Clinton staffer makes racist remark about Obama

Obama fury over Clinton backer Ferraro's race remark
AFP, March 11, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Barack Obama's White House campaign lashed out in fury Tuesday after a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter attributed his stunning march through US politics to his race.

Obama aide Susan Rice called for Clinton to fire Geraldine Ferraro, the only woman yet to run on a major party's presidential ticket, after her comments Friday to a Los Angeles newspaper.

"That's a really outrageous and offensive comment," Rice said on MSNBC television after Ferraro, who sits on Clinton's finance committee, had said: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

"It is the sort of comment that we have heard repeatedly, I'm afraid, from some of the Clinton surrogates," said Rice, Obama's leading adviser on foreign policy.

She said Ferraro's remarks were "far worse" than those of another foreign policy aide, Samantha Power, who was forced to resign from the Obama campaign last week for calling Clinton a "monster."

"I think if Senator Clinton is serious about putting an end to statements that have racial implications, that diminish Barack Obama because he's an African-American man, then she ought to really repudiate this comment and make it clear that there's no place in her campaign for people who will say this kind of thing," Rice said.

Ferraro was Walter Mondale's running mate for the Democrats in the 1984 presidential election. They lost in a landslide to the Republican ticket led by Ronald Reagan.

In an interview Friday with the Daily Breeze newspaper, she was quoted as saying that Obama's success revealed the "very sexist" attitudes of the media.

"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," Ferraro said.

The Clinton campaign had no immediate comment. Late last year, the New York senator fired two junior aides for spreading emails claiming falsely that Obama is secretly a Muslim.

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