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. Dominique

    This is disgraceful. When can we expect Ms. Ferraro to resign her position on the Clinton finance committee and apologize to Senator Obama? When can we expect Senator Clinton to "reject and denounce" her support?

    March 11, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Alice Rea

    Why is it that to voice our opinions about race is so hard. I think there is an underlying current of racism going on but I don't know if it's white or black.

    Think about it.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Barry, IL

    Ferraro's comment is unfounded. I think she does not understand the Obama game. Senator Obama, although he is African American, is a product of mainstream USA culture. He was brought up by his mother and war-veteran grand father and grand mother, who were all from mainstream USA. A culture one is brought up in reflects and influences one's perspective, much more than one's color. Obama is from mainstream USA culture through and through, color is secondary. It's literally impossible to alienate Senator Obama from the mainstream USA. He hugely benefits from the culture he was brought in.

    President Clinton helped him on the other side. The President played the race card and in doing so garnered African Americans support for Obama. The Clinton campaign have themselves to blame for losing the strong support Hillary had among African Americans before President Clinton destroyed it.

    Thus, it's extremely difficult to put Senator Obama in one box like Ferraro tried to do. There lies Clinton campaign failure. He transcends the divide in the USA. Senator Obama belongs to different domains of America. That is why he garners support from different corners

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Susan

    Here it goes again with old politics playing back in the filed. This old people always think old and they need to change themselves. The message is one and one -"CHANGE". This message is in the heart of every American and Barack has that message.

    Old politicians are not ready for change yet, being balck or white is not a problem.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |


    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. clarity

    How people, lets not distort the facts in favour of political correctness.

    While most folks don't want to acknowledge this. Obama is only 1/4 black. In fact he has more white cultural background. Yet he goes to great lengths to identify himself as an African-American, which is totally fine.

    It is this identity that propels the African-American community to disproportionately vote for him. Without this base of support the figures clearly show that he would have been knocked out of the contest a long while back.

    It's unfortunate that voting in some way is long racial lines, and folks might not like to hear it, especially not from the aid of a white female candidate. But those ARE the facts.
    So get over it!

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. James

    Geraldine Ferarro has no comment!!! Ms. Ferarro, how about you retract your statement, apologize to Barack and his family, and apologize to the nation for injecting racism into the election process. I have never been so disappointed in a DNC member as I have been in Ms. Ferarro. She shoudl immediately be stripped of all her DNC accolades. She should not be allowed to be a super delegate (hopefully she is not) and for that matter, she should not be allowed to be at the convention in Denver in any form. Racism in this day and age should not be tolerated.

    As for Ms. Clinton, she should get off the fence and put down the polls and move quick to not only denounce and reject Ferarro's statements and endorsement, but also work to move Ferarro from the any power position. Oh, since the Clinton Campaign does not seem to do anything except for their own benefit, let me make this point clear. If they do not move quickly to ostracize this racist, Hillary Clinton can forget the African American Vote, the Latino vote, etc.

    Racism and racists in any form should not be tolerated.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Anonymous

    In 1984, she didn't have anything good to say, so we didn't vote for her. Now she still did not have anything to say.
    These are the people who want to divide this country racially. especially the Clinton campaign.

    Obama want to lift this county up and Hilary and Co wants to bring this county down.

    What a shame.

    SHAME ON YOU HILARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. steve

    Just go to NYTimes
    ( 3-11-08 ) and read how she used The famous red phone to play the race card.
    Clinton ,all this would hunt you in your political career.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. David

    What is she talking about...plenty of black americans have run for president and didn't get far because they weren't strong candidates.

    Obama is in this position because he's the best choice and younger voters across races don't have the same prejudices of their parents and grandparents. If Gore was running, he'd likely win.
    But given the choices we have and the job Bush has is clear most people don't want an establishment candidate.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. JB, Bostob

    I just watched the YOUTUBE Peter Paul Documentary. Everyone thinking about voting for Hillary should watch.

    This woman has more baggage than you can imagine. Please do yourself a favor and watch. As an educated voter you should watch.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Independent America

    This is why I just am truly tired of the Clintons in general. She is never responsible for comments made by her campaign staff. Wolfson is not enough. The candidate herself must renounce and reject these comments because they are hatemongering in reverse. Senator Obama is who he. If Mrs. Clinton were not the first lady to President Clinton NO ONE would be paying attention to her. It is the sum of the parts that makes a person who they are as a candidate to try and say it is race why he is a candidate is ridiculous. In fact this country has proven time and time again to the several African American candidates that have run for president that their race has been no gaurentee or attraction for the nation. This type of race dividing garbage needs to be put exactly where it needs to be... not in the public discourse. Clinton should come out and reject and renounce. But I highly doubt that she will be so judicious, just, or ethical.

