OK, so Geraldine Ferraro (former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential candidate with Walter Mondale; also former member of Senator Clinton’s Presidential election finance committee), in an interview with the Daily Breeze (Torrance, California) last week, said, “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman, 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.” Ferraro also accused the “sexist media” of attacking Clinton too much.
Now, here’s my thoughts on her comments. Were they out of line? Yes. Were they partially correct? Yes, but because of different reasons than what were behind her comments. I think that originally (this means back before Iowa), Obama’s race helped him in the media (just like the media helped McCain in New Hampshire once he became the leader in ONE poll. The media jumped and said – “OH MY GOSH! HE’S BACK IN IT!!!!!” And that’s what got him back in the race. Without the media pouncing on a single poll, he never would’ve become the nominee. Without the media jumping on Huckabee for doing so well in the debates, he never would’ve won Iowa or even been a contender in South Carolina.). The point is – the media helps everybody (normally – Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Alan Keyes would be exceptions), and it was Obama’s race and charisma that got the media’s attention.
So, was it his race that got him this far? Partially, but if he were white, it would have been some other quality. And I would say that his charisma has helped him out MUCH more than his race ever could.
OK, so Ferraro, in response to a lot of media attention on her, told the Daily Breeze, “Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says, ‘Let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world,’ you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up. Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”
She also told FOX News, “I got up and the question was asked, ‘Why do you think Barack Obama is in the place he is today’ as the party’s delegate front-runner? I said in large measure, because he is black. I said, Let me also say in 1984 — and if I have said it once, I have said it 20, 60, 100 times — in 1984, if my name was Gerard Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I would never have been the nominee for vice president.”
David Axelrod, the top strategist for the Obama campaign, said that Clinton should sever any ties that she has with Ferraro, saying, “When you wink and nod at offensive statements, you’re really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes.” He said that Ferraro’s comment, plus Clinton’s “own inexplicable unwillingness” to deny that Obama is a Muslim, was part of “an insidious pattern that needs to be addressed.”
Senator Obama said that Ferraro’s statements were “patently absurd.”
He told the Allentown Morning Call that “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 Sen. Clinton’s, either.
Now, I find this kinda funny. Axelrod wants Clinton to immediately disassociate from Ferraro, but it took Obama how many years to disassociate from his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright?
Senator Clinton issued a statement to the Associated Press saying that “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. 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.”
Senator Obama later said, “I think that her comments were … ridiculous. … I think they were wrong-headed. I think they are not borne out by our history or by the facts. The notion that it is a great advantage to me, an African-American named Barack Obama, in pursuit of the presidency I think is not a view that has been commonly shared by the general public. Divisions of race, gender, of region are precisely what has inhibited us from moving effectively forward to solve big problems like health care, energy, the war on terror.
On Wednesday, Ferraro sent her letter of resignation to Senator Clinton, saying, “I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign. The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won’t let that happen.”
She then told CNN that the Clinton campaign did not ask her to resign and that her and Clinton are still on good terms. She said that she was “absolutely not” sorry for what she said, and that “I am who I am and I will continue to speak up.” She went on to criticize Obama and his campaign for attempting to keep her from exercising her First Amendment rights.
So, to summarize, I think that Ferraro was out of line (but what she said was partially true), but there is a HUGE double standard in the fact that Ferraro was so criticized by the Obama campaign who has up until recently ignored Reverend Wright’s comments.
I think both candidates need to put this behind them, or the infighting is going to tear down their party more (big shame).
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