Tempers and words were flying today on both sides of the Democratic candidate camps. While the focus should have been on the Mississippi primary, statements were issued from both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama about a recent statement that former 1984 VP candidate, Geraldine Ferraro made.
From the AP:
In a brief interview with The Associated Press, Clinton said she regretted Ferraro’s remarks. The Obama campaign has called on the New York senator to denounce the comments and remove Ferraro from her unpaid position with the campaign.
Last week, Ferraro told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif.: “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.”
She also faulted a “very sexist media” in the historic race between a man bidding to be the first black president and a former first lady seeking to become the first female president.
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.”
“We ought to keep this on the issues. There are differences between us” on approaches to issues such as health care and energy.
Ferraro is a former New York congresswoman and was Walter Mondale’s running mate when he was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984. She has endorsed Clinton and raised money for her campaign.
Obama called Ferraro’s 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. I think anybody who understands the history of this country knows they are patently absurd,” he told the Allentown Morning Call.
Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said Ferraro should be removed from her position with the Clinton campaign because of her comments.
“The bottom line is this, when you wink and nod at offensive statements, you’re really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes,” Axelrod said in a conference call with reporters.
A defiant Ferraro dismissed the criticism in an interview with Fox News. (see video below)
So is Ferraro a racist or is she merely stating the truth that no one wants to admit? While anyone can stand there and argue that race and gender is not an issue in this election, I ask you to look at the droves of people turning out to vote in this election. It’s not an issue of blacks voting for blacks or women voting for women, but an issue of electing a history making president in a role that has been dominated by white males since our forefathers. Let’s say Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama were not the presidential candidates but rather John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich. Would we still see the record breaking turnouts at the polls as we are witnessing? NO. You know it and I know it. We may be sick of the current Bush Administration but the fact that the nomination is now between an African American and a female IS AN ISSUE OF RACE AND GENDER. Like it or not, admit it. We may not head into the polling booth with race or gender on the mind, but it IS there subconsciously. I would hope that the majority of voters are going to the polls with issues and agendas as the main focus for our choice, but we wouldn’t be standing in line for hours if those two white male candidates were on the ticket.
I am currently taking a Politics and the Media course and I have learned a lot more about bias in the media than I ever cared to know. Now it could be that we are only hearing sound bites that the gatekeepers of the media want us to hear, (just look at past political sound bites) and it could be that Ferraro merely spoke before thinking. Either way, I don’t condone what she has said but is what she said intent or interpretation?
Remember, this IS politics and as the horse race gets tighter, words will get nastier.
Here is the video from FOX News: