Clinton Apologizes To Black Voters

Presidential Hopeful Apologizes For Comments By Her Husband And Geraldine Ferraro

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., makes a campaign stop at a National Newspaper Publishers Association event at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Wednesday, March 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CBS/AP) Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did something Wednesday night that she almost never does.

She apologized.

And once she started, she didn’t seem able to stop.

The New York senator, who is tight race with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, struck several sorry notes at an evening forum sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a group of more than 200 black community newspapers across the country.

Her biggest apology came in response to a question about comments by her husband, Bill Clinton, after the South Carolina primary, which Obama won handily. Bill Clinton said Jesse Jackson also won South Carolina when he ran for president in 1984 and 1988, a comment many viewed as belittling Obama’s success.

“I want to put that in context. 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.”

“Anyone who has followed my husband’s public life or my public life know very well where we have stood and what we have stood for and who we have stood with,” she said, acknowledging that whoever wins the nomination will have to heal the wounds of a bruising, historic contest.

“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.

The Clintons long have enjoyed overwhelming support from black voters, but that has been eclipsed during the primaries and caucuses by enthusiasm and support for Obama, who has pulled huge margins among black voters. Arguments over the role of race and gender have flared up repeatedly throughout the contest between Obama, who would be the nation’s first black president, and Clinton, who would be its first female one.

Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton supporter and fundraiser Geraldine Ferraro gave up her honary position with Clinton’s campaign after she said in an interview last week that Obama would not have made it this far if he were white. Obama said Ferraro’s remarks were “ridiculous” and “wrong-headed.”

Of Ferraro’s comment, Hillary Clinton told her audience: “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.”

Earlier Wednesday, Ferraro defended her comments on CBS News’ The Early Show and said they were taken out of context.

As first lady and senator, Clinton rarely cedes an inch to her critics. On the issue of her vote to authorize the Iraq war, for instance, she steadfastly has refused to apologize, coming close by saying she regrets it, despite calls from many anti-war voters in the party to make a more explicit mea culpa.

Her third conciliatory statement of the evening was more in keeping with that fighting stance.

Asked about the government’s efforts in the Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina, Hillary Clinton turned an apology into a criticism of President Bush, who happened to be speaking at a Republican event in another room at the same hotel.

“I’ve said it publicly, and I say it privately: I apologize, and I am embarrassed that our government so mistreated our fellow citizens … It was a national disgrace,” Hillary Clinton said.

4 Comments

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4 Responses to Clinton Apologizes To Black Voters

  1. angelicious

    Please black people do not fall for this! Notice where Sentor Clinton was… in the presence of 200 black newspapers! Of course she is going to apologize!!! She wasn’t apologizing after Ferraro made her comments initially. ..

  2. Lucem ferre

    Same old story said by known racists like Trent Lott and Limbaugh. “I’m sorry if anyone was offended…” And, “Anyone who has followed my husband’s public life or my public life know very well where we have stood and what we have stood for and who we have stood with…”

    We like you Black folks, just look at all we’ve done for you…but when push comes to shove, we do not want you to notice that we are as psychologically twisted about our true racist thoughts and feelings as any bigot who claims that because he or she believes what they say is true they can’t be racist to say or believe it. Makes sense to me, how bout you?

    “It was certainly not meant to be offensive…” In other words, if you got offended it’s your fault because you took it the wrong way. Same old story! It’s your fault, you misunderstood, you started it, stop complaining, you attacked me first, if only you’d have come in through the back door. See? It’s your fault that I have to say how I really feel about you and if the things I say hurt or offend you it must be how you heard it and not what I said………………………………………………………………….

    If these are your friends, who needs enemies. It’s a shame that we do not have a real third and fourth party to vote for in this country. Both parties fear a real challenge from within. They fear real change because they’ve locked up all the tricks and pull them out every time they need.

  3. Lucem ferre

    And to hear Pat Buchannan state that no one would have gotten the Black vote on a 9 to 1 level if they were white, in his defense of Geraldine is amazing. What’s even more incredible is that every time he said it, not a single person, Black or White on MSNBC, said, “Didn’t Bill Clinton get 90% of the national Black vote??????????? Oh my God! End of story Pat. White, first Black President Bill Clinton got 90% of the Black vote nation wide, while Obama got 90% of the Black vote in Mississippi and you’re using Mississippi voters as support for why you think Geraldine’s comments about Obama only being where he is because he’s Black were not racist and racially motivated.

    Another thing, I keep hearing people who say that what was said was not racist say that what she said was wrong and bad and ill advised but I do not hear these same people say what was so bad about it if it was not racist. No one even asks the question.

    This is Babylonian! No one could have twisted thinking any more than what we have these days.

  4. BMP

    Where are the comments about Rev. Wright? If we are to end racism, it must stop with US. Quit throwing fuel on the fire! We need to end this fight. It is our responsibility. Not theirs. Be the change you want to see in this world!

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