Racial tensions embroil Democratic race

March 12, 2008 at 8:05 PM

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Race has emerged as a major issue in the Democratic presidential race, a report said Wednesday.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton could reap short-term benefits from having the focus on the race of her rival, Barack Obama, who is vying to be the nation's first African-American president, The Politico reported.

The Web site said Clinton may attract support from white voters in Pennsylvania, who may be turned off by the attention given Obama's race. But the New York senator also risks losing support among party leaders over her campaign's sharp attacks against the junior senator from Illinois.

The campaign heated up this week on news that former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984 and a Clinton backer, had told a small California newspaper Obama had benefited from his race.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she said. "If he was a woman, 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."

Ferraro resigned from the campaign's finance committee Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she thought Clinton's attacks on Obama has spoiled chances for a joint ticket.

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