August 16th, 2008
12:46 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain backer takes on Howard Dean over 'white' remark

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="DNC Howard Dean, pictured here with Sens. Clinton and Obama and former Sen. Edwards, said Friday that people of color and women have historically been more successful in the Democratic Party."]
(CNN) – Carly Fiorina, a supporter of Sen. John McCain and the chair of the Republican National Committee’s Victory 2008 campaign, took aim at Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean over racially-tinged comments Dean made Friday.

“If you look at folks of color, even women, they’re more successful in the Democratic Party than they are in the white, uh, excuse me, in the Republican Party,” Dean said Friday in an appearance on NPR’s “Tell Me More” program.

Fiorina, a prominent female supporter of McCain, fired back at Dean. “It is disappointing to see Howard Dean trying to use gender and race to divide voters," Fiorina said Friday evening in a statement released by the McCain campaign. "His comments are insulting, inappropriate and have no place in this election.”

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is set to face off in November against Sen. Barack Obama, who is about to become the first African-American to garner the nomination of a major political party. Obama beat out Sen. Hillary Clinton in a long, hard-fought primary race that galvanized many women behind Clinton’s candidacy and many African-Americans behind Obama’s.

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soundoff (579 Responses)
  1. Joan

    Howard Dean is the absolute worst! He completely alienated Clinton backers by his obviously lopsided support of Obama early in the primaries. The actions and comments he made during the primary caused me to cease contributing to the Dem Party....and I will vote McCain in November.

    Now he makes some asinine statement about the Reps being "white". The man is totally out of touch in todays world. First he alienates women. Then he makes an utterly stupid comment about Republicans being a party for "whites". Is he a complete idiot? When is the Dem Party going to kick him in the backside and get him OUT of a leadership position in their party?!!!!!

    August 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. Pat Henry

    Well, he is correct.

    August 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Ken from Michigan

    Until America faces it's truths, we will never overcome our nations short comings. We all know the Republican Party is the "white" party. It's been that way forever. Who are they trying to kid, we know the truth. (and yes, I am a minority).

    August 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Howard Dean is an idiot and the wrong person to lead the Democrats. I'm mortified by this comment.

    Undecided voters, please do your research before choosing the candidate for whom to vote. Go to to disprove the allegations made on both sides, but especially the lies that McCain and the GOP continue to spout about Obama's tax plan.

    Thank you for being an INFORMED voter, no matter what your eventual choice.

    August 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. mollygonz

    I had to laugh so loud when I read this. It may have been a slip but boy, oh boy is it true. I think his slip up is so hilarious. I wonder if he did it on purpose.

    August 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Chris from NY

    Can people please stop injecting race in to this white house bid. We have enough division in this country to last us a life time. Obama is trying hard for us to bridge the gap. No one should try to widen it. Anyone who tries to widen the division gap or use it for his or her political gain doesn't have the interest of the American people at heart.

    August 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Matt

    Dean, Pelosi and Ried... It is like they are deliberately trying to screw up their own party's chances in the fall. Sexism? Race baiting? Aren't these things they accuse the Republicans of doing? And yet this whole election has been a display of how intolerant THEY are... talk about frustrating!

    August 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. W.H. Thomas

    So what..U gonna call Howard Dean a racist too. Just think what wouldve happened if Senator Obama wouldve said such a thing.

    August 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Mindy

    Ok, so it was a poorly made remark...but yet so true! Look at any campaign event and you will see miles of white with few – if any – other hues in the crowd.

    I think that was a Freudian slip.


    August 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Sillier season

    And I'm sure Hillary would concur that her party was loving, loyal, supportive and rushed to her defense when she was unfairly and horribly attacked in vile and vulgar ways. AND that was just by Obama, his campaign and his supporters. Monster? Annie Oakley? Entitled to the throne? War monger? Same old politician? Bro before Ho? C.U.Next Tuesday Hillary.

    Then there were the media attacks: tingles for Obama, spit for HRC. The B word got a lot of usage... but heck it is just a white woman. Don't say anything against Obama- that is racist.

    August 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. bill in montgomery

    The difference between the Repubicans andDemocrats is that the Republicans expect you to get off your dead butt and help yourself, while the Democrats tell you that you can't make it on your own that you need handouts from a big givernment. Plus the Democrats want to take from the ones that's gotten off their buttss and made something of themselves and give it to those that lay around whining and complaining about how unfair they've been treated. That's why we have so many Democrats living in the projects!

