Kennedy formally endorsed Obama Monday, after months of remaining neutral. (Photo Credit: AP)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy is under heavy fire from a state chapter of the National Organization for Women for his decision to back Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.
In a sharply critical statement, the New York state chapter of NOW took aim at Kennedy Monday for what it called an "ultimate betrayal," and suggested the Massachusetts Democrat "can't or won't" handle the idea of Clinton becoming President of the United States.
"Sen. Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard," said the statement. "Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few."
"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment!" the statement continues. "He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton."
After months on the sidelines, Kennedy formally endorsed Obama Monday during a speech at American University, despite reported pleas from the Clinton campaign that he remain neutral. He hailed the Illinois senator for his potential to be a “president who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American dream."
Kennedy also praised Clinton and John Edwards in his speech, saying that “whoever is our nominee will have my enthusiastic support."
But the NOW state chapter suggested Monday Kennedy's decision was a larger representation of society’s ongoing disrespect for women's rights.
"This latest move by Kennedy is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a president that is the first woman after centuries of men who ‘know what’s best for us.’”
Meanwhile, the national chapter of NOW sought to distance itself from the state chapter’s comments, issuing a statement Monday evening that praised Kennedy's record with respect to women's rights.
"Though the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee has proudly endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, we respect Sen. Kennedy's endorsement," NOW President Kim Gandy said. "We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote."
Kennedy's office has not returned CNN's request for comment.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
NOW must be having a fuss over how the Clintons are throwing away their chance for the Democratic nomination. This past week has showed how little the politics of Washington would change under the Clintons. I don't blame Teddy Kennedy, or any of the other government officals, for endorsing Obama over Clinton. NOW is just another lobbyist organization that doesn't care about the issues or what it would mean for the rest of the country. The sole purpose of NOW is to impose their feminist views upon the rest of the country. My message is to NOW is wake-up and see what kind of a candidate, Hillary Clinton, that they are endorsing.
OMG first the race card and now the gender card.
Agreeing with all points made above and not feeling the need to reiterate any of them here, let me acknowledge another infuriating aspect of this attack on Senator Kennedy. The fact that NOW-NY feels that its support, however much that truly is, of Senator Kennedy deserves his completely unadulterated reflection and exposition of their iniatives and desires and prohibits him from making his own decisions about anything having to do with women (i.e. just about everything), is completely absurd, irrational, immature, ignorant and intolerable.
Can't be that it is because he thinks Obama is the best candidate?
Feeling that you MUST vote for a woman just because she is a woman sets the cause of feminism back.
At first this letter seemed unfortunate, then it began to seem ignorant and rather anti-feminist. I can't believe that this representative of NOW chose to do this, and I hope that other members decide for themselves who to vote for.
Yet you guys are loving it when you get to snide whatever Bill Clinton says.
The democratic party is full of crybabies.
There is a black man and white woman running for President. If Obama loses, let us big enough to accept that he lost because of his policy and not his race. If Hillary loses, let us be big enough to accept that she lost because of her policy and not her gender. Stop dividing us, and start hoping for a better future than the one our parents gave to us.
To anyone over the age of 50:
You had your time, and you screwed up. You left us with a worse world than you inherited from your parents. Your time is done.
Fired Up, Ready to Go
WOW – this campaign is bring out the true colors. It appears some groups have their own person agenda for this election and its not the American people. After reading this article, NOW only wanted the endorsement of the Kennedy's to support their own agenda of Woman Power. Yes, I am a male, but I think we need to think outside of gender, race and anything else and get the right person for the job. As Americans, we need to have one race the Human Race. Obama's platform foundation is based on the Human Race – One America, One World and One Race.
Hillary Clinton does not represent every woman in the country. NOW is shedding all characteristics of Hillary that aren't womanhood. She's a lot more than female anatomy with legs - she is a person, with ideas, and a track record. A lot of people think she is not the best presidential pick, and it's not just because she is a woman.
It would be nice to see a conservative, Republican woman running in 2012, against President Obama. Then we will see if they are singing the same tune when Senator Kennedy endorses Obama over a woman. Of course, no one will even remember this then, so they will be off the hook.
I love how NOW has stood by Ted Kennedy during his countless screw ups, but the second he doesn't vote the way they want him to he is suddenly a horrible woman hater. Statements like these will only hurt women and women's rights.
