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. Linoq

    Please vanish, we are very tired of you

    March 20, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Gbenga

    It seems CNN and other media need some news to carry. I can advise them that they are so many news in the US about foreclosure, job losses and increase in unemployment filling instead of putting up sound bites from Geraldine.

    Clinton News Network (CNN) can get over it, and move on to something we care about....we dont care about these sound bites.

    March 20, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Jarisha

    She's right – when she says that she doesn't have a clue. She can't believe racism from her mother's generation? What kind of nonsense is that?

    March 20, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. mj

    Let's put this behind us and go forward with more pressing issues. Obama made a fabulous speach, from his heart and based on his experiences. That is more than most politicians do and it was a courageous thing to do but now it's over and we need to move forward. We also need to start trying to unite the democratic party instead of pulling it apart.

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Morgan, Seattle WA

    He NEVER said it was okay to "beat up on white people". In fact he message was just the opposite. This lady is a piece of work.

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Trish

    So now that Obama is moving on from this unfair media creation of a story, the clinton supporters are doing their darndest to keep it in the news and CNN Is falling all over itself to oblige them.

    It's funny how there used to be responsible standards for journalism. These days it seems that those who deliver the most extreme opinions, right or wrong, control the coverage.

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. scott, tx

    so I suppose remarks made by Pat Robertson and Jerry Farwell are ok? They even have there own TV shows, but it's ok that children listen to them, right? They have been "spewing" hatred for years and provided support and money to numerous presidents over the years, but that's ok?...we'll overlook them?

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Carmen

    Geraldine, your ill-advised statement doesn't make you a racist, just like Obama said in his speech. Now, go sit down somewhere. Your 15 minutes of fame is over! You may not be a racist but you sure are becoming annoying. Give it a rest, lady.

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. B

    Could this be another attempt to continue the story and continue to try to hurt Obama's campaign? Remember, it is not about the people, it's about winning. I know that if Clinton wins or is given the nomination, I will vote but it will be the first time not for a democratic nominee.

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. Just Capri

    She's back?? Now I am totally convinced that her remarks and subsequent behaviour is all a part of Hillary's conscious efforts to use subconscious bias to her advantage. Stop with the White woman in distress ploy, already! It's shameful and actually turning progressive thinking women against Hillary!

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Yvonne

    Good for you Ferrara,
    Obama is a good man but he was reaching when he compared her remarks to Rev. Wright. There is no comparison. As a Catholic and minority I too heard angry words from my priest against the war and the injustice of immigrants but again, there is no comparison to the anger displayed by Rev. Wright.

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. Smartone;

    A lady that will not let the mainstream media dictate what she can say....Words,,,Just Words.....

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. Jeff E.

    Boy, this woman is out to lunch.

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Enough already

    Hagel is right we DO need a new political party!! You Obama folks are just down right ugly in your comments, manners – the list goes on. Yuk!!!

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Steve From Dallas

    Truth hurts.... If any other candidate would have run for President with the pathetic resume Obama has ... they would not be in the race at this point ...

    Geraldine was right...

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. tired and frustrated (in the primaries)

    This is totally out of hand... We might as well just admit defeat as Dems now if this is where this is headed.

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Truth seeker

    This whole issue about race and racism is so explosive, I don't think anybody wins. Seriously, no one wins by pointing fingers. The voters do not deserve to focus on the issue of racism. We should move to alter the discourse to make the Media focus on the issues that matter most, like the issues that the candidates discuss at Town Hall meetings.

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. Janice

    Ferraro is nothing like Wright...she made a valid observation. She did not advocate hate in her speeches like Wright did.

    Obama made poor judgement in listening and supporting Wright for the past 20 years. Is this the kind of [non] judgement we want in our commander in chief.

    Scary if Obama wins the nomination.

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. Rich

    This is borderline ridiculous, she is wrong on so many counts. Another distractions from what is truly important.

    March 20, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Larry

    My Comment needs no moderation. Neither does Ferraro's comment.

    March 20, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Carla F. Mollica, Albuquerque, NM

    no, comment – can't see arguing with the idiots above me.

    March 20, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Leila

    Who would want to be lumped in the same category as Jeremiah Wright? I understand why she would be upset about that!
    And remember, Ferraro is not Clinton's spiritual leader and Hillary does not go to her to seek counsel when she makes major decisions.

    March 20, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Vig

    People just don't like truth – they can't handle the truth – Ferraro said something true in a way that was not politically correct. Obama is lucky to be where he is right now – what has he done to deserve a presidential nomination – absolutely nothing.

    March 20, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Best

    This is sad that we have to go back too this. She might as well run for president sense she wants to be in the spot light. I really dont care what some ones rev. said speak of the issues ppl

    March 20, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. carol

    She's absolutely right.
    Obama was gracious in defending Wright as not all bad, but to compare Ferraro's one off-hand statement with Wright's lifetime of hate-mongering was absurd. And to compare his Grandmother to Wright was indefensible

    March 20, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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