Obama praises Ferraro as 'trailblazer' despite their rocky past
Geraldine Ferraro, pictured in 1998, was the first woman on the presidential ticket of either major party.
March 26th, 2011
03:52 PM ET

Obama praises Ferraro as 'trailblazer' despite their rocky past

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House issued a statement Saturday from President Obama on the death of former Democratic VP nominee Geraldine Ferraro, praising her as a “trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life."

“Whether it was as a public school teacher, assistant district attorney, Member of Congress, or candidate for Vice President, Geraldine fought to uphold America's founding ideals of equality, justice, and opportunity for all.  And as our Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, she stood up for those ideals around the world. Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live,” the statement read.

But the relationship between Obama and Ferraro was not always so amicable.Ferraro, who backed then Senator Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries, made controversial racial comments to The Daily Breeze newspaper that resulted with top Obama aides calling for Clinton to dismiss Ferraro from her campaign’s finance committee.

In the 2008 interview, Ferraro said "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."

Obama responded by telling the Allentown Morning Call that her comments were “divisive” and “patently absurd.”

Soon after, Ferraro stepped down from her post on the Clinton campaign and accused the Obama campaign of twisting her words to make her appear racist. She then doubled down in another interview with the Daily Breeze and said, "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

Ferraro later told the New York Times that she thought Obama was “terribly sexist” and that she might not even vote for him.

But by Obama’s Inauguration Day, the two just might have made up. In an interview with FOX News, Ferraro, who went to the ceremony with her granddaughter, spoke favorably of the new president:

I was not an early supporter like Oprah Winfrey. It took me time, but I've got to tell you, I could not believe the enthusiasm that was there in the audience, and it came from all over. There are millions of people standing on line….It was a phenomenon, and I am so happy that my granddaughter had an opportunity to see this. It was something to see. It was historic and - and I cannot tell you how supportive I am of this president, and I know that he'll do a good job.

Topics: President Obama • The News

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Gregg

    Barack Obama is one hell of a man who consistently takes the high ground.

    Out of a generic respect for the dead, I won't say anything bad about Mrs. Ferraro However, the fact of the matter is that up until 2008, I had some level of respect for this lady's trials and tribulations and accomplishments. Unfortunately, because of her behavior and comments during race. that is how I and MILLIONS of others will remember her.

    March 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  2. Dan

    Her remarks in retrospect, were right on the nose. The country was caught by a concept and elected inexperienced guy. The rest is history, but she was right!

    March 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Cardog

      Dan, please explain your comment about President Obama was the wrong guy because he was inexperienced? Can you name one president our country has had that was fully qualified and experienced before being elected? Why don't you just say you do not like Barak H. Obama..period. Does not matter if it's due to his policies, his religion, his birthright or his color. Just be honest for a change.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
      • Gaylon Barrow

        I'll be honest. Hades no I do not like him. I do not like him for he is a liar and nothing is true about him. He will not salute the National Anthem. But he will grab his crotch like many of you do. Because that is where your brain is located. He has bankrupt us. Someone mentioned Republicans destroying Social Security and Medicare. I'll beg their pardon. It is the idiot in the Oval Office who has already did that unless the Supreme Court stops Obamacare. The problem with you people is you do not look at the facts before blabbing away with your chattering speech impediment.

        March 28, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • Bill Rogers

      Do you think the previous president's 'experience' served us well?

      March 28, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  3. Henry Miller

    Ferraro was right.

    There was nothing in Obama's background to suggest that he was capable of being the President of the country, and he proves every day–at least, every day when he's not on vacation–that he's overwhelmed by the job. He hasn't a clue what he's doing. He looks good in a well-tailored suit, he makes a great speech, he wasn't George Bush, and he's black. Those were the things that got him elected, and none of them have anything at all to do with what it takes to run the country.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • sara

      Shirley Chiselom, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes? Weren't they Black. Harvard Grad, Constitution Law professor, State senator and U.S. senator. Just as qualified as the past ones. Unless you have to be born an "inheritance".

