Rebecca Sinderbrand, CNN, March 11, 2008
Geraldine Ferraro defended her controversial comment that Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign was successful because he was black, telling an interviewer Tuesday that she was being attacked because she was white.
Comments by former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro are drawing criticism from the Obama campaign.
“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,” she told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California. “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”
In another interview Tuesday, she compared Obama’s situation to her own 24 years ago, when she was the first female candidate for vice president.
She told a FOX News interviewer, “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,” she said.
In her first interview with Daily Breeze, published late last week, Ferraro 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.”
She also said Hillary Clinton had been the victim of a “sexist media.”
Obama himself has called the comments “patently absurd.”
“I don’t think Geraldine Ferraro’s comments have any place in our politics or in the Democratic Party. They are divisive,” he told the Allentown Morning News.
“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,” he added.
Earlier, Obama’s top strategist, David Axelrod, called for Clinton to sever ties with the former New York congresswoman, who serves on her campaign’s finance committee.