May 19th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
10 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. Mike - Texas

    If you think that McCain is old, Byrd is older than dirt.

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

    This was Sen. Byrd's way of salving his conscience for his previous connection with the KKK. Now he can die with a clear conscience!

    Bad choice, though, Senator. Didn't you see that your constituents preferred Hillary by 41%?

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Marcus B

    I do not care about how old Senator Byrd is. I do not care about him "being a Democrat supporting the likely Democatric nominee." I do not care about him being the oldest, most corrupt type of polotician alive. I do not even care about Hillary or Obama, as far as this story is concerned. I do not care about how "senile" people think Senator Byrd is. I do not care that he has denounced his former views of blacks. I do not care about the years of service that Senator Byrd offered to the Ku Klux Klan. The important part of this story is the fact that a former klansman from the whitest state in the nation has endorsed the only African-American that has had a real chance at the White House. Our nation is changing and I am proud to be black, I am proud to be an American, and I am proud to be a Barack Obama supporter.

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Justme WV

    The WV vote was a vote against a Black man..plain and simple and sadly enough (with Hillary egging them on) Kentucky will be the same.
    God Bless this country and forgive those who know not better.

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. WIll

    Great statement. How about that. The party is coalescing. Now let's get down to the business of helping Clinton's supporters get past the present and move toward the future. Our children cannot afford four more years of 'STAY THE COURSE'!

    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Emma

    It's nice to see Senator Byrd supporting Senator Obama, but one questions why he did not come out earlier before the fine voters of West Virginia voted.


    May 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. kathe oakland, california

    Hate to rain on your parade Senator Byrd but it seems on this blog, CNN only allows us Americans to add comments on "certain folks", you Sir are one the GOOD GUYS and I am an african american woman.

    But I have to respond here to Ferrano – you are a sad excuse for representing women, democratic party, and most of all someone who thought they had "what it takes" to be VP of United States of America????
    I did not vote for you, many didn't and now we all Americans, men and women see why.
    You are not representative of American women, so stop trying to point the finger and label Senator Obama as a SEXIST. Do you know how stupid you sound Geraldine????? This man has a wife, who is a woman, he has two daughters, a sister and guess what they will be women too and his sister, his Mom, his Grandmother
    GUESS WHAT STUPID THEY WERE and ARE WOMEN. Better women than people like you could ever be.

    So do not speak for Women whether they were and are for Hillary or not. I know the American Woman is not as stupid as you make us sound, if we are, then we do not indeed need to be leader of House, Senators, Representatives and certaining not Vice Prsidents or Lord help us Presidents.
    I am an african american Woman and you are a disgrace to ALL AMERICAN WOMEN. And who gives a S___ who you vote for, so you are not a true democrat either huh, you going to vote for McCain or not vote at all. Go ahead, show what a great American and woman you are. A poor example for our young women to follow.


    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Drew, Central FL

    Welcome aboard, Mr. Byrd. This is certainly better better than that gender-baiting Ferraro.

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. M.E.M Kansas city

    This means a lot Mr.Senator Thank you.

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Matt

    Not as big as Edwards.. But symbolic enough

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Nancy

    Thank you Sen. Byrd. Find choice you made there. Your wisdom is appreciated. I know you will not be sorry for your choice.


    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. WordsMatter

    Senator Byrd's great wisdom and judgement can only have come with his advanced age. His tremendous experience and leadership are only enhanced by his long years of service and his advanced age. Surely his age has only enhanced the best qualities he possesses. He is wise, brave, discerning, thoughtful, a man of great character and wisdom, all of which have been enhanced by his advanced age. He is the epitome of why someone of advanced age is of the highest quality.

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Sylvia

    God bless you, senator byrd. Hallelujah and Amen!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. It's Over

    Thank You Sen. Byrd

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Les-WA

    I can understand endorsement of Byrd for Obama, it is WHITE GUILT( he used to be a member of KKK). But endorsement doesn't mean anything until it becomes a vote, and that takes place at the CONVENTION in Denver month of August. Pledged delegates will cast their votes first during the convention, then superdelegates will cast their votes.

    Endorsement is nice, but they can also change it once they cast their vote which is the one that COUNTS at the convention for choosing a nominee to represent the democratic party. That is one advantage of superdelegates, they CAN change their endorsement by their VOTE up to the last second at the convention when they press the button. Endorsement is a GOOD MORALE BOOSTER, but that's about it.

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Norah (Boston, MA)

    Happy to see that Byrd made a decision. Obama is a candidate who can bring everyone to the table both nationally and internationally.

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Duane,WA

    Saving face....... Once a Klan always a Klan...This speaks volumns to how West Virginia thinks and votes....glad the rest of the country doesn't think this way. If so we might still be in chains

    May 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Tim

    Awesome endorsement. Thank you Senator Bryd. Senator Obama is just what this country needs.

    Obama 08/12

    May 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. New Day

    NICE!!!!! WHO?!?!?!

    May 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Peter

    HILLARY 08

    May 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Helen

    Eddie for HILLARY May 19th, 2008 1:57 pm ET

    Please re-read the first line of your comment. Don't be a sore loser. Sen. Obama has won this fair and square.

    May 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Barbaric!

    Obama supporters laud Senator Byrd age for his wisdom in supporting their candidate but in the same breath use age to sling mud on McCain.


    Spend 5 minutes watching Senator Byrd on C-SPAN and you will cringe...poor fellow should have left the Senate two terms ago.

    May 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. latone

    David that was an idiotic comment to make that you hope someone dies. Be careful about speaking ill about someone else no matter who they are. It always has a way of coming back on you.

    May 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. MJ, outta NYC

    This is fabulous news! Thank you Senator Byrd!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'n my little lay person's opinion, this is a really big deal. Byrd is the most tenured senator in history! I think that second in line is Senator Ted Kennedy who we should all continue to keep in our prayers as his health improves.

    It would be really great if the SD flood could start now so that Hillary is best able to exit graciously. All we are waiting on is for someone to meet the appropriate delegate count now. It's just a matter of time.

    May 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Apocolypse

    The end is near. The former KKK member endorses the Separatist candidate for President. Good Lord Almighty. What next. Georgia Steineham comes out for McCain?

    In the end times the Lion will lay by the Lamb.

    May 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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