Clinton backer Geraldine Ferraro sparks new Obama race storm

There is no place in the Democratic Party for racist comments. Even the European press is discussing Geraldine’s remarks.

h/t Europeanview for the link.Geradine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro, the Democrats’ 1984 vice-presidential nominee and an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton, has triggered the latest campaign firestorm by saying Barack Obama has been successful only because he is a black man.

“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” Ms Ferraro told the dailybreeze.com political website. She added: “And if he was a woman (of any colour) 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.”

The Obama campaign called the remarks “outrageous and offensive.” They emerged on the day of the Mississippi primary, where Mr Obama is heavily favoured because the majority of the state’s Democratic voters are African American.

Susan Rice, Mr Obama’s foreign policy adviser, said: “I think if Senator Clinton is serious about putting an end to statements that have racial implications…then she ought to repudiate this comment.”

Last week another foreign policy adviser to Mr Obama, Samantha Power, was forced to quit his campaign after calling Mrs Clinton a “monster”. Aides to the Illinois senator said Ms Ferraro’s comments were “far worse”.

Howard Wolfson, a Clinton spokesman, said of Ms Ferraro: “We disagree with her.” Ms Ferraro was chosen by Walter Mondale as his running mate in 1984, the only women to represent a major US political party on a presidential ticket. They lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior.

The latest controversy involving Mr Obama’s race came the day after John McCain, the Republican nominee, was forced once again to denounce remarks by a supporter that focused on the Illinois senator’s middle name of “Hussein”.

Steve King, a Republican Iowa congressman, said on Friday that terrorists will be “dancing in the streets” if Mr Obama is elected president.

Mr King added, in comments to a radio station: “When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States – I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?

“I will tell you that of he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this war on terror.”

Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for Mr McCain, said: “The senator rejects the type of politics that degrades our civics, and this campaign will be about the future of our country.” She said that Mr McCain “could not be clearer on how he views these types of comments, and obviously that view extends to Congressman King’s statements.”

Mr McCain has twice in recent weeks been forced to disavow remarks by supporters who implied Mr Obama is a Muslim. The Illinois senator’s Kenyan father was Muslim, but not religious. He left the family when his son was two. Mr Obama is a Christian and has never been Muslim.

Meanwhile, Mr Obama for the first time directly accused the Clinton campaign of leaking last month a photograph of him wearing traditional Somali dress – including a turban – that he donned during a 2006 visit to the country.

He had previously downplayed the controversy and in a debate said he took Mrs Clinton at her word that as far as she knew the photographs were not leaked by her campaign.

He told a rally in Mississippi: “When your campaign starts leaking photographs of me when I’m travelling overseas to make people afraid, that’s not real change.”

The day after Mr Obama accused Mrs Clinton of trying to “hoodwink” voters with suggestions that he could be her running mate, he also went after her on her claims to have greater foreign policy experience.

His campaign released a memo saying: “There is no support for or substance in the claim that Senator Clinton has passed ‘the Commander-in-Chief test’…Barack Obama does not use false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security.”