May 30th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
15 years ago

Ferraro: Reagan Dems find Obama campaign 'frightening'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Ferraro has been outspoken on race and gender issues during the primary season."] (CNN) - Geraldine Ferraro – who sparked controversy earlier this year with her comment that Barack Obama was only a viable presidential candidate because he was black – wrote in an op-ed published Friday that the Illinois senator’s campaign and the media may be responsible for “the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign [which] have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day.”

“Perhaps it's because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn't an issue, but reverse racism is,” the former Democratic vice presidential candidate wrote in the Boston Globe Friday.

Reagan Democrats feel they have been mistreated during the campaign season, she writes, and since her March resignation from the Clinton campaign have repeatedly told her that “If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist...”

“They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white,” writes the former New York congresswoman. “It's not racism that is driving them, it's racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don't believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory ‘Our Time Has Come’ they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.”

Ferraro resigned from a post on the Clinton campaign’s finance committee following a media firestorm over her remarks about sexism and race.

“The reaction to the questions being raised has been not to listen to the message and try to find out how to deal with the problem, but rather to denigrate the messenger,” she wrote Friday. “Sore loser, petty, silly, vengeful are words that have dominated the headlines. But scolding and name calling don't resolve disputes.

“The truth is that tens of thousands of women have watched how Clinton has been treated and are not happy. We feel that if society can allow sexism to impact a woman's candidacy to deny her the presidency, it sends a direct signal that sexism is OK in all of society.”

She called on Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy to conduct a study, which she and other women would fund if necessary, to explore whether either of the Democratic candidates’ campaigns engaged in sexism or racism; whether Clinton was treated unfairly by the media; and “whether certain members of the media crossed an ethical line when they changed the definition of journalist from reporter and commentator to strategist and promoter of a candidate. And if they did to suggest ethical guidelines which the industry might adopt.”

“That sexism impacted Clinton's campaign, I have no doubt. Did she lose a close election because of sexism? I don't know. But I do know that it will never happen again as long as women are willing to stand up and make sure that it is just a one-time bad experience.”

soundoff (442 Responses)
  1. Whiteman67

    Wait a min Geraldine, you just told a big lie! Bill Clinton started the race card when he knew that was the only way "they" (He and Hillary) could win PA and WV and other race hating states like Kentucky. Don't you get it? Your vain attempt to destroy the DNC will place you in a black hole in USA politics.Please find a husband or a female partner to occupy your free time.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Sean Lloyds

    This old shoe Ferraro sounds like a bitter, tired and frustrated worm..just like many of the remaining HRC supporters these days..

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Keisha

    I am not a Reagan Democrat, but I find the racism and hatemongering emanating from Obama supporters to be fightening. The comments by Wright and, now, Pfleger are sexist and racist and reflect a one-sided backward looking view of America. While I support Obama and hope he gets elected, I am very concerned about the backlash of all of the sexist and racist statements coming from Democrats. Obama supporters are swift-boating Obama. This is not the high road we should be taking, and this is not the politics of hope Obama himself speaks about.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. True Patriotism

    Why can't she just get over the fact that her "holy" candidate will just not be the nominee. I have yet to see an instance when the Obama campaing has advidly said in public anything that would hint at the play of the "race card". The fact is that, even if you don't believe it, that Sen. "i'm So Better than the Frontrunner" Clinton has in some degree played that race card that you have so far screamed and yelled and kicked about. Get over your failed attempts and move on with your sorry pathetic life. Find something else to rant about.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Dave in Atlanta

    Yes because Ferraro knows all about how to court Reagan democrats, seeing as she had their overwhelming support in 1984.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. No more Old People

    Shut the French Toast!

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Judi in the heartland

    Why does anyone think that anything this person says is anything other than the rantings of a disgruntled almost was?

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Of course he's frightening to "Reagan Democrats". They're still not comfortable dealing with black men in power.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Bill

    This chic is stone-cold crazy. She is really bitter and there is no one to blame except herself. Not once did th Obama camp pull the race card against anybody. If anything, Obama has been very clear that he believes race isn't a major issue in this election. And this whole bit about "Reverse Racism," is completely laughable. I'm sorry but there is no such thing. And I'm a 64 yr old white guy from Louisville, KY.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Helen

    Rob at 11:22

    you are more than welcome to EXIT this blog.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Here we go again!!!

    She dismisses the notion of racism being played against Barack but any anti-Hillary comment is sexist?!?!?! Please go back to whatever rock you have been hiding under for the past 2 decades and stay there!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. scdemocrat

    Rob, do you realize how hypocritical your statements are here?
    You said "Here come all the hatefull obamaphiles to call her a bunch of names. So typical. But what should I expect from a bunch of kids."
    Then you turn around and say this "No way I vote for this clown or his politics of division"
    Do you even read what you write on here? This is the problem MANY Americans have with Hillary and her supporters. They say one thing like, it's clear michigan won't count for anything, then they whine that it's not being counted.
    They also say they lead in the popular vote but ONLY if you DON'T COUNT (DISINFRANCHISE) the caucus states AND if you give Obama ZERO votes from Michigan. Then out of the other side of their mouths they whine about DISINFRANCHISING FL and MI.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. willowood

    Gerry, Take a deep breath and remember who and where you are. This is starting to scare me. Women crying about sexism is as offensive as sexism itself. You are making a bad problem so much worse with your triades.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. fielding mellish

    An oxymoron: Reagan Democrats. All who claim this title, please do us a simple favor and join the Republican Party. And take Ms. Ferraro with you–she has long since forfeited her party affiliation.

