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. John Everett

    Keep them coming Clinton is getting more negitve! Stating that only finacially well to do people are voting for Obama is appalling and a lie. I was at the rally of 75,000 in Portland and we are not all well to do! I was at the caucus in Everett Wa, and we were not all higher income bracet folks. Some undoubtedly are but SO WHAT. Do their vote count for less. Since when were only low-income people in need of a great President? By the way the vast majority at both these venues were white. I am 55 and white. Clinton is acting DIS-Gracefull.

    May 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Adam, Los Angeles

    Wow. Congrats!

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Sen. Robert Boyd,

    Thank you so much for this endorsement. Folks I am sure that Sen. Byrd, never thought that in his lifetime, he would have the awesome opportunity to endorse a half African American for the Presidency of the United States Of America. What an awesome responsibility!!

    Sen. Byrd is 90 years young, I think Sen. Obama must feel so Proud and absolutely privileged to have this Senator's endorsement, as well as that of Sen. Ted Kennedy! Endorsements like these really says something about the belief, that the older generation is not open to change.

    Sen. Kennedy,

    Please get well soon. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Chief lagosboy, NJ

    Too late old man......where the hell were you when we needed you!
    Congratulation Obama, we are almost home!

    Our President Obama 08’ & 12’

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Come right in.



    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Lauren-CO

    Oh wow! Thats great, and I think our world is actually changing or at least a select few of people are.. but I will take it.

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Linned

    CNN – why not put the latest questions on top – so that people will know that they are there instead of having to go through all of them? Just a suggestion.

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Mark Cross Junction VA

    Obama must have promised to make West Virginia a State. The people of West Virginia choose Clinton but this idiot picks Obama. What a slap to the hard working individuals. This shows us one thing, people born with gold spoons in their mouth run with others of the same. Obama hasn't worked a day in his life. God Bless this Country if this idiot is elected.

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Zoey

    Wow! - dude was a former Klansman. I don't even know what to say. Should Obama denounce his endorsement? Well, Obama could forgive him because everybody deserves a second chance. As a African-American, I'm kind of in the middle on this endorsement.

    May 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. The One

    Join the team Mr Bryd!

    To all of you Billary fans who keep saying they will vote for McCain, that is your legal right, but when the economy crashes, gas at 6.00gal, and no end to a suspect war you will have only yourselves to blame.

    To you who wont vote for an african american, well why arent we shocked, you have been hiding your racist views in your closet since the 60's and being that its a new day and new time, you too will be put out to the pastior. There is no color, god loves all and wants all to be treated with kindness and respect, we are HUMAN beings first, last would be your prejudices in which you and you alone will have to meet your maker and explain, yet i dont think he will open the golden gates for you!

    When you let fear rule your thoughts and judgement be it your racist views or whatever, then love will never truly touch your souls!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. james Pa

    Obama said an Oregon we shouldn't be driving our SUVs or eating a lot! What type of government are we going to have?=We need save same for raring day that kind government we will have idiot.

    May 19, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. jimmy

    I can`t believe that all of you Obama supporters can`t see the forest for the trees. You will fall for any slick tonque nomatter what his or her underlying objectives might be, I am beginning that you would vote for Lucifer himself, he is also a very slick talker. There is only one choice for America John McCain.

    May 19, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Benny from Philadelphia

    Wise patriot ! Thank you and God will continue to bless you and your family.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. jay nyc

    Wow! From the Klan to Keeping it Real! A great day for the democratic party indeed. OBAMA 208
    -Now Senator Byrd- That us "Change you can believe in!"

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Lauren-CO


    how is he change?! He was in the KKK and is endorsing an African American for president of the US–if you can't see the change then you are as blind as hillary...

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. maca

    GO Hillary!!!!!!

    OBAMA WILL NEVER< NEVER GET MY VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Boston for Obama

    This is serious news. Anyone who knows anything about the civil rights struggle truly understands the importance of this vote of confidence. Thank you Senator Byrd.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Franky

    Well, who knew people would learn their lesson, huh? You see, when the Civil War happened, everybody learned their lesson.........actually, they learn their lesson 100 years later........actually, I think they learn their lesson, LOL!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. D'Anne


    Just so you know, change has nothing to do with age. Its about action and changing how things are done. I believe that Americans of all ages are ready for change.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. WhoCareWhatThisOldManSays

    Why did he endose him before West Viginia primary, tell the rascist people of his state to denounced their racist beleive as he did. I just hope this bigots would not vote for Mccain in novermber.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. ali morisho

    thank u for putting ur support to obama,GOD wil bless u.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. ted

    And you guys say McCain's Too old – Byrd is ancient. I have five dollars that says he wont make it to the convention to put his vote in.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. tolitz

    thank you sir!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Mike - Texas

    Wasn't he the Democratic Senator that was also a KKK member?

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    Sen Byrd has accepted and appologized for his ways of the past. He has embraced the world and the need to change the way the world views it's self. He realizes there is a need for a serious change in the way the U.S. conducts it;'s self internationally thus endorsing the only one he believes can lead this country into the next century safely and with out endangering the American People or the World. He may be old, and in need of retirement, but he does represent the ways of the old and the realization that those ways will no longer work for in this country. That is one very big endorsement.

    May 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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