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. mozartt

    To say that Senator Obama has used the race card, is a blatant lie! In fact, he has done the opposite! I find it interesting that Ferraro never entertains the idea that the reason Senator Clinton has gotten where she is because she is flying on the coattails of her former husband and you can bet she uses his "wonderful Presidency" whenever she can. Does anyone really think that she would be where she is without him? I get furious with idiots like Ferraro who are so intent on hiring a woman that they are incapable of fairly evaluating the other candidate. Barack Obama is not where he is because of the colour of his skin – the idea is simply ludicrous! Try and imagine the kind obstacles he has overcome. He did so, because he is brilliantly intelligent, is authentic and real and has a sensible and reasonable vision for the country (similar to the one Hillary Clinton has!. So grow up Ferraro!! Oh by the way, I am a white woman!

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Joe

    Geraldine Ferraro is insane, and clearly deaf and blind, too. I'd like to know an example of someone criticizing Obama and being called a racist because of it. Yet whenever anyone has criticized Clinton for just about any reason they've been accused, either subtlety or overtly, of being sexist. And for those who have said that the media is sexist, I have heard from those from other countries, namely the UK, that the way our media has covered this election would be considered incredibly racist in their country.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. jc

    Ms. Ferraro betrays her own fears here. This campaign has shown us how far we have to go as individuals and as a nation with regard to gender and race.

    What is "frightening" is the anger and bitterness that supporters of both sides have demonstrated. Personally I believe that the Clintons are guilty of feeding this, which in turn has caused Obama supporters to bare their teeth. For his part, Senator bama has demostrated great poise and patience.

    Ms. Ferraro should re-read Gloria Steinham's book, "Revolution from Within," which points out quite well the unrecognized prejudices that we all have to wrestle with.

    As far as those "reagan democrats", well, isn't she really just saying that they won't vote for an African-American?

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Matthew

    Ferraro, trailblazer...HAHAHA. Everytime this woman shows up and speaks, it harkens back to 1984 when she was on the ticket with Kennedy and got crushed. She is probably the most divisive women in modern politics and Hillary sillary has been using this b!tches playbook. Bill is all for sex(ism), Geraldine and Hillary sillary=lovers?

    Where is Huma Abedin?

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. bruno nana

    not again Mrs is over.
    get over it and move on with your life
    Bruno Nana

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Unite Behind Obama

    Racist white people come up with every excuse they can to deny, rationalize, or marginalize their bias. "Reverse racism?"

    That's just another way to deflect responsibility. There are far more whites who wouldn't vote for a black man than there are blacks who wouldn't vote for a white woman. The percentages are greatly different, too. Saying "He doesn't understand us" doesn't cut it. YOU don't understand HIM. Try...try to get over your hatred and resentment, and try to understand him.

    Clinton lost fewer votes for being a woman than Obama has lot for being black.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Mister Anderson

    Regan Democrats is why Bush was elected not once, but twice. New people are being drawn to the political process who don't have your archaic ideas and understanding of politics coming down to polarization are entering the process so the "Reagan Democrats" can continue to vote against their best interests and whine about it later.

    So kick rocks Geraldine!

    McCain's (media ignored) Triple Play: Hagee, Parsley, and Falwell!

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

    Thank you for your clear and well-expressed analysis.

    Most of us who don't have a crush on Obama are in fact having a hard time understanding those who do or understanding why their vision seems to become so clouded and why their thinking seems to have become so bizarrely twisted (surely, the thinking of anyone who calls him or herself a Democrat, pats Murdoch and McClellan on the back for nonsensical praise for Obama, and then turns to spit on Hillary has been bizarrely twisted).

    Thank you.


    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Alison B

    What's with this woman. People are forgetting or maybe they are just looking at the color of his skin but he is 50% black and the other 50% white – raised by white family no influence of black while growing up.
    I hate it when people try to define situations using meaningless terminology.

    The whole point is that Hilary is losing, and she is losing for many reasons (untrustworthiness, dishonesty and lies, lies and more lies). It has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman as a woman it would be wonderful to have a woman in charge but she cannot even manage her campaign funds (20 million in the hole) how can she manage the countrys' financial issue. If she were more electable like what she is saying she would be very much ahead.

    One more thing if the tables were turned would she have been this anxious for all the votes (Michigan and Florida) to be counted because I do recall in the beginning when she was in the lead and she said it does not matter those votes don't count but now that she is hanging by a thin thread they count not that it will make a difference.

