BET Founder Bob Johnson who is a Hillary Clinton supporter is defending the Clinton campaign about comments made by Geraldine Ferraro about Barack Obama's presidential candidacy.
Watch Geraldine Ferraro Defend Her Statements About Barack Obama on GMA
Geraldine Ferraro said the following statement about Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. Click here to listen to Geraldine Ferraro make the statement in a radio interview.
"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."
Now Bob Johnson is bringing up Geraldine Ferraro's remarks and saying he agrees that Barack Obama would not be in the presidential race if he wasn't African-American.
Wading back into the Democratic presidential race, billionaire businessman Bob Johnson said Monday that Sen. Barack Obama would not be his party's leading candidate if he were white.
Johnson's comments to the Observer echoed those of former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. She stepped down as an adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton last month after saying Obama wouldn't be where he is if he were white
"What I believe Geraldine Ferraro meant is that if you take a freshman senator from Illinois called `Jerry Smith' and he says I'm going to run for president, would he start off with 90 percent of the black vote?" Johnson said. "And the answer is, probably not... ."
"Geraldine Ferraro said it right. The problem is, Geraldine Ferraro is white. This campaign has such a hair-trigger on anything racial ... it is almost impossible for anybody to say anything." It was during a January appearance for the New York senator in Columbia that he first stepped into controversy, referring to Obama and "what he was doing in the neighborhood."
Many took that as a reference to Obama's acknowledged drug use in his youth. But in a statement, Johnson said he'd been "referring to Barack Obama's time spent as a community organizer and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect."
On Monday, Johnson alluded to the incident.
"I make a joke about Obama doing drugs (and it's) `Oh my God, a black man tearing down another black man'," Johnson said.
The Obama campaign dismissed Johnson's comments.
Bob Johnson came under fire by many in the African-American community after he made a campaign speech for Hillary Clinton last January. During the speech Bob Johnson defended Senator Clinton after she made controversial comments about Martin Luther King's "Dream Speech". He also made reference to Senator Obama's past drug use and made reference to the movie "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner."
"As an African American, I'm frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing but he said it in his book," Johnson said while campaigning with Clinton in Columbia South Carolina.
Clinton's campaign says Johnson was not referring to Obama's past drug use, but rather his career as an organizer and state legislator. Meanwhile, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, another African-American supporter of Clinton, said of the comments, "Sometimes people say things that aren't sanctioned … I can't speak for Bob."
Later Sunday, Johnson maintained the comments were not in reference to Obama's drug use: "My comments today were referring to Barack Obama's time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else," he said in an issued statement. "Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect."