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. Say no to the monarchy

    Who is desperate NOW, Bilary?

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Claudia

    There are many women who would and will vote for Obama. The allegations made by this group seem unfounded and ridiculously feminist.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. RJ, SV, AZ

    Oh God....leave an address so I can send a few boxes of tissues...

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. CHERYL

    HILLARY CLINTON HAS EARNED HER PLACE! WITH HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW THAT SHE HAS A HUGE BAND OF SUPPORTERS! THEY NEED TO TAKE IT TO THE POLLS! OR WE ARE GOING TO EITHER END UP WITH SOMEONE WHO IS NOT QUALIFIED OR A REPUBLICAN !THAT WILL PUT US DOWN EVEN MORE. IT IS NO BIG SECRET THAT THE GOOD OLD BOYS WOULD RATHER SEE A BLACK MAN OR ANY MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE JUST TO KEEP A WOMAN OUT!!!!!! WOMEN RUN EVERYTHING, THIS PARTICULAR WOMAN HAS WORKED HARD FOR THE POOR ,AFRICAN AMERICANS AND CHILDREN!!!!!!!! HILLARY KNOWS HOW TO GET THINGS DONE. SHE HAS GOTTEN NOTHING BUT GREAT REVIEWS FROM OTHERS ON THE SENATE. SHE HAS NUMEROUS ENDORSEMENTS THAT ARE NEVER MENTIONED. NEW YORK TIMES, FARMERS UNION CALIFORNIA, GOVERNOR ED RENDELL OF P.A., FORMER GOVERNOR OF M.D. KATHLEEN KENNEDY, MAYA ANGELOU!!!! THE MEDIA CAN SAY ANYTHING! THAT WILL NOT CHANGE THE VOTE! I WILL WORK 24 HOURS A DAY TO FIGHT THE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN AND HILLARY !!!!!!!!!! WHO IS WITH ME?????????????????? GO HILLARY 2008

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. llew

    I DON'T THINK KENNEDY HAS ABANDON WOMEN, BUT HAS ABANDON A DISHONEST PERSON FOR ONE WHO HAS INTEGERITY.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. VicePrez

    That is the problem with much of this country. You have groups like NOW who are more hell bent on being discriminatory in the face of so called women's group. The objective of all groups is to ensure equality across the board. They are mad at Kennedy for not endorsing Hillary, I would not endorse Hillary either. That shows how screwed their views are but yet they call for equality, what a bunch of losers.

    Not another term for these crooks and it has nothing to do with gender but the overall character of these people.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. Millie

    I totally disagree with NOW. I am a 51 year old woman and would love to see a woman in the White House but HC is not that woman. She is totally dependent on her husband to drag her across the finish line. I want a woman who can stand on her own.

    GO BARACK!

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Not shocked

    This is not shocking in any sense of the order. This primary has turned the US election system into mockery. Comments such as this one, by a group 80+% of Americans have probably never hears of just sully their reputation, if they had one, and show how ridiculous this has become. To support HRC just because SHE is A SHE shows how blind and one sided most of these organizations are.
    Unfortunately, people will continue to support organizations, such as this one, that sticks to one agenda and does not even remotely concern itself with the betterment of society and its citizens.

    Actually, thank you NOW for my daily reminder at how ridiculous we have become.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Barbara

    When I posted my first blog on this earlier this morning, there were "0 comments". Now I see that there are 90+; and mine is nowhere to be seen. Why is that "Mr.CNN moderator"?

    Are you uncomfortable with posting comments that are critical of CNN's obvious bias in news delivery?

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Karen

    What are they looking for? Someone to support Hillary simply because she is a woman? I have no problem with a woman being president. However, it needs to be the right woman and Hillary is not it. Using one's better judgement and supporting the best person for President is not a slam to woman. Simply voting and supporting a woman for President because she is a woman is a slam to woman.

    January 29, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Jamie

    Or... maybe he is smart enough to realize that Obama is just a much better candidate for president.

    January 29, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Son

    This Now group is getting very anoying, first off all this is a Democatric country, so you can support whomever you want, and second this is about te BEST PERSON for the country, men or woman?!! By reacting this way the woman is hurting the Clinton campaign more than helping him. This group is reacting exactly like Busch did: either your with me or against me (like a spoiled child) GROW UP!!

    January 29, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. james

    I love how they think that they represent all women in NY.

    Kennedy "betrayed" a group that represented probably very small portion of women in NY.

