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. Chris

    Reagan Democrats !? Reagan was over 20 years ago. Get over it and stop interfering.

    May 30, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Lisa

    All of you harping on Obama supporters are in a state of denial. What she is saying partially true and also what the priest said is true. Both camps have had individuals to toss out crazy information. It is true!!! Hillary on the other hand, has basically set the standard for her "white" supporters!!!! You guys are full of bull! I will be so glad to see her go away and I hope those of you whosay you won't vote for him for whatever reason stay home!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. skunkrat The Marine

    I'm a yellow Dog Democrat, believe me when i say Obama will have some serious challenges in the General Election. It would help if his supporters would stop attacking everyone that attempts to criticize him. He will need a unified Democratic Party to win and his young and clueless supporters are driving many would be supporters away.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Robin

    What is wrong with Ms. Geraldine Ferraro? She made a mistake in the first place by telling that Mr. Obama is going forward because of his skin clor and she cannot stop making similar mistakes. If being a colored-skin could help someone to become the president, why we have not seen any colored-skin president yet?

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Dj

    So very, very sad...

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Jonathan

    Wow, this lady needs help. Why is she so devisive. And for all you Hillary supporters or feminist out there that doesn't see that should be ashamed of yourselves. Barack Obama has given nothing but praise to Hillary Clinton and was very careful not to disrespect her and so has Hillary Clinton. But when a surrogate like Ferraro comes out and says that, it's DIVISIVE!!! We need to unite in order to put this country back on track, we are all hurting. By the way, all of you who say that they would vote for John Mccain instead of Barack Obama because Hillary is not the nominee, means that at heart you were Republicans all along, and that you do not care about our country

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. ???

    Obama has been playing the race card the entire campaign? When did that happen? I could have sworn we would have heard something about it after, oh, I don't know, WEST VIRGINIA and KENTUCKY, but no, all he did was congratulate her on her victory. IF anyone is guilty it's the voters and the media this stupid 'blame Obama for all of Hillary's woes' game needs to stop. What are they going to say next, that Monica Lewinsky was actually Obama in disguise?

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. bridgette

    This lady is crazy. What she is really trying to do is finish what Hilary started and trying to alert everyone that this guy is black. Can you see that people. I think she was going to be Hilary's running mate and they were going too take over the world. I don't think she will vote for him niether will Hilary. Bill will because he understands politics. And as soon as Hilary gets out of the race Bill will campaign with him and for him. Because he likes winners. He cannot wait to get out there with Obama. But not Hilary. I am beginning to understand why we have never had a female President. These two historical figures Ferraro and Hilary are acting like two spoil brats that can't have their way. The only reason Obama is winning is because people voted for him. That is the part they don't understand. He got out their and met the people and the people liked what they heard and voted for him. The same thing with Hilary. She got out there and met with the people and they liked what she said and voted for her. The only thing is more people voted for him. So ladies get over it and move on.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Jan, Knoxville, TN

    I wish Geraldine would shut up and join the Republican Party!

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. EJ

    Spread the blame all you want (and get nowhere). The fact is that regardless of who the first woman candidate is, or who the first black candidate is, we would be having this very same argument. You can make the sexist argument day and night, but if you're blind to the reality that the Clinton campaign has benefited from race in many of the same ways then you're argument comes off as completely unhelpful, and as completely biased and self-motivated.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Shelby Y.

    So Gerry, when exactly did you join the Republican party? Question, are all the women that support Obama sexist also? Stop it! These false claims of sexism do nothing to help fight the real sexism that exsist in this country.


    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Ms. Ferraro

    what do you really want? Aren't you the same person who said you might not be vote for Obama if he is the nominee? If that is the case, why do you evern care to speak up at all?
    Let it go!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Michael

    You know there is an old saying, if you can’t say anything intelligent then don’t say anything at all. I am sick of small minded people who have nothing better to do than focus on the color of someone’s skin. She wants to whine and cry because of alleged mistreatment of Hillary Clinton of which there is no proof. It is amazing to me what people will say, it is amazing what people choose to believe about someone and the most amazing thing is they will not go in and check the facts. This race has turned into a joke and I fear it will only get worse because of people like Ferraro.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Disgusted

    This woman is as sick as her counterpart Hillary. They are both delusional...They are desperate and clearly clawing on to every last thing left to make sure they get in. They have no shame....the WH is no one's heritage and should not be treated as such. How can they say Obama has played the race card all along when they were the ones who kept talking about black and white.....

