Sweet: Obama team calls for Clinton camp to repudiate Geraldine Ferraro in wake "white" comment. UPDATE

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obamafairlesspamarch112008 001 Barack Obama taking a tour Tuesday of the Gamesa Wind Corporation factory in Fariless Hills, Pa. The factory makes component parts to make wind energy turbines. The large object in the background is a nacelle, which goes on top of a wind tubine. (Photos by Lynn Sweet)
obamafairlesspamarch112008 002
FAIRLESS HILLS, PA.—The Obama team on Monday called for the Clinton campaign to disavow remarks made by former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro for saying Obama would not be a contender for president if he were female of white.

UPDATE
Obama made his first comments about Ferraro in an interview with Josh Drobnyk of The Morning Call, based in Allentown.

"I don't think Geraldine Ferraro's comments have any place in our politics or in the Democratic Party. They are divisive. I think anybody who understands the history of this country knows they are patently absurd. And I would expect that the same way those comments don't have a place in my campaign they shouldn't have a place in Senator Clinton's either," Obama said. END UPDATE



Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), an Obama supporter who has been traveling around the country as a surrogate for Obama, said in a conference call to reporters the comments were “completely out of line.”

Schakowsky said Ferraro “played a historic role” in being the first female on a major party ticket (Walter Mondale tapped her in 1984 to be his running mate) but fount “disappointing” her comments suggesting Obama got “preferential treatment because of his race.”

Ferraro—a fund-raiser for Clinton—touched off the uproar when she said in an interview with the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif. (outside of Los Angeles) that "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position....And if he was a woman (of any color), he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Last week, Obama foreign affairs adviser Samantha Power stepped down after she called Clinton a "monster" who was "stooping to anything" to win the nomination in an interview with The Scotsman.

Susan Rice, another Obama foreign relations adviser said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that Ferraro needed to “repudiate” her statement.

“It is a far worse comment that what Samantha Power said and for which Senator Obama accepted her resignation. I think if Senator Clinton is serious about putting an end to statements that have racial implications, that diminish Senator Obama because he’s an African American man, then she ought to really repudiate this comment and make it clear that there is no place in her campaign for people who will say this kind of thing.”

Robert Gibbs, Obama communications chief said that if the Clinton campaign were serious “about policing” themselves some steps would be taken. “Let’s see if they are serious about their rhetoric or just playing games..(they) can’t feign outrage only at your competitors’ supporters and not take responsibility for your own.”


19 Comments

What Ferraro said, while maybe offensive to some, is 100% true. Anyone who doesn't think it is true is living on Fantasy Island.

Ferraro's comments suggest a grossly unsophisticated analysis of Obama's success. Using race to explain his appeal is elementary school thinking at best. What explains Ferraro's mental disintegration?
Jim White

she should denounce ms ferraro for her saying.

Oh please! They are really stretching this one and taking her statement out of context. She also says a woman or a white man with as little experience as Obama would not be considered a serious contender. And that's true.

So how did he get this far? Ambition, and a calculated plan to run for the nations highest office before people knew too much about him. Just look at his voting record (or lack thereof) and how he voted based on public opinion polls in the US Senate. All the while thinking about getting votes.

Hopefully the media will do it's job and shine a little light on this Invisible man who wants the American people to take a leap of faith for the sake of "Change". You know change can go either way.

Ask the voters in MA who elected Deval Patrick as Governor about the change they got. He got elected using the same spiel as Obama . Heck, they even share spiels. Hillary Clinton won MA.

The Clinton campaign has raised negative to an all new level. I simply do not understand why Hillary Clinton thinks going this negative against Barack Obama in her attempt to secure the nomination will not come back to bite the Democrats in the rear end. Her camp is actually putting a "beat Obama" playbook out there for the Republicans. I thought suggesting you would be a better president, and John McCain your Republican opponent would be a better president than Obama was the worst comment a Democrat could make, but Geraldine Ferraro's comments have topped that! The Clinton's have obviously decided to fire their entire wad at the guy, with no regard for the integrity of the party. The presidency of the United States is still an elected position. It's not a birth right. Bill & Hillary need a reality check...fast!

Obama is a much more superlative orator and politician than Ms. Ferraro ever was.

Obama might be a bit more attractive if he did speak about race. His condemnation of Ferraro's comments, which by the way are TRUE and EVIDENT, is just one more reason to tire of his rightous doubletalk routine.