      March 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
      • Gaylon Barrow

        OH MY, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Jesse, he held the Rev. King's head while he died. He wasn't even there. Is this what you people call the truth. The problem I see is you people wouldn't know the truth if it bit you in the backside.

        March 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • VTHokie407

      Well said Henry.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • jack25

      You are so wrong and you know it...Obama 2012

      March 27, 2011 at 4:00 am |
      • Gaylon Barrow

        Not if the South rises again it will never happen. No one want s this brainless wonder expect porch people drinking their wine drawing welfare checks and smoking their Mary Jane. Everything gonna be alright mama 'causes we dues 'nother one of dem free checks in a few days. I don't have to rob no's liquor store.

        March 28, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • allen

      Right. Because being black is such a HUGE advantage in this country. You are so thought provoking.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Charles Boudreaux

      Gaylon, you are not too bright and your comments show that. I do not believe you were ever a Democrat. And, no, it is not everybody who disagrees with President Barack Hussein Obama who is a racist, but some are, and intelligent people can discern the clues these racists inadvertently reveal in theitr postings. You, Sir, may be one of those who only see the man's skin color and let it cloud their every thought.

      March 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Cardog

      Henry Miller, I'll ask you the same question I asked Dan. Name one President of our country that was totally informed, totally experienced before becoming the President???
      I just don't get you people who dislike this President so much. If only there could be open and honest dialogue, maybe, just maybe this country could move away from it's divided past. Probably not happening in my lifetime...

      March 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  4. Gaylon Barrow

    I am so sorry for Gearldine Ferraro passing. I wish her family well. But for Obama there is no need for him to say anything everyone know his lies. he cares nothing for Mrs. Ferrarro and would be a lot better off if he just kept his dumb mouth shut. I am so tired of his underhanded way of operating and his taking this country down into socialism. Americans if you are not like Obama's supports and do have some brainpower left you better wise up to what is taking place with this evil man.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • sara

      Please specify "lies" the President has told. Your thinking process appears to be limited and this isn't about the Prez it's about the former Congresswoman. How do you know what he "cares" about?

      March 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • kevin

      Why would Obama not care about her? His wife is an accomplished woman he is raising two girls why would he not care about Geralines leagacy. Just because of a few coments said during a heated primary he now works side by side with Clinton. You are a small minded person that should think before typing

      March 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Aaron

      What was Obama supposed to do...point out Ferraro's nasty side? Politicians rarely do that, even when an archenemy dies. Ferraro was no angel on Earth, but I respect Obama for keeping it all clean.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  5. Gmyers

    Ferraro was right. The media would have laughed at a white two year senator running for office but because Obama was black they all focused on that and if people would not vote for him based on his race not his total lack of experience. They just assumed he was qualified! Ferraro was 100% right!

    March 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Moderate guy

      John F. Kenndey?

      March 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  6. williefloyd

    Gaylon Barrow, I have never on any blog seen anyone with so many vile comments. For those of us with "brainpower" I
    would suggest you proof your own comments before you post them. Pres. Obama's "dumbness" hardly befits College
    graduate, Harvard Law, author of 2 books, and the best Pres.we've had in many years. Don't suppose you could name some of his lies?

    March 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      Pretending to be a citizen of the U.S. Pretending to be a Patriot, Old grab his crotch salute to the American flag. Lied about being a Christian when it is plain and has been captured on video that he is a full blown Muslim. And the person who mentioned Al Sharpton plus Jesse Jackson, prime examples. All you supporters see is he is black making him a supreme being. Lord help you for you or all stupid fools.

      March 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
      • kevin

        Gaylon he has shown his birth certificate to everybody that matters or he wouldnt be president . Even Hawii Republican Gov has seen it. You are an ignorant fool if you still think he wasnt born on US soil.

        March 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
      • Auzzie

        Let's see how does someone "pretend" to be an American citizen. What does it mean to "pretend" to be a Patroit? I have no idea what you are talking about with the "old crotch grab salute to the American flag". Obama is a Muslim now, he used to be a black-nationalist white hating member of Rev. Richard Wright's church.

