Posted March 14, 2008 – Sen. Hillary Clinton, forced to distance herself from a longtime friend and a high-profile campaign aide for her racially offensive statements, says Black folks should know that she and husband Bill are no racists.
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On Wednesday, Clinton said she’s sorry for comments by former N.Y. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro dissing Democratic rival, Barack Obama. Ferraro, the first woman to run as the vice presidential candidate on a major-party ticket, put her proverbial foot in her mouth when she suggested that Obama is only winning because he’s Black.
“If [Sen. Barack] 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,” she ranted. “He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”
Initially, Clinton had refused to distance herself from Ferraro, instead sending out her African-American campaign manager, Maggie Williams, to blame Obama for playing the “race card” for complaining about the comments. The ensuing firestorm has put Clinton in an uncomfortable position with Black voters, who already had largely abandoned her team and enroll in the Obama Brigade following a string of other racially tinged comments from her campaign.
Speaking to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a conglomeration of about 200 African-American newspapers, Clinton said: "I certainly do repudiate it, and I regret deeply that it was said. Obviously she doesn't speak for the campaign, she doesn't speak for any of my positions, and she has resigned from being a member of my very large finance committee." She asked Black Americans to remember her and her husband’s history with their community, saying that some comments have been misunderstood.
For example, she said that when Bill Clinton referenced the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s victory of the South Carolina primary in 1984 and 1988, many people misunderstood his intent.
"I want to put that in context,” she said. “You know I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive," Hillary Clinton said. "We can be proud of both Jesse Jackson and Senator Obama." She also said that she would want all of her supporters to vote for Obama if she were to lose the nomination to him.
"Once one of us has the nomination there will be a great effort to unify the Democratic party and we will do so, because, remember I have a lot of supporters who have voted for me in very large numbers and I would expect them to support Senator Obama if he were the nominee," she said.
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