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. Jeanne

    NOW is pathetic. Hillary and Bill have been planning her race since he won his second term. The two of them are ruthless and play very dirty politics. I say bravo to Kennedy for having the guts to back Obama. The Clinton's hold on the Democratic party is cracking – and that is only good for their party. Of course neither will get my vote – I'm a republican!

    January 29, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Mark

    It has nothing to do with being a woman and everything to do with being a nasty person. You cannot trust Billary!! Go Obama!!!!

    January 29, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    I understand that many older women have experienced more sexism than I have at 28 years of age. That said, as a woman, this statement is the most ridiculous, SEXIST, thing I have ever read. Why should Kennedy support Hillary because she is a woman?

    January 29, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Mike

    CNN should drop out of the race they have lost their MO!!!! If they think this is even news worthy I guess if the VFW or American Legions across America endorsed Ron Paul they would be Un-American... Does this mean that if the Girl Scouts of America endorses Obam we should never buy another box of cookies?

    January 29, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. america

    in responce to carolyn conner.................and as americans we have the right to not get alone and to disagree thank god.....i've been around the world and no not everyone gets along......again thank god i live in america and not honduras....

    January 29, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. wes wilhite

    The New York chapter of NOW is confused. Nobody has to vote for Hillary just because she is a woman. That is sexist. You should vote for the person you think will do the best job. Senator Kennedy likes Obama's vision. I don't believe he based his decision on race or sex. He sincerely believes Senator Obama is the right person for the job. Senator Kennedy has been a champion of women's rights. Race or sex should not dominate your vote. I would vote for Elizabeth Dole if she was running (but she is not). I think it is a tribute to our country that a woman or a black man could be our next president.

    January 29, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Alice

    Come-on America, the land of the GREAT!
    Who among you would want deal with another 4, perhaps 8 years of lies, and dirty politics. Not the USA people I know. To watch this deceitful duo in action, PAL-EEESE!

    Say NO to clinton, and a loud YES for Barak Obama .

    January 29, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. A. Harrison

    For OBama but not "against" Clinton, yeah right.....Slow eating away at her lead every moment and spite her for trying to defend it. What type of contest is this...one where the opponent but keel over and give up?

    January 29, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. CHERYL

    OH THE KENNEDY'S ARE GREAT PEOPLE TO TAKE ADVICE FROM!!!!! IS TED EVER SOBER? THEY ARE ALL DRUNKS AND CRIMINALS! I WOULD THINK HE HAS SOMETHING TO GAIN MAYBE A GOOD DEAL ON SOME PROPERTY THROUGH REZKO? IT'S ALL COMING TO LIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA GO HILLARY

    January 29, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. sr

    I agree this article is stupid and NOW is trying to pit one group against the other group to further divide this nation. What we need now is unity in order to move forward. Vote on the issues, not on race or gender.

    January 29, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Tre

    This is simply ignorant. If the NAACP blasted any one person for choosing Hillary or Edwards over Obama there'd be a national uproar. Please read and discard this article quickly!

    On with legitimate news...

    January 29, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. GREGORY KLINE

    You know, I generally support NOW. In fact, I've marched for them. But what a REDICULOUS position they're taking here. So, does this say that anyone not endorsing a female candidate (when there is one), is wrong and should be ashamed. How horrendously prejudicial. It's man-hating racism, and reverse sexism. How sad. I don't respect that at all.

    January 29, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Jim ( Independent )

    The New York chapter of NOW have some major mental health issues.

    January 29, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Sue

    Senator Kennedy has the right to endorse anyone he wishes. No one person nor an organization can dictate anyone's preference for president. I am a woman but there is no way I could ever endorse or vote for Hillary Clinton. If another woman ran for president and I believed in her, I would not have any problem endorsing, working for or voting for her. I just can't support Hillary Clinton. I like Barack Obama and I believe in him. I get some of the same feelings from him that I got from JFK and RFK. I want that sense of hope back. I want to feel that we can all work together to make this a better country. I don't sense any of that from Hillary Clinton. Gender has nothing to do with it. NOW, et al, needs to put a cork in it.

    January 29, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Pat

    Unbelieable! What makes them think they know what's inside Ted's mind? Maybe he's supporting Barack because he thinks he'd make a better president. Their campaign is women against men, it always has been and it always will be for them.

    January 29, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Vent Casey

    This is the National Organization for Women cashing a check they didn't have to begin with. They were counting on ol' Ted Kennedy to just bow to their interests, and help coronate Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee.

    Frankly, if you're waiting for Gandy at NOW to tell you how to vote, or how you should vote, you really need to sit down and read a paper, and learn how to make your own decisions.

    I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMERICA, PEOPLE.