        The last point " no one can remember him" there are several teachers and classmates that remember his early childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia

        March 27, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      Yep and no one can remember him. This site is for Gearldine Ferrao and out of respect for her and her family I will not elaborate further. but thing needs to be said. For you people to criticize anyone for blasting Obama is a shame after all you do to Palin. Who has not done a thing to you. So just keep your flapping lips moving and I will keep blasting away on Obama the idiot. SARA you are a fool not to see all the lies the man has told. he is not a Christian nor a Citizen.

      March 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
      • suzy.q

        Wow, you really are a case for scientific study.

        March 27, 2011 at 7:25 am |
      • mitch

        Gaylon, you and your fellow conservatives are a sad and pathetic example of what is wrong with this country. You don't bother to understand fact from Fox, you don't even try. The fact you allow others to dictate your knowledge is a pure form of ignorance.

        I am sorry for all those that you interact with.

        March 27, 2011 at 8:42 am |
      • Eatmore1


        What's with the "you people" stuff?? Sounds a bit racist to me! You may want to check yourself; something may be showing!

        March 27, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Jay in NC

      williefloyd, on Jan 22, 2009 Barry signed an order to close GITMO with in one year. He said he was returning America back to the moral high ground. Well, it has been over two years and the place is still open. He now says that it may not be closed in the near future. This is an issue he ran on, he promised and said it is what makes him different than President Bush. That, in my book is a lie.

      March 27, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  7. Gauch402

    Obama dumb? Socialism? The peope who are dumb are the posters on this article. As someone who lived under socialism and immigrated to this country to escape that, it is the most absurb comment to make to say the US is ANYWHERE near socialism. If it were, I'd high tail it out of here like I have done before.

    Grow up, get educated and think before you type utter non-sense. Next thing I'll hear is that the sky is green and the earth is flat.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  8. Peggy Munro

    A good President, like a good CEO puts the right people in place to enable good operations. A clear, intelligent and thoughtful mind is critical to the position. Additionally, one must have empathy, think globally, feel for and fight for the common man. This person must be a good listener, respect every country, race and religion and acknowledge the rights and freedom of the world's citizens. This person must be willing to take unpopular positions for best possible outcomes. It is also good if that person is family oriented and sets a good example for the way families are treated. Paying attention to the economy and promoting excellence in education are also key performance factors.

    I think Obama qualifies.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Gaylon Barrow: Wow, you never miss a chance to slam the President and spread lies about him! I'm betting that when Ms. Ferraro was running for VP, you called her every vile name in the book.

    Anyway, I am saddened by Ms. Ferraro's passing; as a woman, she inspired me greatly with her intelligence and strength. I think she would have made a great VP! I was surprised by her comments regarding then-candidate Obama, and yet was heartened when she and the President were able to patch things up. Shows they both have a lot of class and love for our country.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow


      March 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Henry Miller: Just because GW Bush couldn't watch TV and eat a pretzel without choking, doesn't mean President Obama isn't capable of multi-tasking. His recent trip abroad was a TRADE MISSION, as in, building relationships with other countries in an effort to boost American exports (which will translate into more jobs HERE).

    And there's plenty in President Obama's background to suggest he is very capable of being President, not the least of which is his genuine desire to actually help people (if you think community organizing is so easy, go do it yourself), along with his intellect and outstanding work ethic. (Lest you forget, GW was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, is a dry alcoholic and spent his Vietnam "war experience" AWOL – read: bender – for almost 18 months!).

    March 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      Then why is he trying to lay the blame on Hillary Clinton this morning that it was all her doing. She is not the President. Then again with the likes of Obama he may be.

      March 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  11. MJ

    May Gearldine rest in peace. Very sorry for her family and friends who will miss this amazing woman. Not the time to tout politics. My heart goes out to all those who loved and cared for her. God Bless.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Ferraro had a very impressive resume running as VP, similar to that of Hillary Clinton and the 10 women presidents around the world as well as their spouses. Can't say that for Palin and her spouse and this is 2011, Ferraro got hers way back in 1984.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  13. sara

    Still the smartest and classier Prez after all the "race baiting" and hatred.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  14. marty

    Geraldine Ferraro earned her credits on her "smarts" and diligence, not the spins, half truths and inferences prevalent among the Bachmans, Palins and Angles.