    January 29, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. MD, Glenmont, Ohio

    Too bad the voting public has the attention span of a gnat. The way to a free America is to believe that anyone can be president, not just who Ted Kennedy endorses. NEWSFLASH...the republicans and the democrats are full of greedy, disgusting people who love to polarize the people of America and pretend they are doing the working stiffs favors by robbing them blind. Do the research and go out and vote...DON'T listen to any polls...GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND VOTE. ANYONE CAN WIN THE ELECTION...VOTE OUT THE FAT CATS WHO HAVE BEEN IN POWER FOR DECADES

    January 29, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Hill

    Half black, half white. Now if he were just half woman! Give me a break. To vote for or endorse anyone because of race or GENDER is the Epitome of stupid.

    January 29, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. GiveMeABreak

    Looks like NOW wants women to vote for Hillary because she's a woman. Whatever happened to voting for the most qualified person for the job? NOW is an insult to women everywhere and as a woman, I wouldn't vote for her. There are many qualified women who could do the job; Hillary is not that woman. There country is in the process of voting for the best person for the job, not just because that person is a woman. Didn't we just get a big reminder from Bill Clinton driving the race card? Why is NOW playing the gender card? Enough is enough! I'm impressed with Caroline Kennedy recognizing leadership and the call for a new direction and spirit in our country. HIllary doesn't inspire that sense of change.

    January 29, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Hill Supporter

    We won't give up; we won' give up. As a woman, I will only support Hillary. Go Hillary.

    Ted is over the hill, and by the way, we in the heartland are not swayed by the Kennedy's; they are east-coast insiders. And now Obama really looks like he can't do it on his own. I believe the New York Times said it best when they endorsed her: experience, experience, experience.

    January 29, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Becky

    I am not a big fan of Kennedy, but he has the right to endorse whomever he chooses. I am even less of a fan of Hillary Clinton. I don't blame him for endorsing the candidate that might make a decent president. Quit playing the gender card, people, I agree that if it was any other woman running I might vote for her, but Hillary Clinton will never get my vote!

    January 29, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Diana Schmidt

    Why is it that the media is falling all over themselves on what a tremendous boost Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Obama is. Is he the shining example of a morally upright individual who because of the Kennedy 'mystique' can control elections? President Kennedy/Bobby Kennedy/Ted Kennedy – have we forgotten numerous affairs/drinking/the drowning of a young woman in a lake – taking off and not reporting it? My my – how time changes our remembrances of such events.

    While President Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy were eloquent and fought for civil rights, their off hours antics were something else indeed.

    Supporter of women's rights? Hardly.

    Enough about Saint Ted Kennedy.

    January 29, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. Nicole

    This is ridiculous. To say that not supporting a women candidate has anything to do with a disregard to women's rights shows a lack of intelligence. We should be voting for who we believe will make the best president, REGARDLESS of what their race or gender is. To suggest that women should vote for the woman candidate simply because of her gender insults the intelligence of all women. Women fought for the right to vote, the right to have their voice heard, and now someone is trying to tell us what that voice should be saying?

    January 29, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. Seam, Philly PA

    This women's group needs to get over it. Kennedy can support whomever he feels is the right choice. Everyone has choices. No one should cater to a specific group just because of gender or race. NOW is plain stupid.

    January 29, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. llew

    N.O.W IS PLAYING THE GENDER CARD!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. Jackie

    I resent the fact that NOW is beholding to Hilary Clinton. She is not the kind of woman that most US women want to become the first woman President. It is stomach churning to see her with her lying and deceiving husband. Do we really want a woman as President with the husband like that. She is not a role model for any woman, young or old. Give me a break NOW!!!

    January 29, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Deborah Galloway

    Hello,
    Response to editorial!! I as a single woman with three sons, who has struggled
    all my life to be a role model for my sons as a woman with no help!! Although I
    respect "NOW" and their endeviours to change things for the "Woman's Rights"
    but, I agree to disagree I am in support of "Kennedy's" discision to back "Obama"
    I believe we do need change and a new direction and "Senator Obama" has shown that he, we can bring about "Change w/ New Direction!!!!!" Although I like
    Mrs. Clinton, I don't believe she is ready to lead this "Country" maybe "Bill" is.........
    but not "Hillary" it has been shown and proven during these primaries, all I have
    heard is "Bill" and "Hillary says she found her voice then where is it?????????

    Respectfully,
    D......Arkansas

    January 29, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. RevLisa

    NOW needs to get with the program. Women have brains and we are going to vote for the most winable candidate , whom I believe to be Obama. I will not vote for Clinton just because she is female and so am I. What a dumb thing to base a decision like this on. Pull your head out NOW!

    January 29, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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