February 2nd, 2008
07:07 PM ET
6 years ago

Ethel Kennedy backs Obama

In a statement, Ethel Kennedy compares Obama to her late husband.
In a statement, Ethel Kennedy compares Obama to her late husband.

(CNN) – Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy, became the latest member of the high-profile clan to weigh in on the presidential race Saturday, announcing her support for Democrat Barack Obama.

In a statement released by the campaign, she compared Obama to her late husband. “Over these past few years, I’ve watched Sen. Obama inspire Americans from all walks of life to believe in real change and a new sense of hope and possibility. He’s a magnetic force, drawing the nation together for the common good and galvanizing us all to help shape our country’s future.

“Barack is so like Bobby, who struggled for the rights of the poor in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia, traveled to California to stand in solidarity with Cesar Chavez and farm workers, and fought to end another war that cost so many lives.

“Today, we crave a leader with vision who can help us regain our lost humanity and rekindle our inherent generosity. With courage, caring, and charisma, Senator Obama is leading us toward a kinder, gentler world."

Obama said he was "humbled" to learn of Ethel Kennedy's decision.

This presidential campaign cycle has seen a split in the Kennedy family, many of whom generally avoid weighing in on political contests. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former First Daughter Caroline Kennedy all endorsed Obama at a campaign rally earlier this week, and are actively stumping for the Illinois senator. Ethel Kennedy's children Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend have both publicly backed Hillary Clinton.

–CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Matt Hoye contributed to this report


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Alejandra

    Not all CA is for Billiary! Not all Latinas are for Hilliary! Not all people are ready to endure more controvery over who is automatically the heir to the throne in the Oval Office! My family, My church, my school, and my heart will vote for Obama in 2008!

    February 3, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. pops

    HOORRAAYY FOR RICARDO. YOUR'RE ONE OF THE BEST. TELL THEM. REMIND THESE EDUCATED NIT WITS OF THE KENNEDY SACRIFICES FOR AMERICA. THEY DID SOMETHING FOR ME. THE CLINTONS NEVER DID. THANK YOU TED KENNEDY. AMERICA SAYS OBAMA 08.

    February 3, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. H

    Both sides are nasty. One more than the other. Look at the over all picture. There is so much hate between the two sides of the Democratic Party that I do not believe either will prevail. I have my oown personal view as who start all this but I will keep it to myself for fear of the hate groups.

    February 3, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Ellie, OR

    Poor Ethel. She's been out of the picture so long and must be at least 110 by now. I wonder if she's done any research of her own before following her brother-in-law's instructions. Obviously 3 of her kids did their homework and are firmly committed to Hillary.

    February 3, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Ginny CA

    KB26: Have you been to a Hillary rally? I have. I was at her rally in San Jose, CA, a couple of days ago. Thousands of supporters were there shouting "Yes We Can!" in English and in Spanish. I don't know what you are implying with "Yes She Can". I think they are the same. Either way the sentiment is: "Hillary Can Win" or "Hillary Can Lead Our Nation". Not much difference that I can see.

    February 3, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. reality MN

    not apart of the status quo?–are you kidding Obama?–this is the definition of the status quo–the Kennedy family endorsement and their perpetual wealth. Obama is a part of the machine, just like Clinton. I prefer the experienced one (Clinton) this time around–our country needs this after 8 years of neo-con/Bush policy. Be careful dems, the right loves our implosions–to make Clinton evil, Obama beautiful is another 'Nadar' waiting in the wings....sometimes we never learn.

    February 3, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Mary

    Looks like Kennedy wants to be vice president...he will do anything to get there...was afraid to go for president with his background...

    February 3, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Jessica Price, California

    Go Hilary!

    February 3, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Alecki

    Oprah and Snoop Dog should not determine who should be president!

    February 3, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. ww-New York

    This just shows that more and more people want change! perhaps some of these more senior DEMS know that the Clinton's won't change. Perhaps they're listening to Americas cry for change.

    February 3, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Gayle

    Thank you Ethel, we love you!

    February 3, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Jeri

    How interesting to view these comments and read of the differences.

    Kennedy's supporting Obama ........we cannot recreate the 50's. That time is gone!
    Calling Barak a 'prince' is simplistic and childish...bringing up Camelot is worse.
    What on earth is that about. ????

    This time is not to look for hope......hope will come will change....but not the superficial change that comes with the rhetoric of Barak speeches.