    May God bless Geraldine Ferraro and her family.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • kevin

      So true Palin should study her to learn how to run with class . Palin played the uneducated outsider wich is a slap in the face to somone with the education Gerlaldine had. Wich for palins sake I hope it was an act.

      March 26, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
      • Gaylon Barrow

        Even at that Palin so far outclasses big hipped mama in the White House today. That woman definitely ate to many of her own kind.

        March 28, 2011 at 3:15 am |
  15. ket

    gaylon barrow its good that most americans do not have your views you and the conservatives are a dying breed

    March 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      I'm not a Republican. I was a Democrat until after 6 months of Obama. Now I am nothing. But I intend to tell the world what a traitor Obama is. To the one who said they didn't know what the old grab you crotch salute was with Obama. undoubtedly you've never seen him when they play the National Anthem. He will not Salute instead he grabs his crotch. Typical AA thing isn't it.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
      • Moderate guy

        John F. Kennedy?

        March 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      YOU THINK? But not very good. I am not a Republican.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  16. Ellen

    Good Lord. What a narcissist, Obama is.

    When I read the link the first thing I said to my husband was, "OK, here's a story on Obama's comments about Geraldine Ferraro's passing. I bet he will somehow inject himself into the story." And of course he did on how Ferraro's life impacts HIS daughters. Obama: get over yourself, you narcissist thug.

    RIP Ms. Ferraro.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  17. Nitty

    @Ellen: WOW!! Are you f*cking kidding me!!! Stating that someones life had a positive influence on your childrens lives, makes you a narracist!!! REALLY!! If thats the case then you better not pay homage to anyone including your mother or father because if you do you a narracist just like the President!!! Let go of that hate in your heart!!! You need Jesus in your life!! Im going to pray for you!

    March 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      This is totally uncalled for but typical out of AAs like you. You can't keep the profane language out of your vocabulary can you? Where are the moderators when you need them. you have no business commenting on this site.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  18. williefloyd

    When a candidate is running for the presidency, they say many things, and i believe most are sincere in hoping to fulfill their promises or statements. However, we need to remember that while they are only candidates. they are not always privy to certain classified info. Once revealed they may have to adjust their thinking. Not having closed Gitmo in only 2+ yrs. does not mean it may not ever happen. We as Americans have become seekers of "instant gratfication"0we want everything yesterday.
    If you have a situation in your family and have made a decision on how to handle it, but circumstances or new info. becomes available, would you not possibly change your thinking as well as your method of handling it? I don't call tgat wishy-washy, I call it smart.
    Many of you posting here would be wise to use Factcheck.org or just Google some things. Knowledge is not that hard to come by.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      It doesn't matter what privy information they are given. They still have a Congress and a Constitution to abide by. No one is saying we weren't needed in Libiya but needed a month ago. He stated we were not commiting our Military to the cause. The less than a week later hyen attacks without permission. If the Congress doesn't impeach him then this is a sad case of affairs. We have yet fallen to a dictator. But I guess it is coming. Get ready folks don't give up your guns no matter what resolution Obama passes they will be needed.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
      • Joseph

        Shame on you Gaylon Barrow. You are air head. The day you were born should be cursed. You should look in the mirrow and your image will scream your racist bigot.

        Port Moresby

        March 28, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      Joseph – There we go again. I'm the racist bigot I guess. You can write then surely you can read. If I'm not for Obama then I'm a racist bigot, right? What about all the slander coming from the puff Monkees on Palin. You know people retaliate when they hear this stuff. I don';t rally give a darn what most you think that I wasn't a Democrat. For sure I'm not one now because a bad element has taken that party over. Your mouths are like always unless you can run rampant in the streets it means nothing what you say. Your just catfish all mouth with no bodies. I've seen your kind come screaming through the jungles of Vietnam. You all go down when a claymore explodes in your path. SO don't talk this into something you can't win. OBAMA WILL NOT IN THE OVAL OFFICE IN 2012.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Jay in NCq

      Closing GITMO was more than just a campaign promise. Take a look at this NYTimes story.

