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. s.positive

    THE FEMINIST HAVE FINALLY EXPOSED THEIR TRUE COLORS WHICH IS WHY THE BACKLASH HAS BEGUN...

    January 29, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Grayson

    This organization has publicly displayed what black women have known for centuries, white female supremacy above all else. I feel sorry for the women who are actually fighting for equality, which is inspite of race and gender. It always seemed to me that she's only wanted to become president as a career move, not because she is moved to lead the people. How disgusting of her to play the race card on Obama trying to invoke racism in whites who were trying to move past that. Now, she's off on the attack against Bush. Even if she did win, she has incited so much bittnerness that I feel she would get nothing done as a president. And it takes more than one person to run a government.

    January 29, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. artseafartsea

    Ted Kennedy while he may have some clout in the inner circles of D.C., has very little respect or influence in the population as a whole. In fact he is a joke. While his support for Obama, it seems to me, is just an attempt to grab publicity and get in on the attention grabbing headlines involved in the presidential campaign.

    Hopefully, no woman will pay much attention to his endorsement and vote their own choice for president. And then we will have the first woman president in history!

    January 29, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. kmk

    Now has got to be kidding! Hillary aint no Indira Gandi or Margaret Thatcher!!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Liam

    Is the NY chapter of NOW going to launch an ad campaign to support Hillary.

    How about this:

    Vote for me, because of the way I pee!.

    Hillary 2008, promising to make the men put the toilet seats down, because we are tired of having to look before we sit down, and we will still will not put the toilet seats up because men should always look before they pee.

    January 29, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Independant

    Poor Mary who said:
    "i am tired of all of this. i agree Hillary may not be perfict but Obama is not he stands up their pointing his finger and yelling...................

    I have news for you, Bill is not the one running for prisident although it may seem that way. If you want to bring skeletons out of the closet, the Clintons are NOT in short supply.

    January 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Debra Austin, Texas

    Unfortunately, the NOW chapter is so concerned about what's below the belt but didn't care when their candidate was constantly hitting below the belt. When is this going to stop? Women want a woman no matter what. Hillary was winning the black vote before her philandering husband shot of his mouth (interesting that we're not hearing from NOW about Billy boy or about how Hillary apparently needs a man to run for president). So I don't see blacks going for Obama just because he's black until Billy boy played the race card starting in New Hampshire. Women need to get a life and a real candidate before they start threatening people. As a 55 year old female lawyer, this noise is the sign of a weak candidate and a group that has outlived its justification.

    January 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. burnham scott

    The "Betrayal" is not just refusing to vote for "ME" because I am a woman, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY BECAUSE I AM A CLINTON.

    January 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. No more Clinton Doublespeak

    This is absurd NOW. We don't elect the President of the United States of America based on gender. If we do we will get what we deserve. I want a female president as badly as most women do but I won't accept just any female. When I see a woman who has not climbed up a man's pant legs to be powerful...I will vote for her. Hill is nothing without Bill and she knows it. It is all about the Clinton name and not Billary's abilities. If her last name was Wilson, Smith or Jones we wouldn't even know anything about her and she surely would not be a NY Senator. She has done it all on Bills back and I don't see her as a strong independent woman.
    Don't just settle for any woman when you can have a remarkable president in Barack Obama.
    Please, wait for the right woman. This one is not honorable or trustworthy and will blow it for another woman who is qualified for the next 50 years.
    Obama/Edwards
    Obama/Clinton ...maybe

    January 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Nagita

    Supporting someone just based on their identity (race, gender, age, weight etc.) rather than the issues does not help.

    How do you build consensus, find 'common ground', accomplish anything when you can't have you own opinion and aren't allowed to voice it?

    There is a very simple solution – forget the debates, forget the issues, shelf any new ideas --> get a black woman for president. Now that will satisfy everyone.

    Maybe find a long lost ancestor of the Bush's or the Clinton's -–> That will satisfy the Washington insider group as well.

    Have I missed somebody?

    January 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. D Kelly

    Are the members of NOW voting for Hillary simply because she is a woman? If so, why should anyone listen to their opinions since it is biased and based strictly on someone's sexual orientation and not the facts. The NY chapter just destroyed in one rant what many woman before them built over a long period of time.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Rachel

    Ok, for all of those feminists out there, Hilary is not one of you. The only reason she got where she is today is her husband...doesnt that sorta negate all of her "feminisit" accomplishments? Romney '08

    January 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. danielo

    That piece of attack on Kennedy sounds more of a typical script from the Clintons! I would not be surpised the Clintons approved this new gender based attacks.

    January 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Larry

    First of all CNN has become like FOX one sided in favor of Obama. Next your Mr. Jack owes Clinton`s daughter an apology for the remarks he made about someone winning the prize and getting to set with her, he knows what he said was incorrect because Wolf tried to smooth it over on the air .
    I have always watched CNN but no more. We would like for you to report the news and not your PERSONAL feelings how you feel about the Clintons. Jack is the worst.

