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. observer

    Ted Kennedy should have kept his potato sack shut..

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Mark

    This is not that '70's - show ...... get over it NOW

    January 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. jnan

    January 29, 2008 4:15 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I suspect the only reason Kennedy turned his back on Hillary is because he wants to show Bill who the boss is! Bill must have told him where to go after Kennedy tried to strong arm him into shutting up during the slugfest right before the SC caucus. I can just hear Bill tell him he was not going to back down because the slugfest went both ways It was not a one sided fight like the media made it out to be. Obama gave more than his share of bob, weave and sucker punch too. Funny how Kennedy was neutral up to this point.

    January 29, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Senkump

    Clinton you are frustrated with Obama's success and your campaign is now finding new ways to work against Obama. This is a dirty politics I have ever seen. Clinton's you accept your failure and walk away from this election. Your 100 million campaign money can help 100000 poor children. Do some good for your nation.

    January 29, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Bob

    For an organization presumably opposed to discrimination, that chapter sure doesn't have any problem making unjustifiable generalizations.

    January 29, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Bob, the NY NOW Chapter does not speak for NOW, or most women, they certainly don't speak for me and in reading the comments on this blog they don't speak for most women. The National NOW President indicated they respect Sen. Kennedy's endorsement. If NOW would turn their back on the Democratic Nominee it would only be to their own demise, because no Republican is supporting Roe vs. Wade, remember Romney and Giuliani have changed their position and there is a very good chance Supreme Court Justices will be needed as I expect some are just waiting for a Democratic President before they retire.

    January 29, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. JB

    NOW, Shut up!!!!!!! Kennedy is endorsing the person that he feels will be best to run this country! It does not have anything to do with gender! You feel abandoned? Well, welcome to the real world!!!!!!! OBAMA 08.

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Mike Chung

    Maybe Senator Kennedy's support of Mr. Obama was more a rejection of Mrs. Clinton, since he may have perceived her campaign as a vehicle slowly sinking beneath the waves?

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. kayinmaine

    Caroline & Ted Kennedy are endorsing Obama, because they're sick and tired of the old political tricks that the Clintons are resorting to. To be honest with you, I am too. Obama is a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the candidates on both sides of the political aisle.

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Clare

    The National Organization of Women needs a head check. I am a liberal minded independent voter who happens to be a woman. How dare NOW suggest that I would make a decision about who should be the next president simply based on gender. This brand of feminism is no better than racism. Makes me sad. Who would NOW expect their black members to vote for?

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    If NOW wanted to appear imbecilic, they couldn't have done a better job than by taking the position that Hillary is the candidate to support because she's female!

    What a mindless bunch of advocates must dwell within their halls!

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. NONA

    I AM UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT CNN IS CAMPAIGNING FOR OBAMA. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A COUPLE OF SHOWS ON CNN, I JUST WON'T WATCH IT! I HAVE NO PLANS TO VOTE FOR EITHER OBAMA OR CLINTON, BUT BE FAIR. I HAVE SEEN SOME OF THE CNN REPORTERS TRASHING THE CLINTONS AND PRAISING OBAMA, AND SAYING HE IS BEING ATTACKED, BUT THEY DON'T SAY WHAT THE ATTACK IS. MR OBAMA IS SLY WITH HIS ATTACKS...THEN HE STANDS BACK AND LETS THE MEDIA DO THE DIRTY WORK FOR HIM. THE DEBATE IN SOUTH CAROLINA WAS EVEN UNFAIR. THE CNN PEOPLE OPENED WITH A LOADED QUESTION THEY KNEW WOULD STIR UP TENSION, THEN THEY ASKED ABOUT THE STATEMENT MADE ABOUT BILL CLINTON BEING THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT....WHAT DID EITHER OF THOSE HAVE TO DO WITH REAL ISSUES?! WHY WOULD CNN DELIBERTELY STIR UP POLITICAL AND RACIAL TENSION. I ONCE THOUGHT I WOULD VOTE FOR OBAMA, BUT THE MORE I SEE OF HIM, THE LESS THERE IS TO LIKE....ONCE I THOUGHT CNN WAS GREAT, BUT THE MORE I SEE OF IT...THE LESS THERE IS TO LIKE. I AM NOT ALONE...MOST OF AMERICAN FEELS THE SAME. LET THE FOLKS RUNNING STAND ON THEIR RECORD AND FUTURE PLANS...IF OBAMA CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT INJECTING THE RACE CARD...THEN HE HAS LOST ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. sks

    [I'm posting this again because it didn't seem to work the first time.]

