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. Brandon

    I find that this woman was on a major ticket for the most powerful office in the land once upon a time frightening.

    Thank god we have pregressed from "token" women with no substance, to real competitors such as Sen Clinton, Sen McCaskill, Rep Pelosi, and Gov Sebelius.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. Rick in Florida

    For all of you who think this will end in June....FORGET IT. Hillary's stated position is that "SuperDelegates and even PledgedDelegates can SWITCH their votes ANY TIME".

    This means that she WON'T QUIT, and will lobby, cajole, campaign, even bribe if necessary, and WAIT until the FLOOR VOTE at the Convention, before she finally accepts the end. NO MATTER that there will only be 2 months to unify...NO MATTER that Obama will be fatally damaged....NO MATTER that the Party will be in chaos...

    She hopes he will lose in November so she can try again in 2012, hoping the Party will have forgiven and ready for a LONG HOT TERRIBLE SUMMER OF HILLARY, and the flawed logic espoused by people like Ferraro...who are pathetic.

    May 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Denial

    CNN .. post this plz ............

    *YAWNS* ... Another irrelevant Topic from Clinton News Network ..

    I hope after June 4th ............ I see nothing of the Clintons & their surrogates here .........

    It's time to focus on Obama vs. Mc Cain (the G.E)

    race card, gender card, victim card, what next ?? ... lady in the pants suit card ...

    I have said it many times Hilary is trying to divide the party so Obama will lose the G.E .. so Hilary can run in 2012 ...... even her supporters admit this is what she is doing ...........

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |


    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Hillary supporter

    The thing that upsets me the most about this campaign–they have sliced, diced and vetted Hillary and have let Obama go–He has far more hidden secrets than we know–more are coming out every week that show his extreme weaknesses. White racism is similarily as destructive as black racism. That trinity church must be the Devil's own workshop.

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Godwin

    I thought she has moved finally to Russia! There is no room for that kinda divisive politics here in the good ol' USA!!! Take a vacation ma'am.

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. Joe

    Geraldine Ferraro is a sad old woman. Nobody has paid attention to her for the last 20 years. I wonder why it is that the media suddenly finds her interesting?

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Mike

    This women is the only frightening thing in this article.

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Sillary

    The only thing frightening about this campaign is when Geraldine Ferraro gets a picture in the media. YIKES!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Jamaal Craig

    Please Please Please go wherever you were before the primary season began. No one was listening to you then and no one is listening to you now.

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Shelby Y.

    Someone please get this woman laid so she can shut up!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. mwFlorida

    These two woman are old and crazy, they both need to go away. You see how they are keeping race in this. The are both getting to the point of hormonal deisaster. They wonder why they are losing this campaign. It's their true arrogance, they think they are owed this election and they both are giving women a bad name.

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Butch

    Sexism is an issue
    Racisim is an issue
    Lying to us is an issue

    Welcome to politics

    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Brendose, Oceanside Ca


    Reagan Democrats????

    Oh I get it, because they sure wouldn't be Ferraro Democrats, because YOU HAVE NO FOLLOWERS!!

    Yes racism played a role in this election you intellectual midget! Did you hear any interviews coming from West Virginia? The "SWING" state that needed to be won that Hillary kept talking about?

    People didn't vote for Obama because they still thought he was Muslim, and he had the middle name Hussein. And that he was BLACK.

    But keep talking Ferraro.........keep showing how RACIST you are, considering you grew up when it was OK to mistreat minorities in public and get away with it.


    May 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Kaci

    No, it's you, Ferraro, driving all the racism and sexism. How is Obama playing the race card? He is as white at you if you quit looking at his skin color? The problem is all along you and your ilk have been trying to marginalize Obama as the "black candidate" and he's transcended that. the split in the party has been caused by you, bill clinton, vernon jordan, bob johnson, hillary clinton, harold ickes, wolfson, etc, etc, etc. i'm a woman, and i'm at the hrc campaign wanting to blame everything on sexism. she felt she was "entitled" to the nomination and when the american people said otherwise and she realized she wasn't going to be crowned the nominee, she starts whining. ferraro is irrelevant, so please go away.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Puerto Rican in Swing State

    More than frightened, I am worried and saddened by the way Obama supporters have downplayed and humiliated the efforts made by the Clintons regarding the Puerto Rico primary. While residents of the island are not allowed to vote in the "general," there is a very well structured Democratic Party within the island. Obama himself has gone down there to collect money. After all, this is a DEMOCRATIC primary, right? So, why is it so appalling to the Obama supporters about the fact that Puerto Ricans would have a say in the matter? They sure didn't object when the Guam primary was taking place! And I don't see Obama returning contributions from Puerto Rican donors anytime soon! Moreover, Puerto Ricans living in the mainland (like myself) ARE allowed to vote in the "general." That makes about 3.5 million votes. That includes about 800,000 in certain swing state named FLORIDA. Other important communities are located in key states such as Ohio (Lorain County/Cleveland) and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Lancaster, York). I thought the Obama supporters could eventually bring all components of the Democratic Party on board. The disrespect towards Puerto Rican voters tells me otherwise...

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Michele J

    I'm sorry but Geraldine Ferraro is not the best person to argue the 'points' . She is too worked up and all over the map with her arguments!

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. FLORIDA Voter for Barack Obama

    I Find YOU frightening!

    Crazy Woman 😛

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Ben in MA

    Geraldine Ferraro was once a big reason I became a Democrat. I remember as a 9-year-old in 1984 thinking that it was wonderful that Democrats would nominate a woman as their Vice Presidential candidate. Nowhere in the news had I seen women politicians at the time, and it was exciting to see someone practicing the equality that they preached.

    Now, she is symptomatic of the reason why it is hard for me to call myself a Democrat. Hillary Clinton lost because she ran a bad campaign. She lost because she ran a negative, divisive campaign. She lost because she received fewer votes. Now that she has lost, blaming the rest of the world for the failure of her candidate's campaign and pushing further the division in the party is disgusting. It makes me glad she was not successful in her VP campaign, and makes me hope I never have to hear self-serving divisive vitriol out of another one of my party's "leaders" ever again. If I do, it will probably cease being my party.

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


    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Noah

    You lost 24 years ago GET OVER IT!!!!


    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. you hurt feminism

    Obama Dems find you frightening. And so do level headed feminists. You are hurting your cause.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Mark

    Excuse me Mrs. Ferraro.. but it's not a woman or gender issue, but a fabric of character issue. HRC has shown us a disgusting side of greed in politics and complete disregard for the good of the people..

    Gender has nothing to do with it. Get over it.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Ed From Milwaukee WI- Swing State

    Why is she even speaking, she sounds like Clinton. I wonder if she is not taking her medication.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. tali

    As a woman, I am highly offended by Ferraro's comments concerning Hillary Clinton. Hillary lost the campaign by not properly planning for the long haul and divisive dirty tactics. If she is the best canindate for the job, why is it estimated that she has over 30 million dollars in campaign debt?

    Why fund a study to research the role of sexism in the campaign? Why not donate the money to help Hillary before she has to ask loan herself additional funds?

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