May 19th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Byrd endorses Obama

Sen. Byrd endorsed Obama's presidential bid Monday.
Sen. Byrd endorsed Obama's presidential bid Monday.

(CNN) - Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving senator in American history, announced Monday he is endorsing Barack Obama's White House bid.

Byrd, 90, has served as West Virginia's senator for nearly fifty years, and is one of the chamber's most vocal critics on the war in Iraq.

"After a great deal of thought, consideration and prayer over the situation in Iraq, I have decided that, as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, I will cast my vote for Senator Barack Obama for President," Byrd said in a statement released by his office. "Both Senators Clinton and Obama are extraordinary individuals, whose integrity, honor, love for this country and strong belief in our Constitution I deeply respect."

"I believe that Barack Obama is a shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq, and to lead our nation at this challenging time in history," Byrd also said. "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."

The endorsement is not without symbolism. Byrd was a leader of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan as a young man and was, along with several southern Democrats, an opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has since denounced his previous views on racial segregation.

West Virginia's other senator, Jay Rockefeller, endorsed Obama earlier this year. Hillary Clinton carried the state by 41 points last week.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Robert Byrd
soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. Raindog

    I am sure that all of the Obama supporters feel that these two Sen.s should really endorse Clinoton since she did win that state. Isn't that their cry--reps should vote the way their districts and state did? Oh yeah that's right........that is just one more double standard from these snake oil salesmen. Forget the fact that Obama will not carry the blue collar vote, the womens vote...Once again the old lions of this party are going to put forth a super liberal that can't win. Don't blame us when McCain is in the white house...oh yeah that's right too....It will all be Hillary's fault for telling the truth about Obama. How really sad. Hillary should not do one thing to help this party in the fall....she should show the same kind of loyalty to the party that the party hacks have shown her. I for one will donate and work for the rest of the ticket and hopefully we can take Congress and the Sennate...as far as the top of the ticket...they can play hell trying to get my vote.

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. CECILIA AZU

    Thank you Mr. Byrd for your wisdom in making the decision to endorse OBAMA. Your endorsement couldn't have come at a better time!
    Thank you Sir!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Peter Damoah-Afari

    Wow..............Obama will hit the target soon, and there will be fire on McCain... I cannot to see the people debating on George Bush's policies. McCain has no ideas of his own.........hahahahaha.

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Theo Varelas

    What a sellout Obama must of promised him the VP Slot

    Obama/Byrd 2008 CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. chuck

    What else could he have done? If you bring up his history in the KKK when he endorses Obama, think of the field day there would have been if he would have endorsed Clinton. Byrd had to wait until West Virginia was over and then endorse Obama.

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. James

    Drip drip drip.

    The flood gates are about to open.

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Joe Reg

    The great work continues on behalf
    of America.

    Long live Senator.

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Black Man

    Heck, he should endorse Obama. He probably feels guilty for all of the things that his race has done to black people!! We don't need your endorsement Byrd!! There is nothing that you could do to make us forgive you!! We will never forget that you were a leader of the KKK!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Voter

    Wow! Each time I see a picture of him he looks more like a cabbage patch doll come to life!

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Luna Atlanta, GA

    Does this say anything to anyone else? A former KKK leader and opponent to the Civil Rights Movement is now voting for a black man NOT BECAUSE HE IS BLACK, but because he is obviously the best man for the job. You're talking about a man who has seen everything and everyone in and around the democratic party for fifty years. And if the argument is that Sen. Obama doesn't have enough experience to be president, the endorsement of someone as experienced as Sen. Byrd should be enough of an indication that he is more than qualified.

    GO OBAMA!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Steve

    So much for Superdelegates following the will of the voters.............

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Joanne

    LOL What a JOKE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Why doesn't he stay home and sleep..........................LOL the only way to win is to elect Hillary ..............McCain Women for Hillary
    Hillary 08

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. sb

    you tell em john!!!! way to go!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. tiger

    This is a VERY important endorsement, because Hillary won West Virginia by a huge margin and plus this man used to be with the Klan! Amazing, the world has to be changing, and God woks in mysterious ways. Now, this man is the nations longest serving senator in American history with a LOT of experience and he is picking a freshman senator over the so called seasoned senator Clinton, which speaks VOLUMES. Thank you Senator Byrd!

    May 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Lori

    I think it's time for people to wake up!!! Sen. Byrd DID NOT have to endorse Obama. He is a prime example of someone who has come a long way and has realized that the "Hate" from the past does no one any good. It is wrong, unAmerican, and unpatriotic. Maybe some of you bloggers who are expousing "Hate" will wake up!!

    May 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. HOPE

    So why should we be surprised at this endorsement. The fact is, it is evident that men in power would rather want anti-American Obama in power because he is a MAN, that a WOMAN who has shown us her patriotism since a child, is highly qualified to do the job, and has continued to work for the people of this country everyday since. A vote for Obama is a vote against a WOMAN IN POWER! Sexist pigs!

    May 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Nando, Florida

    I guess he said better now than tommorow. When Barak seals the deal and all the deals are all gone.

    May 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Hilda

    Chris this is change cause a 90 year old white senator from WV just showed us how opinions and mind sets can change!!!Well done Senator Byrd!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Robert NYC & Miami

    THE TURKEY JUDAS IS NOW ON RECORD.

    I STILL THINK HILLARY WAS THE BETTER CANDIDATE, AND I WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    I'LL GLADLY SIT THIS ONE OUT.

    May 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. FW

    Yes We Can!

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. orlando

    Thank you Sen. Byrd for you support and all your service to America.

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Anita - AZ

    If Senator Byrd is not the symbol of CHANGE, I don't know what is. Welcome aboard, Senator. This is wonderful news. We are pleased to have you. A positive message is just as contagious as a negative one. The trains leaving the station to the White House. Everyone's welcome.

    Obama '08

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Crystal

    These are the reasons why I will never vote for Oblahma:

    1. He is inexperienced
    2. His views of change are extremely romantic and highly unlikely
    3. Let’s face it, the world is racist. Many Asian and European countries will not take Oblahma seriously. The international political arena will forever change if he is elected. He puts our security at risk.
    4. There will be increased racial tensions in the US if he is elected

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. VIvian, Texas

    Exactly what is the purpose of a super-delegate? The DNC should really do away with super-delegates, caucuses and delegates and go strictly with popular vote. These primaries have showed exactly how flawed the process is. Winning in caucus (mostly Red states) does not mean you will carry these states in the Fall. The Red states will be Red again in November and will not vote for the Democratic candidate.

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Fred TN

    I must say it's an interesting time in history. I think it's time for the party to unite because if you think Hillary Clinton was negative, nasty and disgraceful; wait until Barrack tangles with McCain. I watched him during the Republican debates and his a total piece of work. Thanks to Hillary, Barrack has shown he can deal with the best of them.. the "OLE" Regimen! And Ferraro needs to sit down. She's been a major disappointment as well. I at one time had much respect for her; but after this process; she and Hillary are sitting at the bottom of the pole. It's time to rally around are nominee and we all know who that will be........ Obama 98!

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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