    This is ridiculous. Barack Obama has an excellent record on reproductive rights and other "womens' issues." In fact the former president of Chicago NOW, Lorna Brett Howard, recently switched her support from Clinton to Obama after the Clinton campaign put out false information about Obama's record on reproductive rights to NH voters before the NH primary. (Search for "Lorna" on YouTube)

    So the sole reason given by the MA state chapter of NOW for choosing Clinton over Obama is the fact that she's a woman. Talk about a step backwards for the country and women everywhere.

    This is one woman who will be proudly voting for Obama on Super Tuesday!

    January 29, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. Monie

    Issues, issues and more issues, that is what your vote should be based on, not gender or race. When Hillary is ready to be president on her own record and not on Bills' record, then I a woman, might consider voting for her, not a minute sooner. Hillary right now you do not make me proud to be a woman, please rethink your strategy for the sake of all the young women and girls looking up to you.

    January 29, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. chaos45i

    As a Hispanic/Latino, I know his endorsement does not mean what the experts say it does with at least Hispanics/Latinos during this election. As I a Hispanic/Latino have been reporting about first hand knowledge of Barack Obama on blogs all over the internet longer than he has even been running. It can be verified that good old Senator Ted Kennedy was placed on written notice of my particular situation that involves(for instance but not limited to) IL. U.S. Senator /Presidential Candidate Barack Obama , IL. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin/ co-chair Obama 2008 being complicit in allowing the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to treat me an American U.S. Hispanic citizen who reported incidents of race discrimination in the state of Illinois in an unequal, biased, & discriminatory manner and then covering up their conduct. Despite there being ample time for each of you to respond, redress, and stop the above mentioned serious form of discrimination nothing ,to date, has been done in a timely manner to fairly & fully address, redress,and stop this still ongoing serious form of discrimination which is continuing to allow Hormel Foods Corporation, UFCW, and Target Corporation to not be held accountable for race discrimination against me. Inaction ,complicity, & deliberate silence on the part of (for instance but not limited to) Obama and Durbin are responsible for my civil rights continuing to be violated as it relates to this serious form of discrimination in the state of Illinois and for nothing being done to fully & fairly redress and stop this still ongoing form of discrimination. As a result Ted Kennedy is also responsible for not stopping this serious form of discrimination, for no ethics charges being brought against Obama and Durbin as it relates to their involvement in this serious matter ,and for no federal investigations of Obama and Durbin being conducted as it relates to their involvement in this serious matter, for U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy who was placed on prior notice of my particular situation without consequence condoning this without dispute form of racism against Hispanics/Latinos by endorsing Obama is disgusting given his background as a civil rights advocate. This act is now his Legacy!

    January 29, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    OK, now that we've gotten this off our chests, CNN, could you begin to start covering the NEWS? All this high school wah wah drama the MSM spews is causing me to grind my teeth at night. If you can't tell by the comments, it's really turning us off the candidates and the MSM in general.

    I'll die before voting for Billary. For what it's worth, though, Obama is really no prize either. His voting patterns (both literally and figuratively) follow Hillary's. He's the latest CFR goldenboy, so he will cave to their interests. He's an "Israel-Firster." He will not pull our troops out of the Middle East. He will go to war with Iran because the Neocons tell him to.

    So he's eloquent and inspiring. BFD. I'm not interested in being "inspired" into perdition. This is another Bush Lite in a radically different body "package." Try to see past it. Look at his voting record. Or lack thereof.

    Only ONE candidate will bring the troops home and he's a Republican. Guess who.

    January 29, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Since race didn't win South Carolina – we now pull out the gender card.