      On Jan 22, 2009 President Obama signed executive orders directing the Central Intelligence Agency to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year.

      Barry said he was returning America to its moral high ground. Two years and still not closed.

      March 28, 2011 at 6:58 am |
  19. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Gaylon Barrow, Did you really run through jungles of Vietnam? I thought you were working in logistics; a military strategic advisor or something, the way you were clowning OBAMA for not going into LIBYA any sooner than he did! About 3 weeks ago you said he was wrong for not having gone there already; that people were dying because of his neglect to get right in it; and that he should've been in there 30 days ago! You did 2 tours in VIETNAM; 30 year ret vet! You knew what you were talking about! Okie-Dokie?!

    March 28, 2011 at 5:35 am |
  20. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Gaylon, now you jumped shipped like the rest of the Teabagging jerks saying, OBAMA lied, saying he would not commit our troops, and the next week he did. He did not say that! I guess I better tell him not to listen to you and your 'good advice'! After you send him on the mission, you'll run off and leave him hanging, Mr 'NEVER LEAVE A SOLDIER BEHIND'! You are a racist, egotistical buffoon who has supported most of his stinking thinking on the military! You need psychiatric help in a PTSD group or some!

    March 28, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • Jay in NC

      Typical Liberal name calling. That is what they do when they lost the argument.

      March 28, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  21. Liz Carter in Georgia

    You're the typical example of a warped racist, yet dillusionally sick mentality of supremast hate! You're up-front with it; yet you like to deny it at the same time! LOONEY! However, I'd have to say I can appreciate your dillusional honesty; because you aren't able to hide out in spin, political rhetoric, lies, and sarcasm! You tell lies on the PRESIDENT but you don't know how to go ingognito like many others on the blog. You wear your hateful racism on your sleeve! It comes right out of your mouth! OH BOY!

    March 28, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  22. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Gaylon, We know you love yourself some Sarah Palin, or at least, lust her! That's OK? But stop trying to prop her up against BARACK and MICHELLE OBAMA! She couldn't hit neither one of them in them in the butt with a red apple, OK? So just stop that PALIN stuff in comparison to OBAMA. She's not on their level intellectually nor in their class! It's apples and oranges; and she's neither! She's a nut! BTW, I hate to break it to you like this but, she's smart enough not to hang you on her CHRISTMAS TREE!

    March 28, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  23. Mike

    To those responding to Mr. Barrow......Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with his experience.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  24. Happyman

    Forget the politics. sounds to me like you have a problem with minorities. If that's the case, come out from behind your computer and face an AA as you call them on the streets and say these things to their face. I guarantee you that you are a coward and afraid of real Black Men just like other racist cowards. Tell us where you reside with your comments.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  25. Ernie

    Obama wishes he had Geraldine Ferraro's politicial savy it he did he wouldn't be the mess he is in now. The goes to show that Obama has no politicial experience where Geraldine Ferraro did. If Obama were to be asked if he had every consulted with Geraldine Ferraro he probably would say "Yes" to make himself look good but in reality I don't think Geraldine Ferraro would give Obama a second look.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  26. Liz Carter in Georgia is a Racist!

    Ugh - how ugly!

    March 28, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  27. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Yep! We learned how to do it well from folks like you, Gaylon and all of our other sorelooser conservative teaparty friends! I haven't lost too many arguments. You just refuse to accept the truth most of the times. You rely, wholeheartedly on 'facts', even though the most incompetent knows facts can be manipulated to achieve a desired perception, and mosttimes are! BTW and FYI, my HEAVENLY FATHER nor CNN will allow me to call you all the names that suit some of you and your inflamatory remarks even better.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  28. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Happyman; you're right! You are soooo right! I keep trying to make them see themselves! I keep trying to make them listen to themselves; see how they really sound! I keep feeling like I'm THE ONE who could finally break the lingering yoke of racism for some; not all, but SOME! Many try to 'smother' it in political discourse, propaganda, and rhetoric, but I'm an old experienced inspector of it being born and raised in it! Oh, that 'elephant' can't hide from me! So to stop me, they call ME a racist! OH WELL!

    March 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm |