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. Mary

    Ted Kennedy is irrelevant! I am hopping mad at the democratic party for the way they have treated Hillary Clinton. If Barak is the nominee, I will vote for a Republican for the first time in my life!

    January 29, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. GunsUp

    No one should vote for someone just because Oprah, the Kennedys or anyone else has endorsed them. Ted Kennedy should not be throwing stones at anyone, we all know what he's done. Caroline Kennedy has lost my respect, she blatantly went against her Catholic teaching and is endorsing and planning to vote for(committing a sin – Thou shalt not kill.) a supporter of pro abortion.
    I congratulate all voters who are looking at the issues and not what someone is saying where a candidate has no control over. I seriously doubt that Mrs. Clinton was consulted about the NY NOW release.
    If I want inspiration I'll look to my faith and the one true inspiration in this world – Jesus Christ. When I listen to women about Mr. Obama, they keep talking about, "I don't know what it is but he's got it." Ladies to you it's sex appeal and that should not be a deciding factor. If Mr. Obama was truly inspiring and uniting then he would never have turned his back on Mrs. Clinton as he did last night.
    John Edwards is hanging on and rightly so, for these two front runners may just send him many voters his way. I may be missing it, but I have not heard him mentioned in any backstabbing or name calling. John Edwards is good looking, however does not have sex appeal – he's got the look of the boy next door that one feels very proud to know and happy that he's done well for himself and those around him.
    The Republicans seem to be calling me this Presidential election. I'm a registered Democrat and have not fully decided which candidate to vote for. I'm keeping a close watch on all candidates.
    Since prayer went out of schools and many events we have found it so easy to call each other terrible names and to talk bad about people willing to put themselves out there to try and lead an ungrateful nation. To all the candidates I thank you for giving me a choice and for wanting to lead our nation to harmony.

    January 29, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Joseph

    NOW should be ashamed of themselves.

    Everyone should vote for whoever they believe is the best candidate regardless or age, race or gender. Voting for Hillary because she is a woman, or Obama because he is black, rather than their stance on the issues or leadership, is a waste of a vote.

    January 29, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Erica

    This article is the exact fear that I have as a woman. These women are going to vote for Clinton, based solely on her gender? I hope not. This is outrageous. It's wonderful that in this day in age that a woman and black man are the strongest candidates in the running for the white and it's a shame that they are so combative with one another. But at the same time, if you are voting for any one of them based only on either their race or gender..you are in one word IRRESPONSIBLE.

    PERIOD.

    January 29, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Bukky

    I think its funny that anyone the Supports Obama is either "anti-woman" or only doing so because he is Black (and so are they). Really look at yourselfs and determine if you're not working off of your prejudice.

    January 29, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Tim

    It's interesting to watch the party that is supposed to be so 'together' be so divided with all the accusations that they have been using to push their own polical agendas. You have your 'African-American', 'Hispanic-Americans', 'Gay-Americans', and women and a few other 'divisions' of hyphenated Americans. People have lost careers because of the Democratic Partys 'divisive' nature. Face it, if we were all getting along the Democratic Party wouldn't exist! It is in their best interest to tag 'hate' between and amongst us'. Now you are reaping harvest on your own creations. You can't even get along with each other because of the 'chips on the shoulders' and the sensitivities that you have manufactured in our society. Makes no sense . . . does it!!! No, it shouldn't matter if you are a man or a woman, a black, a white, a hispanic, or an Indian . . . we should all be Americans and drop the hyphens and also be big enough and have enough integrity to accept that 'anyone' can be wrong and anyone can be right and, in fact, two people can disagree and be right just have a different view of what the right approach to a wrong may be! Let's start being Americans and drop the Aristocentric stuff and get to solid solutions and not these emotional things! America . . . where have you gone?!!!! I miss you!

    January 29, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    why should the state chapter of the National Organization for Women be upset for Sen Kenndy onhis decision to back Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. While
    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 and his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few." The right hand don't know what the left hand is doing

    January 29, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Liam

    As Thomas Tip O'Neill stated: "All politics are local"

    This is the New York Chapter of NOW, and no doubt they have been sent out by the Clintons to attack Senator Kennedy in an effort to diminish the amount of women who might be inspired by his endorsement.

    It is just a Clinton NY connections political ploy. Notice the typical Clinton smear and slime words that their NOW chapter used. They did not just object to Senator Kennedy endorsing Obama instead of Hillary, they dumped a bucket of slime all over him.

    The amazing thing about this is: NOW is NOW revealing that they have never had any respect for Senator Kennedy but were willing to use him, regardless of the fact that they despised him.

    Sounds like the usual Clinton pretzel morality at work.

    January 29, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. larry buchas, new britain, ct

    Ted spoke truth to power. I see nothing wrong with it.

    And he knows Obama is the best candidate.

    And he knows injecting race in the party primaries is wrong. That is a flashback to the 60's and George wallace.

    And he knows Bill has crossed the line. I can't remember a former President dividing his own party along racial lines. Ted Kennedy has guts. Too bad other Democrats are cowards to speak up!

