January 29th, 2008
08:54 AM ET
6 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. Carrie

    NOW is pathetic organization!

    January 29, 2008 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  2. rb

    NOW was.

    January 29, 2008 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  3. Bob Lee

    Ted, Suport a woman does not make a less man out of you

    January 29, 2008 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  4. Austin

    This article will do more damage to Hill Dog then this endorsment.

    January 29, 2008 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  5. Loree

    If all women thought the way these females do, all women would vote for Hillary and all african americans would vote for Obama, regardless of whether you liked that politician or not.
    These women are more closed-minded than the people they're poking their fingers at and it makes me realize why there are still some folks out there that think women are not equal.
    Hey Ted, vote for whomever you please. Isn't that the whole premise of the right to vote, and why we women fought so hard for that right?
    Shut up ladies, and let us all decide for ourselves who the right man or woman is for the job.
    Betrayal? Get a grip.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  6. not this one

    As a woman, I would glad vote for the right woman. This is not the woman that I want to have the honor as the first female president.

    OBAMA 08

    January 29, 2008 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  7. Richard from Detroit

    Hey you " JARHEADS" supporting Teddy " The Bad Luck" Kennedy and Obama bin Laden , thats what the other side wants.Hey be my guest ,PEST!!! Lets see how long Obama and his jump and jacks puppets keep on smilin.Obama just got infected by Ted and theres " NO CURE ". Man!! I,ve heard people who just looked at a Kennedy from a distance and BAM!!!! a week or two later they get into a car wreak or get cancer.Is that bad luck or what.One, Two, Three strikes your out Obama, what an idiot!

    January 29, 2008 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  8. Bowman Gray

    Thought the media had decided that was NOT a contest based on race or gender. Maybe some still wish it was.....

    January 29, 2008 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  9. Kyle

    It's not that Ted doesn't like the idea of a woman President- it's that he doesn't like the idea of Hillary Clinton being President. If there was a man running in her stead with the same sell-outs to the industry and the same deceptive pandering, I wouldn't support him either.

    January 29, 2008 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  10. Blaine

    In this day and age, I think any man who would not vote for a woman is living in a state of denile. I stand proudly behind Hillary & think Teddy has made a big mistake.
    Blaine, A man from South Carolina

    January 29, 2008 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  11. JL

    I am so glad this chapter of NOW is proud of themselves for "forgiving" or overlooking all Kennedy's transgressions all these years and expects his support in return. That's like saying, "Okay, we have swept all your dirty laundry under the rug, now pick our candidate as gratitude for that." One has nothing to do with the other – we can't presume to think it is our place to "forgive" Kennedy or anyone for their past. That's God's job.

    January 29, 2008 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  12. sukkee

    Then we all men should vote our guy, no matter what.
    Pathetic group, I would say those pea-brain leaderships set woman movement 50 years back.

    January 29, 2008 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  13. Pavel ben Jacob

    So, Kate of NY, NY: TK is just exhibiting a knee-jerk response to his patriarchal conditioning? At least you're accurately echoing the rhetoric of your NOWNY cronies....

    A more likely conspiracy scenario: The Kennedys are lining up behind Obama because they don't want to yield their place as THE family dynasty of the Democratic Party (Yeah, right...)

    Let's face it, the man would not have survived all these years–even with the Kennedy moniker–were he not a master politician. As such, would he throw his weight behind one candidate just to spite another? The stakes are too high! It appears the Dems may finally realize that propping up another disastrous choice (like Kerry was in '04) would kill the Party. Look for more Democratic pols to make strategic endorsements over puppy-love romanticism.

    January 29, 2008 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  14. Jayson

    If they want to condemn anyone they can start with Bill Clinton and the fact his attacks helped change Ted Kennedys mind on staying neutral.

    This is the kind of lunacy you get when people are so set on a candidate based only on one issue which in this case is the sex of the candidate. If Hilary doesn't get elected it will have nothing to do with sex and everything to do with the fact that she is the singlemost decisive candidate in the race this year.

    January 29, 2008 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  15. Ndellejong Cosmas Ejong

    I believe in change for America, not only at the nartional level but also at the international level.Irrespective of the fact that I am black, I do not support Obama because of his race but because I see him as one who will unite the already divided America. He can heal the wounds Bush has left and restore America's economy and politics.
    Dispite my profound respect and support I have always had for the Clintons, with the behaviour of Bill of late, I see Hilary as a divider and she will worsen things for Americans. Bill thought it will be a gender Issue where women will vote Hilary becaue of her Gebder but it is not the case. We must look beyond, into the future for America. Hilary could make a good president but Obama is best. Obama is the man needed in Moments like this, not just for America but for the rest of the world.
    Obama will not only bring change but he is the chage personified.

