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. Uncle Sam

    When did loyalty to one's political party become the ultimate good?

    Americans for Mccain '08

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

    I thought this guy does not count anymore.

    I heard he was a KKK. This is a good addtion with Ayers, and Pastor Wright.

    I still vote for Hillary.

    Byrd is just part of the DNC that wants to do the Libberman job on Hillary.

    Hillary go independent and see how the DNC like that.

    May 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Independent

    Blees you Sen. Byrd. We need all the politicians to support En. Obama if we are ever going to get our people home!
    Obam 08

    May 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Nothing matters no more

    My prayer is that the world will see the real issue, and that is people are hurting! People can't enjoy life, for they must worry about the situations that they now find themselves. I often wonder when will we stop with the name calling and the stupid comments regarding race. People are sending in their 5, 10, 50 dollars to help people who has everything all because they really want change. I would hope that Hillary and Obama note this, and maybe they will change their behavior and start working to make things better. I wish things could be better for me, for because of the situations and challenges of life I am thinking of ending mine. I pray that the people that are really out here working and trying, that things get better for them. Life is hard...I just wanted a job.

    May 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Generation X

    To all you old fools that scream you are not voting for Obama, get out of the Democratic Party. You are the ones who destroyed everything for the youth of today. It is our generation that we have to deal with your mess. The X generation is supporting Senator Obama. So, shut the hell up!!

    May 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Obama 08: 60, white, female

    BIGGER NEWS: Warren Buffet has just endorsed Barack Obama.!!! So much for McCain's speech on the economy..

    also two other superdelegates today plus Byrd....CNN needs to update their delegate count!!

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. D'Anne

    Americans of all ages are ready for change... Meaning a new way of taking care of business. One that improves the healthcare system, improves the economy, makes college affordable, revamps our educational system, ends the educational gap, works towards peace before war, takes care of its veterans....In other words, one that really takes care of its people.

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. typical white person

    It's clear now that any one who is opposed to BHO is a racist.

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. It's Over

    Thank You Sen. Byrd!

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Bridgette-PA

    Mr. Byrd has changed his radical views (something alot of people know nothing about), OBAMA and his supporters are about CHANGE, so what's the problem? Let's welcome him with open arms.....welcome aboard the OBAMA train, Mr. Byrd.

    OBAMA-08!

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Mollygonz

    This is a big deal for Barack Obama considering Senator Byrd's past. He talks about Senator Byrd in his book. The nomination is getting closer. Go Barack! And for all of you fools who say you will vote for McCain if your nominee doesn't make it...please think twice before you do that. I'm a military wife and I know the military wants this senseless war to wrap up. Please look at the bigger picture. There is so much going on that is so much bigger than us. Don't be selfish like that!

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. SGS

    ALL TOGETHER NOW (SINGING THE GLADYS KNIGHT SONG)

    THE FRIENDSHIP TRAIN, SHAKE A HAND MAKE A FRIEND!

    -The Obama 08/12 train has left the tracks...somebody grab Hillary! Ferraro can stay home...LOL

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Jon, PA

    If I was HRC right now I'd be pretty upset. Actually...if I was from WV I'd be pretty upset too. HRC won WV by barrels of points (what was it...38?), yet BOTH senators have formally endorsed Obama.

    While I'm thankful for any support BO gets, in accordance with the general attitude of things, shouldn't all Supers vote according to the primary vote?

    This isn't me jumping ship to be an HRC supporter- not that she's a bad candidate at all, I just prefer BO – but I do think that Supers, especially senators, should vote according to the primary.

    Think of it this way- it's like everyone in your family wanting Butter Pecan ice cream and your father, instead, ordering Strawberry because he wants to. Kind of unfair in my eyes...

    May 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. BHO

    I found many educated people and politicos come to Obama camp.

    Is this a sign that is going to make the FIRST black president of USA?

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Tony - DC

    BYRD has nothing to lose. Why not go along, get along? He won't survive another four years and just wants to see history made. Guess he didn't realize a WOMAN president would have been history too!

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    SEN.BYRD IS AN EXTRAORDINARY PERSON IN MY VIEW.

    HERE IS A PERSON WHO GIVES HIS OWN ACTIONS & VIEWS

    THOUGHT & REVIEW. MOST PEOPLE NO NOT, AS WITH THE

    CLONTOS. SEN BYRD WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS A

    GREAT NOBLE AMERICAN. HE LEFT BIGOTRY BEHIND &

    REPLACED IT WITH LOVE & RESPECT FOR HIS FELLOW

    AMERICANS & HUMANITY AS A WHOLE.

    WE WHOLE HEARTEDLY GIVE IT RIGHT BACK TO YOU SIR.

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. theresa in Prattville, AL

    Okay all is forgiven. Now stop hating on Barack about his church ties. That was nothing compared to the KKK former member. I forgive him and all blacks forgive him. Now why can't those darn blue collar "WHITE" workers let the past be the past and stop this racism and throw their support on the winning candidate. It's ashame that those white folks are still living in the dark ages. Most of them are just hating on Obama because he did better than them and they had all the opportunities in the world and didn't take advantage of them. So when a black takes those opportunities and make it in life, the blue collar "WHITE" workers get mad and envy the black for it. TOO BAD!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

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

    Warren Buffet? Are you sure? I absolutely loved his song, "Margaritaville!" :)

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

    This Country is heading to the right direction I know we still have people like Feraro, but the majority people of America are changing that is a good news for this great nation.

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. jj

    what happened to Obama saying the old politicians were terrible and he was going to go for new thinkers. HMMMM, lets see Kennedy is in his 70's and no shining example of a politician, and Byrd is 90. nd this is GOOD?????? Oh boy, funny how the old school politics are fine when they support you but terrible when they are undecided. His preacher/Mentor, was right, Obama is a politician just like all the rest and says & does what will get him elected.

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Madeleine

    Great News, Sort of makes you wonder why the two WV Senators would back the candidate that the vast majority of their state rejected. I think that shows that HRC is not much of a team player.

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. lyn-nj

    What ever happened to the "voice of your state"
    Senator Bird is NO different from Senator Kennedy.
    FYI-If the state voted for Obama and Hillary got the endorsement from the Superdelegates there would be a RIOT.
    Sexism in the Senate is clearly seen!!

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. kathe oakland, california

    WAY TO GO SENATOR BYRD.

    Now to all Americans – if you do not call this "change and hope" for our future, then you are way way out there. For Senator Byrd, a man whose very life as a younger man with the KKK, against '64 civil rights..... and now in 2008, he commends and has faith in Obama's ability, loyality to America to be our commander-in-chief.

    God Bless you Senator Byrd, not for endorsing Obama, but for being a man of honor, a man who has come into the future with an open mind and a true Senator who has defended America and Americans always. My admiration for you has been a long-lasting and still admire you sir.

    May 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Swalker327

    WELCOME ABORD SENATOR BYRD!! I am glad to see that you have turned away from your ugly past. I do however, feel sorry for you in a bid for re-election (if you decide to!). Unfortunately, 85% your consituency is still very blue collar, white and uneducated. 1 in 4 West Vigrinian's are on welfare - that makes for allot of nervous rednecks!!

    May 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. Tony - DC

    JEN:

    CNN/FOX NEWS – Separated at birth.

    May 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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