    January 29, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Arizona

    Wow, another reason not to support Obama.....First Oprah not Kennedy..,...And what do people mean "nice speaking voice:...Did you listen to the last debate....He AH Ah Ah'd and stammer his way thru the whole thing with nothing but air.....Please people, he just does not have the experience or knowledge to do the job....I agree that Hillary isn't the greatest but she at least has experience and will be able to go head to head with the problems that we are facing because of the republicans.....

    January 29, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Adam

    This is just wrong on so many levels. "We stuck by you even though you didn't stand for what we did so that when one day there was a female candidate you would endorse her even though you don't believe in her!"

    Do the rank and file of NOW realize what petty idiots their leadership is? Even if they want to be self-serving (as I suppose is the prerogative of any special interest group), do they really think that Obama can't accomplish as much (if not more) for them than Hillary can?

    January 29, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Erica, Atlanta

    This article is the exact fear that I have as a woman. That these women are going to vote for Clinton, based solely on her gender. I hope not. This is outrageous. It's wonderful that in this day in age that a woman and black man are the strongest candidates in the running for the White House and it's a shame that they are so combative with one another. But at the same time, if you are voting for any one of them based only on either their race or gender..you are in one word: IRRESPONSIBLE.

    PERIOD.

    January 29, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Paul M

    Teddy could have endorsed Hillary and the Black Right's groups would have chosen to make the same statement. Eventually, Teddy made his decision and that is what matters to him. Not too long ago people were saying that Obama was whining over the Bill Clinton issues. He nevertheless campaigned hard in South Carolina and won overwhelmingly. Same thing here, the women's groups still have time to campaign hard for Hillary and not lose focus over this endorsement. If this election is not so much about gender, race, color, sexual orientation e.t.c. why make noise over an endorsement. Why do they need Kennedy for? I'm sure there are lots of other female Senators in the House who would carry so much weight for Hillary in that case.

    Let this be an American Democracy.

    January 29, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Sharon

    and if he supported Clinton over Obama that would make him a racist right. Come on people think!

    January 29, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Ashok

    All OBAMA 08 folks...

    Learn from his vision for uniting all Americans.
    I do not think he has been able to get into your heads.
    You are threatedned by Hillary so you are bashing her.
    There is John Edwards too...
    Are you intimidated by the WHITE MAN?

    Let us hear from you after Super Tuesday.
    Kennedy magic ...what Kennedy magic?
    I thought you Obama 08 folks did not want any old baggage?
    This one goes wayyyyyyy back before some of us were even born.

    January 29, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Up North

    BREAKING NEWS: Maxine Waters just endorsed Billary, she was also named in 2005[4] and 2006[5] as one of the "most corrupt" members of congress....Birds of a feather, flock together...!

    January 29, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. rj

    Wow, i now have the upmost respect and sympathy for all female African Americans. Yikes, if they vote for Barack they're holding back women. If they vote for Hillary they're holding back African Americans.

    It's very sad that voters cannot determine on their own for whom to vote. We need rock stars, movie stars, sports stars, radio personalities, newscasters, and other politicians to tell us who to elect. Sadly people blindly follow their idols and can't make the choice on their own.

    We have too many people like Mary above who's tirade would have been laughable if it wasn't so pitiable. These are the people pushing the button on election day. They do need celebrities to tell them who to elect.

    January 29, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. amayelsnotes

    Gibberish! Betrayed because Teddy chose to support a man! How silly! This argument is not only an offense to women and to our intelligence but also to our power to make decisions! Let's allow this race to be about more than race and more than gender, Shall we.

    January 29, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. sharon R

    know what is great about the blogs you can get on here and lie,lie,lie,lie.

    January 29, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. nadeem

    The Clintons continue to be a sideshow. They will distract the nation from ever getting anything done with their devisive brand of politics.

    January 29, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Doron

    NOW would endorse Eva Braun for president just because she was a woman.

    I'm all for a woman becoming president. Just not Hillary.

    January 29, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. nubien40

    Give me a break. Since when do we endorse/vote for whomever we feel should be president because of gender. I thought the goal was to support who you feel is the best candidate. If Americans are utilizing the criteria suggested in this article as a way to define who we should vote for it helps me to understand why our country is in the predicament we are in as of today.

    January 29, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. P. Scales

    I remember when Senator Kennedy did everything in his power to prevent President Jimmy Carter from being reelected. He wanted to be president then. I believe what we saw yesterday was Senator Kennedy lobbying for a major role in a Obama presidency. There is no way that Obama can ever say he is not obligated to someone. We all saw the political transaction. In other words, politics as usual.

    January 29, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Jim

    This is a disgrace! As a Clinton supporter it pains me to see fools spouting off about gender as if it is the only reason she deserves to be president.

    Please, stop reporting this garbage.

    January 29, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. Erica, Atlanta

    I guarantee if hilary is elected to run for president. there will be another republican in the white house. we better watch it and stick to the REAL issues at hand and stop worrying about the wrong thing. or there will be no change...at all.

    January 29, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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