    OBAMA 08!

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. Wendy

    Wow okay didn't like Mrs. Ferraro back then and couldn't like her less now. This is not the first time that the Clinton camp has made racial comments. I am very disapointed in the whole thing, and in both of the Clintons. I liked Hillary not so much anymore too many games, she is not without scandal and double talk herself.

    I believe the true difference between Obama and Hillary are very clear if you watch and listen with an open mind and heart.

    Hillary wants to be president because she feels it is her birthright somehow, she wants to be judges by he success and claims constantly that she is the one running for president, but at every turn she touts what Bill has done. Whatever. She doens't want to be president because she wants to do good she wants the power that Bill took away from her.

    Obama on the other hand wants to be president because he knows that is where he can make the most effective change period, there is no other agenda that much is clear.

    March 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. dave

    This was not Hillary saying it. It was someone not even in her campaing, she can not help stop her supporters from making stupid comments. And FYI The Clintons could be anything but racist, they are NOT! Eventhough she lost the black vote, she still went to NO for the black convention and Obama was not even there. Stop blaming her for everything and Obama does not even want the support of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Obama'08

    Clinton won't repudiate any comments that cast doubt on Obama in any context. She is an old-school politician who takes anything she can get... Obama is a politician for the new era we need to initiate in this country. Honesty, hard work, and a great record in the Senate are the reasons Obama is a candidate (the leading candidate, incidentally) - and I don't appreciate this woman's implications that I am easily duped - which is the accusation leveled against all Obama supporters... it's getting really old.

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. Drew

    Wow. Can Hillary's campaign get any more racist?

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Ross

    How disgraceful and racist of Ferraro! More of Clinton's race baiting efforts! If Hillary gets the nomination, this Democrat is voting for McCain!

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Hillary-Persistence&Smarts 08

    Oh, stop it you two! Hillary isn't racist at all and you know it. And you Matt, you use the word broad on Hillary. Don't you think that is a bit sexist? You Obama supporters have little couth or charm. It seems that you desire to have equality and fairness but the words out of your mouths are anything but fair.
    Whine whine whine is what Obama and his out of touch supporters do the best. Poor lunch box kids, watched too many cartoons and didn't get enough nurturing, sob, sob.

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. Linda

    “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."

    Yeah I wonder how she would have felt people said the same thing about women not being able to vote. "That's the way our country is... deal with it." Society evolves ONLY when people challenge the status quo.... only when someone has the balls (or ovaries) to stand up and declare that "the way it is" is no longer acceptable. With her attitude, it's clear why she supports Hillary Clinton.

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Jeff

    The hypocrisy is amazing. And coming from a woman who was VP candidate ONLY because she was a woman. The democrats made this bed, now it's time to lie in it.

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Come on, doesn't any one want to see the truth.
    When the truth is spoken the person gets beat up for it. I totally agee with Geraldine Ferraro.

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. but it's true

    like I said, but it's true. So do we ignore the pink elephant in the living room? Kinda hard, don't you think?

    March 11, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Bendo

    Hey Geraldine.....go back to the past and just fade away.....your sooo old news and and sooo old!

    March 11, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. 08

    So wait. Let me get this straight.

    Sam Power makes an accurate remark about Clinton's nasty politics and willingness to say and do anything to get elected and goes so far as to quit to save face whilst this woman spouts blatant racism and all the Clinton camp can do is say they "disagree" with what she has to say? Huh?

    Or how about the whole Clinton camp stands around shrugging their shoulders and pointing at one another when the garb photo was splashed out with a clearly negative (and ethnocentric) implication? And Canada clearly states it was Clinton that contacted them regarding the pandering in Ohio about NAFTA and it goes overlooked as well?

    I don't understand the double standards at all. It's mind boggling.

    March 11, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Erika, New Mexico

    John McCain was enough of a gentleman to personally make a statement condemning Bill Cunningham's remarks against Obama, and yet all that Clinton can offer is Wolfson remarking that the campaign disagrees with Geraldine Ferraro's remarks?

    If Hillary is such a fighter then let's see a little backbone - let her personally make a statement condemning Ferraro's racist remarks. In fact, let's hear her "denounce and reject" any further support from Ferraro!

    March 11, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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