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

Ferraro: I am no Jeremiah Wright

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/13/art.ferraro1.ap.jpg 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. SLY IN FL.

    POOR THING, SHE A 70 YEAR OLD WHITE WOMAN WHO HAS NEVER HEARD WORSE.....WAS THERE NO TV IN THE 50'S AND 60'S WHEN BLACKS WERE BEATEN AND ATTACKED BY DOGS AT THE HANDS OF POLICE NO LESS. EVEN BAY BUCANNON GAVE HIM PRAISE ON THE SPEECH. YOU'RE JUST A SAD,PATHETIC,DISILLUSIONED OLD LADY. I FEEL SORRY THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE THE EXPERIENCE THAT SHOULD COME WITH YOUR AGE.

    March 20, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. mike

    obama can say on national radio that his grandmother is a typical white person and his pastor can preach racist and hateful remarks......but bill can't say fairy tale and geraldine can't point out that obama is in the position he is because he is black. if you are racist and are white you are racist . if you are racist and black you are a racist the media needs to stop just justifying one campains racist remarks and condeming the other.

    March 20, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. RFD from Lambertville

    The remarks of Geraldine Ferraro and Jeremiah Wright need to be taken in their individual and societal context.

    She is an acomplished and intelligent white woman, and expressed her bigotry in quiet, soothing, style typical of the restrained tone used in white society.

    He is an acomplished and intelligent black man, and expressed his bigotry in loud, abrasive, style typical of the emotional tone used in black churches.

    Quiet, loud, soothing, abrasive, restrained, emotional. Both expressed thier bigotry in the style they see as somehow making their statements into something which is not bigotry. They are both wrong.

    We need a president who can see this from both sides, who will not fall into this trap, and can lead all of us out of the mess we are in. I think Barack can do that for us – for all of us.

    Read his convocation given on September 28, 2007 at Howard University, and you will see what I mean. You can hear both voices talking, but despite the temptation to do so, there is no slide into bigotry.

    March 20, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. Joan

    ""To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable,"

    Racist bigot?

    Wright is a bitter old man who is the victim of white racism - REAL racism, like with dogs and firehoses and Jim Crow.

    Ferraro is a typical bigot Northeast catholic (I know the type, since I'm a NE catholic) who resents blacks.

    Ferraro is FAR WORSE in my opinion.

    I feel sorry for Wright. I wish Ferraro would just shut up.

    March 20, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. J. Williams

    Ferraro trolls for faux-sympathy.

    (At what point did he say her comments were any better or worse than Wright's? I'm pretty sure he said they're BOTH wrong.)

    March 20, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  6. M Johnson

    Can Ferraro do anything except get angry? That's the only emotion we ever hear from her about anything. It's time to wake up to present possibilities and stop dwelling on indignities suffered during the late 20th century. HRC as president seems to be the restitution all the Ferraros are demanding. Sorry it's over. We can't afford that.

    March 20, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Whuzi

    She is so out of touch with reality right now. Her last comment proves it all? It makes completely no sense. She might as well have said "Oh and to add that, chicken noodle soup!"

    What the heck is that suppose to mean?

    March 20, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. D Man

    It is oblivious this woman is a surrogate for Hillary. What Ferarro no one was talking about you anymore. Go away....your 5 minutes of fame is gone....

    March 20, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. bimmer

    She is right about this one

    March 20, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. Kate

    Listen CNN, just stop reporting on this poor lady.

    She looks stupid. Her reputation is tarnished. Please give her a much needed rest.

    March 20, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  11. I MEAN REALLY...

    OBAMA'S MISNISTER'S VIEWS ARE EXTREME BUT WHEN IN ANY OF THE CLIPS THE MEDIA PLAYED ENDLESSSLY DID HE SAY HE HATED WHITES, THAT WHITES WERE EVIL, THAT HE ASKED HIS CONGREGATION TO HATE OR SPEAL ILL OF WHITES???

