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. Chris from San Antonio

    Not racist?

    Go tell Al Sharpton how lucky he is to be black and running for president.
    All ya gotta be is black, right Gerry?

    March 12, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. AntiBrenda

    America will never be free of racist pigs until people like this woman are wiped out. Can you imagine her being your neighbor and you are not white? God will wipe all these swines out of humanity way.

    March 12, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. SB

    She is despicable and a shame to all women!

    March 12, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. Black Male Dem

    I wonder why Hillary only disagreed with Geraldine Ferraro's statements. Shouldn't she have denounce...oops, I mean REJECTED them? I think Hillary is two faced and will do anything to become president, including playing the race card, which Obama, to his credit, has not done.

    March 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. ZeenaMaria

    As a white "woman" I voted for Obama- not because of my white liberal guilt or he is black or I do not like Hillary. I respect Hillary but her message of "experience" is sth that I just cannot understand. What experience does she have and on what basis she is going to fight with McCain if she is banking on "experience"...Where as I can get his message of "change"...

    March 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. Double standard?

    I'm curious ... what would have happened to an Obama supporter who said Hillary is only where she is because she's a woman?

    Obama would've taken the HIGH ROAD and fired him/her! Too bad Hillary is encouraging the KITCHEN SINK approach.

    March 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. bobw

    "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

    ....but she's not racist.

    March 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. SaneTexan

    RE: TRW: As a white man, I will say if Obama gets the nomination, I will write in Hillary. Geraldine was so right on with her statement. You supporters and the biased media have labeled anyone who questions Obama as a racist while you vote for OHB because he is part black. It's pretty clear to most Americans who is racist here- African Americans. BTW- if you think that your candidate is going to win red states, you really are naive! Anyone but Obama in 08!

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Jim

    Ferraro is basically correct in her statement. If any white or female candidate had a record as thin as his, they would not have been lionize by the democratic leadership as he has been. And after all that, his record in the senate is worse than it was back in Illinois.

    Does any one really think Kennedy would have endorse a white candidate that still supports a minister that praises a racist and anti-semitic figure – say David Duke?

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Joseph

    Ms. Ferraro, travel back in time and we will vote for you to finally divide USA. However be reminded that today, we are working for a unified America that eliminates your language. Those days you witnessed 'human ownership' are burried.

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Lance

    The truth is the truth. It may be uncomfortable to hear and think about, but it is still true. Obama would not be where he is if he wasn't an African American. Do you think he would be picking up 90% of the black vote otherwise? Honestly ask yourself that. Without that voting block he would already have been finished off.

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. John W Stone

    Hmmmm....just a few days ago Camp Hillary called for one of Obama's volunteer staff (a female Proffessor ) to be FIRED for calling Sillary a "monster". She left the campaign. Geraldine Ferraro makes racial comments and stands by/repeats the comments and says she will leave if asked. Why isn't Hillarious asking?

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Barackstar, CO

    For the record: Based upon Clintonian logic, Obama should claim he's the expert on health care for all the work Michelle has done in the medical industry.

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. Art

    Here we have woman who was not veted enough (or rather failed to disclose her husband's shady dealings) who led our party to one of its worst defeats supporting another woman who refuses to disclose her tax returns with a husband who the NY Times reports has had some questionable financial dealings. The last thing we need is another surprise that wrecks our party's chances in November. What are in those tax returns? This whole thing could be seen as an attempt at diversion from the Clinton camp.

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  15. Angelina Julie

    This woman just happens to be telling the truth.

    The race in Mississippi shows how racially divided this country is. The sad thing is it isn't caucasians doing it. They're voting for everyone from Obama to Clinton to McCain to Ron Paul, because they seem to be voting "issues" and voting fair and square. Can't say the same for the others. Shame on all of you for perpetuating what you spent a lifetime trying to get rid of. You set racism back about 100 years with this election.

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  16. FL Dem

    As a white male in FL that is absolutely sick of negative attacks and using fear to get votes (just like Bush did in 2004), I support Obama because of his positive message and his policies. I have never voted for a republican in my life but I will certainly vote for McCain before voting for Hillary. She is certainly willing to say anything and use any tactic to win votes; even if the tactics are unethical, racist, sexist, or simply incorrect.
    This fight between Obama and Clinton is dividing the Democratic Party and will certainly make a big impact on the election in November. Clinton needs to give up and let the healing begin.

