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. Robert

    She is just stating a simple fact, but again, who dares to say anything agaisnt the Obama camp, you may be accused of racism now. Just wait, if he gets elected, and you accuse him of anything, you may get something worse.

    March 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. DJahn Murray

    I am shocked insulted and outraged at the comments the former V.P. canidate had made. It shows a level of insensitivity that has no place in Ameria or the world! If these are the advisors Hillary has on her payroll she can keep them and her bid for president! Her campaign has turned into aslash and burn same old,same old style of politics! I am also disappointed with cnn for not drawing more attention to these racist comments! For Ferraro to suggest that Barrack is having an easier time because he's a black man iin America!?...Well she just showed her ignorance! Also the amount of coverage that was given to the comments made by Barrack"s advisor about Clinton being a monster, well there is no comparison to these racist comments Ferraro should resign now! Unless Hillary agrees with her comments!

    March 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. JoJo

    She is a racist... Point blank. I am sorry.

    March 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. MsUSA2

    Bravo Geraldine for speaking the truth and not backing down. What's going on now is REVERSE DISCRIMINATION, and only we can stop it by not going along.

    March 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. terry

    Your comment was just plain dumb! I think she just wanted attention, that's all.

    March 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. John, Texas

    Why would Obama play the "race card" – he doesn't benefit from it. He wants to earn all votes. Ferraro's comments were not even necessary. The argument could also be made that Sen. Clinton would not be where she is if not for the obvious reason. As a US Military Veteran I served with people of all races and we knew that we needed each other equally to be the most powerful military in the world. We worked with great leaders of all races and gender. Come on USA – put the racial divisions behind us so that we can deal with the real dangers of this world.

    March 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Mel

    I'm impressed that someone has finally had the guts to actually say what so many people feel...without worrying about backlash and without backing down. No matter what people want to admit, this election is all about race and gender. Just listen to comments around you.."this world's not ready for a woman president" or "this world's not ready for an african american president". It's crazy. These things are not what should be focused on...but unfortunately this just goes to show that we as Americans have a long way to go! God Bless Us!

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. Twoangrywomen

    This is about two Angry women namely Hillary and Ferraro trying to take their anger on some one. By saying and doing absurd thing like this to fill their empty heart. They are Very old who cares they are going to die tomorow.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Adam

    One of the reasons Rep. John Lewis switched his allegiance was because of the pressure he received to support the "black" candidate.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. Christian

    Of all the sorry, pathetic losers to grab the spotlight, Ms. Ferraro, you take the cake!! Please Obama campaign, stop responding to this garbage!!
    It's immaterial whether it's true or not. If there's never been a black or woman president before well...shouldn't voters have a right to take that into consideration and give someone other than a white man a chance?!
    So what happens is some people will vote for Barack cause he's black and others will vote for Hillary because she's a woman. But if these were the only factors at play, Jesse Jackson and Elizabeth Dole would have been president. Clearly, these are two qualified, intelligent candidates who ALSO attract attention because of the uniqueness of their race and gender in modern politics.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Michael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    Geraldine Ferraro should be aware that "hidden racism" is a double edge cuts both ways. To make such a statement is lowering herself to the same level as Hillary Clinton.......both of them scorned women. Times are changing Geraldine.........

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. Swane

    In defense of her comments, Ms. Ferraro offers the observation that she was chosen to be Mondale's running mate on the basis of her gender. And that therefore, it's not a big deal to say what she said about Obama, because she's said the same thing about herself.

    This is an absolute crock–although I think she actually believes it, which only confirms for me that she is deeply racist.

    While it was true that Ferraro was chosen by Mondale clearly because of her gender, nobody chose Obama for anything. He rose to where he is today on his intellect and oratory. For Ferraro to confuse Obama's accomplishments with her own experience of being cherry-picked is, as Obama said, "patently absurd."

    Did Obama out-organize Hillary in the post-Super Tuesday states because he was black? Was it his color that led him to choose smart advisers who, unlike Hillary's crew, don't snipe at each other and waste campaign funds? Ferraro is pathetic.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Maria

    As an Ohioan, I believe that if Obama were white, he would have won my state and would now have an even greater lead in the race. It's ludicrous to think he's ahead because he is African-American when the truth is he is ahead despite the fact that he is African-American. Anyone who thinks America is all of a sudden racism-free clearly hasn't watched a black man try to hail a cab at night nor have they looked at the voting data coming from rural Ohio.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Donovan

    There is no place in the world for this kind of dialogue to be tolerated by anyone – whether you believe it to be true or not. It is digusting that the media continues to promote these statements in anyway, shape or form. As well how they continue to break down the campaign in racial and gender lines.

    Yes racism and sexism still exists in this nation, and in politics influencing how some will vote, but the media has a responsibility to discourage this kind of talk – not encourage it by giving it press coverage, and by on their own talk shows speaking non-stop about the gender and race lines in politics.

    It only excacerbates the situation and encourages people who are making decisions based on race and gender to continue making those decisions when if instead everyone really looked at the issues we would go a great length to help, although slowly, break free from these racial and gender divides we have.

    Again I write for the umpteenth time to take a quote from Hillary, "Shame on YOU CNN, Shame on You" for the predicament of where this once suprsingly intellectual, bright race has turned to.

