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. Nic

    When has Obama played the race card in this campaign? Ferraro is ridiculous, and should no longer be granted a forum for her rants. They are without value.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. John J.

    So now he is losing primaries because he's black?

    We know you are racist Ferraro, get over it.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Dylan

    Hey Geralidine...


    Get off your high horse you self-righteouis, old hag.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Tell The Truth

    I find Ferraro's looks and mindset frightening.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Yank in London

    Oh my god please go away.......

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Independent for Obama

    And everyone finds YOU frightening, Ferraro!

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Numbers

    Right, HRC is not fracturing the champaign as well by saying people are crazy for not voting for her "more electable"* self. And Lady Farraro is not fracturing the party either by basically saying "Dont be sexiest vote for an old white guy you dont share values with"

    Makes since.

    *more electable means "Im white, and safer."

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Linda31

    What is wrong with this woman!!! Doesn't she realize that she is the one spewing the racism and hate? Instead of trying to heal and mend any wounds, she is trying to create a bigger problem. She is no leader and no help to Clinton.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Helen, GA

    Geraldine, I fully agree with you, 100%. Obama is a fraud. If he is the nominee, he will lose miserably in November and I hope he goes out of politics. We do not need such immature persons in our politics.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Michael, ATL

    Her time has come and gone. What ever happen to if don't have anything good to say, "just shut up".

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Proud American

    Oh no the Crypt Keeper is back! You lost then and you lost now. You're a sour two time loser Ferraro.

    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |


    May 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. RB from NH

    I can't believe this woman! What a sore, bitter loser!

    Clinton treated unfairly due to sexism? What a crock.

    Hillary had a poorly run, poorly financed campaign, now she and her attack dogs are trying ANY method possible to stop the will of the people.

    It's sad for women in this country. Not that she's been mistreated, but that she has been such a poor role model on how to run for the Presidency!

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Look Out !

    It seems that this woman is determined to tear apart the Democratic Party. Some people divide to conquer. Others divide to destroy.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Daniel

    This woman is crazy

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Dale in VA

    Keep going hillary !

    Everyday is more frietghening......

    Its known now that people will have some tough decisions ahead of them if you do not get the nomination. I hope that saturday, something comes about in your favor.

    It seems Obama still has things comming up from his past. What people do not realize is, if he was not running for president, he would still be there at Trinity. His past tactics of becomming a senator. Most apauling was the people in the back ground of the video – very disturbing

    His tactics now, all floridians and michigans know they want to be heard. He doesn't want them to be heard or voiced – or seated. all americans ahave the right to be so heard.

    Pelosi and DNC need to change the rules for future primaries.
    who cares if a state changed there dates – so what.

    if obama is get the nominee , i think you'll see a mad rush to the republican party, me included and or possibly i'll sit this election out
    he has no executive, economic, health care reform, experience.
    just a good talker – he made sentaor becuase of this – where the outcome product of his sentatorship ????????

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. Brian, NJ

    Wow...I mean wow...I'm a Republican and I think she's gone off the deep end. She's complaining about reverse racism, how about reverse sexism since the fembots in Hillary's campaign think any woman who does not support her is selling out her sex. Can anyone tell this woman to STOP, YOU ARE HELPING NO ONE AND MAKING YOURSELF LOOK LIKE A NUTJOB!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. TXMomof2

    This woman is preposterous. This remark is even more ridiculous than her claim that Obama is having an easy time of it because he's a black man. I laughed really hard about that one, because, yeah, we just hand out political offices to any black man who wants them. That's why we have so MANY black elected officials, right?

    But I can't even laugh at this one, its so stupid. Obama is responsible for the racism and SEXISM in the campaign, give me a break. Was Obama the one who implied after the SC primary that he only won because he was black? And does Obama walk around and say "elect me because I am black?" No, but Hillary complains CONSTANTLY that she is mistreated because she is a woman. She cries when she needs sympathy votes so she looks more feminine. She has even started wearing PINK ALL OF THE TIME to emphasize her "womaness" (I don't think she EVER wore pink before this campaign). She repeatedly implies people should vote for her because she's a woman. I would love to see a woman as president, but not THAT woman. I am with Golda Meir on the issue of women succeeding. If you want to succeed, you forget you are a woman and make everyone else forget it too. You don't keep bringing it up and bringing it up, and then complain that people hold it against you.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Billy

    52% of the US are women. If "half of the women" wanted Hillary Clinton, theres not a thing any other group, be it blacks, white males or hispanics, could say about it. The truth is the majority of women in the US DO NOT WANT Hillary Clinton, its as simple and as mathematical as that. How sexism gets thrown around..I dunno.

    Our time has come...ummm how about Obama was referring to the Democrats and not this trumped up racial division you are playing on ... Ms. Ford.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Army Veteran Against McCain

    Reasons why Veterans, active duty personell, and anyone who cares about them should not vote for McCain:

    *AWOL for May 22nd vote on GI Bill. Expressed opposition to bill saying "it was too generous to Veterans".

    *Voted against Bill in September that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.

    *Voted No on $1.5-billion increase for Veteran Medical services (money would have come from closing corporate tax loophole).

    *Voted No on establishing a trust fund to bolster underfunded Veteran Hospitals.

    *Voted No in May 2006 against $20-billion allotment for expanding Veteran Medical Facilities.

    *Voted No in April 2006 to increase Veteran Outpatient care.

    *Voted No in March 2004 another $1.8-billion reserve for Veteran Medical care (again funded by closing corporate tax loopholes).

    Bottomline, McCain is more interested in taking care of big business then the men and women he wrongly sent to fight in Iraq.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |


    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. john/Montana

    Wow! This is unbelievable. Its clear to me that Ms. Ferraro and so many others like her are more about entitlement than what is good for the party and the country. In their self absortion, they ignore what is really at stake in November: Supreme court justices, Americas standing in the world, our civil liberties.

    The hard reality is that Obama ran a better campaign and deserves the nomination.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Mitch

    As a Reagan Democrat I take offense to Ms. Ferraro's generalization!

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Jane, NC

    Ms. Ferraro makes some very valid points. The news media failed us during the Bush administration, and they've failed us miserably during this democratic nomination process. Not only because of what they've neglected but also because of how they've slanted stories on which they have reported. If there's a real loser in this campaign, in addition to the American people as a whole, it's the media. I think it's time for our free press, which we've deemed sacred, to come under new scrutiny.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Suziku

    There is something seriously wrong with this woman. Both she and Hillary Clinton need some help–fast!

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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