    January 29, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Justice 4 All

    As a woman, I found no offense to the Kennedy endorsement of Obama. Originally, my family and I supported Hillary, but after listening to her negative comments, and continuous attacks of Obama, she just lost us. I wondered with all of that experience, why is it necessary to take the negative path.
    But, I am shocked that a women's group would see Kennedy as a "betrayer" because he chose Obama. WHAT?????
    Hillary is a big girl, and she has many supporters and endorsements. Should I feel betrayed by the New York Times because they chose to endorse Hillary?
    Be for real people – Edward Kennedy is not against Hillary, he just thinks that Obama would be the best person for the job, and not because of gender or race.

    January 29, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Womaon in MD

    I agree with Larry and AJ.

    He can endorse anyone he wants. Did the women's group stand by him because they thought he was right or because they expected him to do something for them later? I appluad him for doing what he feel is right. I have nothing against Clinton, but I am not going to vote for her simple because she is a woman.

    January 29, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. SDB

    Just look at that photo from the SOTU address last night...Hillary had the courage to walk right up and shake old Ed's hand despite his publicly humiliating her...look at how Obama handled it on the other hand....this image helps cement things for me...he does not have what it takes to be the president..except maybe with the old guy leading him around by the pupppet strings..??

    January 29, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. INTELLEGANT VOTER

    THIS IS TO ALL HILLARY SUPPORTERS THAT THINKS THAT BARACK DOESNT HAVE ENOUGH EXPIERENCE.........IF TED KENNEDY WHO HAS MORE THAN 40 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE BELIEVES THAT BARACK IS QUALIFIED FOR THE POSITION.....WHO IN THIS ROOM CAN SAY THAT THEY KNOW MORE ABOUT QUALIFICATIONS THAN 40+ YEARS OF EXPIERENCE? THIS IS TO EVERYONE.....2 MONTHS AGO HILLARY WAS WELL AHEAD IN SOUTH CAROLINA.......EVEN AMONG MINORITY VOTERS......IT WAS HER POLITICAL CAMPAIGN AND DIRTY TACTICS THAT TURNED SOME MINORITY VOTERS OFF TO THE POINT YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE A DIE HARD HILLARY FAN TO STILL VOTE FOR HER....BILL CLINTON THEEN SAID JESSIE WON S.C. IN 84/88....AGAIN ANOTHER DIRTY STATEMENT....IGNORING THE FACT THAT HE TO WON IN S.C. 92/96... LAST....ON THE ISSUE OF CHANGE....BARACK COULD ELABARATE ALITTLE....BUT HIS HAS SAID HE WOULD MAKE TONS OF CHANGES IN HOW WE VIEW POLITICS....HEALTHCARE....TAX CUTS....ETC....I DONT NEED TO HERE THE OBVIOUS TO SAY THIS CANDIDATE KNOWS OUR STRUGGLES....WHO DOESNT KNOW GAS PRICES ARE HIGH/JOB MARKET POOR/HOUSING MARKET HORRIFIC...ETC. I WOULD LIKE TO HERE SOME FEEDBACK ON MY COMMENTS...I RESPECT EVERYONES OPINION...... OBAMA 08

    January 29, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Douadavid

    The bad , the good ,and the ugly Kennedy ?
    He is the ugly Kennedy who could not even beat a bad presidential candidate like
    Jimmy Cater. He alwaysendorsed a loser. Drug addicted and woman chaser Obama will be on the his loser list soon. If you choose the best and smartest presidential cnadidate , Hillary is the one. Vote Hillary is a vote for the best future.

    January 29, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Talat

    So SEX is important for this election? I thought sex or race is not important?!!

    January 29, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Sevak in LA

    "NOW has joined the list of progressive white america who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a black president who is Barack Obama."
    -Need I say more??

    January 29, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. todd

    "This latest move by NOW-NYS is so telling about the status of and respect for African-American’s rights, African-American’s voices, African-American’s equality, African-American’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation — to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a president that is the first African-American after centuries of Caucasians who ‘know what’s best for us."

    Interesting how that works both ways.

    January 29, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    ROMNEY AND MCCAIN ARE GOING AFTER EACH OTHER TOOTH AND NAIL, YET THEIR NOT CRYING UNFAIR LIKE OBAMA AND HIS SUPPORTERS.
    THEY REALIZE THAT POLITICS IS NOT A GAME, BUT DEADLY SERIOUS, WHERE WINNING IS EVERYTHING IT'S THE ONLY THING.
    THAT'S WHY SINCE JOHNSON WE HAVE HAD 28 YEARS OF REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS AND ONLY 12 YEARS OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTS AND 8 OF THOSE YEARS WERE CLINTON YEARS.

    January 29, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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