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
What is NOW thinking? They are exactly what is wrong with America. We should vote for somebody based on what are their positions on political issues, their plan for America's future, and their ability to handle the stressful and complex job that is the Commander in Chief. If you are too worried about voting for somebody for their gender and/or race, then you have it all wrong.
The statement by NOW-NY has to be one of the most absurd and idiotic things I have heard in the last few months. To use gender as the sole reasoning behind voting for someone is completely irrational. If a candidate is a reflection of his/her supporters, then God help this country if Hillary Clinton becomes president.
Jr. Sullivan...you are missing the point. Mr. Clinton is NOT running for office. or is he???????
This article is hilarious actually. Because it is implying that the Kennedys are not entitiled to their own opinion. I am a WOMAN and a proud one at that. So does that mean if i voted to Sen Obama or Sen Romney i am betraying all females? I should be able to make my own decison based on what i think is right. so do the Kennedys. Give it a rest!
HA HA HA HA HA HAAA!!!! Really!!?? Ted Kennedy is considered the savior of women's rights??!! Really!!??? I had no idea.
Typical NOW reaction. Twist the facts to suit their agenda. The issue is not gender. The issue is Hillary Clinton. While the country seems genuinely ready to embrace a woman or black as the next President, Obama represents a breath of fresh air and the only real chance at change. HRC is the face of partisan politics and all the gender bending issues can not change that!
Come on!! The comments made in regards to NOW is worst then the article it's self. Remove your emotions and use your brain. Do really think that Barrack Obama can lead this country? My opinion he is to slow to speak and comes across to me as being unready. He has yet to hold my attention long enough to get how he is going to make a difference. Exactly what is his plan for the health Crisis in America? How is he going to bring jobs back into America? He has touched on the subject but that's all he has done. Unfortunately he's not the whole package and he will do no worst or better than the current "C: average BUSH that is in the White House now.
This is absurd. Might as well support the candidate with hair the same shade as yours, and ONLY that candidate.
NOW is completely missing the point of having anything besides a candidate's picture on their profile.
These women are NUTS! In my opinion, no one should support a political candidate because of their gender, race or religion. It's this type of thinking that is keeping this country from realizing its full potential.
I am sooooo disappointed with the Kennedy's. Friends like them, you don't need any enemies.
John McCain speaks about experience and how it counts, and you don't hear the Republicans going against him for it, BUT Hillary does it and it's not valid. Clearly A DOUBLE STANDARD we have in the USA.
So Obama is a great motivating speaker, but what has he really done??? How about working your tail off for 35 years for the people. I guess for the Obama supporters it means nothing. When you consider the poor work ethics of today's youth, those are the ones I see supporting Obama.
Hillary just cannot win a general election and as soon as the Democratic establishment understands that we can move on and support Obama and start preparing for November
I have always been a supporter of women's rights and equal rights for everyone including the unborn. It's not about women and it's not about men. It' s not about race, it's about human beings. I'm, a Democrat , Native American Woman, and I support Obama, but I will vote for Hillary or John if they are our nominee.
You know who's lost MY respect? NOW, that's who.
Don't you dare speak for me, NOW. You don't have that right. Blindly voting for Hillary Clinton solely because she's a woman is the stupidest idea since...saying women can't vote. This hysterical press release is demeaning and foolish. It makes NOW look like a sixteen year old who just got dumped by her boyfriend.
I am a woman, and I am voting for Obama. Not because of Kennedy's endorsement or anyone else's, but because I think he is the right person for the job, based on my own research, opinions, ideals, and judgment.
Think for yourselves, NOW members. You're making the rest of us look bad.
I AM WOMAN – HEAR ME ROAR!!!!
uh, maybe that was a bit premature, perhaps a little too bold. Is it okay, Ms. Gandy (NOW), for me to roar? Maybe a loud squeal, or just a muffled murmer? And what should I roar about?
Please, oh, please NOW, tell me what to do!
This is patently ridiculous. I am a woman deeply concerned with women's rights. Hillary Clinton's model of power is a blow to what women have been working towards all these years.
She is firmly entrenched in the male dominant world of Washington- can't even stand on her own two feet to vote no in Iraq, much less win this election without riding on her husbands coat tails. She actively engaged in silencing the women that her husband had affairs with.
In this campaign, she lied and distorted Barack's extensive record of support on women's issues; saying Obama did not take a stand on abortion bills when he was working with Planned Parenthood to block anti abortion.
I am appalled and disgusted by the lies of the Clinton campaign and that NOW is actually supporting this behavior. I find HC's egregious and blatant distortion of any candidate working for woman's rights is completely unconscionable and unacceptable.