    January 29, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. B, USA

    DID NOW ENDORSE CAROL MOSLEY BRAUN, A WOMAN AND FORMER SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS WHEN SHE RAN FOR THE PRESIDENCY AS A DEMOCRACT IN 2004 ? JUST WANT SEE IF THIS IS A FAIR OUTCRY OR A SELECTIVE ONE.

    January 29, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Maria Henning

    Well, well, Ted Kennedy endorsement of Sen. Obama proves that "the good old boy network " is alive and well. What did we women expect?

    Maria

    January 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh and about that "don't stand by your man" crap.

    Do you really think you're entitled to judge? Why do you presume Hillary was devastated? Don't you know what she DID to smear and threaten all the other women Bill bagged so it wouldn't hurt his electability? We have no idea what their "social contract" is or was. Maybe they had an open relationship. Maybe she's a lesbian. Maybe she just doesn't give a hoot. Maybe theirs is a marriage of political convenience only. Maybe all of the above. It's none of our business.

    January 29, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. love america

    Why doesn't Ted Kennedy run? It's because he has failed, but the Clintons had made the history. Let's not forget those shinging moment during the Clinton years, and let's go forward.

    January 29, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. Jimmie - NV

    To each his own – every voter has a right to vote for the candidate they deem will be the best for this country whether they be male or female, white or black and rich or poor.

    Some educated voters will go to the polls and vote for the candidate that they know has a good tract record and who can lead this country back on the road to prosperity.

    Some not-so-educated voters who does not follow the issues or listen to the debates and have no clue where a candidate stands on a particular issue will vote "just because..."

    Some voters that believed in Bill Clinton when he was in the White House will vote for his wife.

    Some voters will play the gender and race cards and will vote for the candidates that falls into either one of those categories.

    All in all, the most that voters can say is "May the best candidate win." Some voters will be disappointed at the outcome of the National Election. Some of the voters will be over-joyed because the candidate they voted for wins the election.

    The NOW group in New York is one-sided and cannot stomach the fact that a black male was endorsed by Senator Kennedy. Some voters were never a stanuch supporter of Kennedy, but applauded him for standing up and endorsing a candidate that he believes in. It is nice to see that some voters are not easily swayed by the NOW group in New York and other organizations across the country that tries to influence the voter's minds.

    Condoleezza Rice would have been my choice for the first woman Presidnet had she been on the running ticket. She is a black woman,who is very smart and well educated. she has a BA degree in Political Science, a Master Degree at Notredame and a Phd. in a graduate school of International Study. She is the first woman, and the first African-American woman to become the first Stanford provost. Condoleezza has met with all the foreign leaders and has a security clearance. She is a lot smarter and knowledgeable than Hillary can ever hope to be. But, sadly, Condoleeza did not want to run and what a loss for the Americans not to have her on the ballot. There will be another time to look for a woman that hold pretty much the same credentials as Condoleezza. But, that woman certainly is not Hillary.

    I will be at the polls (senior citizen- watch out Jon) and I will vote, but I am undecided at this point.

    January 29, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Lateef Adelani, St. Louis

    People who abandon their friends at the moment of need should be ashamed of themselves, men and women alike. If we as people advocate for equal opportunities in all life's endeavors, then men or women, black or white who have the experience to serve our great country should be equally hailed, supported and admired. It appears that in this election cycle, not only are there men who cannot and won't accept the idea of a woman becoming a president of the United State, surprisingly, there are women who are in the same category. The like of Senator Claire McCaskill, Kansas Governor and Arizona Governor. These women are equally guilty of betraying women rights and achievements. Expecially those who have received help from the Clintons in the past to advance their own political career. They owe Mrs. Hillary Clinton the respect not to offer support to any candidate during the primary. You just have to listen to Claire's daughter's criticism of her mother's action. It was immoral for her to abandon the Clintons.

    January 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. mulloverthis

    If in fact Kennedy was late in supporting Title IX, etc. then there just might be more than his objective endorsement here. While sexism and racism do exist and are over-emphasized in this election so far, a person's actions shouldn't be automatically dismissed if there is a telling history either. As Shirley Chisolm duly noted, racism is a beast, but misogyny is her mother in American politics.

    January 29, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. yewbeam

    This is just ridiculous.

    January 29, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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