    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. kathy

    I am a woman and while some comments about Hillary may have been politically incorrect, I truly believe she is losing because she ran a terrible campaigne. She did not plan for the long haul and has been extremely negative and caused her supporters to not just want her to win, but want OBAMA destroyed so he could never run again. She felt she was entitiled to the presidency and how dare anyone, let alone a onetime senator with no name recognition, contacts or money. Oops! She not only mispeaks, she miscalculated. OBAMA has run fair and square. He has run a great campaigne and has a great message for our country.


    May 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. James

    By "Our time has come" Obama meant time for those who want politics of division done away with has come. Just because the Obama made the remark in an African-American dominant state doesn't mean it was racially tinged. Geraldine Ferraro wants us to see everything Obama through racial lens. What about the "Working, hard working, white working Americans are supporting me" statement Hillary made just after the West Virginia primary? Isn't this racism? Or Bill's statement that Obama won South Carolina because he's a black man.

    When Hillary's nomination was almost inevitable and everybody was gearing up for her eventual coronation to become the Democratic nominee, nobody was shouting "racism and sexism." I am an African based here in the U.S. and I am extremely disappointed by Whites, Latinos and Blacks who want to inject race into this contest.

    I understand African Americans have been voting for White presidents from time immemorial. Why don't they demonstrate magnanimity and vote is Senator Barak Obama as a sign of gratitude? Senator Obama has many good qualities, which is what has him to come this far. Personally, I can't believe somebody with a funny name like him could have come this far in this racially-polarized country.

    Hillary and her supporters should stop whining. Hillary is still in the race because she can't bring herself to terms with the fact that a black man could have floored her. She and her white supremacists don't seem to believe in the equality of human beings. They belong to the James Watson species.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. James

    Quite frankly I am sick and tired of these lame excuses as to why Sen. Clinton is losing. It is not because of sexism or reverse racism. It is because she thought her coronation was inevitable and she did not plan for anything else but that.

    Please quit making excuses Mrs. Ferraro when your candidate plays the race card more than anyone.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. rayofhope

    Ms Ferraro... lets see... you are the one who said that Barack Obama would not be in the position he's in today if he were white (racist comment) and that Mrs Clinton is not covered fairly by the media because she is a woman (sexist comment). Huh! and how are the Obama campaign and the media responsible for...

    “the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign [which] have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day.”?

    With all due respect, YOU are the Democrat who is FRIGHTENING!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Montana is Obama Country

    ........... Geraldine Ferraro ..Shut the ...Hill.. UP..!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Dana in north Carolina

    As a woman Geraldine Ferraro does not speak for me. If she was really trying to help Hillary Clinton, she would not speak for her either. Ferraro is irrelevant, and her rants make her appear an extremist at best, anda racist at worst. if the real aim is equality,and it should be, then why keep throwing the word sexism in the mix, and instead talk about why she thinks Clinton is the stonger candidate, not just how she thinks it is unfair that Clinton is losing, and yes she is losing. Isn't this justthe same thing people keep accusing the Obama camp of, saying that they keep bringing up race, and ithen if you say anything about it, you must be a racist. By the way if you are actually paying attention, the Obama campaign does not constantly bring up race, or bring it up pretty much at all. That would again be the Clinton camp, ala "hard working white people", etc, and Ferraro "He wouldn't be a viable candidate if he were not black"..........

    Yet another interesting tactic?? Or just more Bull....?

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. rudy

    Bitter, bitter woman who should just sit down. Its easy to point blame at Obama instead of putting the blame on how the Clinton campaing was run. How can Mrs. Clinton claim sexism, when she does not include the total votes in all states including cacuses of the the American voters. You can't cherry pick which states are important, then loses the other states and claim sexism. She should admit that their campaign strategy was in error and that is the reason she is losing, not sexism and not racism.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Sue

    Clinton is losing because she was blinded by entitlement. I was a former supporter who lost respect for her during this nasty campaign. Comments like these by Ms. Ferraro are divisive at this point, and simply underline that the Clinton campaign will not go down without causing the maximun collateral damage in the process.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Harry C

    My Oh MY! THis dumb woman is at it again! Once a Bigot always a bigot... Lord America is better off that she never got elected....Now you all can see what is driving the Clinton Campaign.. it is called RACIST!

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. DJ

    Geraldine Ferraro, please stop it you are disgracing women all over the world when you play every card possible to explain why Hillary lost. If anything she had every advantage in the world. The media had crowned Hillary the democratic nominee before the race started and she was the first lady and her husband was the most popular president in the last 40 years in the democratic party. She had most of the heavy party insiders in all of the states backing her and I could go on.

    The report should be about how in the world could anyone; male or female lose an election with the odds so heavily stacked in their favor. This report would help not just females but males as well. Barack Obama has pulled off the upset of the century which should be studied by all.

    Obama/Hagel 08'

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Charlie S.

    It is troublesome that CNN or the Boston Globe reports what this lunatic says. As a Republican, I hope she and her crazy counterpart Hillary keep up there insanity about sexism and drive the Democratic party into non existence. This woman is so out of touch with reality that someone should have her examined psychologically. The sad thing is that she knows she would be nothing, and I mean nothing, but for the fact that she is a woman. Had she been born a man, there is no way she would have been picked as running mate in 1984 and never would have had a political career. Poor girl, she's just angry at herself, and thank God she isn't in my party!

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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