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. 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, and a 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 just the same thing people keep accusing the Obama camp of, saying that they keep bringing up race, and then 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 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Kenneth M


    May 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. David

    This woman is crazy in love with Obama.
    I guest so but she a hatefull woman, so hate and love don't go. She may have to need someone else to go to.
    WHy calling OBAMA always while he never call her name??

    May 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. BJ in PA

    Fade back into obscurity, you dried-up has been. You just want a cabinet position in a Clinton administration. Stand in line. You, Lanny Davis, Governor Rendell, etc.

    May 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Lisa in GA.

    Hillary was not treated unfairly, that is the game that Hillary is trying to shoot to make people feel sorry for her.. I am a woman and I know whats right and wrong... Hillary ran her campign like a fruit stand owner trying to sell soggy tomatoes... now if she did not have enough fertilizer to make them firm and ripe.. then thats her business.. It is she who is tearing the party apart...
    Geraldine and the Clintons need to grow up and except the inevitable....SHE HAS LOST!

    Stop trying to spin this... I think the batteries in the Clinton spin machine is just about to die!

    ps.. I am a woman and I am voting for OBAMA....

    May 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Rob

    Oh, that poor rich white woman...
    Reagan Democrats voted for Bush in the last election, anyway. Sorry Geraldine, you're behind the curve here...

    May 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Justin from KSU

    Ms. Ferraro, I agree with you.

    BO won't get my vote.

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. Bill H

    off her meds and her cage door is open. Gerry Ferraro always shows up just before a primary. Doing damage to the party.

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. HSNP

    SHE IS 100% CORRECT.

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Eugene

    It is very important to be respectful in our disagreement with Geraldine Ferraro. But after she has voted for John McCain, she will look around and wonder why did all those other Reagan folks like Scott McClellan vote for Barack Obama.

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. DCtrain

    This woman is crazy... Is she still around... please go away

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Buddy

    Amen not only Frightening, but Anti American!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. K in CT

    I applaud you Geraldine! Its about time we caled it what it is.
    Women are too smart for the men. Thats the truth of it. And women are more capable of handling the affairs of the nation than what the men have been doing for the past 200 + years. You won't find the women sitting in their chairs asleep waiting for the bell to ring ( nap time over, let's golf or party) they will be going about getting the business of the nation done. That's what "wives, mother, managers, nurses, chauffers, chief cook and bottle washers" DO ! BIG Hurah for us ! Go Geraldine !

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Andrew

    I think Barack and Ferarro should have a sit down meeting. He needs to educate her as to who he is. I thought Ferarro had a college education already but it is not showing.

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Diva in Pennsylvania

    Geraldine Ferraro, America's sweetheart...

    Give it up, sister! As a woman who runs her own business, takes care of her home, her bills and generally has been Superwoman all her life, you disgust me. Is this how all older white people really think? And what about Black people? Why can't we express our pain without being accused of living in the past? Why don't the Reaganicans just admit that Black people had their own Holocaust, right here in America, and that the effects of 400 years CANNOT be erased in less than 70 years!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Tim from Buffalo

    The exit polling reflects that of voters that gender mattered to they overwelmingly supported clinton. The exit polls say that of voters who said race mattered to them overwelmingly supported Clinton.

    Her opinion is not supported by fact and is therefore the weaker of the "racism vs. sexism in '08" debate.

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Ms. GA

    And by the way, the Clintons forced Obama to bring race in this campaign. He never once said anything about it until NC when Bill opened his mouth. He tries not to mention race but she continues to mention being a woman. Do you hear Obama telling voters to vote for him because he's black? NO! Do you hear Clinton telling people to vote for her because she is a woman? YES!

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. AnnaLisa

    Obama was not the one that injected race into this campaign. Hillary is playing both the race and gender card. Last time I checked this isn't about electing someone that looks like you; it is about selecting an honest and responsible leader. Hillary doesn't know how to lose; may she burn in hell.

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Kristin from Dallas

    I think she's lost her bearings. She is pathetic. I'm a working white middle-aged woman who is sick and tired of the Clintonistas complaint of sexism. How on Earth can being a woman running for President be any more challenging than being African-American?

    Go Obama '08

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. yall


    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Janet WV for Obama

    Hillary and Geraldine are sisters in spirit and in politics-neither could win the nomination for president. The one who brings up the issue of racism constantly is Ferraro and that is because she is a racist. Wanna bet that she will never be reelected?

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Does anyone honestly believe that it was easier for Barack Obama to get where he is right now than it was for Hillary Clinton?

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. masgap

    Obama's minister's comments show just how muchracism there is in america. Not only in the primary but it the country. I will vote for McCain not because Obama is black but because he does not offer
    himself as Presidential material. He lacks experience in the senate.

    I won't let this country be run by a junior senator who dupped this country with "change". Be realistic it ain't that easy. Hillary is the best
    candidate but I will wait till 2012 . Hillary you were mistreated especially with the Pastor's remarks!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Kley

    Sen. Clinton is losing the Dem. Party's nomination fair and square - she has fewer delegates than Sen. Obama does. It has nothing to do with her gender, and she is in fact totally undermining feminist progress when she plays the victim of sexism as an explanation for her loss. Was there sexism in this race? Yes. Is the the reason, or has it even contributed slightly to her loss? Absolutely not.
    Feminist Woman for Obama

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. boered1

    Yes he DID play the race card HOW DARE HE BE BLACK!!!! How dare a man of integrity, honor, strength and courage be BLACK and a MAN!!! Why just YESTERDAY a WHITE man made fun of a WHEITE WOMAN IN FAVOR OF A BLACK MAN how can we let this go unpunished. Send that BOY back to Chicago we cannot have him representing us!

    and to quote another psoter send sarcasm

    She has been treated badly since she showed herself for being a lying two faced loser and old bigots like oyu cannot get over the fact that your "ordained, predestined" leading liar was losing.

    moronic clintonistas

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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