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. sandy

    Oh my God women, get a life. Why is it so important that the next president be a woman? Being a woman myself, I personally blame the "liberated women" for part of the disaster this country is in (ie) our children, our morals. Need I go on. I am all for a woman President, but Hillary Clinton is not that woman at this time. Three cheers for the Kennedys for endorsing Obama.

    January 28, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  2. Jill

    This is exactly what is wrong with Hillary's campaign and her supporters. I am a women and am undecided between Hillary and Obama but I am turned off by the fact that Hillary has run a campaign that attempts to make ppl feel like they should vote for her because she's a woman while Obama has run a campaign as a man with ideas who just happens to be black. I'm voting based on who I think has policy ideas that can help the United States regardless of race or gender. Hillary and the New York chapter of NOW are doing more to set women back than propel us forward.

    January 28, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    The Kennedys can slam the women's groups for being sexist.

    January 28, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. stella Pope

    How unfortuante that Ted Kennedy can not keep his mouth shut and allow for our votes to be based on tangible facts we receive from Hillary Clinton or from Barack Obama. As an intelligent, 69 year old Hispanic, Catholic woman, and having voted for Democrats, as well as for some Republicans in the past presidential elections, I am insulted that Ted kennedy is deliberately trying to influence the Latino vote. We don't need any courting from him. There goes my respect. I would not with great enthusiasm climb that tree ever again (as Zacheus was pulled down through the roof ) as I did in the late 70's at the San Antonio Market Square to listen to his oration, now merely a rhetorical, banging noise. And I see where CNN is enjoying its purposeful, unfair treatment toward Hillary. Shame on you for vehemently taking sides!

    January 28, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Beverley

    I am very disappointed in Senator Kennedy.......

    January 28, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  6. jeff

    WE LOVE YOU THE KENNEDY FAMILY.

    OBAMA IS THE MAN.

    GO OBAMA

    January 28, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. Eduardo Bosseloo

    My family and my friends and I love senator Clinton no matter what and we will
    stand by her always.

    January 28, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  8. CaVoter1561

    I believe a vote for "Hill" = a vote for "Bill." The more he dominates her campaign – the more I'm convinced she will be his puppet president. No thanks!

    January 28, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  9. AISHA

    i m a woman too . i m from india . india is a poor 3rd world country and sometimes its famous for not giving enough rights to women .so i was proud to be in usa .BUT EVEN INDIA HAS HAD A WOMAN PRESIDENT 3 TIMES

    BUT I WAS HUMILIATED ,INSULTED ENOUGH FOR BEING A WOMAN ,BECAUSE OF THE WAY MEDIA HANDLED HILLARY .THEY WILL GIVE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT TO OBAMA FOR BEING BLACK BUT NOTHING TO HILLARY

    IT FEELS LIKE RULES ARE MORE STRICTER FOR A WOMAN

    SOME SAY SHE FAKES HER EMOTION ,SOME SAY OH SHE IS TOO TOUGH ,SOME SAY SHE SHOULD WEAR SKIRTS ,SOME SAY SHE SHOULD WEAR PANTS AND IRON CLOTHES.PEOPLE HAVE ALL KINDA 100 DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS FROM HER

    IF OBAMA GOT HELP FROM OPRAH,KERRY,HIS WIFE ,IT WAS OK

    BUT IF HILLARY GOT HELP .IT WAS LIKE OH NO SHE CANT EVEN HANDLE THAT

    AND TODAY I FELT IT MORE ,A WHITE MAN RATHER SUPPORT OTHER MAN BUT A WOMAN

    I FEEL LIKE I M THE WORST PLACE OF THE EARTH ,BUT I M BORN CITIZEN AND THIS IS MY HOME . ALL I CAN DO IS COMPLAIN HOPING SOMEONE WILL LISTEN AND NOT MAKE FUN AND UNDERSTAND THAT WHY WHY WHY WOMEN ARE PUT THROUGH MORE HARD TIMES

    January 28, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. CD

    Teddy loves women...Just ask that gal he was driving home that one rainy night over the bridge so many years ago...Oh wait, you can't ask her.

    January 28, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  11. bj smith

    NOWNY's comment is at once amazing and dispiriting! The real promise of Obama's candidacy is the prospect of a progressive politics that will finally roll back the disastrous turn toward identity politics that has so crippled the American Left for the last several decades. As Obama often says, "out of many, one." American progressivism was once characterized by the principle of solidarity and a sense of shared predicament. But it came to be preoccupied with the narrow claims of various identities, and thereby lost its claim on the American imagination. The rise of the Right was presaged by a Left lost in the wilderness of identity politics and "the twilight of common dreams." But the NOWNY statement should remind those of us who look forward to a new 21st century progressivism that the vitriol of identity politics will not go away until those of us who seek to build a majoritarian Left reject the claims of identity politics outright.

    January 28, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  12. ZedLoch

    I thought this wasn't supposed to be about gender or race. It isn't for me, not in the least. Hillary and Barack have both made statements to that effect as well. Did NY-NOW not get the memo?

