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. Steve in DC

    Wow to see a former member of the KKK support a black candidate that was blown away in his state....man...that's HUGE!!!

    Obama/Bloomberg 08

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

    He's been around and he isn't easily fooled, no wonder he chose Obama over Clinton. By the way how are you more electable when you're losing?

    May 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Pol

    Look, these Hillary's supporters are nasty even to this extremely respectable man. How this woman is allowed to cheat whole party by different ways including now popular votes. DNC, do something as soon as possible until the damage will become worse.
    It seems that only she wants now – her money back by any way.

    Hillary.com... Hillary.com... Hillary.com... SOS...SOS...SOS.

    May 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Given Byrd's past, it would have been huge for him to cast a vote for either one of our Democratic candidates. That being said, people are able to learn from their past and I welcome his support to Barack's candidacy!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Oh Boy...

    ...and the world continues careening off its axis...

    May 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Chicago's Own

    Okay...I endorse Hillary...SOMEBODY HAS TO! HA HA HA

    May 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Tom

    Yeah, why are all these people surprised? It's easy to endorse the front-runner once he becomes the front-runner....not exactly a comment on either candidate!

    May 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Lizzie, Washington DC

    OH!! Sen. Byrd! God bless you soul! As a former WViginian, I applaud your integrity. I don't care whether u were a former clansman, all I know, is that ur not a clansman now,a nd your endorsement of the young Sen. Obama is HUGE! Thank you vey much.

    May 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. from CT

    J how is he corrupt, he's 90 years old! What do you think he has to gain?? He's 90 YEARS OLD, he could have retired long ago...he actually seems to care about younger people being in a war that should not have been waged...

    May 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. spencer

    The idea that no one can attack his spouse, is absurd...His campaign has been attacking Bill Clintion since January..Sounds like a double standard..As for me voting for him, I won't give him a sympathy vote, He will have to earn my respect and support, an so far he hasn't...I will vote Hillary or I won't vote at all...I do not like the double talk coming from him(Barack).

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    susie:

    Has it ever occurred to you that we SHOULDN'T be driving too many SUV's or eating too much? Even an idiot like Bush agrees with that.

    In fact, Bush is going to start a program called "No Child With A Fat Behind!" :)

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. NickNas

    Clinton Fanatics ( not all of you just the ignorant ones) Talking crap about everyone who endorses Obama is tiresome and predictable. Please grow up and learn to relax. Thinking EVERYONE BUT you understands somthing or GETS IT is a sure sign of mental problems.

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Denial

    Every time someone endorses Obama ... you haters always have something negative to say about the person ...
    I'm sure if he endorsed Hilary you all would have been singing a different tune ....

    sad & pathetic ....

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. sh

    Way to go Sen Byrd. We can show the world and CNN that race is not an issue but is being made an issue by media to keep the racial devide amongst Dems. We need to unit behind Sen Obama and make sure we do not give any chance to republicans to manipulate the truth.

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Dominique

    Talk about bridging differences. Welcome aboard Sen. Byrd.

    Obama '08

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Steven

    Pure Political Poetry. I love it.

    Go Obama '08.... :)

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Jen

    I am an independent. I thought CNN is not biased in political coverage. But why is it this time CNN is more biased towards Clinton and tries to downplay obama or mc cain events. I wish atleast one network like CNN delivers the right news.

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Adrian

    And the sheep, they keep on following.

    May 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Just the Facts

    Other endorsements not well reported:

    Over the weekend, Obama picked up six superdelegates to Clinton’s three. Obama: Maryland's Greg Pecoraro; Kansas add-on Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson, Colorado add-on Federico Pena, Washington State Dem Party chairman Dwight Pelz, and two California add-ons — land developer William Quay Hays and California fire fighters president Lou Paulson.

    Further, he also picked up the endorsement of former Edwards delegate, Robert Groce and gained a new delegate at the Nevada DNC this weekend. Comments?

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. james Pa

    Good news for our county,thank Sen. Byrd.

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    Senator Byrd's endorsement means, "He is taking the train to Happy Town, Hoot.....Hoot......Hoot.

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. M.S. Indiana

    susie, what planet are you on ??

    Welcome on board Senator Robert Byrd, a great move for USA, Thanks

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Rebecca

    Senator Byrd endorsed Obama? That is a SHOCK! He is from West Virginia who citizens overwhelmingly voted for Clinton. Wow, this is big. Senator Byrd is definitaley brave. Maybe he doesn't care about being reelected because of his age. Therefore, his endorsement of Obama is absolutely personal rather than political and stands on it's own merits. Hillary is just sliding down fast, and it doesn't look like she going to be able to break her slide.

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. TimeForARealChange

    "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"

    "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."

    Well said, Sen. Byrd!

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Obama 08: 60, white, female

    Bigger news is that Warren Buffet is endorsing Obama....so much for McCain's foreign policy.

    Before you all start ypour disparing remarks about Byrd...he is one of 23 Senators that voted against the war in Iraq!!

    Three superdelegates today so far!!

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12