March 12th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Ferraro: My comment wasn't racist, it was a fact


Watch Ferraro's comments Wednesday.

(CNN) - An unapologetic Geraldine Ferraro said Wednesday morning that her comments about the electoral impact of Barack Obama's race have been taken out of context, and that she stands by her words.

Ferraro stirred controversy with her recent remarks that Obama's campaign was successful because he was black.

"It wasn't a racist comment, it was a statement of fact," she said on CBS' Early Show, adding that she would leave Hillary Clinton's national finance committee if she were asked, but would not stop raising money for the New York senator's presidential bid. She also blamed Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, for misinterpreting her remarks.

Ferraro also told ABC's Good Morning America that "every time" someone makes a negative comment about Obama, they are accused of racism.

Late Tuesday, she told interviewer that she felt she was being attacked because she was white.

"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up," she told the (Torrance, California) Daily Breeze. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

Full story

Related: Watch a clip of Ferraro's interview with Diane Sawyer

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. Hobs

    I can't believe what I am listening to! What on earth happened to free speech in this country? She is entitled to her opinion. This is America! Why are we censuring people? Obama needs to get the BIG chip off his shoulder. All criticism is NOT "devisive" and every person that questions your "readiness" is NOT a racist. Grow up!

    March 12, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. p. j. mann

    Ferraro's comments about Obama as well as her subsequent and ongoing comments on the subject are a reminder of why she wasn't supported in 1984 – she doesn't know when to shut up.

    March 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Roger

    Would Clinton be anywhere if she was not a woman? All this infighting does not make either candidate look good in my mind for the upcoming general election. It's sad to see that people cannot see the bigger picture here. I hope everyone is ready for McCain.

    March 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. CG

    A prime reason she's part of the politics we wish to leave behind. This business of Dems bashing Dems in the sort of way that Republicans are noted for doing to each other is ridiculous. Clinton should axe any affiliation with this bitter and unhappy woman and put her out to pasture! Shame on them if they don't.

    March 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Chris

    I support her 100%

    Truth Hurts Obama Camp.

    It all started in SC with his camp running with the Bill Clinton "Fairy Tale" comment that was taken, spun and ran with.

    March 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. 08

    Hey Wilma, it's called subject-verb agreement. Try it out. How's the weather in Stone Mountain?

    March 12, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Ellie

    Great post Jerry – Ferraro's comments are part of a despicable pattern by Clinton and the campaign team. The fact that this woman is so ignorant as to keep going with these statements confirms the judgement of people who didn't vote for her in her two senate runs.

    Oh and wasn't she pushed out of the VP ticket because of financial scandals? Go away Geraldine.

    March 12, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Mike - Sammamish

    I think the most interesting revelation over the last couple of days is not Ferarro's comments and the subsequent fallout ... it is the fact that voters are being reminded that it is folks like herself that makeup the Democratic Party – recycled and useless politics.

    March 12, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. KC, Texas

    If you know about Ms. Ferraro's background, you wouldn't think she is a racist. Actually she is a fighter against racist and many other issues. The reason why many people think her comments are racial and absurd, is because those people either don't want to hear anything negative against Obama or anything related to race will be felt as racism.

    America is a multi-race nation. We can talk race without racism. Ms. Ferraro is one of the cases.

    March 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. Eileen from Mundelein, IL

    Everytime a woman tells me she is voting for Hillary Clinton she adds that it is "time for a woman to be president". I am made to feel as if I am being unfair to my gender because my vote is for Obama. And every woman who is for Hillary persists in telling me how dirty politics is and "that is just the way it is". I find fault with the logic in both of those arguments. And I want a country that is truly free – free of hatred and prejudices against race and religion. That is why I voted for Obama – I want an end to this type of discussion about color.

    March 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Ishmael Rufus

    Her comment was racist and incorrect and was not necessary for Hillary's campaign.

    We all voted for William Clinton back in the 90s to grant him his second term when they became democrats.

