Ferraro Quits Clinton Job After Obama Comments

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Geraldine Ferraro is resigning her fundraising position with Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign because of comments she made about Sen. Barack Obama.

Ferarro — the 1984 vice presidential nominee — suggested in a recent interview that Obama would not be where he is in the presidential race if he were not black.

Obama said the statement was an attempt to divide America with "slice and dice" politics, and he called on Clinton to denounce the statement. On Tuesday, Clinton said she "did not agree" with Ferraro's remarks.

Ferraro said her comments were misinterpreted.

This is just the latest example of how race and gender issues are complicating the Democratic race for the White House.

Michele Norris talks with Christopher Edley and Maria Echaveste about that comment and the ensuing war of words.

The two are married. They both teach law at University of California at Berkeley, and they both worked in the Bill Clinton White House — but their political allegiances are split this year. Edley is an adviser to Obama, and Echaveste is advising Clinton.

They agree that the campaigns have to be extra-sensitive to comments about race and gender, but they differ on whether race and gender can be avoided completely.

Pundit: Pennsylvania Won't End Democratic Race

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Democratic presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have 42 days remaining until the critical Pennsylvania primary — a contest some have hoped would settle the race for the nomination. Politico's editor in chief, John Harris, thinks that's not likely. "It's clear to me," Harris says, that "this will probably go past Pennsylvania, with Michigan and Florida remaining in dispute."

Intense campaigning in the Keystone State continues amid questions about whether Michigan and Florida will hold primaries that count. The Democratic Party stripped those states of their delegates for holding votes too soon.

Meanwhile, as Obama captured the primary in Mississippi on Tuesday, attention shifted to remarks by Clinton adviser Geraldine Ferraro.

Ferraro, herself a former vice presidential candidate, told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif., "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."

After Obama and his supporters objected, Ferraro told the New York Times, "Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist. I will not be discriminated against because I'm white. If they think they're going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don't know me."

Clinton called Ferraro's statements "regrettable." Harris says the number of days Ferraro remains a factor will depend on how much Obama thinks the discussion will help. "Obama may say, let's move on, that we don't want this to be about race," he says.

The lesson from Mississippi, according to Harris, is that Obama remains firmly and emphatically in control of the black vote. Harris recalls that members of the Congressionial Black Caucus were early Clinton faithful. "But that's over," he says.

The continued tightness in the Democratic contest has led to decreased coverage for the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain. Harris says there are two schools of thought about the effect on McCain's campaign. The first, he explains, has the Democrats spending the next few weeks bashing each other and making McCain's points for him. The second, he explains, has McCain dropping off the radar.

"John McCain is a ghost," Harris says. "No presidential candidate in the world wants to be a ghost."

Harris says McCain's best course of action now is to pounce on any of the impolitic things Democrats say to each other. He says McCain needs to begin refining his own plans for the general election, in which he must unite his party. Conservatives, in particular, aren't thrilled he's the likely nominee.

"McCain needs to politely tell people to get over it," Harris says.

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