Wow. Didn't think Clinton's backers would get this violent. I mean, Ted Kennedy has every right to voice his opinion while the freedom of speech remains, am I right?
As a woman, the thought of voting for a fellow female because we both share the same gender is outrageous!! Hillary is a vote or non-vote for what she is or what she isn't....
That's all we need to elect a woman just because she's female – that'll be great for the country. What real experience does the former first lady have – besides having dinner with dignitaries?? She's no more experienced for this role than I am.
Thank you Caroline & Ted Kennedy for your endorsement of the best possible candidate....
Total nonsense! A woman (NOW) scorned.
Dave, Atlanta, GA's comments are right on! This is summarized in their statement that Ted Kennedy "picked the new guy over us"
What does this say about modern feminism? Does democratic party politics boil down to race? Sex ? Perhaps in the search for the dream of equality, we have created another monster to take the place of old prejudice and bigotry. Look at us our ideas are now secondary to the physical traits and victim status of our candidates. So much for the dream of King and others.
PS I will vote for the best candidate.
Why the hell is this making news? Why can't people accept others choice. Gezz this is beyond stupidity.
Maybe if Hillary didn't so borishly screech like fingernails down a chalkboard, maybe if Hillary inspired us to think rather then demand shrillingly how we all ought to think, maybe if Hubba Bill took a valium, maybe if "Princess" Chelsea were common enough like the rest of Americans to speak to the press -except when Mamma needs votes (e.i. New Hampshire)-Honestly, if Obama or McCain or Edwards or Rommney
sniveled and wept like Hillary did in N.H. they'd be seen as "weak"! But because Hillary is a woman it's O.K.? Oh yeah, that's just I want the rest of the world to witness everytime the President of the United States is a little overwhelmed. Obviously, she can dish it out but she can't rake it. Gender aside, she is simply not Presidential material in my opinion. Condeleeza Rice now, that's a different story all together... maybe someday!
Well…if there is one thing those on the left can't tolerate it's tolerance of any view point other than their own.
Apparently NOW considers voting for a candidate based on merit, not gender, a betrayal. NOW does NOT care about women or their issues….only the beyond far left agenda. They have no room for men, even those who are minorities.
Well…we can always count on those to the far left to "pants" themselves publicly.
You GO girls!!!
You have become the very the you seek to overthrow. Logic like this is why Hillary shouldn't win the Dem nomination, and further, if she does, she will be defeated in the fall. It's a shame NOW is so myopic.
Interesting that the NOW finally admits how it ignored what they perceived as anti-women behavior on the part of Senator Kennedy for decades in order to get his support for their narrow agenda. Truth will out.
I HAVE NEVER READ SUCH GARBAGE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! I am a proud woman who supports Obama because as a proud woman I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PICK WHO EVER I WANT TO VOTE FOR!!!! Not because they are a woman, or a man or white or black but because millions fought for me to have the right to choose who i want to vote for. I'm dieing to vote for a female president BUT NOT HILLARY. That "vote for Hillary JUST because she's a woman" just set us back 50 years. Thanks NOW!!!
BTW is Caroline Kennedy a sellout because she endorses Obama too? That letter from the NY NOW chapter smells of the Billary "Karl Rove" Clinton tactics that showed the Kennedys that Obama was the clear choice in the first place. Thanks Clinton!!!
Oh so just because he supports the first african american president means he's betrayed them. They sound like a bunch of ungrateful old women to me.
Wow. This is unbelivable. This is telling of Senator Clintons supporters. Now we will see the real sentiment of Clinton supports. Those who were bought or pledge support out of loyalty, that's no way to become president. "The new guy", how childish.
Need I say more? NOW is a Feminazi organization which the only goal is to destroy men.
The media sure has a penchant for making an issue out of Obama's race and Clinton's gender. There was even a poll on here, CNN.com, yesterday asking readers if race plays an issue in influencing their votes. About 80% responded "no." It seems a good majority of voters are more influenced by issues rather than the physicalities of the candidates. So why then, CNN, do you insist on heavily reporting on morons like NOW? Is a radical view held by a very small amount, albeit vocal amount people really worth the attention you and other media outlets give it?
How pitiful. NOW has no justification for calling itself "the National Organization of Women" It is nothing more than a petty, small minded PAC. It only serves the women who have power in the organization. They don't give a crap about the vast number of real women in America!