    January 29, 2008 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  16. Michael, North Carolina

    Yes I can say that today Sen. Kennedy spoke from the heart. Sen Kennedy does not look at the gender ,or color of a man ,or womans skin. But how this national can be led back to it's greatiness again. If you look at the record everything that the media has shown is a positive for Sen. Obama the Clintons have used their "slick willy politics" to try and make the great man look bad. Former President Clinton should be ashamed of himself for injecting race into the campaign. People want to say it was so great under the Clintons when they were in office. But let the record show that NAFA was a failed trade policy that sent millions textile jobs overseas, and to Mexico. With the issue of human rights the Former President Clinton sat back and allowed 800,000 people to slaughter each other in Rwanda in April of 1994. He felted the need to send troops to Kosovo, but not to Rwanda. Oh how the American people forget. Sen Barack Obama is a real American hero. Now with someone such as Sen. Kennedy supporting him if he could get the Latino, and the older white womens vote he will have a real chance at becoming the 44th president of the United States. May God bless Sen. Obama.

    January 29, 2008 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  17. Richard Rote (California)

    This is a DEMOCRACY.

    Everyone has the right to endorse/support whomever they like.

    WOMEN for OBAMA!!

    LATINOS for OBAMA!!

    January 29, 2008 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  18. cyrille

    THIS IS TRULY THE MOST STUPID THING EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE!!!

    SO THIS IS A GENDER THING!!!

    WATCH THE PUNDITS AND THE HATERS ACCUSE OBAMA AGAIN FOR BRINGING RACE AND GENDER INTO THIS AGAIN:

    PURE NONSENSE!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  19. Ndellejong Cosmas Ejong

    I believe in change for America, not only at the national level but also at the international level. Irrespective of the fact that I am black, I do not support Obama because of his race but because I see him as one who will unite the already divided America. He can heal the wounds Bush has left and restore America's economy and politics.
    Despite the profound respect and support I have always had for the Clintons, with the behavior of Bill of late, I see Hilary as a divider and she will worsen things for Americans.
    Bill thought it will be a gender Issue where women will vote Hilary because of her Gebder but it is not the case. We must look beyond, into the future for America. Hilary could make a good president but Obama is best. Obama is the man needed in Moments like this, not just for America but for the rest of the world.
    Obama will not only bring change but he is change personified.

    January 29, 2008 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  20. pauline godbout

    sen.kennedy and sen.kerry have now abandoned sen.clinton. well,senators I bitterly regret ever supporting YOU !!! your hipocrisy should wake up the thinking voters of America.WHAT CHANGE ?? the "old boy" politics goes on forever !!!

    January 29, 2008 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  21. Bryce K. Dixon

    Hillary Clinton will be able to restore respect, accountability and adequate transparency to the office of the Presidency. Her policies on the economy, domestic and social justice issues are right on target. Moreover, her previous votes in the Senate involving security issues proves conclusively that she is not a dove. Some might say she is a little hawkish, I trust her to make the right decision on military and tough foreign policy issues.

    Because she will enter the room with an open and informed mind, not one fogged with end of days prophecies and inhibited by intellectual incompetency and disregard for honest morale leadership both legislatively and personally.

    Hillary is the best we have on the table right now and that is not half bad, when one looks at the mess the Republicans and their divinely inspired President Bush have left in the wake of their 2000, Power Grab. We can count on Hillary working late into the night on America's business.

    While putting in place good overall policies which will once again make Americans proud of our place in the world and greatly improve our relationships with other democracies and allies.

    Vote Hillary for A Better America!!!
    Vote Hillary for A Better Tomorrow!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  22. Kat

    I am a woman and NOW doesn't tell me who I can vote for, nor do they speak my opinion. Nobody would be more delighted to see a woman become President than me; however, I can't possibly vote for a candidate simply BECAUSE she is a woman. Hillary Clinton is, as the poster before me said, a "political opportunist" and I had no intention of voting for her before her outrageous antics recenty with her husband. Now that she has shown that instead of addressing the issues and speaking like a true leader during her campaign, she ignores the issues (with the added emphasis of her wonderfully expressive eyerolls) and sends Bill out to act like a rabid clown and make a total fool of both ot them, I would probably vote for Mickey Mouse before I would vote for her. Honestly, she scares me.

    I will be voting for Obama on Super Tuesday and hopefully in November. And like I said, Hillary scares me. If she gets the nomination, I guess I vote for anyone but her. I pray she does NOT get the nomination because then I honestly don't know how to vote come November.

    January 29, 2008 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  23. Bryan in Illinois

    That's is the richest pile of bull yet. I am not going to choose Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama simply as an apology for past slights to their genders or races. We are trying to choose a person for the most important position in our society. We need to choose the very best candidate. Pulling out the gender card against Ted Kennedy over this is ridiculous. Why did they issue this statement for Kennedy, but not for Claire McCaskill, for instance? They could have said she was a traitor to her gender, but I didn't hear anything about it – or maybe it just didn't make it to press.

    Groups like this can only have sway if they make reasonable statements. They are far overreaching, and I cannot help thinking they went out on such a thin limb simply as Clinton's proxy.

    January 29, 2008 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  24. aa

    thos women were out of their mind. they humiliated me, my mother, sisters and others.... understand that we are not blind like liberals

    January 29, 2008 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  25. Griff in Fairbanks

    Looks to me like NOW-NY can't see past gender ...

    To make a statement regarding a person based solely on gender is sexist. In essence, NOW-NY said Sen. Kennedy betrayed women by not supporting the female candidate. Nothing I saw mentioned any basis for their objection other than gender. Therefore, NOW-NY is sexist.

    January 29, 2008 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
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