May 20th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton chastises press for ignoring sexism

Clinton said sexism has played a large role in the campaign.

Clinton said sexism has played a large role in the campaign.

(CNN) - In her most wide-ranging comments to date on the role gender has played in the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton said sexist attacks on her campaign have been "deeply offensive," and sharply criticized the press for not raising the issue.

"There should be equal treatment of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head," Clinton told the Washington Post in an article published in the paper's Tuesday edition. "It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists."

"…I believe this campaign has been a groundbreaker in a lot of ways. But it certainly has been challenging given some of the attitudes in the press."

Listen to excerpts from the Clinton interview.

Clinton, who is banking on a large win in Kentucky Tuesday to keep her presidential hopes alive, also said she doesn't believe racism has played a role in the presidential campaign. But the New York senator said sexist attitudes among voters and members of the media have been a constant detriment to her White House hopes.

Speaking with supporters on a Friday conference call, Clinton said she regretted that many of them have faced sexist attacks.

"I deeply regret the vitriol and the mean-spiritedness and the terrible insults and rhetoric that has been thrown around at you for supporting me, at women in general, at many of those who support my campaign because of who they are and their stand based on principle," she said. "I don't have time for their insults, I'm impervious to them."

Some of those supporters are taking up Clinton’s complaint. Several pro-Clinton and women’s groups are holding rallies Tuesday in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan, and outside network studios in Burbank, California.

“If you want to have your voice heard saying, ‘enough is enough!’ then please join us in support of all American women who refuse to be diminished in the American Press,” says Professionals for Hillary in a statement e-mailed to supporters and posted on the group’s Web site.

“We need your support at these rallies to show America that women are not putting up with this anymore! Please send this information to all your Hillary friends and family. Bring your Hillary signs. We need to send a strong message to the media and the Democratic Party that says, ‘not so fast!’”

In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro – who supports Clinton - said she may not vote for Barack Obama if he is the party's nominee and said he has acted "terribly sexist."

Speaking on NBC's Today Show Tuesday, Ferraro also said, sexism was "rampant" in this year's presidential campaign. "There is a real difference in this country. It is not okay to be racist. It is just not. It is almost acceptable to be sexist," said Ferraro.

Ferraro has not shied away from discussing the impact of race and gender throughout the Democratic presidential campaign. In March, the former congresswoman told a California newspaper the chief reason Obama's candidacy was successful was because he was black. She maintained her comments were not racist, but ultimately resigned her finance post from the Clinton campaign after they caused an uproar.

Speaking with NBC Tuesday, Ferraro pointed to New Hampshire Clinton rally during which a man in the audience displayed a sign saying "Iron my shirt."

"Suppose somebody at that Barack Obama rally said 'Shine my shoes,'" Ferraro said. “The person would have been swamped by the media saying, ‘what, are you a racist?’ Hillary barely saw press on this. It is not only the Obama campaign. It is how the press has handled this."

soundoff (638 Responses)

    It would be nice if Hillary get the nomination.Then she could choose
    Geraldine Ferraro that old racist Biddy as her running mate

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Preston of Denver

    Can anyone seriously name any comments at all by the media that could be legitimately seen as "sexist" until Hillary fanatics started crying wolf about everything Obama said to twist it as "sexism"? No? I thought not.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Ding, Washington, DC

    Didn't Bill Clinton, not too long ago, say that his wife never whine? I thought she is in the race because Karl Rove says so.

    Karl Rove does not have a college degree because of math. Now, he is doing some kind of math for Senator Clinton. Sounds like the lowest of all roads to me.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Raj

    What a ridicules statement by her, again.

    I was watching CNN today, they were talking to voters in Kentucky. They asked him what we would say to Obama, since he was a Hillary supporter. He goes and says that Obama should stop being black. And that he would vote for a white person, being McCain if Obama wins the primary.

    Hillary wins these states and rural counties in all the states, because they are conservative leaning, racists, and don't want to see a black man, regardless of his credentials in office.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    I am a woman and the reason I dislike Hillary is NOT because she is a woman – the reason I will NOT vote for her is solely because of her character!

    I do not think the press has been sexist, but Hillary is trying to play the sexism card because it is the last one that she has in her deck!

    Obama '08

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Mike from Westchester

    Of the 32+ million Democratic primary voters, what % are black and what % are women (or non-black women)? I'll guess there are 5 – 6 million black voters and at least 14 million non-black women voters.

    How many voted for Obama primarily because he is black?
    How many voted for Hillary primarily because she is a woman?
    How many voted against Obama primarily because he is black?
    How many voted against Hillary primarily because she is a woman?

    I'll hazard a guess that the net result benefited Hillary. Certainly sexism worked against her. However, her main problem was not that she was a woman, but rather that she mismanaged her campaign horribly, that she and her entire campaign frequently displayed a lack of integrity and disregard for the truth, and that she simply ran into a more visionary, charismatic leader.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Daniel Kushner

    I'm sure that she did face sexist obstacles during her campaign. But to say that racism wasn't an obstacle for the Obama campaignis incorrect.

    Also, how many pantsuit jokes did Clinton crack about herself? And how many times did she show up at rallies with her Mom and Chelsea, and promote the whole "3 generations of women" thing? She always encouraged women to break for her, and that's allright, but sexism goes both ways- to be angry that she was covered a certain way by the media that she encouraged, is hypocritical.

    Obama on the other hand tried to make his campaign as little about race as possible. It wasn't until the Reverend Wright issue that he even dealt with it.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Joe from PA

    who wouldn't be sexist towards her, looking at that mug.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. CNN STINKS!!!! MA


    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Million Man –

    The people posting Hillary or McCain posts are not Democrats. They are Operation Chaos idiots that come here to flood the Ticker daily.

    Pay no attention to them, nobody else is.

    May 20, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Marcus B

    I was once a strong advocate for Senator Clinton staying in the race until June 3rd, because she played just as big a part in registering new Democrats around the country. However, with increasing attacks from John McCain, it is incredibly stingy of Mrs. Clinton to force Obama to run two campaigns. It is pretty much evident that he will be the Democratic nominee. Why not go ahead and give him the time, money, and support that he will need to fend off Republican attacks. Forcing Barack to run two campaigns, which he has been handling extremely well so far, could prove highly detrimental to Democratic chances in November. Let him focus his attention where it now counts!

    Obama '08!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. luke

    Nice job playing the sex card Hillary.

    May 20, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. C. J.

    Hillary reminds me of GRAMER School the little girls just had to sit up front by the teacher. Thinking more each day how Hillary hurting the democratic party. Starting to have less respect for these so called SUPER DELEGATES who could add up the numbers and end this sooner. Hillary should pay her own campaign bills for her lack of not knowing when the game is over. And any thought of V. P. slot would be a joke having her. Hillaries idea of change would be like buying new tires for a car on its way to junk yard.

    May 20, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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