    He's been talking the same game since the 2004 Democratic Convention.......in 4 years this is still his 'mantra'. There is no substance to his words. Barak has the audacity to think he can change what.......do we really know ????
    The government policies....the congress ...who.....what ???????

    He also has the audacity do think he has the ability to bring 'hope'. He does not have the gumption nor the deep conviction to fight for what is right if the fight is too big. Barak has made it this far by 'insipid phrasing' .....knowing so much of our country is looking for a lack of a better word...a'savior .' Barak has the ability to at least make people believe that he can make them feel better with this words. But they are only words. He will never achieve the power to accomplish what he has seemingly commited himself to do. He seems almost delusional....and full of himself. The more I see him ...the more I see this.

    I can almost guarantee ....Barck is not the person for the job of Commander in Chief.....he's not been tested nor as he shown that he is up to the tough challenge of doing all that it will take to make the significant effort for any type of change for the better.

    So far he's been given a free ride because he is good with 'words' and projecting these .....many smart people have been fooled for forever and will it continue when .things are marketed and packaged well.

    We can not afford to be sold.......we need to think of our future
    We cannot be fooled by 'gimmicks' . We need to think of our future in terms of achieving solutions to many problems facing our nation.......we need to listen and make opions based on answers given on the tough questions.
    Rhetorical speeches are empty speeches.

    Barak has managed to sell this idea of hope and change to the young generation because he seems to be part of them......but these young people also need to see beyond this and think about whether he can actually deliver.
    It's my opinion the young generation hopes will be shattered when if it comes to B.O. failing at taking charge of our nation.
    To me it's a more than scarry ......its a recipe for disater.

    February 3, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Howard

    Perhaps Ethle Kennedy should ask Hilary's campaign to "stop running" the TV ads with her late husband's photos taken from RFK's 1968 campaign.
    Obama has the best chance of winning the Presidency and uniting our nation as he can reach out to independent voters and even some Republicans.
    Hilary Clinton is simply "too polarizing"... she will help re-unite Republicans. It's time for a "real change"!
    Obama like both JFK and RFK can bring out lots of new "younger voters" and others that have simply been disaffected. Hilary will not be able to do so.
    This is evidenced in the latest polls which show McCain beating Hilary but losing to Obama.
    The right wing "hate machine" wants to run against Hilary. Democrats, it's time for "new leadership"!

    OBAMA!

    February 3, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Paul Williamson

    Democrats are at it again... what short memories they have. Obama is just like McGovern, far left (100% ADA rating), inspirational speaker, ya ya ya...even supported by Ted Kennedy, just like Mcgovern against Nixon... and he will be slaughtered against the Republican nominee, whether he be mcCain or Romney, because he is not in the center of American politics-he is scary and will not get elected. How can he be a unifier being so far to the left?. Hillary has a much more central position and can beat tthe Republican nominee.
    My wife and I have voted for Democratic nominees since Stevenson and we know what will happen. For the last 40 years, we have only had two Democrat presidents (since Johnson), Clinton and Carter... it is VERY hard to elect a Democrat and they must be centrist.. look at Stevenson, McGovern, Humphrey, Kerry -all very liberal and all LOSERS. Add Obama to that list if he is the nominee, and prepare for 8 more years of a Republican presidency.we will vote for the Republican candidate over Obama, and we are hardly conservative.

    February 3, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. TCRNYL, NY, NY

    The tide has turned in favor of Barack Obama.

    Go, Barack. Go USA - into the 21st Century.

    Kudos to Ethel and Ted - members of an older generation, but with the vision to see the future. Kudos to Caroline, my contemporary, who heard what her kids had to say, and listened.

    As I watched Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, I turned to my husband and said, "That's the first African-American President; he's another Robert Kennedy."

    And he is.

    February 3, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. KEREL

    CRITICAL!

    We are at a critical time in our nation! We desperately need a LEADER.!!! Barack Obama embodies what America has come to be. Being bi-racial, and growing up in another country gives him a mulitcultural perspective that cannot be taught. The Kennedys are backing him because he is a student of superb LEADERS, such as J.F.K. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    NOTHING against Senator Clinton, but when it comes to leadership abilities, there is no comparison between her and Senator Obama. Our Country is in a time in crisis – war, healthcare, poverty, education, etc. We need somebody that embodies CHANGE!!!

