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. Ernest in MD

    Why are you giving this disgraceful lady some air time???

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Shannon

    These accusations by Ferraro are unfortunate and baseless. Ferraro is a setback to the feminist movement. Clinton lost this campaign because she put together a horrible team, had high turnover at top levels, had no financial management (of which Ferraro was directly responsible), and no strategy post February 5. Part of being a feminist is being recognized on the same merits as men. In this case as stated before, she has performed less well and thus lost.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Brian

    OMG – this woman has lost. She hasn't lost it because she's woman, but she is a complete RACIST! "Our time has come." (I'm white, late 30's) to end this type of ME first politics that have dominated the agenda for far too long!!! The OUR he was referring to was the American people!

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Anonymous

    So, let me get this straight....if your candidate doesn't come out on top, ala Hillary, you were somehow treated poorly? I know that women want Hillary to win, but face it, she lost out to Obama and they should really get over it and move on. Women with young, draftable children should steer clear of McCain because once this military is exhausted, and they are getting to that point, the draft will be back. Mark my words.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. A Texas Voter

    Our time has come means it is time for people who are tired of the way Washington has done business for years. Time for a change, time for truth and time for honesty, that is what it means. This old bigot is out again and she needs to keep her old antique ideas to herself.

    Geraldine, call the home they can't find you and quite honestly they are worried what you will do or say next!!!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Veterans For Obama

    With all due respect ma'am, shut your pie hole.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Matt from NY

    Not Again!!!! Please someone tell this old crow to keep it quiet!!

    Ms. Ferraro has become so amazingly delusional that she is willing to scorch the earth and burn every democratic bridge she can lay waste to. how can she claim Obama is any worse than she was to be added to the ticket as a token choice?

    She represented nothing when she was selected, absolutely nothing. Hillary, Pelosi, and countless other strong willed woman are the real soldiers fighting on the ground. Ferraro sits on her soapbox hurt and bitter that she made racist comments and now is painting everyone as the vitcim who doesnt support Obama.

    I don't think race or sex has played as big a role as the media claims. Sexism does defiantly exist..... as do the results from kentucky were 1 out of 5 people openly admitted that Race was the reason why they voted for Obama.

    Let me ask you Geraldine.... if 1-5 people admitted they were racist, wouldn't you find that to be an issue?

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Karima

    What in the world is she talking about?? You are trying to tell me a white woman has it harder in America than a black man? Ms. Ferraro, I think you need to go back and do some reflecting and take a hard long look in the mirror.

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. true demorcrat in monterey ca via memphis tn


    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. CJ

    Ferraro is just ticked off because she never made it as VP. She sounds like a broken record – same old thing sexism! She is as phony as Clinton is!

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Why is CNN publishing anything from this bitter woman!!??!! I am a 54-year-old woman who finds her a good reason why people would be sexist. She and Hillary are setting us back decades in the equality fight. She is not speaking for all women!!! Please stop!

    May 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Jason

    Yes, yes, I know, Hillary is losing because of chauvinism. Surely it has nothing to do with how Obama has won more delegates than her.

    Seriously, if this goes past June 3, Hillary and her supporters WILL be accountable for what comes. Her right to continue, despite losing in every category, ends the second that the final precinct is count.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Nelle

    From a little corner in Oregon......they're pulling out all of the stops. So ridiculous it makes me ashamed to be a 74 yr old white woman. Never heard this refrain while Hillary was ahead.

    Go Obama!

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |


    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. bernj

    I suspect she is correct in concluding that some whites are afraid of Obama. That said, such fear is irrational and racist in and of itself. As for the sexism charge...well.....same old same old. It is Hillary herself, (helped in large part by Bill) not her gender, that the majority of Democrats, reformed Republicans and thinking independents have rejected. It is time for us to move past old fears and embrace a new America. President Obama is our best hope for the future.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Conservative Buyer- CA

    She's like my grandmother who will just say the darnest things.

    I love her but man she says the craziest things.

    I'm still waiting for someone solid in the Clinton Campaign to come out and voice out a message of unity.

    She's clearly a Jacksonian Democrat.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Derek

    Geraldine Ferraro – Please crawl back into whatever paranoid racist cave you crawled out of.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Slock

    I am white "Reagan Democrat" and I think Ferraro needs to shut her mouth. The only decisiveness is coming from the Clinton Camp. She doesn't care about the party, she cares only about herself. It's pathetic.

    How is anything that has happened sexist to Clinton? It makes zero sense to me how they claim sexism. It's just the Clinton's last desperate attempt to sway people since she doesn't care about anything other than winning the candidacy.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Alex in MA

    Oh please Geraldine! Go away!

    We are so lucky that you did not get to become VP!

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Jean

    What is this woman after. Is she scattering the party at a time they need to be brought together more than ever before? She should be asked.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. Jackie

    Frankly I don't get these accusations. I haven't seen the race card or sexism being played over and over again by the Obama campaign. I think what has happened here is this was to be the "year of the woman" and here comes Obama snatching out from under her. HRC wasn't the right woman for the job so it is time to move on and start gearing up for the general election. We have some very serious problems and we need to focus on them.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Another interested Canadian.

    Geraldine Ferraro is not operating with a full deck. I am also a woman and do not believe Clinton has been treated unfairly or otherwise just because she happens to be a woman. She is reaping what she has sown, nothing more nothing less.
    Geraldine also cannot blame Obama for how Hillary has been portrayed in the media either. He himself has not stooped to her campaign's tactics and he has only been gracious without ever playing the tit for tat game.
    He congratulates and compliments her in his speeches while she has consistently done the opposite. She continuously claims he can't beat McCain when the polls show otherwise, and once her campaign ends I think we'll see an outpouring of additional support for Obama from her less fanatical supporters who wouldn't stoop so low as to vote McCain into office from sheer vindictiveness.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Give me a break

    Speaking of old time politics:

    Geraldine, go away, no one cares what you think. Your 15 minutes was up 15 years ago.

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Cheryl

    Please crawl back under a rock Geraldine and shut your face. You have one goal and that is to split the democrats. Who needs you? Not the democrats....

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. Kris In Atlanta

    What is with this individual? She seems to be the only one playing the race card-along with Hillary. Obama had made racial unity his theme from day one and I don't ever recall that notion touted by Ferraro. And sexism is not an issue-was it an issue when Hillary had double digit leads in the polls, and was regarded as the early winner? The only thing that has caused a division in the Democratic Party is Hillary undermining the party for her selfish reasons, and Ferraro attempting to do the same. Both of them are doing everything they can to help McCain but it will not work. Hillary's supporters wil come to realize that their lot is best cast with Obama, who will end the Iraq mess, protect a woman's right to choose, and appoint judges to the bench who will stand up for Americans' liberty. And as for Ferraro, this is 2008 not 1984 and we are moving on without you.

    Obama '08

    May 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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