Camp Hillary. All it took for Bush to win the popular vote in 2004 was a 5% shift in the African-American vote. And if you don't think that McCain is going to exploit Ferraro's gaffe in the General Election, you're foolish.

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Barilaro

    I think Hillary can count a lot more blocks out now.

    Their campaign found Rezko a threat – what about Spitzer?

    And voters voice? All her remarks about voters in Florida and Michigan sounds distorted because of her "dream ticket" issue. She simply don't care about the voters voice unless the voters choose her.

    March 11, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. TV Diva

    Sure , we've had partisanship in Congress for over 200 years. We've had racisim for a couple hundred years, too.
    Shame on Geraldine Ferraro for perpetuating it. Shame, shame.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. and so it goes....

    Poor Gerry...Poor little Hillary. C'mon. If the press wanted to be hard on Hillary they would be asking very pointed questions about her refusal to cooperate on supplying her 2005, 2006 tax retuns, ther refusal to release the papers from the Clinton Library , asking how she was able to earn almost $12M last year, and how is it that Bill is in Eastern Europe and the Middle East only days before his friends and charitable donors secure multi-million dollar contracts in oil? And, how is it that the Clinton's net worth has gone from approx $1.7M in 1999 to almost $50M in 2007??????

    Oh and how about all the earmarks in Congress ...I believe 212 (according to the Wall street Journal) in just this past year worth billions to $$ to the recipients? Is any one checking to see if these folks just happen to be some big donors or supporters of Hillary? This is a woman who is an agent of change????? I don't think so.

    Please Geraldine. get a grip and face realty. If Hillary didn't do controversial things, no one would be asking her anything at all. She is mouthy, obnoxious, demeaning and deserves MUCH closer scrutiny that she is getting.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. get real people

    what she said is not racial. black people say things such as this all the time. she was being honest. he is more popular because he is black. that is why he has most of the black vote. he has not accomplished anything so the only thing he is known for is being the first black candidate to go this far and giving good speeches. if she apologizes then jesse jackson and sharpton has a lot to apologize for. this is america "Freedom fo Speech"!!!

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Xavier, Washington, DC

    If Barack were a white man, wouldn't he be like John Edwards in 2004 but with more experience in elected office? Last time I checked, Edwards did pretty good. He came in 2nd to a decorated war hero who had 20 years in the Senate and still ended up being the VP nominee.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |


    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. ben

    When are you older people going to learn? I am older than most of you senior citizens, and I have learned the younger generation are much smarter and far more informed than we ever were.
    I will vote for Obama, not because he is black,but because I am white!
    Just once before I leave this world, I would like to see the words,"All men are created equal" actually mean something !

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Jackie

    OMG! 24 years ago she chaired the Democratic Party platform committee. I spoke before her and at the time, thought she was great. Apparently, during the last two decades, her brain has shrivelled up. What a racist! Denounce and Reject, Hillary! Denounce and reject!

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. karen From Virginia

    This election is historic. These racist remarks to injure Obama – seem cruel now – and are cruel and insulting to Americans. The payback will be time and history in that the stench of having the tag of "racist " to those who participate in this type of fear tactic, forever recorded – long after this election is over.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Mimi

    Bill-ary's campaign has become quite obnoxious. She is condescending to claim she's "won" the nomination and that Barack has already lost and will accept VP. Bill-ary is doing all she can to demean Barack's message and integrity in the process bringing her own into question.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Maggie in SC

    I have to agree. I do not think Obama would have gotten as far as he has, if he had been Latino or Caucasian.

    Be honest he would not have gotten the "African American" vote.

    I am a German-Jew, Irish, French, Cherokee Indian and English, so what am I to call myself?

    I call myself an American, and so should the rest of the americans...

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. NYC, NY, New Yorker

    Apparently Obamabots don't believe in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.


    Yes She Will

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. DANA




    Where is the loyalty from the African- American community towards the Clintons? What has Barack done for the AFrican-American community as a whole?

    Everyone keeps saying he has won more states, but he has won mostly remote Republican states.....where no minorities live.

    How is he going to keep playing "Mr. Nice guy, Mr. I'm not really a politician when The republicans untie Karl Rove from the dog pin and chase him all the way back to Illinois?


    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Barry Thompson

    I don't think you can blame the comments themselves on Hillary, but I agree that comments like this have no place in our political discourse.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Vivacious

    CNN, why is it the only thing you guys published regarding Obama is always either one sided or right out bias? It is so Obivous CNN detest Obama and continue to asist Hiliary Clinton in her ugly attacts on Obama. Even some of your commentators are guilty of this same dirty old politics. The purpose is to slenderize Obama instead of lifting his candidacy up.

    Why haven't you guys reported that Obama won "Texas"? You were so eager to give Texas to Hiliary and now she is threaten to sue because you said she won. The truth of the matter is Obama won the caucus vote which puts his delegate count ahead of Hiliarys' count for Texas.

    When Obama won Mississippi and Wyomi, you guys barely said anything about it. Just because Hiliary think these are small states and their votes don't count, doesn't mean that the news media should adhere to this ridiculous rhetoric.

    I'm going to switch over to MSNBC and I think others will see this one sided news reporting and do likewise.

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. Ron, TX

    Any time the media questions Clinton it's sexist...

    Any time the media questions Obama, it's "vetting"...

    March 11, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. DH

    I used to have incredible respect for Sen. Clinton. But the way she and her advisors/aids are running her campaign has left me disgusted. Essentially, their tactic is to kill hope. I am very close to a decision that if Hillary wins the nomination after her campaign tactics, I will quit the democratic party and become an independent. Never thought I would feel this way....

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Basanti

    but Ferraro is right- its not good or bad- just a fact. anyone else with such little to no experience would not even be contender!

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. MchenryWisconsin

    There is a change in generations. Ferraro is the old guard. Her cynical outlook on politics needs to go. Just because it has "always been that way" doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't change! I am a white, middle aged woman. By all rights I should be for Hillary but I am not. I want a different kind of politics and a new way of thinking. Hillary is just more of the same.

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Celia

    Wow!!! I heard about her comment and thought that she was half-baked because some of the women who may vote for Hillary are black women. Yes, Ms. Powers resigned, Mrs. Ferraro should also resign. Mostly, for her ignorance. She obviously didn't realize that centuries have change since she last ran for office.

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. Obama Reaches New Lows

    I'm not surprised... Obama has come out swinging, but he is showing a side of him that is not consistent with "Change" and continue to harm is campaign.

    By taking this approach, both Hillary and MCcain can sit back and watch a bad train wreck. Obama will bring himself down. He just does not get it.

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. ever

    here comes the race card again some people can bear to see a good guy make good ! sad!sad!sad! so so sad! now the sink is not enough throw the concrate!
    i belive their policy is burn the village to save the village? dah!

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. AM

    This is really unfortunate. I remember actually getting misty-eyed and rooting for Mondale/Ferraro when they ran in 1984. Now this.

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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