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. Sheldon Stansfield

    I would not call her comments "racist" so much as shallow. Obama creates excitement with youth and optimism. Ferraro failed in political correctness and has confused her poorly reasoned opinions with facts. As I recall deep thought was not her nickname.

    March 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. CLK from Texas

    I am a white woman with a graduate degree and I find Ms. Ferraro's remarks racist and disrespectful. Hillary needs to denounce and reject these comments.

    I will vote Democrat if it is Obama, but I will vote McCain if Hillary is the nominee. My entire family will do the same.

    March 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Actually, I hope that she doesn't apologize, and I further hope that Hillary doesn't renounce and reject Ferarro the way Obama did with Farrakhan.

    That just makes Hillary look worse!

    March 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Patrick, Fl

    Ferraro's comments are sad; but not surprising. In a sense they represent the reason I left New York. Beneth its liberal veneer, it is perhaps one of the most racially and ethnically charged cities in the USA. Far more so than many of the large cities of the South.

    What she said fits right in with her generation. What is alarming, but unfortunately not surprising, is the way the Clinton campaign has chosen to deal with the issue. It is a manifestation of their own self serving ways that they have used Maggie Williams, an African American American woman, the way they have in this unfortunate situation. To me it is a wake up call for all true supporters of the Democrats: Do we want more of the same or do we wish to turn the page on this type of politics?

    The way we answer this question will say a lot about the future direction of our beloved country.

    March 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Bruce Taylor,Berkeley/Sacramento,CA

    The FACT is she needs to resign for the dignity of the Democratic Party.

    March 12, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Judy Bruce

    True comments from Ms. Ferraro. I will not vote for Obama.

    March 12, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Edgardo

    It seems that Ferraro is losing her mind. What she is saying is absolutely incongruous. First she says her remarks about Obama been successful because he is black are not racist, but the others are racist because they would not be attacking her, if she was not white. ???

    Needs no more consideration!

    March 12, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. RH

    So Ferraro was nominated in '84 and lost in '84, both because she's a woman – so Obama is a candidate because he's black and should lose because he's black? Sounds like sour grapes to me...

    March 12, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. JMarno

    Mrs. Ferraro is not stating facts. She has delcared herself unfit for any kind of respect on this issue. To suggest that Obama is not where he is based on merit, internal strength, integrity, policies and humaness is demeaning and false. She only exposes her own shallow qualities, and has obviously done no research of her own. I'm sorry for people who call truth a lie and a lie the truth. The more I see of Clinton, and some of these supporters the more greivous this becomes.

    March 12, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. robinspp

    Old people may not vote for Obama. Now they may vote for Hillary but in general election they will vote for the old man. Obama may not need them because he will get under 50’s.

    March 12, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Ide

    If both canidates don't relax we are going to end up with another republican.

    March 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. Natasha M. in KY

    This is getting scary and it saddens me to read some of your responses....and just to think...i thought America was starting to pull together. I think many people don't want a united perpetuate this negative talk and thinking is so just.....unAmerican!

    March 12, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. Bruce Taylor,Berkeley/Sacramento,CA

    We are learning the real core of the Clinton campaign : it is to separate along race and gender and then declare they are against it.
    Mrs. Clinton needs to either remove Ferraro from her position in the campaign or demand her resignation. There is no spin to set in motion, this just needs to be done.

    March 12, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Brian NC

    Nobody's asking the question...What about Hillary's overwhelming support from woman?!

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

    Her statement reduces him to just a black man running for President.
    How about the only reason Hillary became a senator was because of her husband. Would you Clinton supporters get offended if someone in the Obama camp said that? Yes.

    March 12, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. Liam

    No one cast a vote for Geraldine Ferraro to put her on the VP ticket in 1984. She was handed the slot without ever having run in a single primary. She is the one who got there just because of her gender.

    Senator Obama has run in all fifty states, and earned every vote and victory that he has received, so Geraldine Ferraro is making a false comparison.

    You Ms. Ferraro got the VP slot because you were a female.

    Senator Obama has earned his victories on merit, despite being a Black man and not because he is.

    Stop your race baiting tactics now.

    March 12, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. adam

    How many primaries did Ferraro win...Obama is where he is because he is an intelligent, charismatic, captivating candidate, who communicates effectively and effortlessly with the American public, much like JFK did, much like Ronald Reagan did...Ferraro may be intelligent, though her recent comments put that in question...she certainly isn't captivating or charismatic...

    March 12, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. Simone

    Ferraro is wrong. This isn't a fact. Obama is winning because the American people see him as a wonderful candidate!!! The
    Clinton campaign gets away with murder because all they have to do is say the media is picking on them. Right away they dump their remarks and antics on the Obama Campaign. Why doesn't the Media catch on and start supporting Obama.

    March 12, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. Robert

    We can also say that if Hillary was not married to Bill Clinton she would not be where she is.

    March 12, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. JerryZ

    Ferraro is a prime example of the uneducated voters that Hillary brags about. I see some can even collect a thought and type them down on this feedback!

    March 12, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Phil

    Most racists don't think they are racists because they believe their inflammatory statements to be true.

    March 12, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. Debra

    i would just would like to add..If this is about race why have so many democractic nominees from the past were voted in by black americans. Such as Bill Clinton. duh!

    When will it end.

    March 12, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. RSL

    I would pay good money if half of you could define Racism. Besides throwing it in every conversation that touchs on race. Learn the meaning of a word before you use it. Half of these comments are a perfect example of the general dumming down of the American Electorate. God help us all and God save our Republic.

    March 12, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Larry Buchas

    I don't think she's a true racist either. She's what I call a "closet racist." These people draw the race card or gender card if they don't get their way.

    I know the Clintons are not racist either. Their problem is being corrupt for power.

    Ferraro should simply apologize and move forward.

    March 12, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Jeff

    As a Republican, I'd like to officially thank Ms Ferraro for validating everything we've been saying for decades. Validation is such a good feeling.

    March 12, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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