    Obama 08!!!!

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. Ken

    Geraldine Ferraro is once again trying to play the race card for her buddy Hillary Clinton to divide the country rather then unite the country. She is Hillary Clinton's close friend and on her Financial Committee. Once again it shows the true Clinton machine in action.
    Clinton's will do anything to win or steal the nomination, even if it destroys the Democaratic Party. I have been an active member of the Democratic Party for forty years and this type of behavior by Hillary turns my stomach. She has lost my vote.

    March 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. intellegant voter

    what difference does it make.......CLINTON cannot catch up....and if florida and michican revote obama will be over the 2025 delegates needed to win the nomination.....i just read an add that said obama has offset hillarys RESOUNDING victories in texas and way.....her net gain of delegates between the 2 states was 4people......this is all media hype.....the dnc needs to step in and call a hault to this before permanent damage is done........OBAMA 08

    March 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. Anna

    As a bi racial lady (half white/half Korean) I found her comment very racist. She should be fired by Hillary, but I'm sure she wont. The Clinton camp love negative attacks, and they cant face the facts and blame others and never apologize.

    March 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. Paul

    Who here can think back to the school days and tell me the difference between fact and opinion? If it's a fact, then it doesn't need to be agreed with; it just is. Like saying you agree that water is wet. Fine, but it doesn't matter whether or not you agree because it is. The fact that we disagree over this matter is sufficient indication that it's not fact.

    March 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. GK in IL

    Anyone notice that the next article on was that Obama's win in MS was defined by race?

    March 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. Tapera

    It's a fact that race and gender still plays a factor in a 1st world contry just like it does in 3rd world countries.

    It's a fact that Obama has had black's support but at the same time Hillary has had whites and women's support.

    Would she be where she is if she wasn't a white woman and a former first lady? Would she have garnered the votes that she gets if she didn't have brand name recognition that she has?

    There is always a bias in the way people think but I belive that if you are going to be a commentator then please do comment on both sides

    March 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. James

    I can not believe that someone actually lets this person on camera. Her comment was patently racist and a sign of a bigot. In the 80's, she made a similar comment on Jesse Jackson.

    Here is the fact. Obama has won 26 states because he was a better campaigner, has a better message, and is the better candidate. Many of these match ups were in places where there was little to no African American population of sufficient amount (such as Wyoming, Idaho, etc.)

    Second fact, Geraldine has been a supporter of Hillary Clinton since Day 1. The fact that her candidate is doing poorly has seen to impact her now.

    Third, when John Lewis supported Hillary, where were these comments? When Barack was campaigning in Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, etc., where were these comments? Coincidence that these comments are floated at the last day of the Mississippi primary? all the pundits are talking about race and belittling the wins Barack had in SC, GA, LA, and MS. Nice play, Hillary camp.

    Finally, the fact you say a racist ignorant comment is one thing. The fact the nation speaks up and says that such comment is wrong. The biggest issue is after you've been told how wrong you are, you go on national tv and state the comments again and blame everything on the now "black conspiracy", is just plain sad.

    Please Americans, vote for change and vote for an end to this political spin game by the Clintons and their surrogates.

    As for super delegates, do you really think at this point a continued election is good for the party? Do you really think you will ever have a party left if democrat elites, such as Geraldine Ferraro, steal the election for Hillary. Wake the heck up. Do your job and end this ridiculous campaign of Hillary Clinton.

    March 12, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. Dave

    Even though I really don't want a Republican in the White House this fall, can any of you grasp the significance that Hillary Clinton still has Geraldine Ferraro on her team?? How can any rational person reconcile the message of "change" and still employ Fritz Mondale's running mate? I honestly didn't even know she was still alive. Sorry, Hill, you're losing me here. In fact the whole "Bama for VP" thing is self-inconsistent and disturbing. If she can't manage her campaign team how is she going to manage Congress, the Supreme court appointments, Iraq, China, Russia, or any other significant agenda?

    March 12, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. Robert

    Ferraro is 100% correct.

    March 12, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
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