early and often

Geraldine Ferraro Drags Race Back Into It, Maybe to Stay


Funny, she doesn’t look humorless … oh, wait.Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Geraldine Ferraro apparently hasn’t paid attention to how the offensive-comment cycle has worked this election: Surrogate X says something offensive about candidate Y. General outrage ensues. Surrogate X backtracks, apologizes, and/or vanishes. Ferraro, a member of Hillary Clinton’s finance committee, is not backing away from her statement (to Torrance, California’s Daily Breeze) that “If [Barack] Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.” Obama’s people charged it furthered a Clinton pattern of race-baiting; Clinton only said she “disagreed” with Ferraro. And Ferraro has refused to back down. Yesterday on Fox News she even claimed to be the victim of reverse racism, saying, “I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white.” And judging from what she told the New York Times, Ferraro has no intention of quietly slinking away. “If they think they’re going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don’t know me,” she told the Caucus blog. Who else isn’t shutting up? The punditry, of course.

• Ben Smith and David Paul Kuhn write that focusing once again on race can hurt both candidates: Obama, by turning off white voters in Pennsylvania, and Clinton, by testing superdelegates’ patience with her campaign’s negativity. [Politico]

• Maureen Dowd recalls that although he’s outraged now, Obama has already acknowledged he’s received special attention in the Senate because of his race. [NYT]

• Jake Tapper thinks Ferraro’s comments help Clinton by acting as a very effective wedge in working-class Pennsylvania. [Political Punch/ABC News]

• Andrew Romano thinks both candidates come away looking like hypocrites. [Stumper/Newsweek]

RJ Eskow questions whether Ferraro’s comments were simply bigoted remarks by an individual or part of a larger campaign formula. [HuffPo]

• Josh Marshall believes any advantages Obama has gained from consolidating the black vote have been tempered by the votes he lost from bigoted whites and thinks Ferraro’s comments were not just outrageous but false. [Talking Points Memo]

• Rosa Brooks wanted to give Ferraro the benefit of the doubt but, after seeing Ferraro dig in deeper on Fox News, called her comments “appalling” and lamented the loss of a former idol. [XX Factor/Slate]

• Jason Zengerle says it’s time to send Ferraro on a long cruise. [Plank/New Republic]

• Mickey Kaus calls this a “Kinsley Gaffe”: when a politician tells the truth. But he notes the Clinton Democrats are enforcing a double standard, as they used to support race-based affirmative action. [Kausfiles/Slate]

• Mark Ambinder writes that dust-ups like these only distract from important issues. [Atlantic]

• Kevin Drum says it’s not his race but his charisma that has propelled Obama. See JFK, RFK, Gary Hart … and Bill Clinton. [Political Animal/Washington Monthly] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Geraldine Ferraro Drags Race Back Into It, Maybe to Stay