Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will not disavow controversial comments made by a high-profile supporter about Barack Obama’s race that his campaign says is part of an “insidious pattern” of attack.
Former congresswoman and one-time vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro told a reporter for the California-based Daily Breeze, “If Obama were 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 added.
Clinton told the Associated Press “I do not agree with” Ferraro’s assessment, but would not reject or denounce the comments.
“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,” Clinton said.
Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod said these remarks echoed other offensive comments from Clinton supporters.
He told reporters on a conference call Ferraro’s comments was part of a “a pattern that we’ve seen throughout the campaign whether it the Bill Shaheen incident or the Bob Johnson incident, Senator Clinton’s own inexplicable unwillingness to make a direct statement on 60 Minutes about Senator Obama’s Christianity even though they’ve shared prayer groups together in Congress, all of it is part of an insidious pattern that needs to be addressed.”
The string of incidents Axelrod spoke of refers to how Shaheen, former New Hampshire co-chair told the Washington Post he believed Republicans would dig into Obama’s previous drug use in a general election. He resigned shortly after the interview was published. Clinton supporter and BET founder Johnson also publicly discussed Obama’s drug use.
Axelrod’s mention of the 60 Minutes interview comes from an appearance Clinton made on the show earlier this year in which she was asked if she believed Obama was a Muslim. Clinton said “no” and because she knew of nothing to “base that on, as far as I know.”
Axelrod and Rep. Jan Schakosky (D.-Ill.), an Obama supporter, called for the Clinton campaign to dismiss Ferrarro from their fundraising team on the conference call.
“It’s disappointing that Clinton’s supporters have sought to diminish Senator Obama’s candidacy and his support by suggesting he is in someway being given preferential treatment because of his race,” said Schakowsky.