Ferraro was hit by charges of racism after she was quoted in response to a question about the level of excitement about Obama's candidacy: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. 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." She defended her comment with Ann Curry on the NBC Nightly News.
ANN CURRY: Former Congressman Geraldine Ferraro, good evening.
FERRARO: Good evening.
CURRY: Why did you resign?
FERRARO: Well, because I wanted to get this off the news. This was not something that has been…certainly there is no connection with Hillary. I was…
CURRY: Did the Clinton campaign ask you to resign? Yes or no.
FERRARO: No, no. You can read the text of that thing. I felt bad because she's not able to speak to the issues of this campaign and she's very good on those issues and she certainly is the best candidate in the race. And I am I unable to do the things that I do in my first amendment rights, which is go out and give speeches and talk to people. Let me just make…
CURRY: Let me just ask you this question: What is your response to Obama's campaign calling this notion that he's a frontrunner because of his race "ridiculous" and "wrong-headed" and also "divisive"?
FERRARO: That is not what I said. What I did is that I was talking about the historic campaign. Why is this an historic campaign? Is it because he's a senator from Illinois? I don't think so. The problem is I was talking to an audience about politics. It was a paid speech, 350 people. I didn't even give an interview. And some reporter took up my response to a question and reported. I'm assuming that what they said was what I said. That's okay. But, Ann, that was said to 350…. What the Obama campaign does is I'm sure they do a search as my campaign did for every piece of newspaper print that's out with the name. I think they took it….
CURRY: You think the Obama campaign…
FERRARO: Oh…who else would put this in the national press?
CURRY: …released this information?
FERRARO: Of course.
CURRY: So you're saying when Obama campaign says that this is divisive, you're saying…
FERRARO: I'm saying, yeah it is. And they are the ones who did it. They started…. They went to the national press. They had two people on television, both Susan Rice and Jan Schakowsky—both of whom and know well—getting up there and berating me and calling me a racist. I have spent 40 years fighting discrimination. I mean it is, it is so hurtful. They had a campaign of over a hundred negative emails, phone calls to my office. They actually got in touch with the CEO of the firm that they thought I was still and they urged them to fire me, which is…. I mean, it was crazy.
CURRY: If the Hillary campaign…
FERRARO: And it hasn't stopped. I want this stopped.
CURRY: If the Hillary campaign is ultimately hurt by your comments, will you regret them?
FERRARO: No. No. The thing about it is I have no connection to the campaign…
CURRY: Except to work as a finance committee member.
FERRARO: I was on the finance committee and I resigned. But let me just say to you this: that if indeed if there's…I personally think that this is the last time that the Obama campaign is going to be able to play this type of a race card because I think that's what it is.
CURRY: You say they're playing the race card, not the Hillary campaign?
FERRARO: Absolutely. And I tell you, if anybody was going to…they should apologize to me for calling me a racist. I know I know it David Axelrod, he was… I helped him with two campaigns here, Freddy Ferrer and Carl McCall's. He should've called me up if he really thought I was doing…, saying "Gerry, what are you doing?" and it would not have been a national campaign or a divisive thing he's doing to the Democratic Party.
CURRY: I'm so sorry that we're out of time. Thank you so much, Former Congressman Geraldine Ferraro, tonight. Thank you.
Speech from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW5EVcJPHRA.