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CNN.com readers respond to Ferraro's controversial comments

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(CNN) -- Former U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro is stepping down from Sen. Hillary Clinton's finance committee after drawing fire for remarks about Sen. Barack Obama amidst a tough Democratic presidential campaign

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Comments by former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro are drawing criticism from the Obama campaign.

CNN.com readers wrote in to express feelings of disgust, support and apathy about the comments. Opinions were across the spectrum; some readers wanted Ferraro to make amends immediately, and others agreed with her statements.

Late Tuesday, she told the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California, that she felt she was being attacked because she was white. During an interview Tuesday with Fox News, she said, "I got up and the question was asked, 'Why do you think Barack Obama is in the place he is today?' " She alluded to her own position 24 years ago as the first female candidate for vice president.

She said Wednesday that her comments about the impact of Barack Obama's race on the electorate were taken out of context and that she stands by her words. Below is a selection of the reader responses received, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

David Hahn of New York
Ms. Ferraro's comments were offensive and ridiculous. It is wrong for the Clintons and their supporters to play racial politics. Frankly, if Mr. Obama were white, and particularly if he had a less ethnic name, he would likely have already secured the nomination based on his talent, intelligence, dedication and professionalism. Beyond that, I believe that today's voters look primarily for the best candidate regardless of race, gender, etc. Perhaps Ms. Ferraro was a good candidate when she ran, as opposed to getting some benefit merely from her status as a woman. If anything, the fact that she was white was more likely to help her. For these reasons, I completely disagree with Ms. Ferraro's comments.

David C. of Crofton, Maryland
As odd as it is to write, I actually agree with Geraldine Ferraro on something! She was dead-on saying that people are afraid to send any criticism Obama's way else they be called racist. What good is free speech if it only works one way? I do not totally believe that she is being attacked only because she is white, but obviously her race makes her a prime target for Obama's team and supporters to label her comments as racist.

There are past Obama incidents and relationships with lobbyists that would have surely been made big news were it not for his being black. I absolutely believe that neither gender nor color make any difference in the ability of someone to lead this country. However, we first need to get past this ridiculous notion that anyone critical of a black candidate is racist.

Victor Hugo of Toronto, Ontario
What would people have said if Obama had said something as stupid as Ferraro did, saying that it's because Hillary is a woman that she is getting attention? His whole candidacy would have been debunked! Why are we even letting such derogatory comments flying with this cynical sense of normality? Coming from Democrats on top of it?! Hillary & Co. just make me sick. They bring so much shame to the Democratic Party.

Sylvia Mays of Beaver, West Virginia
Whether you believe in her statement or disapprove, Ferraro has the right to say what she feels. That is why we live in this country. We have freedom of speech. That is why we have a war going on, so that we can give a country their freedom. I think the media have forgotten why they have the right to print what their views or beliefs are. Do you want to have restrictions placed on you? People need to think before they judge. It is a two-way street.

Mary K. of Chicago, Illinois
You could say she was just voicing her opinion, which she has the right to do in this country. But I must have missed something, I don't recall reading anywhere that she was being attacked for her views. I believe people were responding to her views, which they have a right in this country to do as well. Maybe she wouldn't have been on the ticket back then if her name was Gerald, but I would like to think we've advanced at least a little since then. Has Hillary been successful over the years just because she's a woman? Doubtful. Why can't Ms. Ferraro give Sen. Obama the same consideration?

Leann Chan of New Hyde Park, New York
I do not think Ferraro should have to apologize for her statements. She might be wrong but definitely had a point.

Susan Baldwin of San Francisco, California
As a 59-year-old woman who felt such pride when Mondale selected her as a running mate, I am disgusted by what Geraldine Ferraro has become: a shrill, uncompromising, bitter-sounding woman. Should she apologize? Why? It's gone so far now that not only would it be disingenuous, it would just make this whole unfortunate situation make another news cycle. From what started as a history-making race, with such promising opportunities for change, has become a muckraking spectacle that is playing to audiences around the world. Shame on all the Democrats and the media for letting this happen.

Shavonne Summerville of South Carolina
She said what she said because that is how she truly feels. To be called on to apologize for her opinion is ridiculous. While I believe her comments to be ignorant and uneducated, I respect her right to speak freely about anything she feels the need to speak about. At this point an apology from her would be meaningless; if a person is truly sorry for his or her actions and/or words, he or she does not need to be prompted by the media to apologize.