I will never compromise my integrity as a person nor my values as a woman by voting for Hillary Clinton.
I feel very strongly to write. I am voting for the apprentice. With all the problems we face -a war sinkhole of our money, a deficit, and an economy thats going backwards we need someone whos been there seen that and done that. In Clintons years as pres he started with a deficit and left our country in good order .. He was after terrorists but there was no marching war.. And finally the economy was booming. Obama seems not to remember those years and only look at reagans ideas innovating he said they were. yes I remember them well. do you remember trickle down politics . All the tax cuts to the rich and it will trickle down to the rest of us. Im tired of these visionaries and its time for a change.. Its no fairy tale its reality we need help... Im voting for the apprentice she sat for 8 years to take part in our countries future she knows what it takes.. There is no getting to know you... Im not for a one time senator.thats not enough experience. he is magic. electric. and etc. and so is Bush he talked a good game too. As a ny state citizen you wouldnt believe what she has done for our state especially upstate ny. infact when she said she'd run for president I was upset we are losing a great senator. Now men have always been pres but when are you going to find a woman with those credentials.to become president . The difference between the Clintons and Dukasis Gore and Kerry.. Is they stand up The other dem candidates have tried to be gentleman Ill take the higher road. Look at the swift boat thing with Kerry. Look at Gore and Florida Pres Clinton would never allowed that. And Look at Dukakis with how he lost because he didnt answer back.. Anyway you can ask what I am a woman or a man it doesnt matter. Im voting for the apprentice 8 years experience white house and remember behind every great man theres a great woman or is it vice versa. i dont care Ill take both of them thats even better....
This is you so called "Fair and Balanced"!!! The news of slumlord Rezko was arrested yesterday was almost not heard from CNN and other mainstream media. Yet Obama is still enjoying his free ride maybe all the way to get the nomination. What a sad story under the disguised democracy!
HILLART AND OBAMMA BOTH ARE GOOD CANDIATES.AT THIS TIME SENATOR TED KENNEDY SHOULDN'T ENDORSE ANY ONE .LET THEM COMPETE AND BECOME THE NOMINEE FOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY
What! He can't back who he feels best for the job? I'm so spent with hearing groups spinning sex and race just to make history! "Here's a concept!" We the People, For the People for a stronger union no mater what sex or race of the person that we elect to the highest position.
"Great Kennedy's are gone long time ago, silly Kennedy did the foolish thing in his life, betrayer, Ted, you brought disgrace on Kennedy's family"
WOW!!!! The Kennedy family is still a very powerful and influencial political force.
Bill and Hillary certainly think so,otherwise they would have NOT been seeking his endorsement or at least a promise to remain neutral.
Say what you want about Ted Kennedy. His endorsement is huge,and his snub to The Clintons is even bigger. That's why that NOW chapter is so pissed.
Who did he betray? Did Caroline and Patrrick also bring "disgrace on Kennedys family"??????
It is the voice of some women, not the Hillary campaign.
based on the fact: 8 out of 10 blacks vote for Obama in South Carolina, I will vote for a white president candidate.
it's sad that CNN even gave that story headline space. what a complete joke. here's hoping CNN also puts up a huge headline that says "Clinton wins Florida" tonight, even though there are no delegates and it's supposed to be off the record. Whatever she can do to win, right? Obama 08.
To continue to be the beacon of democracy, it is time to gorw up and elect a female President. Many countries which came to embrace democratic system late have done it. It is time ot lead by example and elect a woman to the white house and that will speak louder to the world than sending troops to install democracy on sone unwilling places such as Iraq.
I find it hard to believe that everyone here is missing the point. NY-NOW stands for New York National Organization for Women. Let me REPEAT – FOR WOMEN.
One would think that since they are in fact a National Organization for Women, they would support a WOMAN for President.
The gender & Race Card crap makes me sick. People should, can and will vote for whoever they think is best for the job. Some will vote due to race and gender and this cannot be avoided as everyone has their own mindset.
I say since this is The United States of AMERICA and supposedly a FREE Country .. Vote For Whoever You Feel Like Voting. The Numbers will speak for themselves !!
GO HILARY GO .... GO HILARY GO .... GO HILARY GO
Sadly this whole endorsement was very ill advised. I do not see senior Republican senators jumping into the race and endorsing candidates. This is exactly the kind of devisive political tactics that everyone else complains that that Clintons are practicing.
Let the candidates win on thier merits then once its clear everyone can fall in line to support the winner. So now what if Hillary does win? Does Kennedy now flip flop and say oops I changed my mind?
He has been around long enough to know better. This is why the Democrats lost to W.