    I support Barack Obama and I had no idea that I hated women...my thanks to NOW for clearing that up for me :-P

    January 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  13. supportobama2008

    Support Obama Day (February 4, 2008)

    Honk Your Horn Support Obama2008

    On February 4, 2008! The People of the United States, can show the world just how “United We Are” by Honking There Horns at the same time all over the Country. The Times is set as followed. East standard time (EST) at 12:00 Noon, Central Standard time (CST) at 11:00am, Mountain Standard Time (MST) at 10:00am, Pacific Standard Time (PST) at 9:00am. In Support of Barack Obama for President.

    We Can Change!

    Change has started every since this young man has entered into politics. No matter who you are or what your beliefs may be you still can feel the change and the direction our country is taking.

    Barack Obama is the best Representative for the land we call America. This great nation needs an impartial person who can see the issues our great nation faces without division. This has been the downfall of our country from Day one. We need someone who stands for the equality of all people. Barack Obama brings us the hope that one day we can achieve peace and equality in our great nation, The United States Of America and lead the world by setting the example of being united.

    Barack Obama is trying to unite these broken United States. There is only one candidate in the race for the presidency, who was made for uniting America. This is Barack Obama! Listening to his inspirational speeches and reading about his multi-cultured upbringing makes me feel any person raised with such social and cultural differences so close to home would make a proper president for this melting pot we call the United States Of America. He stands for Unity and Equality for all, From Sea to Shining Sea. So it only seems fit for all of us in this great nation who want the same to pull together and share our gratitude for the work and risks he faces daily during his campaign for presidency.

    Honk for Obama, Honk for Unity

    January 28, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. AISHA

    SO I THOUGHT ,IT WAS TIME FOR CHANGE AND TIME FOR NEW FACES

    SO WHY OBAMA NEEDE ENDORSEMENTS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAS BEEN IN WASHINGTON GOR OVER 30 YRS

    SO WHAT KINDA CHANGE IS THAT

    January 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  15. Kurt Eric Munroe

    This Hillary thing is going too far. The Clintons have slipped deeper into the darkness. Any further and she won't even qualify to be the No.2 on any ticket.

    January 28, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. LA

    I am 48 years, a woman and will never vote for Hilary. I do want to see a woman for President – but not her. She is not a woman that I respect, admire or like.
    It is all about her and her husband – Obama is the answer for this country to move on and be respected once again.

    January 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  17. Daisy

    I will vote for Hillary in a heart beat. I don't need any endorsement of any polician! I can make up my mind without you boys influencing me!

    January 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  18. Mary

    My husband and I were extremely disappointed in Ted Kennedy today. He chose the lesser qualified candidate over the one who is highly qualified.

    January 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  19. Rod

    Nice to see that the Hillaryjugend who run this site enjoy censoring truthful comments that expose Mrs. Clinton and her moonbat followers for what they are.

    January 28, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  20. Texan

    CNN- why are you so pro OBAMA? Who on your network is making your reporters pimp Obama and slam Senator Clinton.? .
    The loop you keep showing of the Kennedy endorsement is laughable and very telling. I heard very little about the New York Times endorsment of Clinton or of Robert Kennedy Jr's endorsement of her. I can't even get comments posted on your blogs. This is NOT fair reporting and I am ashamed of you. You know better and you owe the American public more. Your treatment of President Clinton is deplorable. Your reporters NEVER get into issues with Obama and never question his past voting records, his church, or his affilation with Rezko, who by the way was arrested today by the Fbi. Yet you defame the Clintons. I used to be one of CNN's biggest supporters but your election coverage makes Fox News look really "fair and balanced" . My only conculsion is that some one at the 'top" wants another Republican president in November. If Hillary is not the candidate, they have my vote too! Good job Cnn.
    Hoodwinked and Bedazzled in Texas.

    January 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  21. Ann Lefas

    You shouldn't vote for a woman just because she is a woman. I am a woman, but I have never respected Hillary and would never vote for her. The candidate should be qualified and be respected. She is neither. And we don't need Bill in the White House again.

    January 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Steve

    "but Change it will be."

    Obama + Kerry + Kennedy....now THAT surely is change........

    January 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  23. C

    I suppose only the white race knows what is best for the country- after all they have been in power since the inception of this country. NOW's argument makes no sense what so ever and it is flawed. Whom ever Kennedy endorses is his personal choice just like everyone has their personal choice to vote/support a particular candidate.

    January 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  24. Jay

    Why does Obama not talk about his mother's side of the family? Was he raised by his father only? Just curious.

    January 28, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. Robert H.

    Though generally a supporter, I have two problems with this statement by NOW.

    NOW-NY has a natural bias to vote for Sen. Clinton aside from her being a woman: she's the local senator. Moreover, Sen. Kennedy represents a state other than New York, and is entitled to his own opinion.

    My second problem is this implies some sort of "debt" owed by Sen. Kennedy. Perhaps it is not in NOW's best long-term political interest to lash out at a leading figure of the party that mostly aligns with the organization's stances. Unless there is definitive reason why NOW supports Sen. Clinton more than Sen. Obama, I believe this statement is purely a gender-biased attak, much similar to the bias that NOW works to subdue.

    January 28, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
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