Lawrence Hartung of Elysian, Minnesota
I think her comments are appropriate; why shouldn't she say what's on her mind and how she feels about it? So what if it offends someone? Apologize for what? Get over it.

Sam E. of Los Angeles, California
No. She has a valid point, and quite frankly, I think the media should quit making a big deal out of this and move on. I'm black, and I get flak from my black friends when I speak in favor of Clinton, not necessarily criticize Obama. Can you imagine what they'd do to me if I did criticize Obama? Who are we to blame for this "advantage" he has? None other than our society, which has for centuries oppressed minorities. I say we should suck it up and sleep in the bed that we made.

Lare Mcafee of Spring, Texas
It is so sad when others, including recently Ms. Ferraro, can not accept the accomplishments of someone who has defied odds. They call it lucky? I guess Sen. Obama's election by his peers to head the Harvard Law Review, his election four times by the people of Illinois and his lead in the current race are "lucky." In this thinking, I guess he has had a lucky life. These accomplishments were not due to race; they were due to skill. This is a double standard dealt by the competition. Would Sen. Clinton be a senator from New York or running for president if she were not married to an ex-president?

Mary Murray of North Canton, Ohio
Ferraro is just verbalizing what many others are thinking, although she needs to learn not to say everything on her mind. Barack Obama has gotten very positive media coverage that has helped him amass the votes/delegates that he has received. Were he a 46-year-old white male senator with little experience and no real plans for the future except unspecified "change," he would have been virtually ignored.

Michael Rhule of Mont Alto, Pennsylvania
Although I may agree that different societal groups will have a tendency to migrate toward like people, I do not agree with the assessment that the main reason for Obama's success is the color of his skin. To take all of a person's accomplishments and reduce their meaning to nothing more than the color of their skin is truly racist. Then, when you are called out for your statement, to turn around and play the race card yourself is truly preposterous. As a Democrat, I am ashamed.

Bryan Hill of St. Louis, Missouri
I'm black, and I really don't care. I think that Obama should bring back Samantha Power, let Hillary keep Geraldine and get on with this campaign. Apologizing changes nothing. That's what she believes. Let her believe it. If people choose to think that way, then so be it, but my heart tells me that most people think she's wrong.

Christopher Nichols of Palo Alto, California
Geraldine was absolutely right in what she said. Her comments were taken out of context, and they are not racist at all. She is simply stating the facts. If Obama were white, he wouldn't stand a chance in this election. People recognize him as a "different" candidate, and not just because he's about his crazy rhetoric of hope and change. It's because he is different from the usual white male presidential candidates who we've seen grace the stage time and time again.

In all fairness to Obama, Hillary may not have the same appeal if she weren't a woman. They both need to accept and embrace that they aren't the average presidential candidates. Hillary graciously accepts being a woman running for office. Whenever someone approaches Obama about it, he accuses them of being a racist. Ferraro speaks the brutal truth and absolutely should NOT apologize for her remarks. There was nothing inflammatory in what she said, and she is not a racist.

Paula Blackwell of Baltimore, Maryland
I am tired of all the condescending and patronizing attitudes that some white people have toward Obama and others of color who do not meet their stereotypical image of who an African American is and what he is capable of achieving. Obama is recognized as a great leader not because he is black but because his achievements, talents, skills, character, integrity and vision set him apart from all other candidates regardless of race or gender.

Bryan Dees of Burgaw, North Carolina
Why should Mrs. Ferraro apologize for saying the truth? The reason Mr. Obama is ahead of Mrs. Clinton in delegates is because he is black and is trying to sound like MLK. It has nothing to do with his positions on the issues; it has to do with emotionalism and his race. It is a sad situation.

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Brian Jones of Seal Beach, California
Yes, she should apologize; there is no reason for statements like this. To simplify one person making it this far all do to race is beyond ignorance. I am amazed that views like this are still being made in 21st-century America.

Thomas Bagby of Birmingham, Alabama
Totally true. Too many people want to be on the historical bandwagon. Just to say they voted for Obama, and then they can say they voted for the first black nominee for president. I just hope they become fully informed before the November election. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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