    Shame on you Geraldine and shame on your candidate Hillary!

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Borefore P. Jallah

    what does she actually wants?????? Would it had been fair if obama supporters had said sen.Clinton was in de race because she is married to an ex-president? If she cannot add, then please dont subtract!!! find smoething worthwhile to do!

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Chi4Obama

    So let me get this straight.

    Geraldine Ferraro accuses Obama of playing the "Race card"?? Even though he is "Bi-racial" (not just black). Not once has he made allegations of "racism" during his campaign. In fact, it's funny how the only time race seems to surface, is when the Clinton campaign brings it up.

    And I guess, it's ok for her and Hillary to play the "Gender card" as well huh. Go figure.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. Ratgurl

    Is this woman still talking? Someone please put her out of her misery.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Jerry

    Geraldine need to go somewhere with all these accusation I think she is a racism person and Hillary know Geraldine is a a racism they are trying they best for Obama not to be elected, this is disgrace to America Hillary and Geraldine acting like men's

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Franky

    No offense to Ferraro but she's sounding like my dad!! No offense to that woman but maybe she should check what country we live in......

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. JB

    What about you and the Clinton campaign palying the gender card repeatedly.

    Have you ever thought about why the Obama supporters are fuming mad at Hillary?

    First, her sense of entitlement.
    Second, her "I don't have to play by the rules attitude".
    Third, her ability to flat out LIE. Without blinking.
    Fourth,the fact that she says something and all of her supporters immediatedly believe it and regurgitate it. For example, "I am winning the popular vote".

    Hillary and her supporters are the ones to blame. Not Obama. Maybe if this woman didn't lie, and manipulate facts. Didn't whine "why do I always get called on first", cry (NH)., we would all be better off!!

    Do not try to turn this around on Obama and his supporters. This has nothing to do with women. It has to do with Hillary Clinton. Unless, Ms. Ferraro, you believe all woman lie, whine, manipulate facts and have this sense of entitlement.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. michele

    The problem is, Ferraro is dreadfully unaware of what she is saying and how she is saying it. She seems to be the one making divisive moves here, playing all the various cards, etc... It is not the 80s anymore! (Thank goodness!)

    Obama and Clinton are two very different people, with very different personalities. Both are privileged educationally and economically (Clinton much more so economically). Beyond that, Obama has written extensively about his upbringing, yet has never played that card. Clinton seems to, continually, portray herself as a victim. Maybe she has been so deeply victimized, over the years, by her husband, that she cannot see herself in any other light. Tragic, because it makes her look profoundly unaware.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Toby

    oh please, I wish Ferraro would either say something constructive or look for some way to reconcile or just hold her mouth. What does she want, the Obama half of the party to just go away? Get real. This is some of the most divisive stuff I've heard since Rev. Wright.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. steven

    Whether Geraldine Ferraro is a racist or not it is impossible to deny that she is using that as a tool for political ends. The fact that she is attempting to smear Obama shows that Hillary intends to weaken his canidacy so that he looses in Nov. Hillary I will never support you–ever! You are vile.

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. melody

    These kind of talk in fact harms the true feminism and real women, who are strong and struggling everyday to support their families.

    Mrs. Clinton does not behave like a true democrat or a true real woman. She somehow made herself and her supporters believe that she is entitled to become the president. And she is trying to justify it with any argument, be it NAFTA, bitter comments, sexism, racism..

    Mrs. Clinton lost a lot of credit in this race, and in fact lost long ago. President Clinton I believe lost as much credit as Mrs. Clinton lost.

    Last year when I first heard about the candidates, I was first exited, who knows maybe it's Hillary, first female president of US ! But very fast she changed my mind that she is not the one.

    I congratulate Barack Obama for his calm, gentilmanly attitude. I also like him that he resist to use cheap tactics like gas tax holiday. I believe he is not going to be the first black president only, but also he will become one of the very best presidents of US.

    Very kind regards,

    May 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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