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. mississippi jimbo

    Once again America feels the need to pile it on. Has anyone really disected Ms. ferraro's remarks? I read into it truth. What she completely failed to do is explain why Senator Obama has that position. He worked hard, worked thru problems and distractions, kept a positive message throughout this campaign to get where he is and turned his uniqueness into celebrity. If he were white...(see Biden, Edwards, Dodd)...If he were a woman (look into the mirror Hillary)...hmm, maybe Ferraro is correct. It was a very point of fact statement she uttered, and she should be getting credit for her insight and points for her bravery. Not condemnation. Her failure is her alignment with the Clinton campaign-the former "Black Presidents," and the media's insatiable lust to cover any statement and turn it into a gaffe. By the way from his perspective, Reverend Wright's comments weren't totally wrong either. Criticize both for poor adjectives, not for poor reasoning. Your opinion may not be what reality is. Grow some thicker skin America and start trying to understand and learn from different opinions instead of whining about them. Together we can be stronger.

    March 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. leah

    ughhhh...go away!

    March 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. Chido Williams

    I guess its hard to swallow-too late damage was done but you know what, campaign is not about all these petty issues-IT IS ABOUT FIXING THE ECONOMY, PUTTING AN END TO THESE WARS AND MAKING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAFE. THESE ARE THE PRIORITIES. LOOK FOR ANOTHERr VOLUNTEER JOB.'

    March 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. Cuauhtemoc

    Geraldine Ferraro expressed surprise that there were white females from her mother's generation who were racist?! Seriously? She seriously said that?!

    I am trying my best to give you the benefit of the doubt, Ms. Ferraro. You were part of my dreams for an America where we could put aside gender differences and elect you to the second highest office in the land. I supported you then but I just can't understand how you came to be so completely out of touch.

    I did some research and the only thing I can find that makes sense of your complete disconnect from reality and your apparent inability to stop talking before you've had the chance to say something even more outrageous, insulting and ignorant than last time is this from the "Bizarro" entry in Wikipedia:

    ". . .several versions of Bizarro have appeared. . .all of them inversions of Superman. . .with gray or chalk-white skin, a twisted sense of logic which typically manifests as a superficial 'opposite' of anything Superman would do or say and a resultant speech pattern ('I am going to kill you' would mean 'I will save you' in Bizarro speech). Due to . . .imperfections, Bizarro is frequently a foe of Superman. . ."

    Here is the saddest part, Ms. Ferraro: You occupy the dead center of Hillary Clinton's electoral demographic. And this is why she will lose.

    March 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Sheila

    I see we have made a CHOICE to continue race talk instead of talking about who should be our next President. Well, I DON"T WANT TO BE DISTRACTED BY FAKE RACE DISCUSSIONS. I want to talk about who should be our next president.


    March 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. issie

    Ferraro needs to sit down and take care of herself. She looks awful. Is she well?

    March 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. Charlie

    I think some of you guys who are calling Geraldine Ferraro a racist should read this part of the same speech that Obama gave: "To wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding."

    March 20, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. tonybanderas74

    thats right MRS.FERRARO rev.wright is a hate monger, your just saying it like it is.ready too have the gop 4 another 8 years if you all go with the biggest lie OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!

    March 20, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Where's Your Mom From?

    My grandmother has made racist remarks and she lived in that era. The more I listen to that woman, the more I feel like a moron for paying attention to her. Enough already.

    One America !!!!

    March 20, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Meah Clay

    "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.'"

    LOL, "No Clue"? I'll give a few: Jim Crow Laws; public and televised beatings of women, children, and men by public officials for sitting in restaurants owned by people somehow offended by their shades of skin; lynchings . . . I guess she thought that MLK's dream and Rosa Park's determination were "moot" by that time. What the hell were they thinking? Freedom had already rung from the Birmingham jail in which MLK sat all the way to the seat that Rosa Parks refused to rise from.

    I suggest she pick up a modern textbook. Or perhaps if American history books dedicated just a little more than a column on a page to "African" American history, that information would be more readily accessible. Then again, that's just an excuse for my generation – I'm 23 – I'm sure Ferraro had access to first-hand accounts. . . Oh, never mind. . . I forgot. By the time her mother and Barack's grandmother's generation was born, that had been a thing of the past, such that even the use of racially offensive language was no longer.

    March 20, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. K Jeffs

    I find it difficult to believe Ms. Ferraro cannot believe her remarks can reasonably be equated to what Jeremiah Wright said. They were equally offensive. The minister spoke in anger but at least much of what he said could, by a reasoning person, be seen to have the ring of truth in much of his comment. We must seek to understand anothers point of view. If anyone of us had suffered the prejudice and sanctioned bigotry present in this country for generations how could we not harbor resentment and anger and lash out at the injustice? My mother is from the same generation as Ms Ferraro's and yes I have heard the terms she professes not to have heard. I still here it today in certain parts of this country. Jermiah Wright doesn't speak for Senator Obama. Just as Geraldine Ferraro doesn't speak for Hillary Clinton. Can we all move on to important matters and leave this nonsense in the dust bin?

    March 20, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Margaret

    she should just stop talking and go away. Nothing she has to say is of interest to a much more evolved society.