Many, many Whites are drawn to Obama BECAUSE he is black. It is true his candidacy represents a sea change in America's attitude about race. The acedemics and the media (and the LEFT) are WAY behind where most Americans are with race. Heck, it is one of their sacred cows. If he spoke up about this, he may change something. But he needs to bring African americans INTO the fold, into the mainstream. Not some seperatist ideal that is all the rage amoung the most prominent (white and black) acedemics.

Of course if he did this, he'd have to deal with his racist Chicago preacher.

One other thing- real centrists often anger the most extreme factions of the their base for the compromise required to be in the center. I have yet to hear these factions sing anything other than praise for Obama. That's where he truly is as an agent of change. In his skin color, right at home with the power factions of the Left.

Thanks!

In reading your article, I asked my self this question. Is it possible that the Clinton campaign and her surrogates are sending racially tinged messages coded to similar demographics in Pennsylvania?

I ask this because of the recent rants and discussions Senator Clinton has had about who is qualified to be "Commander In Chief."

Since this initial question of Obama's "qualification" has come up, we have had the Ed Rendell's comments, talk show host Bill Cunningham's and Iowa Congressman Steve King's "Hussien" statements and now Geraldine Ferraro's comments. Senator Clinton's response? "It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we've both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal," she told the AP. "We ought to keep this on the issues. There are differences between us. There are differences between our approaches on health care, on energy, on our experience, on our results that we've produced for people. That's what this campaign should be about."

Strangely, there has not been one repudiation of these statements of Rendell and Ferraro. Clinton never made the statements, but she seems to be very comfortable in letting these comments just stay there and marinate with her "base." Is this why the 3 AM ad was so effective? Just asking.

When Senator Clinton says at a press conference that she and McCain brings a "lifetime of foreign policy experience" and Senator Obama gave a speech in 2002, is sad but scary. It seems she pandering to white fears about voting for a black candidate who has the "window dressing' of a President, but more likely as an Emperor who has no clothes. Now sadly, according to the Clinton campaign, he can't even qualify to be Vice-President. It plays on the fears that some whites may have of about affirmative action and their perception that it has taken away their jobs or that African-Americans have only benefited because of it. Remember the Allan Bakke case was only a generation ago. Kitchen table politics has it way of filtering down from generation to generation.

To me there is this sense that since African-Americans are voting for Obama at a 85-90% plurality in caucuses and primaries, the Clinton campaign has given up on fighting for that vote and have concentrated on sending messages to whites who feel they have been disenfranchised by Blacks and Latinos. This is the Willie Horton of this presidential campaign. They could not get away with calling Senator the "Black Candidate," but they can get away with calling him unqualified prior to the Ohio and Pennsylvania primaries that pandor to a less educated, white, blue-collar electorate. just to remind you Pennsylvania is described as Pittsburgh on the west, Philadelphia on the east and Alabama in the middle.

I wonder if Mrs. Clinton is willing to play games and be comfortable with the American psyche by taking a very dangerous tilt towards the dumbing down of its voters and constituents. If so, then I really hope that the change Senator Obama promises really prevails.

Does anyone really think America has become so completely and race neutral in this campaign to elect an African-American as President?

It's a good question....Just asking....

LS,

"if he were female [of] white" -- you meant "female [or] white"

-- SCAM

In Actuality it is the truth. But what does Obama know of Truth.

David Axelrod and much of the rest of the Obama team, including their surrogates on the airwaves, have engaged in incessant hate-mongering ever since Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire, so why are we having this conversation? It's impossible to watch CNN, where these so-called Democratic strategists congregate, without getting adominal pain from the intensity of their bitterness, mysoginy and cocky expressions of superiority. And then when someone like Ferraro actual boomerangs that hatred right back at them, they cry foul. What part of what she said wasn't based on already corroborated facts? A state senator who accomplished so little in his eight years in Illinois that he didn't even bother to save his papers tells you something, doesn't it? And the recent article in the NY Times - "Star Power, Minor Record" completes the picture. The only thing Ferraro forgot to mention was the pivotal role the G.O.P. has played in enabling this spoiler candidacy. At the CPAC conservative conference in Washington last month, the banner read "Anybody but Hillary", and that's all this presidential election has ever been about. The Republican crossover voting made those red state victories possible for Obama, not any "message of hope", and accusing the Clintons of racism effectively swindled African American voters. What amazes me is that people like Rep. Jan Schakowsky would be party to this national disgrace, especially when she's in a position to know all about the fraud schemes Obama engaged in with his handler Tony Rezko for a decade. She knows who this man really is and so will all of us some day. For more on Rove, I've posted an article at thecityedition.com. Click on my screen name for a direct link.