    August 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Claude

    Mr. Dean simply stated a fact: The democratic party has attracted more diversity than the white, i mean...Republican party.

    August 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. William Chirolas

    Given the facts below – why doesn't Obama want Hillary as VP – she is the only VP that helps in the polls. Why has the best political team ignored this data?

    National Gallup Daily
    August 15, 2008: McCain, Obama Tied at 44%
    August 14, 2008: Obama Up by 3 on McCain
    August 13, 2008: Obama Up by 6, 48% to 42%
    Similar to last two Gallup Poll Daily tracking reports

    SurveyUSA –
    08/11 – 08/12 (Obama +7)
    Obama – 51%
    McCain – 44%

    07/13 – 07/15 (Obama +16)
    Obama – 55%
    McCain – 39%

    08/06-08/06 (Obama +19.0)
    McCain – 36%
    Obama – 55%

    06/30 – 06/30 (Obama +31.0)
    McCain – 29%
    Obama – 60%

    (McCain +1)
    08/08 – 08/10
    McCain – 48%
    Obama – 47%

    Source 1: SurveyUSA
    Source 2: RCP

    08/07 – 08/07 (Obama +4)
    McCain – 45%
    Obama – 49%

    07/10 – 07/10 (Obama +8)
    McCain – 42%
    Obama – 50%

    08/11 – 08/11 (McCain +3)
    McCain – 48%
    Obama – 45%

    07/16 – 07/16 (Obama +2)
    McCain – 45%
    Obama – 47%

    07/31 – 08/03 (Obama +9)
    Obama – 47%
    McCain – 38%

    06/08 – 06/10 (Obama +23)
    Obama – 53%
    McCain – 30%


    08/14 – 08/14 (McCain +1)
    Mccain – 49%
    Obama – 48%

    07/21 – 07/21 (Obama +3)
    Mccain – 47%
    Obama – 50%

    Rasmussen (Obama +4)
    McCain – 45%
    Obama – 49%

    07/22 – 07/22 (Obama +13)
    McCain – 39%
    Obama – 52%

    Rasmussen (McCain +6)
    Mccain – 50%
    Obama – 44%

    07/15 – 07/15 (Mccain +3)
    Mccain – 48%
    Obama – 45%

    August 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. JOEL

    That is Howard Dean for you yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    August 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Keeping An Open Mind

    HOward Dean just proved the Dems are a party of racists

    August 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Matt, Chico, CA

    Democrats think they are holier than thou because they include everyone... except those with qualifications

    August 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. GOP SCUM

    The truth hurts, doesn't it?

    August 16, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Flahute


    I'm a 42-year-old white man, lifelong Democrat, raised in the South, lived most of my adult life in Northern California, and now live in the Republican bastion of Salt Lake City, Utah.

    I cannot believe that Howard Dean (whom I supported in the 2004 campaign) would stoop to this level.

    I am offended and ashamed that a member of my Party would utter such a snarky, racially-motivated comment to denigrate our opponents.

    It's the 21st Century! Race should play a very small role (if it should play any role at all) in modern politics.

    August 16, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Marge Hibbing Mn

    I guess the dems think it is working for obama maybe they can stir the pot more.....

    August 16, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. JB, Boston

    This is directed to all the democrats trying to defend Dean, and of course to Dean:

    If I said, "if you are white you should vote for the R's because they support whites more. . . . .would that be fair?

    Of course not, it would be deemed racist. Reverse racism is getting out of control!

    August 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Calvin in NY

    Insulting and inappropriate, yes, but notice how she didn't say untrue.

    August 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. GOP SCUM

    The party that uses racial division to win election after election don't like to be called out on it?

    I guess even the Devil doesn't like to be called evil.

    August 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Tre

    and now i love howard dean

    August 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Silly season now that Obama is a joke

    Where is the "white" party?

    I want to check it out for a while.

    The democratic party has clearly lost its way... we now bully and intimidate others into voting for the least qualified candidate that we installed.

    August 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Kevin

    You know, I actually might believe Mr. Dean if he were to say that he "misspoke", considering he's white himself... and not a Republican.

    ..and that he quickly corrected himself. Pleh, whatever, this isn't news anyway.

    August 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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