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. PS from Tennessee

    Why don't you get off your rag and quite being so jealous of a biracial intelligent Presidential nominee. You and Billary could learn a lesson from him regarding respect. You are never going to amount to your full potential of Supreme "B", so let the people speak and elect a man who will be able to live up to his. I'm so sick of you, Hillary and Bill blaming everybody else for her loss! Grow up!

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

    Before I blog – CNN probably won't post this. Obama is frightening. Cnn why are you not letting us discuss about the horrible "priest" in Obama's church? No we cannot hold Obama accountable for what others say but this is his background for the last 20 years. The hate in his church for white people is frightening and he was there. Wake up people!

    May 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. BosnianSniper

    Geraldin, nobody cares what you think! Shut your ancient and stupid self the hell up and go back to the KKK meeting.

    You and Bill and Hillary KKKlinton are the biggest jokes in politics right up there with Bush.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Not as frightening as you were when you ran against Reagan. Remember you are one of the Democrats that forced your party members to the Republicans...thus creating the term "Reagan Democrats" What would you know about that ???

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. independent OBAMA Supporter

    Please go and sitedown. I am very disappointed to Geraldine Ferraro. She should be the one making sure that the party are together and not divided. Please respect yourself.
    At your age you should show good example to others.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Mark

    Wow, the old racist rears it's ugly head again.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. LuLu

    Obama supporters – please knock it off with the foul language and insults! Support your candidate without slamming anyone else. Ferraro's comments are unfortunate, but just let it go. It doesn't help Obama's cause by foaming at the mouth about it, or screaming at Hillary/Ferraro supporters. Just let it go, and let's work towards unity. Supporting Obama with dignity will help more than anything else.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Ferraro is so hysterical. She is asking for research to prove a point that won't make a difference and won't elect her candidate.
    For one thing, peoples' thoughts, feelings, attitudes are difficult to measure in a way that cause and effect can be proven. The reason people make choices is comprised of factors that defy measurement. Secondly, sexism and racism cannot be controlled by legislation.

    Her words "but I know 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" (in reference to Hillary's campaign being impacted by sexism). As a woman I never want to lose the right to vote my way,
    and that could mean voting for a man.

    Dream on Ferraro.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Dumbfounded

    Sexism? It's amazing what comes out of peoples mouths when they lose....always trying to find someone or something to blame to ease the anger and hatred...

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. MD

    Why is this lady still able to publish editorials? People still listen to her?

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. carolflowery

    She speaks the truth, and I honestly believe if we all just see things as they are instead of trying to put spin spin spin on it, we will then
    be more united, the name calling and the bashing of a former First Lady has been despictable irrerguardless of who you support. I wouldnt bash any First Lady just because an election is at hand. I see
    a very need for whites and blacks alike to look at themselves and their very hearts and souls and face the truth about themselves. On that note, I truly believe all other races that are American citizens that are neither black or white must wonder at times if they are invisible. Could it be that both whites and blacks just yell louder? I think this is the case.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Ramon, Santa Clara, CA

    She has hit the nail on the head. That's why Obama has lost half the Democratic party! Don't be intimidated by the Obama surrogates who will undoubtedly call you a racist. (See above, sigh...)

    Keep telling the truth Ms. Ferraro!

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Eric Wayne

    this women is a hypocrite. she says that “If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist…”. but yet, she accuses anyone that is not a clinton supporter of being sexist anytime they open their mouth. if hillary is not the dems nominee, it wont be because of sexism, sweety.

    May 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Alex

    Is Hillary using her to scare the white voters? How come Hillary does not distance herself from this CRAZY RACIST old woman? How come the press is not asking Hillary if she agrees with Ferraro's views? She is definetly out of line. The fact the Obama group ignored her is bothering her. The old lady is craving for won't get. Please put her back in secured mental hospital.

    May 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Truth Hurts

    Of course Regan Democrats find Obama frightening. This is the first time that many racist will have to think of calling a Black man Commander in Chief.

    This lady needs to get over herself. If people are being so sexist towards Clinton, then why are there more white Regan males voting for her. Sounds like it is more racism than sexism.


    May 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Marie-Lynn

    Please go away. You look at a frustrated 'L' know what I mean..

    May 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18