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. RF, Texas

    Talk about a dinosaur!

    March 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. jvici

    Now I know why she never became the vice president of the US

    March 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Peter

    As a white male, I voted for Obama, not because he is black, but because he speaks of his positions clearly. Clinton sounds like every other politician with her vague, double-talk replies.

    March 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Chris, Washington, DC

    They're attacking you because you're stupid!

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. sisternmoon

    doesnt Mississippi kinda sorta really make here statement a fact?

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Naval Service

    I will say that Ms Ferraro is wrong. I think that she is bitter she didnt get anywhere. I agree TRW, I will vote for Ralph Nader if Hillary is nominated! She DOES NOT have my vote!

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. My belief not yours

    During my tours in Iraq I've seen a lot of muslims who were christian. They all believe in the same thing. They all think Allah is great. They all believe if they kill americans that there are going to be 72 virgins waiting for them when they get to heaven. I just don't see why this has to turn in to a racial or religion thing. I don't think Hillary should say whether she believes he is or isn't muslim. That has nohting to do with this campaign.

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Jackie

    There are no 'facts' to support her claim whatsoever.

    Facts that appear to be emerging are that the Clinton campaign has resorted to painting Barack Obama as an Affirmative Action case in the minds of prejudiced voters.

    Looks like Geraldine Ferraro wants to trade in being the VP who lost 49 states for being the race-baiting woman who tried (unsuccessfully) to derail the campaign of the first black president.

    Nice work.

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Rebecca

    You are both a racist and radical feminist Ms. Ferraro. Your tunnel vision only sees the world in view of feminism and anything that goes against that you use the gender card. You are dispicable.

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Linda

    This woman is a washed up political has been and is just trying to grab a few more minutes in the limelight with tawdry racist remarks. She is obviously a racist and is willing to say anything to try to undermine Obama. Hopefully the American people recognize her nonsense for what it is – ignorant attempts at extending her 15 minutes of fame that rightfully ended long ago.

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Amin

    When Jesse Jackson ran for president he didn't receive the same amount of support from the African American community or the European American community as Sen Obama has received.

    The same happened when Rev Al Sharpton ran in 2003/04.

    So, there is something outstanding about Sen Obama.

    Something that has made states where the majority of citizens are European Americans supported him over Sen Clinton.

    If Ms Ferraro was correct in her statement, then Rev Jackson and Rev Sharpton should have been just as successful as Sen Obama.

    Her statement was totally ridiculous.

    African American have supported almost 100% every Democratic candidate for president over the past 40 years. All of those candidates have been European Americans.

    Now that they, for the first time is giving their support to a candidate of African descent, we see the RACISTS in the Democratic party showing their true colors.

    I hope African Americans are learning from these recent revelations.

    The Independent and Republican ranks should see more African American joining them in future.

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. L

    Geraldine Ferraro is the gift that keeps on giving-to the Obama campaign.

    Given sufficient rope, she will hang not only herself, but Hillary's campaign, as well. Keep up the good work, G!

    March 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  13. Tim, Boston MA

    Make your colors show, woman.

    March 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. TL Jones

    This woman is clearly an idiot...I am not an Obama supporter or a Clinton supporter but someone needs to tell this genius that if Obama's campaign is successful because he is black then Clinton's is successful because she is a white woman!!! LISTEN TO THIS EVERYBODY NEEDS TO SHUT THEIR MOUTHS EXCEPT OBAMA AND CLINTON GET IT? SHUT UP AND LET THE CANDIDATES SPEAK SO THE PEOPLE CAN DECIDE WITH OUT YOU MAKING IGNORANT STATEMENTS LIKE THE ONE REFERENCED IN THIS ARTICLE.

    March 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Daniel

    There are so many contradictions in what she says, how can anyone take her seriously? First she says that she was in the same position as Obama 24 years ago except being a woman (now i know why we lost that election) but then she says that he wouldn't be in this position if he was a woman. Then she says that she wants to stick to the issues, but she's the one diverting the issue of politics. I can't believe there are people who think like this in the Dem Party. I don't think she's a racist, but that comment was certainly malicious.

