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. Paul

    Is she for real? I don't think she's being attacked because she's white. She's being attacked because she has just uttered some of the most idiotic words of this campaign season.

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Sherry in Kentucky

    The fact that Hillary has not removed her from her campaign says a whole lot. I am very disappointed in Hillary and wanted to think I could vote for her in the general if she won the nomination. She keeps pushing me further and further away. I don't think I could overcome the cognitive dissonance I would have after voting for her.

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Anita Marie's IN FACT racist.

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. barbara

    Geraldine Ferraro is a racist. Demonstrated by her words and actions.
    Knowing she is a Clinton fund raiser is affirmation that choosing Obama over Clinton is the right choice.

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. Celia

    She is entitled to her opinion. Sen. Clinton is entitled to put what ever face she wants on her campaign. It certainly doesn't look like a coalition of people who are considerate and sensitive to others. It looks like the same old politics that I want to get away from.

    It is also sad to see an intelligent woman behave this way.

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Anne C.

    What makes this so funny is that Ferraro made those initial comments last week, but Obama decided not to be offended by them until the day of a primary in a state that has been labeled racially polarized. THAT'S fanning the race issue. If he was offended, he should be offended when the remarks were made, not when it's politically advantageous for him to be offended.

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. Devon

    How can she compare herself to Obama even 24 years ago?

    She ran for Senate twice and failed, she had no major legislation, Obama's accomplishments while in public service trumps Clinton's.

    And Geraldine says he is lucky to be in this position???

    March 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. ch

    You are not allowed to state an obvious fact. What ever happened to freedom of speech? Are we living in a Communist country now?

    March 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. Edwin Portland

    Person A "gets an advantage" because of the color of their skin. Person B gets "treated unfairly" because of the opposite color of your skin. Person B thinks person A has no redeeming qualities and Person B can't see how her statements could possibly be offensive. You're not a racist?

    March 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Frank a

    Ferraro is off her rocker. Does she really think voters in Iowa and other predominantly white states voted for Obama because he is black? If so she needs medical attention. Obama has run the most color blind campaign of any candidate.

    March 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Mike

    I think Ferraro hit the nail on the head & I admire her for making a statement like that. It was not a rascist comment. I feel most blacks are voting for Obama just because he is black & not because of the real issues at stake. If he was a white man he would not be ahead of Hillary. What the American people need to understand is a Vote for Obama is a Vote for Mcain and it is going to give us 4 more years of a government like Bush has done for 8 years. GOD HELP US ALL IF HILLARY DOES NOT GET IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    March 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. Nic

    EVERY time someone criticizes Obama, they're accused of racism? Since when? It's happened, sure, but the idea that it's the prevailing reaction from his supporters is absolutely absurd. This reads as incredibly paranoid. But yeah, I'm probably just saying that because she's white. And a woman. Like me.

    March 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Independent

    All of you agreeing, please explain how being a black man gives you an advantage in a presidential race? This is an absurd statement!!

    Wouldn't a black man have already been president? Gee, how smart are we in this country?

    March 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  14. schildy

    See, I expected Ferraro to apologize and for this to blow over. I had no idea that she was planning to dig herself down to the earth's core.

    I love second-wave feminists, but you 60's ladies really do have some GIMME GIMME, ME FIRST, NO, I'M MORE OPPRESSED issues with the black community, dontcha?

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    She's wrong. It's not a fact. Wasn't Jesse Jackson black? Wasn't Al Sharpton black? What about Shirley Chisolm?

    It's not about race. It's about style. Get it right, Ferarro!

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Celia

    By the way a great author for her to read about this particular topic would be bell hooks (small b, small h). She is a well known author and professor at Boston College.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. James

    How can someone state an opinion and then claim it is a fact- that is the ultimate in hubris.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. Robert McCutcheon

    Isn't Clinton's marriage to a former president a little more politically convenient than Obama's skin color? If being African-American is so politically empowering, why has there never been an African American president?

    Worth noting: Ferraro made similar remarks about Jesse Jackson during his presidential run.

    Is she a racist? I don't know or care. A bit warped? Perhaps. Is she causing unnecessary drama for a political party that needs stand united to win in November ? Definitely.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. chris

    Obama stands out because he is African-American. America is not nearly as racist as the African-American community thinks. And America is out to prove it by casting an affirmative action vote.

    Obama has no real leadership experience. He has never run a business or a state. If he was white, he would not beat John Edwards.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Angry in Ohio

    Dear HRC,

    This comment from your campaign is the FINAL STRAW in the series of comments in your campaign. You will NEVER get my vote because of your trickery and devisive ways. You will ruin the democratic party if you and your campaign continue with such foolishness and turn young voters, black voters, and high-educated voters like myself to the republican party or even worse to disenfranchisement.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. Steve Kusheloff

    Mrs. Ferraro may not be a racist, but she obviously cannot see past the color of Senator Obama's skin if she thinks that is the only reason for his success. My support for Obama is based on his message of hope and his sincere desire to bring people together to work for change in America. And Mrs. Ferraro is not being criticized now because she is white. She is being criticized for her completely superficial analysis of Senator Obama.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Chris

    Part of this story should also be her 1988 comment about Jesse Jackson from a Washinton Post story: "If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race." Ferraro has a history of making absurd racially charged comments like this.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. A. Harrison

    I dont' believe she's racist. I think her comments which were not well delivered or aticulated were taken out of context.

    If educated people thought about what she said, you would realize she is right by perspective.

    March 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Scott M.-Kalamazoo, MI

    Whether or not it is fact, this is just another example of how the Clinton camp is using underhanded tactics to get this campaign season off the message of hope so that she can reap the benefits of a divided Democratic party. The Clintons were once my heroes but I have lost all respect for the way they have ran their campaign. It's a shame that a couple that once truly had the American peoples best interest at heart can now only think about whats in it for them. Go home Hillary.

    March 12, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. A win is a win

    I am a white woman who will not vote for Hillary if she is the nominee. The majority of Obama supporters I know are white. I am not sure what the media is doing by constantly trying to diminish Obama's wins- I actually heard one media outlet say that Obama ended Hillary's winning streak. . . her "streak" was one day- 2 actual states, compared to his 12. The media will decide who the nominee is well before Pennsylvanians vote.

    March 12, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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