Hilary Clinton’s support and response of Geraldine Ferraro’s speech really shocked me. Isn't it telling of her real character. Samantha Powers got it right - Hilary is a MONSTER. She will stoop to anything to get elected. Wake up America.

I am a black male and very proud of Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. However, I must say that Obama is in this predicament because he is black; likewise Senator Clinton is in the predicament because she is Senator Clinton. We live in America people. How often are people celebrated for who they are, instead of what they have done... For that matter, just as Obama is questioned about his experience, Clinton should be questioned about hers. But it is not so, and correct me if I am wrong, but she has not been a senator much longer than Barack. Further, since we do live in America we were able to center this presidential election season around two people and cast out all of the others. And although, Ferraro was right, she would have had the same response because she is a woman. This America's doing, however. We have always lived in a United States that is sexist and racist. And much has not changed. The only thing that has changed now is the glamour, and soon that will die down. The only problem we have now is that it is going to be a four year problem and I am going to vote for it because I am a black male, proud of both, and ready to see America suffer. And it won't be the first time it happened. Just like the Hispanics are soaking up all of the jobs because of the Quadalupe Hildago Treaty and Operation Wetback. Now we want to complain about immigration. Suffer, America, suffer... because the land of the free and home of the brave is only free for those who control the institutions and brave for those who fight the wicked, who are equally brave.

As with the Ken Starr smear comments, Geraldine Ferraro's comments have no place in politics, no sign of an apology from Geraldine? and Hilary with both Ken and Geraldine says nothing. It seems the strategy from Hilary now as desperation just grows by the hour is o throw as much dirt as possible and hope at least some sticks! does she not realise that the comments from Ferraro where not just an attack on Barack Obama but Voters as well!

Fiddle faddle. Is Ms. Ferraro so wrong in her comment? Or is she just right enough to touch a nerve?

Senator Obama has had an easy time so far on questions of his associations with the dirty under belly of Chicago Democratic politics and its sweet-heart deals with crooked property dealers and fixers like Antoin Rezko and Stuart Levine--both big backers of Senator Obama's political and private financial life. Each time questions are raised on his and Mrs. Obama's association with these people, the Obama campaign swings in with accusations of 'racism'.

It is not 'racism' to question a candidate's or the candidate's spouse's potentially corrupt dealings and associations.

It is not 'racism' to question a candidate's voting record.

It is not 'racism' to question the truthfulness of a candidate's 'autobiography' and to point out glaring fantasies passed off as facts.

It is not 'racism' to ask why among the key mentors of a candidate are listed a self-avowed domestic terrorist like William Ayres who founded the Weathermen and who was responsible for planning and instigating the bombing of United States government buildings. These bombings led to much destruction of tax payer property and the maiming of innocent people.

It is not 'racism' to ask why the Senator has been 'too busy' to do the job as US Senator for which he takes a US$1625000 salary and over US$1million in expenses. It is not 'racism' to point out that Senator Clinton has managed to do her job as US Senator and run for President.

It is not 'racism' to ask why Senator Obama's name was attached as Sponsor or Co-Sponsor of bills in the Illinois Legislature for which he had contributed nothing to the drafting or the proposing.

If Senator Obama and his cronies don't like having the Senator's persona exposed, then tough. But it ain't 'racism'; it's a public service.

Repudiate Geraldine Ferraro? The woman who was Ital-bashed? Oh, puh-leeze. The Obama camp needs to wake up and realize that people have opinions. Sometimes they speak. He needs to remember he's running for office, not king.

I think this is another Obama strategy to get us off track. Senator Hillary Clinton is the most qualified to be president. Let's keep our eyes on the prize. On to PA ...

You have to give it to him.. He certainly has affected "change"! He said he would and he did. Probably not quite in accordance to the lofty rhetoric he's been spewing but it is change. Despite his claim that he is the "ONE"...the time is now, the messiah to bring every one together etc.etc., he can't even bring the Democratic party together. Instead we have chaos. He has managed to do this in part by spinning comments about race into deliberate attacks on blacks. He's a politician and he knows how to play the game. Get your base angry at your opponent and they will come out to vote for you. It doesn't show very good judgment though because as he draws his base closer, he drives the whites away and should he be the nominee, he will need us too. I for one wont vote for him now. I wont even vote for Hillary if he is her V.P. Why? Because I don't trust.

I have said it all along that is all Obama's platform Race, Race and Race. I have to give it to the man because he is no dummy. This same stuff will go on during the Fall when he will be running against Mc Cain.

I am telling you that this Country will be even more divided after the election. You can take that to the bank and if you don't believe it then you are a fool!

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Lynn Sweet

<Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 11, 2008 1:58 PM.

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