The Company You Keep

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

No, this is not another post about disgraced, soon-to-be former Governor Eliot Spitzer, or the company he allegedly...er...rents. This is about all those friends, supporters, advisers that hang around the candidates — fundraising, strategizing... and running their mouths. Last week Barack Obama adviser Samantha Power was forced to resign after referring to Hillary Clinton as a "monster" — albeit off the record. And this week, the Clinton campaign is fighting backlash against friend and supporter Geraldine Ferraro, for her controversial comment to a newspaper about Barack Obama's shot at the White House"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position." (You can see both Obama and Ferraro's response to the comments and the subsequent controversy below.) Today on PoJu, we're focusing on how much the actions of your friends reflect on you — no, not Ken — but if you're a candidate, can you get your friends to do your "dirty work," or should they mirror you completely? And yes, we'll talk about Spitzer, we'll parse results from Mississippi, and there will be trivia. And no blood. Comment at will: we've got a pocket full of PoJu (PFOPJ).

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

APPARENTLY IT GOES LIKE THIS: When white Americans don't support a minority they are racists. When white Americans do support a minority we are not allowed to say race was a factor. How objective Obama supporters must all be!

Clearly the mainstream Obama supporters are not this objective - nor are the mainstream Hillary supporters, it also enters into the mix that she is a women.

Race and gender are both playing a part the campaigns. The unfortunate facts are: the average human is superficial so generally their choices are subjective. Because there are such little policy or other differences between candidates, voters are clearly making superficial choices.

SAYING SOMEONE IS SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE OR GENDER IS NOT A RACIST COMMENT. It is like me saying "Schwarzenegger became governor because he was a celebrity." Then you calling me a "celebrity hater." Or it is like a competition where the pretty girl wins, and I say "She only won because she is pretty." Then you say "You hate pretty people." How silly!

Sent by Scott Millar | 2:11 PM | 3-12-2008

Hillary's campaign wasn't about to let that 'monster' comment go unchecked. They retaliated with Geraldine's deliciously racist and unapologetic comments. What's next for Hillary..."Barack has cooties!"?

Class act Hillary...now try not to look too desparate.

Sent by MO | 2:23 PM | 3-12-2008

My understanding is that with Obama's wins in Missippi and Wyoming having erased Hillary's most of wins in Ohio and Texas, if Obama carries the Texas caucus, as it's looking he will, he will actually come out ahead on the recent delegate harvest. So, was Hillary's "surge" really more of a dead cat bounce?

Sent by Bill Kenkel | 2:23 PM | 3-12-2008

Any comment on Hillary Clinton's winning 24% of the Republican vote in Miss?

Sent by Margaret | 2:25 PM | 3-12-2008

These folks have such large contingents of people working for them I don't see how they can possibly be held accountable for every idiotic thing they say. As exciting as this race is turning out to be emotions in both camps are doubtless running really high, I think people are a lot more likely to put a foot in their mouth when they are so fired up. It doesn't excuse how dumb the comments have been, of course.

Sent by Julie | 2:27 PM | 3-12-2008

Scott Millar...Many of us are post racial and post sexual. We don't divide the world in to gender differences or differences in color. I'm sorry you see the world this way. It must make things difficult for you. I'll pray for you to be relieved of your racism and sexism.

Sent by Sue | 2:27 PM | 3-12-2008

Geraldine Ferraro...thanks for reminding us that Barak is black. I almost forgot. I'll vote for Hillary right away. Yikes, I was almost got behind an African American. Thanks again Geraldine.

Sent by Mike Klein | 2:31 PM | 3-12-2008

who is this Susan So-and-so? she sounds kinda ignorant when saying things like "Oh, I love Gerrie" to reply to Ferraro's salty comments about race.

That was the lamest, limpest response EVER. Someone please GET THE GONG!

Sent by jay lassiter | 2:36 PM | 3-12-2008

The honorable thing for Geraldine Ferraro to do is to resign. And she should probably avoid Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington D.C. until she apologizes. Racism is not cool even when a confused feminist dinosaur employs it.

Sent by Edi | 2:37 PM | 3-12-2008

No matter what a white person says if they say it about Black person in today's america then they will be considered a racist. This whole issue on both sides is a joke. Grow up Hillary and be a man Obama. The more people talk about this nonsense the more they aren't talking about how ALL the candidates are career politicans therefore not to be trusted.

Sent by Boyd Neal | 2:40 PM | 3-12-2008

An all too true (I believe) parody of the Clinton campaing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SDHxaYhqAo&eurl=http://dailykos.com/
Bill Monroe
Missouri

Sent by William Monroe | 2:44 PM | 3-12-2008

Sue. Thanks for your concern and personal attack. Too bad you have no point to make, nor did you clearly read what I wrote. Nor did you refute any of my comments. Nor am I racist or sexist. Your anecdotal account that you don't divide "the world in to gender differences or differences in color" is irrelevant to what I said. The statistics don't support this. I specifically used the term "mainstream supporters" when referring to both groups of supporters. Clearly voters yesterday based there decision on race otherwise a huge majority of African Americans would not have voted for Obama. If you have some evidence to challenge this I would love to hear it. And I certainly don't need the narcissism of your prayers.

