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. A. Walker

    As a black male, I happen to agree with Ferraro's comments as being fact. I dont agree however with the timing of her comments, I think all will agree that the Clinton camp knew exactly what they were doing when she made that comment, but oh, well thats how the game is played right.

    Unfortunately politics is dirty, and for the first time there are two candidates that have achiles heels that WILL be exploited... He has his race to deal with.....And she has her husbands indescretions.

    MCCAIN and LEBERMAN... thats my choice!

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Mark

    Why is everyone so upset? She told the truth and the exits polls back up her statement. Based on everyone's reactions, this just goes to further show our country is not ready for a black president.

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. DC in DC

    Hillary needs to finally accept responsibility for the talking points of her most noteworthy supporters. After such a retaliation against Ms. Power, Hillary needs to step up and act like a better candidate for President of the United States. Not another "fingers in my ears George W Bush".

    Eventually, Hillary will need to realize that she can't effectively spin her way out of this and learn to choose better noteworthy supporters. Case in point, Gov. Spitzer.

    Come on Hillary, it's time to accept responsibility for your people and act like the position you keep on telling us that you're ready for 'on Day 1'. Again, Obama has shown us that his judgment is clearly better and more well defined, despite his own political best interests. As a Southern white man, I voted for Obama and he continues to show me that my choice was correct.

    Head on back to NY, Hillary. It's a state you won.

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. jerry

    when you talk about experience, who was actually qualified to run this country, do you have to have money, be an actor, What ?, you jump in and learn a job, just like any position

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. Daniel

    I'm sorry, but we are too caught up with there being a "first" black or female president. The Clintons and Obama are politicians. They will say whatever necessary to get the job. I don't think that Sen. Obama is any cleaner than Sen. Clinton. The worst part of that is that you don't know until it's too late... Then you "hope" and "Believe" that it AINT True!

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. Eyes wide Open!

    I'm almost certain CNN will not publish this truth I am about to tell but I will attempt it anyway. This comment is apart of the Clintons "Southern Strategy" and "Maestroh" is dead on point! She was sent out and no one knew who she is. Fact is how do you get away with a comment like this? Why, you send out the old "Lady"(woman) whose not "Bill Clinton" to say it and plant it out there. Hillary's been playing the woman card successfully and been getting away from it. They are only doing this to rally the White Voters and Closet Democratic Racists who need/want a reason to be upset b/c a black candidate is "finally" appealing to more than African Americans. It almost appears as if Hillary is strapping a bomb to herself to take the whole party down if she doesn't win and take away the true chance of a Democratic whitehouse if it's not her.

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Mike

    Here's a fact. Hillary is only in this race because people think electing her is the same thing as re-electing Bill. Take away Bill, bye bye Hill.

    When this race started I preferred Obama, but thought I would be satisfied with Hillary. Now, if Hillary is nominated I will vote for McCain. I am starting to understand why half the country despises this woman. She has earned my distain throughout her campaign. Not denoucing this kind of ignorant drivel, is as good as endorsing it.

    March 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Janet Smith

    He has no experience, yet he is where he is today because he is a black man??? Ok!!!! Right...that makes a lot of sense. This is America right???

    Would Clinton be where she is, if she didnt have that last name? Those power hungry Clintons need to step aside, so we can have a change in this country.

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. Michael

    what a pitty? I suppose the Reverend Jesse Jackson was white? the bane of the clinton campaign is their failure to recognize that Barack Obama represents something Americans and world are craving for. its not his race.

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  10. Nick R

    wow. If anyone is playing the race card, its not Obama for condemning her first round of comments but Mrs. Ferraro for bringing up all this race nonesense again. This is no different then how Bill tried to make it all about race in South Carolina – the Clinton strategy to make Obama the "black candidate" instead of just the "candidate" based on his on merits and strengths.

    Obama quickly canned Powers after a remark that Clinton found offensive, yet Clinton seems like she is encouraging it and I wouldn't be suprised if some of these comments aren't actually "plants" just like that student who was a plant at one of her rallys a month or two ago.

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. Robert

    As Rodney King, one of our nation's finest put it: "Can't we all just get along?"