    THIS MAN VOICED POLITAL VIEWS. HILLARY HAS NEVER BEEN CALLED THE "N" WOOD, AS A COUNTRY WE AHTED ABROAD. PEOPLE WANT TO DO GREAT HARM TO US. TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT DID HAPPEN...BLACKS WERE LIED TO AN INJECTED WITH SYPHLLIS SO IT'S EASY FOR THEM TO FEEL THAT MAYBE AIDS STARTED THAT WAY. COPS GUN DOWN BLACK MEN IN THE DOOR WAYS OF THEIR HOMES. THEY ARE PROFILED INCESSANTLY. THE ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONS ARE REAL BUT TO TAKE IT OUT ON OBAMA IS NOT FAIR. I'M WHITE AND UNDECIDED AND HOPE OBAMA'S SPEECH CAUSES PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SEE A BETTER AMERICA LOOK AT THEIR ROLE. I READ ALL THE HATE THAT IS SPEWED IN THESE COMMENTS ALL THE TIME AND IT'S NO DIFFERENT THAN WRIGHT'S. PEOPLE ACTUALLY POST THAT THEY HATE OBAMA EVEN BEFORE ALL THIS. SO WHAT WAS THE REASON THEN. WRIGHT NEVER SAID HE HATED.

    March 20, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Kathy

    I totally 100% agree with Mrs. Ferraro. What she was referring to has nothing to do with Obama and his reverend. She is not racist and never meant anything to be racist whereas The Reverand is a racist as is the church he represented and Obama needs to deal with his own reasoning of sitting for 20 years in a pew and other activities listening to this here and there.
    That is what is wrong. He is trying to say that the average white is racist and he is wrong to even say this statement.

    March 20, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. YK

    She seems disconnected from reality, and that explains why her short sighted views are only unique to her ill-pattern of thought! She said she was surprised. Of course, she's surprised almost with every event in life. She's so surprised to see a sharp decline in the number of the remaining volatile and corrosive racists like her. As far as she remembers, no one questioned you if you act racist. She made thesame kind of comments years ago, but acording to her own myopic view, the world is "standing sill...things are still thesame..nothing has changed.." she thought! Even after being shown that its not acceptable to say stuff like that!

    I think she needs medical attention! Period.

    And the fact that she's from the Clinton campaign just explains it all!

    Please just get out of sight!

    March 20, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  14. debbie,NJ

    Wright spoke out of anger, Ferrero spoke out of racism, They were both wrong, Now Clinton and Ferraro are still friends. Ferraro said she would continue to raise money for Clinton. How come this was played down.

    March 20, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Andy, MI

    No, you're worse.

    Obama 08

    March 20, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. Tim from Memphis

    Ferraro just proved her point. Everything she said was true. You cant say anything in this FREE country without being called a racist. It is reverse discrimination and racism at its best. If Mr. Obama resume was attached to someone else, the public wouldnt have given him the time of day in consideration for the presidency. I will be voting for the most qualifed and experienced person for the job...not a celebrity.

    March 20, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. Mel

    Geraldine Ferraro has no credibility anymore and her ignorance is compounded by the fact that she missed the point. She needs to retire and take Hillary Rodham Clinton with her. I can't believe I supported and respected her at any point. Ferraro really is ignorant and an awful white liberal who believes she is progressive on race but only in her own mind. How disappointing. Initially I was hopeful after Mr Obama's speech but now I see fear and complaceny means it is unlikely to have an conversation.

    March 20, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. S.Forest

    This is to say a little about what I think about all the people that talk concerning Mr Obama and his speech and yes his not telling his pastor off as everyone seems to think he should have done. I wonder how many would have done what Mr. Obama did . It is much easier to say things than do them. I am wondering why people are not looking at themselves as they should be. Maybe it is time to stop arguing about his Pastor it isn't the Pastor that's going for President. All this talk and these arguments just show us how everybody is in this Country, we are not able to accept the other person's ideas all we can do is bring down , this is being coward and cheap in my opinion. Whatever Mr. Obama does or says will never be right and I still wonder if he should try to change what people think, it seems impossible , but I still have high hopes!!!!

    March 20, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. LeftyLadig

    Why is this in the "news"? This woman has managed to make a total fool of herself enough times already in the past couple of weeks. Does she crave the spotlight so much?

