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. Geraldine Ferraro for President (HaHaHa) Just joking

    Is anything that she has to say really news? She has not power and one superdelegate vote. The media is making her feel like she is relevant and she was't relevant went they made the mistake of running her on that losing ticket as vp.

    Even if Hillary runs as an independent she will LOSE. Where is she going to get the money. Her supporters get on very site talking about how great she is but they are not putting their money where their mouth is.

    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. A Latte Lover, Seattle, WA


    I don't think you are helping Hillary's case. I am offended. I'm a 48 year old feminist that proudly supports Senator Obama, so you and Shrillary do not speak for all women.


    May 30, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. kenny cole

    Do i hear another DOG barking?

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. tim

    you call her a racist..and totally look the other way when the obama does it. why the double sided coin? another message of hate by the sad excuse for a catholic priest and the people in the back..not racist right?

    michelle obama's thesis..not racist?
    obama's comments..never racist right?

    the democratic party is being hijacked by liberal loonies..wake up america and i wish that someone would stand up to them and bring them back to the real world....but no the democratic party keeps bowing down to them...just another loss in the fall..dukakis, kerry, obama

    my vote has been solidified...if not hillary then mccain...

    disenfranchised young democrat

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. ok

    Not her again. Oh is it her? Oh lord have mercy!

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. j kothary, Blaine, WA

    no more of her, please !!

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Where does she get the credibility to convince people that Obama is "frightening". Of course a lot of us do not frighten easily in response to inflammatory statements for which there is no basis, just opinion.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. not her please

    PLEASE send this madwoman away with the other one. What a bad name both of these are giving to women all over. She is so bitter and the other is such a sore loser. Really great role models.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Frightening?

    Are you frightened? Then slip back under your rock. No one wants to hear the mutterings of a crazy old woman.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Arlene Tognetti

    What will it take to let Geraldine Ferraro know
    that a badly needed vacation would help her attitude?

    Just remember public, the old politicians are becoming they need to have their last gasp of "opinion"

    Welcome the 21st Century with fresher, more advanced,
    mindful of America's dreams politicians...the new women
    and men in politics are coming...In with the new, out
    with the old...........

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. MBFLA

    Why in the world would anyone listen to what she has to say and why is CNN reporting it?

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Another view


    Now you have made it so clear another big reason why Walter Mondale (I will increase taxes when elected)

    lost so big Ronald Reagon. Because he chose a big looser in you

    as a vice presidential candidate. It's people like you that make me

    wake up in the morning and feel worthy of having a little common


    Please, find a rocker and read bead time storys to homeless kids in

    New York at sunset years. You have a chance of salvaginf a little

    tiny bit of whatever image you have.

    image you have.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. The Clear Thinking Indepedent

    America is not mature enough to handle the 1st African American & the 1st Woman contending for Presidency at the same time.

    When Hillary was the front runner and Barack was a "nobody", it was OK because no one thought the conflict between the two campaigns would arrise.

    From very early on, Hillary made an outward appeal to women ... "Let's make history" she said over and over to largely female audiences. These are her words, not an interpretation of the campaign slogans or her supporters like Ferrao.

    Mr. Obama, never made a similar appeal to people under 50 years of age, African Americans, college & post graduate degree holders (or whoever the media seeks to align as his supporters).

    Hillary tried to walk both sides of the line ... that's why she's in trouble. You can't talk about being "Ready on Day 1 to be COMMANDER IN CHIEF" and then whine & cry. You can't have your husband talk about politics as a "Contact Sport" or say "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" and then complain when you get hit back after you've employed a "throw the kitchen sink" strategy.

    Honorable Democrats ... Honest Democrats ... That's what America want. Blue means Trustworthy ....

    American questions if Hillary deserves to wear the Blue.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. mike - chicago

    is she paying attention to anything? hillary as the victim and the fighter has not worked.

    also, how can obama be seen as someone who divides? if you listen to him for more than three seconds you realize this is the opposite of his message. the division has been create by the other participants and their rovean campaign strategies. your time is up.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Lee

    What is really sinister here is the implication that Affirmative Action is Barack Obama's only way to the White House. Basically, she's saying that he wouldn't have won (fair and square) on delegates if he were white. Ridiculous. Hillary lost because she ran a bad campaign up until six weeks ago. Ferraro is not a racist. But she gives all people out there who are "worried" about a black president a reason to keep worrying by implanting these ridiculous suggestions in their heads. This is EVERYONE's time to start over. If she's upset, it's because the coalition that Barack Obama has formed IS bigger and better than the Regan Democrats who vote primarily based on identity politics and social issues. Why is it that whites in America feel this entitled to the presidency, and why is it that no one is ready to give Barack Obama his due? He ran a good campaign and he won. To blame that on "reverse racism" which only exists in the minds of whites in America to dumb to recognize the inherent advantage of being white is irresposible, and it panders to those who just want a reason to hate Obama when he's done nothing wrong. Pure evil.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. White Obama Support

    Obama did not play race card...he just responded to attacks.....if he did so what. HRC has been playing gender card!

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Chris

    This old hag is out of her G-D mind!

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. leon

    What Obama supporters and the rest of the Democratic Party are missing is that the Party is really divided like it has never been. ALmos t half of the Party supports Hillary and what she stands for. The DNC leadership and the Obama supporters do not realize that without the other half of the Democratic voters we will not win.

    however all these kids, african-americans and upscale democrats keep offending and spilling hate and venom from their mouth and leading the division among the Democrats to places that will be really hard to heal and reconcile again.

    I see a clear path of defeat if we do not do something fast and it is not what the DNC is doping tomorrow as they are highly responsible of the whole mess we are in.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Rick in Florida

    Now THIS is a better definition of BITTER.......she lost with Mondale and has always blamed SEXISM for it. Now this misconception has found a new home in Hillary's campaign.

    FACE IT.......Ferraro, both Clintons, and people like them are the ones who KEEP BRINGING UP sexism and racism...NOT Obama.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. sozzi

    Reagan Democratics are really Conservative Republicans who can't read or write. So when they completed thier Voter registration card, they had checked off democrat instead of conservative. Mrs. Ferraro please tells the public when was the last time this voting bloc has voted for a democrat.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Dave Milwaukee, WI

    Hey, Ann Coulter....oops....I mean Geraldine, shup up. CNN, this bag of wind should be religated to Fox News. She no longer has any credibility and does not deserve your attention.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. colene

    Hilliary compaed herself to Rocky Balboa. At that time i asked myself what was wrong with Joan of Arc. Then an endorser who was male said she had testetcular fortitude and she was all smiles. I say she did this to herself. As for the race card I won't make a comment. this has been nothing but untruths and this woman won't stop until she destroy any chance for obama.

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. An Independent Hillary

    Clinton/Ferraro 08

    What a great Independent Campaign that would be!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. STEVEN

    I'm a registered Democrat and I think there's a lot of truth to what she is saying–A lot of people in Oklahoma find it taht way

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Cindy

    Thank you Geraldine for speaking the truth! Too bad the obamanics are going to be disappoint call Nov.
    NOBAMA!!!!!!!! IF NOT HILLARY THAN MCCAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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