Opinion: Geraldine Ferraro’s not through with Barack Obama


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Geraldine Ferraro has not gone quietly to the good sidelines of the presidential campaign.

Ferraro -- driven from Hillary Clinton’s finance committee after giving a quote to the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Ca., that, after percolating for a few days, was widely seen as dismissive of Barack Obama’s political success -- now has told the same newspaper that she didn’t much appreciate the reference Obama made to her in his widely covered and much-discussed discourse on race relations this week.


Specifically, Ferraro said she found it ‘unbelievable’ that Obama -- in trying to defuse controversy sparked by inflammatory comments his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made in the past -- had linked ‘what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit ...’ (For the rest of the story, go here.)

Ferraro merited the mention because, as few political junkies now will ever forget, she told the Breeze earlier this month, ‘If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position’ (of potentially winning the Democratic nomination). ‘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.’

As it was, the country got caught up in the lack of acuity in the remark by Ferraro -- who has freely acknowledged that her gender paved the way for her historic selection as Walter Mondale’s running mate in the 1984 presidential campaign.

Here’s how Obama worked Ferraro into his speech:

‘We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias. But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Rev. Wright made in his offending sermons about America -- to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.’

-- Mark Silva/Don Frederick

Silva writes for The Swamp of the Chicago Tribune’s Washington bureau.