March 21st, 2008
06:20 AM ET
11 years ago

Ferraro: I am no Jeremiah Wright

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Ferraro isn't happy Obama compared her to Jeremiah Wright."]
(CNN) - Just over a week after she resigned her post on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign after making controversial comments about Barack Obama’s presidential bid, Geraldine Ferraro said she resented being compared the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the Illinois senator's recent speech on race relations.

"To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro told the Daily Breeze newspaper an interview published late Wednesday night. "He gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."

"What this man is doing is he is spewing that stuff out to young people, and to younger people than Obama, and putting it in their heads that it's OK to say `Goddamn America' and it's OK to beat up on white people," Ferraro also said of Wright. "You don't preach that from the pulpit."

Ferraro, a former congresswoman and the Democratic party's 1984 vice presidential nominee, stepped down from her fundraising post with the Clinton campaign last week after suggesting Obama's success in the presidential race can largely be attributed to the fact he is black.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept" she said in an earlier interview with the Daily Breeze.

Ferarro ardently defended her comments for days, but ultimately resigned because she said the Obama campaign was publicizing the comments to "hurt Hillary."

In his speech earlier this week addressing the uproar over Wright's sermons, Obama, said racial rhetoric had been injected by supporters of both campaigns. "On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action, that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap," he said. "On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation - that rightly offend white and black alike.

“…We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias,” he said. “But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Rev. Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality….”

In the interview Wednesday, Ferraro said she had "no clue" why Obama referenced her in the speech. She also expressed surprise the Illinois senator said he had heard his white grandmother utter racist remarks.

"I could not believe that," she said. "That's my mother's generation."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Geraldine Ferraro
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. Jen

    Geraldine's right. That's all there is to it.

    March 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. John S

    I just turned off CNN as Campbell Brown and CNN continue to stoke the Wright issue for ratings. There is no NEWS here. The issue is over. It was sickening to watch Campbell Brown, the very night after Obama spoke, grilling Donna Brazille to try to get her to move beyond Obama's eloquence and truth. Campbell asked – who was Obama speaking to (Blacks, Whites?). Brazille said he was speaking to America. Campbell was so disappointed in the answer – no divison there to exploit.

    This election is about one thing and one thing only – unity or division. If we want four more years of 50+1 where we get nothing solved validate what Hate radio is saying. Play into the division – it makes money afterall. If don't want that, if your McCain, Obama or Clinton supporter, talk about the issues.

    March 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. Jason Rieger

    I personally feel that her comments were much more racist than the reverend. He said that Hillary Clinton does not know how it is to be black, which seems to be true. Ferraro, on the other hand, said that Obama would not have been able to put up such a fight for the presidential nomination if it was not for his race. Considering that there have been other African American men that have attempted to run for president quite unsuccessfully, it seems that this can not possibly be the only reason for his success. Especially since he has the support of many young white voters, such as myself, that find his ideals much more important than his race.

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Louey the convert

    Someone please start ordering pizza's and Meals-on-Wheels for Ms. Ferraro. (Can't believe I supported her way back then...) Push her chair back to the window overlooking the pretty flowers, please. As Jon Stewart said, "finally we have a politician deliver a mature speech on race relations"... Go B.H.O.!

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. Doug

    Reverend Wright was speaking in Tongues and Ferraro was speaking tongue in cheek others have also played the game. What's the difference? I think it is dangerous to the fabric of the American nation. It generates hate and hostility. Somethings in this world are sacred and they shouldn't be messed with.

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Jorge

    Beat up white people ... HE NEVER SAID THAT?!?!?!?!

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Katherine Brown

    How can white America say Obama is a racist when he has a white mother. Obama have no control over what his former pastor speak on. Those statements was made by Rev. Wright not Obama.
    The Media has taken this out of context. I will continue to support Obama. Why is everyone coming down on Sen. Obama for someone else's view of the world. Those was not his beliefs.
    This is just another way for his non-supporters to bring a cloud over his head..
    Go Obama!!!!!!!!!!

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. Maria

    These darn baby boomers, they just don't get it. What she said implied race, he did not compare her to Reverend Wright. He called her out on it.
    Get over it, you're racist, you're a feminist and a racist just like a lot of folks. You can't understand race until you see that things you say and imply are racist and divisive.

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    i am so tired of hearning about rev. Wright. is this what american is about.. why we cant get on with something more important. American people are acting like a bunch of kids , if you dont wont Obama to be the President just come out and say it and stop all the what ever you wont to call it. most of you know that what its all about.

    March 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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