    March 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Ed in Missouri

    No, Ms. Ferraro, not everything negative said about Obama was considered racism, ignorant, but not racist. Not being ready as commander and chief, that wasn't racist. Releasing a photo of him in Kenyan garb (and saying it's Somalian), darkening and widening his features on a campaign TV ad, saying so what, Jesse Jackson won SC also, and having one of your top surrogates say the only reason he is the position that he's in is because he's black. Please Democrats, get a clue, stop supporting Hillary's racism campaign, we are better than that.

    March 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Michelle in KS

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

    When the negative comments are about race, don't we have every right to consider that racism? Criticize his policies or criticize his experience....but if you make racist claims, you will be called racist.

    March 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. jenn

    Clinton is using Ferraro as an expendable surrogate to appeal to the Archie Bunker voters in PA who will be turned off Obama's candidacy by the whiff of "affirmative action." It's patently untrue, of course, and completely shameful; Obama's qualifications are impeccable and actually outstrip those of Clinton.

    But this is what the primary has come to, and if the DNC does not step in to end Clinton's quest to steal this contest through the use of superdelegates and poached pledged delegates, with a dollop of media-created "momentum" on her side–her only avenues to victory–the Democractic Party will lose in November.

    March 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Geraldine needs to apologize and resign. I am fearful that she may be discribing an under tow in this party. People who are not comfortable with race would rather vote for a woman as opposed to an equally , if not better qualified, man of color. Guess what ..Hillary is capitalizing on this issue in blue collar areas with the racial thing may be more prevelent. This party can not be so confident of NOV that they can alienate 16 % of this party , nor, risk the solid UNQUESTIONING Support of this very same group that has put this party over the top for many many years. I am insulted by this divisive mode induced into this primary season from the CLINTON side!!! How dare they seperate this party and country.......THIS NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED NOW, OR I CAN ALMOST QUARANTEE YOU THE SUPER DELEGATES WILL. BYE BYE HILLARY

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Tired of Clinton

    I'm a black man, and I think she's right... If Obama were a white man, he wouldn't be in the situation he's in today.

    If he were a white man and he:

    leads the popular vote
    leads the elected delegate count
    won 29+ states
    won democrats abroad
    electrofied crowds of thousands
    was a qualified Senator
    showed excellent judgement
    was articulate
    ran on a platform of hope
    did not play "politics as usual"
    had everything, including the kitchen sink hurled at him
    did not get draw into muddy politics
    was consistantly lied on
    was constantly having his words twisted...

    Yes, I'd say that if he was a white man, this country would be outraged that this nomination process was still going on. He would have been the nominee after IOWA... The media certainly wouldn't be trying to make him seem "questionable" as to whether or not he's worthy of be "Commander-in-Chief" So if you want to play the race card, which Obama has done everything in his power to stay away from, then lets call it like we see it. He has to do twice as much just to be on equal footing... Thats ok, we're used to it. You know what, just makes us stronger.

    Nevermind this man's skin color... Elect him because he's the best man for the job.

    Truth be told...nuff said...

    Scott Hughes (ATL)

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Thomas Kelton

    The Clintons dirty tactics never seem to surprise me. They stage this "oops slip" stupidity stunts just to inject there typical venom in the race. But "every dog has it's day" and if Clinton were to get the nomination she may very well need the black support that I hope she doesn't get for her continued desperation

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. fred

    Give em hell Ms.Ferraro!
    I will second that avoteforobamaisavoteformccain!!!!

    GO Hillary!!!

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Bea O'problem

    wow. When did she turn into such a racist idiot?

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. Nikole

    You have got to be kidding me. HRC needs to reject and denounce. Imagine that; lucky to be a black man in America. I guess that means any black man can get up, announce he is running for President, and actually have a shot at it. Nevermind his ability to lead, and inspire.

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. Concerned Democrat

    This is treacherous ground.If the Clinton campaign posesses the least amount of wisdomj,they'll remove Ferraro from their finance committee.If they don't take steps to distance themselves–definitively–from Ferraro's attack, they will encourage the very worst motives in voters.Is the Clinton campaign gambling that a racial divide within the Democratic party is in their interest, and could gain them a tactical victory in Pennsylvania? If so, they are playing with fire.

    March 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
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