    March 20, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Jas

    As a person who went to college in a third world country, before moving to america, I'm very amazed how Ferraro and the so many called political pundits especially on Fox News could not do an analysis of Obama's speech, better than a 5th grader...this in itself is a bad testimony about American education...any well educated person will tell you in the context, Obama's mention of Ferraro, was not lumping her together with Rev. Wright...but was in reference to the emerging trend where people are afraid of facing the really issues in these primary elections, hence they are jumping at anything said by any official from any of the three camps and running with it for cheap political mileage...he was simply asking us ALL to refrain from such unproductive political games by either being frank and addressing the issue of race or just dealing with the issues that are facing Americans...there is no one out there with good American education, who could see things this way?

    March 20, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. Robert

    Oh look Ferarro just like Clinton playing the "VICTIM" ohh – please spare us. Lets take this one step further – Imagine a President who plays the Victim on a Global Scale – Im even more for Obama – and am donating more each day in $ and encouraging people to vote and educating them on the FACTS!

    Id also like to add – please tell Campbell Brown that if she keeps up the Obama bashing and questioning she should do the same with Hilary. After all Hilary hasnt come on ANY TV program ANYWHERE! How about having her come out and Play!? If Campbell cant get Hilary to come out – she should knock off the rhetoric toward disecting Obama – its not fair – after all its just skin color. The man is 1/2 white 1/2 black – best of both world as far as Im concerned.

    Whats remarkable here is that Obama (white MOther, black father from Kenya) has to heal the wounds of this country – just crazy. The man has more character than the entire bunch in Washington DC will ever have.

    March 20, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. James Pus

    NOW I GET HOW SHE DID NOT BECOME VP WHEN SHE RAN. SHE JUST DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THINGS MEAN WHEN SHE SAYS THEM (HER STATEMENT) OR WHEN THEY ARE SAID BY OTHERS (OBAMA'S SPEECH). IT'S TRULY PATHETIC. YET WE WONDER WHY THE REST OF THE WORLD LAUGHS AT US!

    March 20, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  23. Vera Shabazz

    Ferraro, I can see why twenty years ago you said "Jesse Jackson was where he was because he was a black man" it hard to say nice things when you look like the "CRYPT KEEPER". GET A LIFE, MAYBE SOME FRIENDS AND YOU'LL FEEL BETTER.

    March 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Rita

    Rev. Wright is a good man who made a mistake. He has done so much good for churches and church members throughout the USA. He was trying to explain a powerful viewpoint that was provocative in nature. If American would listen to the entire sermon they would understand the context. Everyone one I have heard said they had not listened to the entire sermon just the clips, which does nothing but what the Republicans you to hear. Rev. Wright does not hate America. Obama does not hate America. Both do not agree with the Bush Policies. Obama is a sincere man with his own views and many have sat in the church and not agreed with Rev. Wright just like any like any other minister or teacher.

    Overall, he is a great minister. What the Democrats and Independent voters are missing is that this was a Right Wing Republican Strategy to sway you. I am glad it works because at least we know how you really feel about OBAMA. You were never with OBAMA and quickly jumped ship. It is just that simple. Obama can pull this country together. It is my personal belief that America does not want to grow or change. When any relationship whether it is business or personal run into conflict demonstrate a positive sign of growth. I believe OBAMA will help the country worldwide if given the chance to move forward with issues on the economy, education, and the Iraq war. He did not want to focus on race but the Media kept delivering polls in racial turns instead of issues. In 2000 and in 2004, the media did not focus on race but issues. This alone will tell you the agenda was to talk about race, which makes America uncomfortable. Democrats must have some backbone and strength. That is why republicans have always seen Democrats as wimps because they don't stick together through thick and thin or support Democrats. They simply run. The Independents are Independents because they like neither group but like to have an easy out when the tough gets going. Obama is intelligent and forward thinking. Clinton and Micatin are the past. It is time for the country to turn the page and move forward with new ideas and new leaders. If I were eighteen years old I would vote for Obama. If I were 25 I would vote for Obama. If I were 35 or 50 I would vote for OBAMA. So if you want to put on blind lens and vote for the Clintons or McCain. It is American and you can do that. That is how Bush got into office twice. So make your choice and take the safe route. Each of us will have to live with that vote just like those folks who voted for Bush and now look were we are today. Bush can be remembered for: American is now bankrupted socially, economically and financially.

    March 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Juli in DE

    What now, Gerri?? Obama is lying about his grandmother?? And we're supposed to believe YOU, instead?? will you please go away now??

    March 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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