Geraldine Ferraro on Leaving the Clinton Campaign

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GERALDINE FERRARO, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm going to address those, and let me put them in context, which is what is absolutely necessary. So I was asked after this speech; what is the reason that you see that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are at this level together? Could I have said because his experience is what puts him there? No.


ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: That was the scene on "Good Morning America" today, an interview that could be described as testy at best. Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro found herself at the center of a media storm after claiming that Barack Obama wouldn't be where he is in the presidential race if he were white. Obama responded by calling Ferraro a, quote, slice and dice politician and accused her of dividing the Democratic party.

Ferraro has subsequently removed herself from the Clinton campaign finance company. Joining us now, former vice-presidential nominee and Fox News contributor Geraldine Ferraro. Thanks for doing our show. Did you have any idea when you made this comment that there would be this kind of firestorm?

Click here to watch the interview with Geraldine Ferraro

FERRARO: First of all, do you know where I was? I was out on — well, I'm on the lecture circuit occasionally. I don't get the fees that Sean gets.

COLMES: No one does. No one does.

FERRARO: In any event, I'm out giving this speech, and there are 350 people in the audience. I'd evidently spoken to this newspaper, a little small town newspaper. I don't know if the question came up during the Q and A session, which is where I remember it. But they said I talked to the reporter. The reporter may have been at the event. I don't know.

In any event, they asked me a question, and what I did was I said, let me just say to you that if in the 1984 campaign my name were Jerod Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I wouldn't have got the nomination. I got the nomination because I was a woman. What Fritz Mondale wanted to do to was pull down that men only sign down from the White House and I said, does that mean I wasn't capable of doing the job? Absolutely not, I would have been a great vice president.

And you'll be happy to know, I would have been a better vice-president than George Bush. It had nothing to do with my competency. So what happened was — And I had spoken about his historic campaign. We're excited about it. I had spoken about all the benefits of it.

COLMES: Did you recognize the possibility of being taken out of context?

FERRARO: Yes, I did, and I said — at the risk of being accused of being racist, I said — what I said, but it was a statement of fact, and that's it, nothing more and nothing less.

COLMES: What would be racist? What would be considered racist? I mean, what does racist mean?

FERRARO: Let me just say to you, Alan, that one of the things — I've done a little thinking about this today, since I've been on virtually every show of the entire world. And I really do have to work. This is the end. This is final. I have to tell you, I was thinking about this. That was a little audience with a few people and a little paper. How did it become a big thing in the Clinton — Obama campaign?

I'll tell you how. I was on a national campaign. During the night and during the day, the first thing that people do in a campaign is the press goes out and checks every single bit of press where your name is mentioned. Somebody must have seen this and said, wow, this is really something. We go after Ferraro, we go after Clinton. That's the reason I resigned. I get away from this.

I was not there. I'm on the finance committee — I was — with the cast of thousands. Everybody who has raised money is on these finance committees. And my firm, it's not only me on the finance committee. We have someone, one of my partners on the finance company for Barack Obama. Another partner of mine is on the finance committee for John McCain. So, you know, I'm off.

COLMES: What's your reaction to Hillary Clinton's comment? She said, I don't agree with it.

FERRARO: That's right.

COLMES: It's regrettable that one of our supporters has done this, has said things that veer off to the personal.

FERRARO: That's fine. I have to tell you, she had to respond. They were linking her to me. I was exercising my first amendment right. I had nothing to do with the campaign, and the fact that I was on a campaign committee — I think that David Axelrod saw this as — this is an opportunity. He did it with Clinton, but Clinton was talking to the national press. He did it with Rendell; Rendell was talking to the national press.

It doesn't work with me. I wasn't talking to the national press. They made this a divisive issue, not me.

HANNITY: Have you spoken with Hillary?

FERRARO: No, no. I mean, this woman is campaigning. She is talking about the issues. I don't want this to become part of the campaign.

HANNITY: You seem excited about his candidacy, even though you support Hillary. You seem excited about him as a politician.

FERRARO: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Do you think — as we're talking about how come he's been so successful, is it in part because he's a really gifted politician? Now I would argue he's not had scrutiny. I agree with Hillary's campaign. He has not had the scrutiny.

FERRARO: The press has been very easy on him.

HANNITY: As evidenced by the relationship with his pastor and his relationship with Farrakhan, his friendship with William Ayres of the Weather Underground. I think all these will be big issues in the national campaign. So you do recognize he's a very gifted politician.

FERRARO: You know, I got to tell you something, I speak to people, and they say to me — I say — they say he's inspiring, and he really is.

HANNITY: No substance.

FERRARO: That's not what they say.

HANNITY: That's what I say.

FERRARO: The thing about it is the man is a very talented, smart man. To me, if you take a look at this campaign, it reminds me of 1984. People get excited about this.

HANNITY: I only have a few seconds. Why do you think there's this divide? We saw this in Mississippi. We've watched this in a lot of the other contests; 90 percent of black voters go for Barack and 78 percent go for Hillary.

FERRARO: You tell me why. I'm not going to say another word about this. I've spent 40 years fighting discrimination and all of a sudden I'm being considered racist. I mean, is it he's better on issues than Hillary was, who was married to the first black president? I don't think so.

HANNITY: I want to say to people on a personal basis, I know work you've done with people for many years of all backgrounds and races, and it's funny, in seven seconds, people never talk about that. Do they?

FERRARO: No, and I tell you what, it hurts. It really hurts, and that's the thing. I'm sorry that people think I'm racist because I'm just not.

HANNITY: We all know that. And your background just proved it otherwise.

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