    March 20, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. D. Tate

    I don't have a problem with what Rev. Wright said because he was not lying about America. He was not preaching hate, he was telling the truth. I am a 34 year Black woman and I've had to endure white people calling me and people I know the "N" word. We've been followed around department stores like we were thieves, we've all been turned away from some jobs because of the color of our skin. One of my cousins went to and graduated from SMU, and she had to deal with racist people on campus. I can't believe that whites are offended by what Rev. Wright said. They haven't had to endure the pain or experience the struggles black people have been, and are still going through. We can have A-plus credit and can't get a loan. In the state of Texas we still can't live in certain neighborhoods because we will get a cross burned in our yards, hit in the face with two-by-fours, have dogs attack us, and get our garages spray painted with racial slurs, and to top it off, have the police tell us to get over it. They haven't had their loved ones stopped by the police because they were "black". They haven't had someone in their family gunned down by the police because they were "black". They haven't had somone in their family lynched because of the color of their skin. What he said is real! I personally feel that "white" America cares about my race when it comes to votes for elections and money for taxes, but other than that, they don't!

    March 20, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. Joan

    Ferraro – go away!!!!

    March 20, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Disgusted

    The fossil is back. Please sweep her back into her cave. CNN, why don't you give this crap a break. I can barely affford the gas to drive to work. The cost of food is sky rocketing, and jobs have dried up! I am so ashamed that the world continues to see how messed up our society truly is.

    March 20, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. Obama supporter / Billary protestor

    Who let her escape from the old folks home? They need to come and pick her back up, bingo starts at 3PM. How could an old washed up wanna be vice-president know what is relevant today, go away no one wants your opinion.

    March 20, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. A. Harrison, Atlanta Georgia

    Right on Sister!

    Hillary 2008!

    March 20, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. Rob

    Is she retarded??? Did she not grasp that Obama was trying to separate her from Rev. Wright's level of divisive comments? This explains why she spent 4 days trying to spin her silly comments while only verifying she was really being racist the whole time. She should have stopped with the 1st comment about Obama, but she is dug deeper into a Pat Buchanan/O'Reilly/Sean Hannity level of bigotry--which Obama correctly called out as categorizing his campaign as "some sort of affirmative action exercise".

    March 20, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  19. Europe

    Ms. Ferraro you are correct you are no Rev. Wright. The reality is, you are not honest as Rev Wright was and nothing that was spoken from Rev. Wright was racist. I've listen to that sermon in its entirety. I would suggest that if you are going to make a comparison, please equip yourself with the facts. When Rev. Wright (Right) said what he did about America he did not lie. God is not just the God of America! Please understand that. God is a JUST God and the bible speaks to exactly what Rev. Wright was saying. Listen, and analyze with and open mind you may just learn something.

    March 20, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  20. Sue Z

    My grandparents' generation made many racial comments, and used racial slurs in front of us children...and I am about the same age as Obama. I don't find that hard to believe at all. And like Obama said, I did not hate my grandfather because he made racial statements. I didn't like that part of him, but I loved the rest of him and to me, that was the more important part. Obama is both white and black, and therefore any statement against black people by his grandmother or white people by his minister would be offensive – yet he obviously saw something more, something worth loving, in both people. That's what makes Obama different from his minister – Obama knows how to forgive, and how to love, how to transcend hatred and try to forge bridges rather than force division. That's what this world NEEDS right now...someone who can lead us away from hatred. Someone who can bring the country together and bring the world together. We have enough hate.

    March 20, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. Gary Anderson

    I would say that Obama mentioning Ferraro was to forgive her, not to make equation signs. She has been listening too much to Karl Rove. Come to think of it, she thinks in many ways too much like Karl Rove.

    March 20, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. David

    Its obvious Barack Obama is being picked on, and its so unfortunate. Right when you think this country is changing for the better *pow* reality slams the door. Do caucasions understand that they say things to offend different races everyday? Why is it when a caucasion is offended its world news? I am offended evrytime they call obam Black. He's African American (caucasion mother/african father). But just to wrap into a color Black?? That is very offensive. Will that be world news? Probably not. Why don't you see the Media, expecially FOX news is feeding race flames with the one sided race rage. Take a poll on how blacks in america feel about you label Barack as a black man. Call him a white man and see the reaction you get, his mom is white...He is hjust as much WHITE as he is BLACK....

    March 20, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. A Concerrned American Soldier

    what i can't believe is that she is stating that he mother's generation has used racial remarks...her refusal to even acknowledge this demonstrates her bias towards hillary clinton and her not wanting to applaud Obama's non-partisan speech on race... Obama wasn't comparing her to Rev. Wright...he was just saying that everyone needs to cool the flames, and take a step back... from wha i've heard people say he was actually defending her...

    March 20, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. Benjamin

    Ferraro is not very smart: Barack did not compare her to Rev. Wright. She compared the reaction to her comments to the reaction to Rev. Wright's comments.

    She presumably is better at reading English than she lets on. Let's hope.

    March 20, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. Dem in PA

    I officially believe CNN has stooped to a new low. Is this really newsworthy? If so how did you guys manage to miss reporting on the story of Bill Clinton and Rev. Wright hanging out together at the White House in 1998? Why havent you talked about Gov. Rendell's and Bill Clinton's support of Farrakahn in the late 90's. Report the news CNN, stop dictating it. Didnt your state of Georgia where you are located at already vote?!?!

    March 20, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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