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. M. S. Indiana

    How did Bill do with the blacks when he was running ?? thought he was the first black president... to me he looks kinda white

    But it is ok for women to stand behind Hillary...

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Brad, Obamaha NE

    @ Tired of Clinton

    AMEN brother, AMEN!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Independent

    Hilarys new campaign stategy is to connect with the Archie Bunkers in PA. We will hear a lot more about race and gender as we get closer to the primary in April.

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Alice Rea

    Wake up America!

    Obama needs a thorough examination of his ties with radical groups and criminals in Chicago.

    He has lied about his tie to Rezko during one of the debates.
    He has said he denounces a radical Islamic Farrakhan but continues to attend a church that supports Farrakhan.

    Read about Farrakhan and Rezko. Then think about who has real problems.

    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Brian



    March 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. JJ

    Please lady, Shut up!

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Ben

    This is ridiculous! Ferraro is right. America is in love with this narrative of race. BTW, why doesn't he ever talk about his white mother? He is multi-racial, and that in itself is a beautiful (and very American) thing. He has created this race issue, not Hillary. This is how he has garnered support. This is what he has banked on, and I can say this because I am black–so don;t you dare call me a racist!

    Also, Ferraro is an elected official, it is not the same as Susan Power–a professor and campaign worker, you cannot fire a respected member of the DNC.

    Hillary Clinton 08' – The candidate that has brought about change for African Americans, not just empty promises

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. Tony

    Just think of the backlash Obama would have gotten if someone from his camp said Clinton would not be where she is if she was not a woman or Bill Clinton's wife. More to Geraldine comment though, Obama is not the first black person to run for president, but has been the first to make such an impact. So that tells me that it has something more that being black. Let's move forward and see the candidates as two people running for the presidency. Can we do that? We continue telling the world that we are the smartest country in the world, but we are not showing that, are we?

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Douglas

    "everytime somebody says something about the Obama Campaign, they are called racist" This is an overstatement. There have been plenty of attacks on the Obama campaign that have not been labeled as racist attacks.

    This lady fails to recognize basic concepts about individual identity. For her to publicy mention that a successful campaign has been primarily based on race is a huge slap in the face to the credibility of both candidates. However, it points to a common perception in our society that has yet been acknowledged, "Are Blacks Equal to Whites?"

    If Obama was white and was winning due to a majority vote from white voter's, then would the success of his campaign still be due to his race?

    If so, then the majority of presidential candidates in the history of this country have won simply because they are white. I hope that everyone can see the problem with her perception....that was a very myopic plan on attack that she had lined up there.

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. Jessica, Michigan

    Its kind of hard to say something is FACT when in FACT we have no way of knowing where he'd be if he were anything other than who he is.

    Just like its a FACT that there's no way to know if Hillary Clinton would be where she is if she wasnt married to President Bill Clinton.

    Of course, if someone were to say that – Geraldine herself would be saying that is sexist...not a fact, sexist. Yet, suggesting where Obama would be is fact, and not racist?

    I agree though, Ferraro SHOULDNT have been the VP choice.

    Ironic that in such a sexist and racist society, two people (who by her logic) have no business being where they are, are in fact, where they are.

    Maybe we ALL are caught up in a moment??? Should we just vote for McCain since he's the lone white guy?

    Ferraro is just another example of whats wrong with Hillary's campaign. A lack of common sense.

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Don

    Any time you refer to one's race for anything, makes the comment racist! That is the fact you ignorant fool. In a time when all are to be equal humans will dignity should look past the colour of the skin.

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. vicki gentler

    Ms. Ferraro might not think of herself as a racist, but she is certainly willing to pull the race card out of the deck and throw it on the table. most other ethical minded people, decided that it had no place on the table. I believe, the racist shoe fits Ms. Ferraro's foot.

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. Rafique, New York

    I think this comment to help the republican candidate to win the national election on November not the Democratic candidate. Now
    Obama is the ikely to be the candidate and these comments not to win for Democratic but helping Republican and looks like Clinton people do not want to win in national election.

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. Burt

    She's right. If Obama was some white freshman senator no one would even consider him.

    March 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14