Sent by Scott Millar | 2:50 PM | 3-12-2008

Oops, I made an error on today's show, which was caught by both Victor Fernandez of Miami, Fla. and Bradley Fietsam of San Francisco.

I said, correctly, that P.B.S. Pinchback was the nation's first African-American governor, back in Reconstruction days. But I also said he was from Mississippi, when of course he was from Louisiana.

Sent by Ken Rudin | 2:52 PM | 3-12-2008

Scott Millar...I completely agree with you "the average human is superficial."

Otherwise, how does one ponder the $1.6 billion US cosmetic surgery product industry. Peace be with you; and also with you.

Sent by Sue | 3:08 PM | 3-12-2008

Years ago, Geraldine Ferraro's campaign reached out to me for support. I was a young businesswoman, proud and hopeful for women in this country, and I responded. However, in her speech following the Democratic loss of the Presidential election, she unconsciously revealed that her candidacy was, in her mind, more akin to a run for prom queen that a run for Vice President of the U.S. I cringed, and upon hearing her comments today, I cringed again. She still does not get it, and it is a real disservice to both of the Democratic candidates that she was once again allowed to flaunt her own deficiencies by participating in the process and revealing her misguided attitudes in public. She probably set back women's progress by 20 years when she did not defer to a more qualified woman back then -- they were out there, but evidently too hard to find. I personally believe that Barack Obama is heads above what she thinks he is, and discovering Hillary Clinton's relationship with her diminishes Clinton in my eyes -- Clinton shouldn't have waited for this to get rid of her. Geraldine, I want my money back.

Sent by Linda Ogren | 6:32 PM | 3-12-2008

Ken Rudin,

What unforeseen issue do you think the next President will encounter. Presidents rarely face the problems that they addressed while campaigning. Undoubtedly, there looms on the radar an issue, of which no one has taken much notice. Could the next President get caught holding the bag as happened to Carter and Hoover?
Do you think that an Oil/energy meltdown will dominate the next presidency? If the meltdown occurs before January 2009, the new president can blame the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If a meltdown happens after January 2009, the new President could absorb the blame.

If McCain wins in November and an energy meltdown occurs after he takes office, then the runner-up in the Democratic Primary could be the big winner in 2012 by running on the "I told you, you should have picked me" platform.

Dennis

Sent by Dennis Murphy | 8:48 PM | 3-12-2008

While listening to your program today, in reference to Geraldine Ferraro's comments, I was amazed. If it were only true that our country is past racism. To imagine that the political outcomes are not affected by race is naive. Unfortunately I have heard racist remarks and viewpoints recently and in the past. All of which continue to shock me. I grew up here in South Florida during segregation. Those feelings are out there, they are just not overt any more, but they do come out in the voting.

Sent by Linda H. Latimer | 10:05 PM | 3-12-2008

Ferraro just doesn't get it. Barack Obama isn't winning the nomination because he is black. He is winning in spite of the fact that he is black. And Obama supporters aren't voting for him BECAUSE they are black, and he is black. (Hence Iowa?) He is winning voters across racial lines.

I can't believe she said what she said. And it's not spin...it's on video, in her words. More than that, I REALLY can't believe the support Ferraro is getting for saying what she said.

I have an idea Gerry, why don't you get a spot on a TV show...it would give you a chance to make your point, and you can further explain your comments about how "lucky" black people are...Why don't you go on Oprah?

Sent by Sandi from Grand Rapids, Michigan | 11:24 PM | 3-12-2008

About the governor or any post being or was being or will be held by any person, he or she must consider this;

Prostitution comes under scrutiny because it reflects the character of the person holding that important position in the politics and the Government upon which relies the authority of making major decisions for the people who had chosen him/her. By chosing a Prostitute or having any relation with any person in his/her office he/she is reflecting his/her personality with a major loophole. Alleged organizations who want some favors for themselves will jump on this opportunity to influence this government official's position to their own profit by supplying him with prostitutes. That is the reason that these government officials must be rooted out and be barred from running for any position and should must accompany a jail term because infact they were jeopardizing the safety of the very people who put this person in that important government position.

History teaches us a lot but we chose to be Blind.

Sent by MAHITT MANDEEP SINGH | 1:45 AM | 3-13-2008

Plainly, people vote for who they feel will best represent them. Obviously, African Americans consider Obama to fall into that category moreso than Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for Clinton, not as great of a percentage of women see her as the best candidate.
To point out that Obama got this far because of his race is simply childish.
I do not, however, feel that Clinton should take responsibility at all for Ferraro's comments. Hillary Clinton is smart enough to know that this kind of attitude is not going to win an election.

Sent by Alstroz | 11:03 AM | 3-13-2008

Support comes from: