January 29th, 2008
08:54 AM ET
7 years ago

Women's group slams Kennedy for 'betrayal'

ALT TEXT

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

soundoff (2,092 Responses)
  1. M. L.

    NOW's statement is completely sexist

    January 28, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. mike ohio

    Until each of us truly believe that a write in vote can become president, we are doomed to be lead by the corrupt, greedy democrats and republicans. Too bad the average voter has the attention span of a gnat. If you vote along party lines you are an incredible imbecile. If you care about who that fat bastard Kennedy endorses, you are the worlds biggest loser and the USA loses along with you

    January 28, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  3. Hillary All the Way!!!

    The media hypes up Obama when they say that Ted's endorsement matters..

    Let the people decide who is who in this election, don't let the media or Teddy brain wash you into becoming another mindless Obama zombie.

    This is an online poll showing quite the opposite of what the media is shoving down everyones' throats.

    Will the Kennedy family's endorsement of Senator Obama have any impact on your choice for President?

    Positive 19% 964

    Negative 28% 1458

    It will have no impact 53% 2696

    Total Votes: 5118

    January 28, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. EBratty

    I am disgusted at the women that I hear all the time – and now this chapter of NOW – saying "it's time for a woman" or similar sentiments... is there nothing more than gender to qualify a person for this office?!?! Should we vote for any woman just because she has ovaries?! What about leadershipa bilities? What about honesty? What about bringing people together? How sad that NOW has stooped to this level after so many years of trying to validate your voices... how do you feel about Bill Clinton taking the lead in thsi campaign – what's wrong with Hillary that she can't handle it on her own? Pathetic!

    January 28, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. Jim in Orlando, FL

    NOW was quite irrelevent before today, and they had Bill and Hillary Clinton to thank for that, as Bill showed what he thinks of women long ago, and NOW, by their silence then, said "do it again". So he did !! Alas, NOW is so yesterday ...

    January 28, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. Kamal Saba

    This is absurd. Kennedy believes that Obama would be a better president for our future and i don't see how thats wrong. N.O.W. must of lost all its nuts and bolts because what they just said was the most gender based statement i've heard. One word to describe them: SEXIST.

    January 28, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. Glenn

    If I'm not mistaken we are trying to elect a leader. Clinton has divided this country along party lines. racial lines, gender lines, income lines, that is why both of them have been failures. You cant lead a country if only 48% will follow you. Lets elect someone that get something done after 16 yrs of gridlock. Please.

    January 28, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  8. AntiBrenda

    Little and biased knowledge is truely dangerous. Now Ted is being deemed sexist for endosing Obama. Since Ted is white they have nothing else to inject but sexism since racism doesnt fit. I honestly think anybody who endoses Hillary just because she is a female is overly misguided. Obama will be the fisrt one to chastise anybody who supports him because of race or gender. He does not come out blasting blacks who support Hillary or Edwards.
    Its sad that this group feels that anybody who is not sexist has to vote for Hillary. Well then i guess all females have to vote for Obama or Edwards in order for them not to be deemed sexists. Woders will surely never cease. Go Ted. Dont even waste your time answering questions to this nonsensical bunch. I am sure you have greater things to do for America.

    January 28, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. MShaughn

    At least the NOW national organization had the sense to distance itself from the foolish comments of one of its chapters. It would be a mistake to smear the whole organization on the basis of this.

    January 28, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. Donna C, Orlando, FL

    Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama??? Why I'm not surprised. I think it always has or have been in the Kennedy clan, no women is allow to have a man position as a President. I say that is bull.

    I will still vote for Hillary Clinton. Just because she is a smart, tough & well experienced & knows our country very well & knows what best for our country & he endorsed Obama, still a bull.

    I'm a true Clinton clan fans. I voted Bill Clinton for President back then & now the wife if running. I guess everybody is scare of a tough talking female President & that's just too bad.

    Bring it on Hillary Clinton, all of my friends are all for you all the way to the White House where you really belong for 8 YEARS like your husband did.

    Clinton for President.

    January 28, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. Alice

    Hey, Obama – do our whole country a favor

    Hitch a ride with your buddy Ted – make sure it takes you over a bridge

    Thank you in advance

    January 28, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. CHANGE YES

    This isn't about electing a woman but the best candidate for our country. Hillary is destine to get us into war with Iran and Obama has other ideas. Do we really need to hand over the country to someone who is a sell out to special interests?

    January 28, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. Hillary Our President

    Put Senator Kennedy's endorsement into its proper perspective. He also endorsed Al Gore and John Kerry. Now those were some fine Presidents weren't they?

    January 28, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  14. Bill, Chicago, IL

    It's not because she's a woman, idiots – it's because she's Hillary.

    January 28, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Charles

    If NOW is really serious about championing women's rights then they shouldn't be arguing that Hillary should be endorsed solely because she is a woman. Isn't it a little pathetic to whine about this rather than, say, argue that Hillary is a better candidate? That maybe Kennedy should have endorsed her, not just because she is a woman, but because she is a better candidate?

    January 28, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. Mike

    NOW is just another off-centered special interest group that throws a tirade whenever they don't get their way. Their statement is entirely emotional and shows a genuine lack of intelligence (which only enforces the stereotype on how women might react in a crisis). They have only hurt their cause by this paltry demonstration.

    It's not about the gender and it's not about the race...it's the vision thing. Obama has it and Hillary doesn't. In fact I'm heartened to see that the American people are beginning to see through her and her husband and understand that they are the archetypes of the greedy politician. Hopefully the rest will awaken too.

    January 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. RM

    It's not about wanting to support "a woman" for President, it is all about not supporting "THAT Woman" becoming President.....

    January 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. Amanda

    But the President of NOW endorsed Obama, too, so what are they talking about? A vote for Obama is a vote for women.

    January 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  19. l. Pelaez

    At last!. Women speak up!!! I welcome NOW declarations.
    We all know how the Kennedy men historically reated women as "things" to be used. How dare now a woman claim a place among the big boys? Can't she see this isn't women's turf?

    Really : How dare this Kennedy clan pretend the ownership of the Party? They can't tolerate competition from another "family"!. That is how they have acted historically. They couldn't even accept their own brother-in-law, Schriver, who fought the War on Poverty. When he became too popular they pushed him aside. And now , under the "decoration" of making room for the young, they push their REAL competition aside. How revolting!

    And one more thing : If they think a Kennedy will drag the Latino support, I for one, a latino woman, remember very well the Kennedy Bay of Pigs colonialist invasion. Same as Bush's invasion of Iraq. No difference AT ALL.
    And I feel no respect for the Kennedys since. Hope the rest of my Community also remembers.

    January 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. John Travis

    Eddie Kennedy has detrayed America since Edward Kennedy has been in Washington. especially on illegal aliens.

    January 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  21. FRAN

    FIRST THE MEDIA HAS BEEN TRYING TO BE IN CONTROL OF THE PRIMARIES
    NOW THE POLITICIANS ARE TRYING TO RETAIN THEIR CONTROL
    KENNEDY'S SPEECH TODAY WAS EXACTLY LIKE OBAMA'S SPEECHES
    PRETTY WORDS, LOFTY IDEAS, AND TRYING TO MAKE US BELIEVE THEY THINK WE ARE HOLDERS OF POWER. ALL THEY WANT IS OUR VOTE SO THAT THEY GAIN OR RETAIN THEIR POWER. IF TED KENNEDY AND JOHN KERRY ARE SO EAGER FOR CHANGE DO THEY PLAN TO STEP ASIDE SO YOUNGER, BRIGHTER PEOPLE CAN TAKE THEIR PLACES.

    WHAT SPECIFICALLY HAS HILLARY DONE THAT IS SO BAD?

    WHAT SPECIFICALLY HAS OBAMA DONE THAT IS SO GOOD?

    HE SEEMS UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO TELL US WHAT HIS SOLUTIONS TO OUR PROBLEMS ARE BEYOND UNITING BEHIND HIM. SO HE CAN DO WHAT?

    HILLARY SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO ARTICULATE AND UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS AND DELIVER POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS.

    AND WHAT IS SO WRONG ABOUT HAVING A WOMEN'S POINT OF VIEW ON THOSE SOLUTIONS FOR A CHANGE?

    January 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  22. Amy in Cincinnati

    I think the New York chapter of NOW just pulled a Bill Clinton....

    January 28, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  23. Mrs. Ryan

    Voting for a woman President is historical and the beginning of change. There is nothing wrong with pointing out Hillary is a woman. We must come to grips that the white mail has prevailed in this country when it comes to leadership. There have been some exceptional leaders. Let us realize that woman have held powerful positions in business, government, service, clergy, while holding the home front. NOW is just making a point and an opinion. If you are bothered by it, then you are in denial or glamoured!

    January 28, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  24. JC

    Looks like the Clinton's failed racial profiling is turning into sexual profiling.

    Let goodness prevail.

    Let honesty prevail.

    Let transparancy prevail

    Let hope prevail

    Let women, men, black, white, asian, hispanic, christian, muslim, hebrew, hindu, young, old, rich, poor – let everyone prevail over hate.

    Let Obama prevail.

    January 28, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  25. Rob Mitchell

    Yes, telling women to vote for someone based on gender is progress...get over yourselves. I'm a male, feminist, and African American. If I thought Hillary was the best candidate, I'd vote for her, but she isn't the best candidate. Ted Kennedy believes that Obama is the best candidate much like I do. Does that make him a sexist? NO. It makes him an American who believes in Democracy. The fact that NOW-NY is doing this is disgusting and I hope Hillary slams their blind support hard. Or better yet, I hope she doesn't so she loses the nomination and you'll be a reason why with this load of crock.

    Obama 08

    January 28, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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