    OBAMA 08

    February 3, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Tom

    The Kennedy endorsements will hurt Obama. Remember, the Kennedys don't own this country, the American people. do.

    February 3, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Sadou Brrown

    My My, Can't we all just get along. I was first a supporter of Hillary until I did my research. There is no one more appropriate for this job than Barack Obama. Look at his past. The integrity and commitment he has shown to helping those with less has been unparalleled. I want a president that embodies leadership, integrity, and humanity. Not one that says they want change, but really seems to want more of "What Was". It is finally time for this great country to become ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, INDIVISISIBLE, and WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL….......

    February 3, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Everett J. Roberts

    Has anyone noticed lately that CNN has become the Fox news network. I could care less about the Kennedy support for Obama. What concerns me is CNN's blatant outrightous support of OBama. I have voted Democrat for 50 yers and this will be the first year I will vote Republican. I don't trust Obama, read his church history. He is not the leader that Kennedy was regardless of what the Kennedy's say. They are trying to stand by the heritage of what President Kennedy and Senator Bob Kennedy gave this nation and set the stage for what is happening today. Obama is not a Jack Kennedy or Bob Kennedy, he is someone who has the sponsorship of Oprah. That is the Key. Will she be Vice President, I hope not.
    As for CNN, todays show with Wolf Blitzer and the governor of AZ is an indication of exactly what is happening with this channel. One side of the story, did Wolf ask the tough questions – not on your life, only leading questions of the governor that would give her the chance to be another advocate for Obama. Where are the tough questions on him. No one is going to ask because of the race card and they are afraid to stand up and ask the questions. The race card is the factor that has turned this all around and unfortunately it is not O'Reilly, Scarborough, Russ or others leading the way but the supposedly neutral TV and Radio channels who have decided Obama is the man. Why was no one on the other side today that supported Clinton. CNN has lost another listener and will watch FOX as at least I know which side they truly are on for news only.

    February 3, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Nancy

    BO has no substance. He has not decribed what he will do about anything. All he says is "I agree with....... on ........". Has he thought about 'what' he would do besides have a whole bunch of people sitting around with cspan camera's on to show the WHOLE WORLD what our government is discussing. That will work. I'm sorry but without substance there is nothing. He may attract the young and first time voters that possibly haven't read up on all the candidates to decide or he has sucked them it by his constant preaching style of speech. Ask alot of questions and demand answers that actually say something.

    February 3, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Nancy

    BO has no substance. What has he really said. All he does is preach his messages as though your in church. He collects money like he is in sunday church. Is that what you want? Do you know what he actually stands for that isen't thought of by someone else first? Just the fact that some have mentioned "Camelot" sickens me. They are not the John Kennedy family and Michelle is not Jackie by far. We need to get out of this fantasy the news people have got us in. Please, we need to wake up and be smart before we screw up again.

    February 3, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Harold Ballard

    Here the US goes again. Elect another inexperienced individual (Obama) to be President of the United States. Someone who does not tell you what he really stands for, who seems to be hiding his real intentions. How scary for us non-Americans!

    February 3, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. jeannie

    I personally think President John F. Kennedy was a great president.
    I would have loved the chance to vote for Robert Kennedy for President.
    Finally, we have a candidate who is a lot like the Kennedy's...
    people who did and do care about people.
    The Clintons are status quo just like the Bush family...
    IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE ........I HOPE AND PRAY BARACK OBAMA WINS THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY AND THE PRESIDENCY.
    IT IS TIME FOR A GOOD CHANGE ........there is no better time than now.
    NOW IS THE TIME

    February 3, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Robert

    The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is determined to lose another election. The only Democrat to win the White House in the last 30 years was Clinton (who was in the progressive middle) and all the other candidates were judged too liberal to be President. We need to wise up and vote for the progressive middle again with Hillary.

    February 3, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. votehillary2008

    This Kennedy endorsement thing is such a joke.

    First, Carolina says Obama is like Jack. Then, RFK , Jr. & siblings say Hillary is like Bobby. Now, Ethel says Obama is like Bobby. So... that means Obama is like Jack and Bobby. Flashback to 1992, Jackie said Bill Clinton was like Jack.

    Do they have some sort of family contest going? Who's most like my dad/husband? This family needs to move on, let their loved ones rest in peace and stop using them for political gain. Hillary is Hillary and Barack is Barack. There is no need for any comparisons.

    February 3, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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