Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet column: Obama team steamed over Ferraro


print version of earlier blog post

FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. -- By the end of Tuesday -- and after the Obama campaign raised a ruckus -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton distanced herself from race-related comments about Sen. Barack Obama made by a backer, 1984 former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, the first female on the ticket of a major party.

Obama called the remarks "divisive," and Clinton said it is "regrettable" when supporters "veer off into the personal."

The Obama forces pushed back after Ferraro told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif., 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."

The Obama campaign organized a conference call for reporters to spotlight Ferraro's remarks. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in the call she found "disappointing" her comments suggesting Obama got "preferential treatment because of his race."

This comes days after Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power resigned after she called Clinton a "monster" in an interview with the Scotsman,and Obama economics adviser Austan Goolsbee touched off an uproar with Canada over remarks he made about NAFTA.

Obama toured parts of the Gamesa Wind Corp. factory, which manufactures component parts for wind energy turbines. Obama told the Morning Call, based in Allentown, that Ferraro's comments have no "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."

In the AP interview, Clinton said, "I do not agree with that," and later added, "It's regrettable that any of our supporters -- on both sides, because we both have this experience -- say things that kind of veer off into the personal."


Ferraro vs Jesse Jackson - April 15, 1988 (The cite is a Washington Post story - byline: Howard Kurtz, - available only on Nexis).:

"If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race," she said.

Here's the full context:

Placid of demeanor but pointed in his rhetoric, Jackson struck out repeatedly today against those who suggest his race has been an asset in the campaign. President Reagan suggested Tuesday that people don't ask Jackson tough questions because of his race. And former representative Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that because of his "radical" views, "if Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race."

Asked about this at a campaign stop in Buffalo, Jackson at first seemed ready to pounce fiercely on his critics. But then he stopped, took a breath, and said quietly, "Millions of Americans have a point of view different from" Ferraro's.

Discussing the same point in Washington, Jackson said, "We campaigned across the South . . . without a single catcall or boo. It was not until we got North to New York that we began to hear this from Koch, President Reagan and then Mrs. Ferraro . . . . Some people are making hysteria while I'm making history."

This morning on an interview Ferraro made a good point. She said that Obama and his minions, namely David Axelrod, need to stop crying racism and playing the race card whenever someone says something remotely negative about Obama. She pointed out how they did the same thing to Bill Clinton in South Carolina. She also said playing the race card like he does will severely hurt his chances to beat McCain if he is the nominee. I totally agree, and as a McCain supporter I urge Axelrod and Obama to keep childishly crying racism.

What Farraro said was inappropriate. But, It is what many Americans black and white are saying amongst themselves. When an African-American super delegate goes on television and tell Wolf Blitzer about the pressures being recieved by African-American super delegates to support Obama, because of his race isn't that a form of racism.

Did Hillary really blast her for the comments, Sweet? Why didn't she reject these comments and those of the Hispanic leader that who said she wouldn't vote for Obama because he is black. That's some fine OBJECTIVE reporting you continue to do covering Hillary and Obama.

Why the total focus on Ferraro with the rest of the press? It's always this way. Obama hits them hard on it to cover for the outrageous behavior of his campaign:


"At 3am, Hillary said she and Bill were in bed and she knows of all the calls a President gets at different times of the day and night. Really? So much involvement - so much togetherness. Where was she when Monica was having sex with Bill? 35 years of experience? When he was intimidating Katherine Wiley and Paula Jones? Where was the judgment on the cattle futures and white water. Do we forget Mark and Denise Rich? This was an impeached President who lost his licence to practice law. He committed perjury. They settled with Paula Jones for the full amount of her lawsuit. I haven't forgotten and none of us should.I remember the scandal when the Clintons' bags were searched when they left the White House and they had to return historic artifacts and gifts.When Bin Laden was building Al Qaeda, Bill and she were fighting impeachment, fighting Paula Jones, fighting Katherine Wiley."

And that's how the rest of the media has been treating Obama. Kid gloves. Thanks, Lynn, we know you've been keeping it real.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

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

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 12, 2008 8:35 AM.

Sweet: Obama wins Mississippi was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: NRCC will be reluctant to send cash for Oberweis rematch after Democratic Foster grabs seat. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.