    Barrack's has been winning the small states while Hillary has been winning big states that have open voting (which allow Republicans to vote democratic)

    March 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. TJ

    The Clintons have shown their true "colors." Prior to this election, I was a major supporter of Bill and had great admiration for Hillary. I am disappointed by her refusal to "denounce" and "reject" Ferraro's racist remarks. If nominated, Mrs. Clinton will not receive my vote.

    March 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Denis, NYC

    I have heard so many women say that we need a woman Presindent, so is that SEXIST? Yes.

    March 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. naja

    We all know what the world is about. Rasim still here to stay. As long as we sit here and put up with people like this. If Senate Clinton doesn't stop to say anything about this. I wil change my vote.

    March 12, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Politra

    For Hillary Clinton, what is important ? Party, Nation or Win ?

    March 12, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. to

    All I can say; this will soon be over. The black, the white, the male, the female, the women, the men, and our country is total chaos! This is the 21st century. We are gearing towards a historical feat in our country and it's turning into the wrong thing! A generation that never had to experience what the age gender from 40-65 had to witness and listen to in our homes and view on television. If there ever was a time for CHANGE; it's now! Let's grow up America; let the canditate that speaks to the hearts and minds of this country have the opportunity to bring all of this into reality; the handwriting is on the wall–A CHANGE IS GOING TO COME!!!!

    March 12, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. James Kerwin

    Samantha Power of Obama's campaign was forced to resign for calling Hillary a monster, but Geraldine Ferraro can insult millions of Americans and that's somehow acceptable. Shame on her and the Clinton campaign. I don't see how they think they can (or deserve to) win in November running a campaign like this.

    March 12, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Sean

    Her comments are not racist. She can have her own opinion on why Obama is winning. I tought it was funny that she called half the Dem voters, a group that sees themselves as more exepting than most, sexist after making the stupid comment about why he is winning.

    The real reason Hillary is losing is she is using the same gameplan Dems used against Bush, but she is using it against Obama. Just flip-flop on issues and say the opposite of Barriack no matter what her position was before, so she can seperate her self from Obama. Didn't work against Bush in the last two elections, definitely not going to work against someone from your own party.

    March 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Beans

    The comments were most definitely racist, and definitely planned by the Clinton camp.

    It is time for the Democratic Party to start calling some shots. They need to denounce and reject what was said. These women are dividing our party, and our country.

    And what about CNN? Doesn't Ferraro work for CNN? MSN made some rude comments last month about Chelsea and he was fired.

    C'mon people–WAKE UP!

    March 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. Bernice

    Divide and Conquer – The new Clinton Campaigne strategy.
    A picture is worth a thousand words...picture me voting for McCain if Obama does not win the nomination.
    It's a sad day in America when a presidential campaigne (Clinton) resorts to promoting racism to get votes.

    March 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. Paul

    So Obama, the agent of change is playing the 200 year old race card. What a joke!

    March 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  22. Timothy B. Robinson

    She's right. I want to say that there probably would've been a better time to mention it, but you know what? She has every right to exhibit free speech, which is why Clinton probably isn't getting rid of her.

    And yes, it does work both ways. While I do believe that Samantha Power's comments were boneheaded and short-sighted, not to mention wrong, technically she does have the rights of free speech, as well.

    March 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  23. sherry

    I think it is terrible that Ms Ferraro added to the extreme right frenzy about Obama and she should be ashamed of herself. How is it that she is "The Decider" of what is factual? Her angry rhetoric is not doing Hillary any good. In fact, it is harming her and Hillary should fire her before the end of the day.

    March 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  24. Mihsar

    What experience in Washington proved to its Citizens..Not to trust the GOvernment.. Experience has made millions refer to the GOV as secretive , un-transparent and distrustful.. So FORGET experience..

    Bring on the new..The CHANGE thats needed is social ,political and universal for this world were living in today.And Barack is the best candidate America has to offer this World...

    P.S> Keep being negative Clinton and Team...I love it..

    March 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. Lauren

    The growing race divide is concerning however Senator Obama has won majority white states. So soon we forget Iowa! Oh wait they don't really count because all they do is sip latte's. Not only is Senator Obama a unifier he has encourgaged millions of young people to stand up for what they believe in and vote. For that reason alone he has my vote!

    March 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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