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. John B, Florida

    What I find interesting is that no one has mentioned that the only reason that Hillary is where she is because she is Bill Clinton's wife. Her whole campaign has been her running on her husband's record, not hers. Can she please stop using the 90's as her record. Those were Bill's accomplishments

    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. Kay, Florida

    PUH-LEASE. This isnt the first time ole' Ferraro has pulled the race card.

    She said the SAME EXACT WORDS about Jesse Jackson in 1984- LOOK IT UP!

    Fool me once, shame on you (!), fool me twice...

    Lets not get distracted from our goal here people- Obama 08!

    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. rj

    she needs to just fade away and take billary with her. what a poor excuse for a politician. i think she's the one that taught billary to cry–now she needs to teach her to step away.

    March 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. sharon

    Hillary should remove her from her campaign immediately, but she won't because she is behind the remarks. Having someone else do her slam bashing of her opponent. Can't people see through all of this, Hillary will do anything to get the nomination.

    I wonder what the rest of the world watching this election on TV thinks of our democracy her in America. We try to preach democracy to all other countries and look at what we have become???? Bickering, slam bashing, liars, cheats and just plain disgusting people. Why can't we for once, set an example for the world. Hillary could care less what she is doing to achieve the White House. The Clintons are not and never were what everyone thinks or thought they were.

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Kevin

    The fact of the matter is that she is right, about both Obama and herself... The country is looking to open up to more than just White men, so both Obama and Ferraro in 1984 (and Clinton today) get consideration they would not otherwise get....That is a good thing up to a point, but in the end we need the best PERSON for the job, and it is sad that more qualified candidates with better resumes like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson are pushed aside....But we still have John McCain to turn to.

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. matt

    your right.. when your right, your right.. and your right

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Deborah Peoples

    Geraldine Ferraro is just the tip of the Clinton racist iceberg! The Clintons and all their "liberal friends" have shown their true colors in this campaign. For years they have hidden behind their facade of being color blind but the minute they were confronted with the possibility of losing to a person of color their true nature showed. the sad part is both America and the democratic party are being duped by them. These people are willing to divide and destroy this country just so she can have a check in the win column. What they are deliberately doing is setting this country back years but then they just don't care.

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. D R

    The fact is that Obama is qualified for this job! It is not because he is a different color, so that makes her statement racist. It's just like Hillary Clinton being in this place because she is a women! The Clinton's and their political war machine are ruining the election process! She will ruin her political career, and will tarnish everyone around her. Ferraro should apologize and withdraw her support! Hillary is starting to loose some of the feminist support also!

    Obama 08

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Pete

    Consider this, Democrats. Many of you are backing a candidate whose surrogates are arguing that Obama is an Affirmative Action. candidate. A Democratic campaign is overtly appealing to white voters who fear black candidates. George Wallace is laughing his behind off down in hell.

    Answer me this question, Hillary supporters. How exactly is Hillary going to garner the 90% black vote that she's going to need to win a general election?

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    No Ms. Ferraro, I'm not attacking your comments because you're white. I'm attacking your comments because you're old and stupid. We have a chance to truly unite this nation and you're against it? Get some better meds.

    March 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. NYCrepublican

    I have to agree with Ms. Ferraro. Barack Obama is where he is in the primary contest because many democrats are caught up in the idea of electing the first black president, regardless of qualification. Four years ago, another first-term U.S. senator ran for president on a platform similar to Mr. Obama's and could not generate nearly as much excitement. Why not? His name was John Edwards, & he was just another white male candidate in a field full of them. Similarly, Hillary Clinton wouldn't be where she is now if not for the fact that she is a woman who married the most astute politician of our generation. Had she not started her political career as Bill Clinton's wife, she never would have had a shot at the presidency. Either way, John McCain is the most qualified candidate out there, and will be the next president if the voters of this country know what is good for them.

