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. Sylvia


    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. vic nashville,Tn

    Going against WV voters
    Best of luck
    We are the voters, We will decide who is our president in November

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. adrian millet

    That was very well put, Senator Byrd!

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Beltway Insider

    Hopefully all the ignorant racists in West Virginia can someday learn from his example and change their ways.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Sherry

    The more, the merrier!!! Keep them coming.
    Good Luck Mr. Obama and may God Bless you and your family.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Democrat in Northwest

    And he is carrying his constituants' will?!!
    This shows how polititains disrespect the votes and desire of those who are supposed to represent.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Lori

    Barack is pulling off the con of the century, and you're letting him.

    Do any of BO's supporters actually think for themselves, or have you, as it appears, just been mesmerized by an extremely smooth talker.

    Wake up! You're about to put the country in the hands of someone who's not ready for such a huge job. I fail to see how black skin will help this guy deal with Iraq, the economy, etc.

    And the "change" mantra? It's as if BO's gotten ahold of a "How to Get Elected" for Dummies book and is going chapter by chapter–only he's not the dummy.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Denise

    This is true confirmation that Barack Obama can and will make a change that will unify people of all kinds in this country.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. karen

    Susie: Stupid–go back and read the transcript!!!! THis is a great, grand indorsement. Barack had the largest political ralley in history!!! Wake up people!!! THe Nation wants a change!!!! And the republicans are scared to death of him!!! I read everything I can that McCain says and not much makes sense. I used to be a republican–14 years a republican judge. It no longer is the party of Goldwater or Eisenhower! What a shame. Both men today would be democrats. Listen to Stephanie Miller some time on the radio–her father was Goldwaters running mate. The republican party has been captured by rich, greedy corporations who care little for the people who work for them–Bush/McCain are the same!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Strength in Obama

    Wow! It took courage on Senator Byrd's part to endorse Obama. It is clear that not everyone is afraid of change. It is time for us to let go of our fears of other people and race and accept them for who and what they are. Obama is a good candidate. He should be given his due respect for running a solid campaign and restoring hope in America.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Jon - Atlanta, GA

    What happened to voting for the candidate who won in your state, superdelegates?? Hypocrites – all of you!

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Conservative -CA

    Democrats must unite to convince they can convert Republicans into Obamacans.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. sheryl

    Thank you!!!

    Obama 08/12!!

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. NY RICAN American

    WOW, WOW, WOW that is Huge!

    CHANGE (the fierce urgency of now!!!)


    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    Wow!! This is a big one. Byrd has incredible influence in Congress. Much more relevant than Geraldine Ferrero.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Ed

    Thank you Senator Byrd. I hope this will send a message to the many Clinton Supporters in West Virginia that don't feel Senator Obama will fail them as President of the United States. I respect the wisdom and change your life represents as well.

    May 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. pee-d-feet cause somthing stinks

    He really understands the statesman issue!


    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. TJ

    Umm Chris,
    you ask how this represents "change"? Byrd once HATED black people and now he's endorsing Obama! How do you not see change in that?

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

    No sympathy vote for Obama....Wake up people........

    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. derrick

    i can honestly say, for the first time in my adult life, i'm proud to be an american – © me

    the symbolism of this endorsement is HUGE

    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. eam

    go figure, not only is he spineless. but now he is endorsed by the KKK. Explain that one to your black brothers and sistas. Nobama you're a joke. And a bad one at that.

    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Change is a great thing! I believe in America and Americans. If this Statesman can see and accept change, so can I.

    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Finally Decided

    This endorsement is even bigger than, that of John Edwards because of the sybolism!
    The face of America is changing as we speak. I think if Obama is elected race relations in America would improve tremendously.

    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Still has not reached the maagic number

    Hillary's supporters will not "shut up and go away". We will be more than heard come November. We do not "owe" the democratic a thing. We are not "afraid" to vote for McCain so stop trying your scare tatics about war in Iraq and the men and women who are fighting there. Obama will not get them out any faster than anyone else can. We will do our best to keep Obama out of the White House.

    He will never win over Hillary's voters – at least not the ones who know better – and is a lot!!


    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. john

    the delegates ple up for Obama wednesday morning we will have our nominee

    May 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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