    Thanks
    LT

    January 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. Jennie Lee

    I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND THE OBAMA HATERS THAT YOU WILL NEED THE VOTES OF THE SUPPORTERS OF THIS MAN AND I, FOR ONE, DO NOT PLAN ON FORGIVING AND FORGETTING THIS UGLY TURN BILLARY AND BUBBA MADE POSSIBLE FOR POLITICAL GAIN.

    SHE HAS SAVAGED HIS NAME AND TRIED TO USE HIS RACE AGAINST HIM. THAT'S CROSSING THE LINE.

    NUTTY, CORRUPT MAXINE WATERS WILL NOT WIN THE NEXT ELECTION HERSELF.

    CNN, YOU ARE WORSE THAN FOX NEWS BECAUSE YOU HAD A REPUTATION OF BEING FAIR AND NOW YOU ARE TRYING TO FORCE THAT WOMAN WITH HER BAGGAGE AND RACE-BAITING DOWN THE THROATS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    I DON'T EXPECT THIS TO BE POSTED BUT I FELT GOOD JUST VENTING SOME STEAM AFTER THE LAST FEW WEEKS OF CNN AND WOLF BLITZER'S PARTISANSHIP. NOW, I WILL CHANGE STATIONS AND JUST WATCH MSNBC FOR MY POLITICAL NEWS.

    GOOD BYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE TO CNN FOR ME.

    January 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Gram

    Hillary does not need the male Kennedy support or the daughter trying to make her father a hero...Only the cousin in MD, who served well as Lt Gov. is worthy of making an endorsement...and she did for Hillary!
    Obama has no experience, manners, or platform, just words that he'll change...and what will he change? Everytime someone makes a negative comment about his mistakes, he wimps out.
    My first choice would have been Bill Richardson, because of his extensive experience in foreign affairs, which this country sadly needs...in spite of it's blind love of big names.Hillary is the only candidate still running who has experience and commitment to children's issues, both home and abroad.....I'd love to see Richardson as Hillary's VP.

    January 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Grace Marshall

    if the Democratic Party keeps shoving Barak Obama down my throat, I will vote Republican in 2008. I am very disappointed with Senator Kennedy's endorsement.

    January 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Tracey

    Keep Hillary from Stealing "off limits" delegates. Sign my petition to the DNC at care2petition.com. Search "Part 2: Stop". Thanks
    PS- A vote for Clinton is a vote for McCain- think about it.

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. christine

    I have respect for John Edwards and although Senator Obama is a beautifully spoken and inspiring gentleman, I am inspired by the years of hard work and dedication that Senator Clinton brings to the table.

    As First Lady, Hillary Clinton opened the universal health care door while having to withstand withering attacks from the right, left and in the media. Now health care is a hot topic with all candidates staking a position. Senator Clinton, in reality, is a pioneer in the universal health care discussion.

    Mrs. Clinton’s speech in Beijing where she declared women’s right to be human rights, is a statement of a change agent.

    She has put up with ribald jokes, attacks on her credibility, and a boiler room approach to the issues that this country faces. Her desire to be president is no more self serving or power grabbing than other nominees. I am tired of hearing, because her husband dares to give her what she gave him (loyalty), he is tainting his legacy and that because she accepts his help that somehow she is weak. Senator Clinton has put forth real solutions to the country's problems, knows the nuances of her solutions and she gives details. When most would have given in, she stands to fight for us again and again. That, to me, is inspiration.

    If this woman is not qualified, then, no woman ever will be. She is known all over the world. She has to be twice as good as all the other candidates and she is.

    January 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. D Santos

    NOW's comments are surprising, to say the least! It seems to me they wanted Kennedy to hold the door open for Hillary, because she is a woman. It's interesting how people sell out their values in the hopes to get something back. NOW has some very ignorant views! I am a professional woman and I run a very successful business. NOW doesn't speak well for responsible women, in my opinion.

    January 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. GOP supporter

    Why is everybody wanting the Kennedy's endorsement? They have been out of the picture for years!! In fact, in my mind, they have never influenced my vote. This ultimately can be a plus for Hillary.

    January 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Bob

    To Obama supporters,

    Be very careful what you say about the NOW. The have a better voting record than any other group except Seniors. You may need them in the future.

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. David from Texas

    If Ted Kennedy believes that the time has come for a new generation to lead-than, I just wonder if he is going to retire and let the younger generation have his position. I doubt it. He is the best example of the old divisive politics. If Obama wins the nomination, the Republicans will make Obama the liberal posterboy for Ted Kennedy. This endorsement will help in the short run, but will haunt him in a general election. I am proud that this group supports Hillary.

    January 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Jimmie - NV

    National Organization for Women/New York (where else would this occur) – oh, pleeeze, give it a rest. Senator Kennedy did not betray the NOW group by endorsing Obama and, it is not an "ultimate betrayal" because Senator Kennedy and many like him, has a right to endorse who they want.

    This is America, a free country, so why does any organization have the right to bad mouth a politican or group for endorsing whom they feel is the better candidate? Keep a lid on it, please.

    January 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Mike L.

    I find it incredibly ironic that a group whose goal it is to eradicate sexism actually promotes sexism to get what they want. This group makes the feminism movement look absolutely disgraceful.

    January 29, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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