    NOTE: Everytime I write about the media's responsibilty, nothing gets published. When I write a quick one liner or two on another subject, it does. Why is this CNN? Afraid to be criticized? Of course I write this in hopes of you publishing it, as I see that when I did this before you do publish to discredit what I am saying by saying SEE we do post people's comments and that person is just loonie, and everything else they said must be also. I'm interested to see if you have publish this one, though I doubt it.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. jimi

    yeah, pretty weak logic by Mrs. Ferraro. you can't put up some hypothetical situation (what if Obama was white) and then call it "fact". the "fact" is Obama isn't white, anything else is speculation on the reality of some alternate universe. that sounds like science fiction

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. w.howell

    As someone that is referred to as mulatto (I'm not a mule) I don't take offense to this comment by Mrs. Ferrero and neither should Mr. Obama. There is actual truth to it and what a great truth, but the other fact that she seems to have left out is that Clinton"s popularity can also be based on the fact that she is (get ready for this) a female (oh no I didn't) . Can we get past all the minor yip yap and let this election be about an election.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Ryan

    The fact the Clinton campaign hasn't put a muzzle on this old windbag says they are tacitly approving what she's saying . . . more and more it becomes evident just who Hillary Clinton really is and how low she'll stoop.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. Carol

    How can anyone look at the Mississippi results which CLEARLY show a racial divide going on with Obama suuporters and not see the TRUTH and FACT in Ferraro's comments???!!! It's time Obama and his followers give up this stupid cry of "racism" every time he gets criticized or hears something he doesn't like! HE has caused this campaign to be divided along racial lines–NOT Hillary Clinton! Obama wants to use the race card to his advantage whenever it suits him.....and he DARES to imply he is "above" usual politics! He is NOT who we need to lead this country!!

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. djino

    vincent john don't think right but it's obvious to people of that kind racism don't have no room in this beautiful country someone better tell that old lady and hillary clinton that

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Jerry Tsai

    Ferraro's words are a half-truth that upon examination are revealed to be poor deductive reasoning.

    What is true about them: Many African-Americans are voting for Senator Obama because he is black. Never mind that he had to work to convince them that we was a worthy nominee (voting by A-As swung from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama over time, not instantaneously), She implies his A-A support is illegitimate and is based on the color of his skin. That is very likely true, although insulting to those A-As who choose Obama because of good reasons.

    What is patently false about them: She ignores the inherent advantage of Senator Clinton being a white woman and who in fact panders to women exhorting them to vote for a woman. By the numbers, women are the majority of the electorate. If we are going to participate in the politics of slice and dice, then white women are the largest fraction of voters out there. To slam Obama for receiving A-A support while not slamming Clinton for receiving an inordinate amount of female support (and of white support!) is hypocrisy. It's extremely likely that Senator Clinton's unreasoned support is far greater in magnitude than Senator Obama's unreasoned support. And that's before we even consider whether many Latinos may be racist.

    Does anybody really think Senator Clinton is NOT receiving votes just because she is a woman and just because she is white? As someone is is neither black nor white, I look at the candidates and I see Senator Obama as someone who has earned his way to the nomination.

    He has more years of legislative experience than Senator Clinton. He has accomplished far more in the Senate in 3 years than she has in 7 years. He takes great pains to speak to the issues and to not embellish his experience, while Senator Clinton inflates her experience and qualifications. He has run a smarter, better organized campaign than Senator Clinton. The truth is he has had to be better than Senator Clinton in every dimension just to overcome his strange (to American's ears) name and his race.

    Since when did being a black man in American society constitute being "lucky"? I have been discriminated against on occasion in this country, but I also know I was lucky not to be born black. It's sad, but obvious.

    Many black people have run for President over the years and have not received sufficient support of Democratic voters to win the nomination. Why is this year different? Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, etc., all went to Senator Obama by HUGE MARGINS.

    Hello, Ms. Ferraro, Senator Obama is not lucky, he is smart, determined, and earning every vote he gets. He wasn't gifted with millions of dollars from his spouse's foreign business dealings. He was not gifted with the support of 200 superdelegates the day he declared his run. He was not given a more than a hundred million dollars by corporate fat cats three months before Iowa. He wasn't given a free ride by the press just because he was a former President's spouse.

    Clinton's record is as insubstantial as steam, and everything she says is hot air. Ferraro conveniently ignores Clinton's lack of qualifications.

    Make no doubt. This is a coordinated effort of Clinton's campaign to diminish Obama, and Ferraro is the surrogate that volunteered to do it. Another out-of-touch politician who hopes we all fail to understand history and fail to realize that just because Clinton (and Ferraro) say it does not make it true.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Urbandale

    Whatever old thing, you are racist and jealous. Believe it or not, Obama is going to be your president and you will bow to his feet.

    March 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. Wilma, in Georgia

    I agree with Ms. Ferraro. She's just speaking the truth. But people doesn't want to hear the real facts.

    PS. Ms. Ferraro would make a GREAT V.P for Hillary. That would really make History !

    Go Ms. Ferraro !

    Hillary 2008

    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. TheLeftNut

    It's nice to see Democrats focusing on what's right for the country and note getting on their soapboxes trying to make stupid arguments that really won't matter in November.


    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. Jermika, Texas

    So where's her resignation? And Hillary's tax returns for that matter?

    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. MsUSA2

    oh and btw, Michelle's done a terrible job. Paid very highly, got into schools on affirmative action and not even proud to be an American.

    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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