    March 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. tww

    Way to go Geraldine. Maybe you should be running for President. I am sick and tired of all this childish bickering between the candidates. It's good to know that someone still has the guts to stand up and speak the truth.

    March 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Bukky, Baltimore

    Mr. Tired of Clinton AKA Scott Hughes... you've hit the nail on the head. If Obama were White, the race would already be over.

    To all that think his is winning because of the black vote... I'm sure the people of montana, idaho, maine, vermont... may have something to say about that being that there may be 15 black people in all those states combined.

    Yes he gets 90% of the Black vote but he also gets 46-50% of the white vote (not counting the south) Ask your self why the only place Obama doesnt get into the upper 40's in the white vote is in the South.

    March 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Kosmickat

    Ms. Ferraro is just stating facts. In all states with a large black voter population blacks have recently voted 9 to 1 in favor of Barack. How racist is that? Whites have only voted for Hillary 6 to 1 in these states, so I guess blacks are more racist than whites, funny how CNN doesn't spin it that way? Racism is a two sided coin but liberals especially get caught up in the black-guilt crap/trap. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame blacks for voting for him, heck you would expect that wouldn't you? The first black man to truly have a good chance at being President, I would think most blacks are feeling very empowered by that, as they should be. That is entire the point; this is a normal and natural phenomenon, not some hateful Republican plot like some folks would have you believe. It is a natural outgrowth of differing social attitudes, people should be celebrating the diversity instead of decrying it. Isn't this the American ideal at it's absolute finest (so far)? Tell where else in the world could this happen but in America?

    March 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Jeff - Illinois

    Obama is also crushing Hillary among college-educated voters.

    Just because those people have gone through higher education, they think its ok to vote for the more intelligent candidate. How dare they?

    The Clinton women-voters are sexist for voting for Clinton, even though she has less experience than Obama.

    March 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. TheLeftNut

    Geraldine may not be a racist.

    But she sure is good at saying stupid things.

    Now is NOT the time to be rationalizing.

    March 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. Suzie

    Hillary will NEVER get my vote now. How IGNORANT can her campaign be!?? WOW!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. O-Question

    Can some one explain how one candidate received more than 90% of the votes in a democratic election? If it wasn't for race, what was it? FYI: it never happened before.

    This woman spoke the truth !!!! whether you liked it or not.

    March 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. Ogoigbe Lawrence

    Surely by her utterances,the CLINTON camp are already anticipating a
    defeat,infact they are accepting it through her.

    March 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. B, USA

    She is in the same old demographics that put us in this present predicament, they had their turns, they made bad decisions and the moment the young people of this country decide to get involved, they are crying gender and race all over and they'll stop at nothing to get to power, power that they had and couldn't achieve much, couldn't bring the country together, they not only would victimize, they would also pretend to be vic tims at the same time.
    Let them go ahead and play the if I can't have it, no one else can game, the only person that benefits from this would be a President Mcain, and that is what all indications are showing beacause the DEMORATIC PARTY is on the verge of being damaged beyond repair, at least not in time for November.

    March 12, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. Jim

    It's interesting that the Time headline next to this one on the CNN website is "Obama Win Defined By Race" Isn't that basically proving her point?

    March 12, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. gary

    Common CNN let me speak my comments jerks. You want to be bias again ,like you havnt been through this whole race.

    March 12, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Mandi Locke

    This is just another example of how close Hillary likes to keep her lobbyist friends. She needs Geraldine to make money for her, but also to say the things that she herself can't say and get away with. Catty, catty, ladies...

    March 12, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. Tim, DC

    Another instance of Clinton turning a blind eye to racism in her own campaign (if only she read what her supporters write in the PoliticalTicker comments!).

    March 12, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. Don Bilbrey

    I agree 100% with Mrs. Ferraro that she is just stating facts. I fel that we do not need a person in the White House who is constantly using racing to gain popularity as Obama has before going to the South and now. This could only cause more racial tensions if he is in the office.

    March 12, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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