May 19th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
6 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. asor

    the great defender of constitution supports obama . thank you senator byrd

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

    I think this is historic. A former KKK member endorsing a black man running for the highest position in the land.

    May 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. carlo

    To Greg in PA: You stated:

    Obama supporters ,

    Can you name one thing Obama has done for America, good or bad.

    I can list many things McCain has done which are grate things. To be truthful i can name a couple of bad things to but that is true of any political figure.

    ****************************************************************************

    I can name several, like the moratorium on death penalties in Illinois, the children's health insurance program, legislation on several bills, including ethics reform, nuclear proliferation, and Indian reservations. He has worked across the aisle on multiple issues. The fact that he has a degree in International Relations is also of importance, especially considering the mess Bush, Cheney and the senile maverick McCain have gotten us into.

    Oh, and BTW, it's "great" things, not "grate".

    May 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. sh

    What about another super delegate DNC chair from Kansas for Obama. CNN way too slow or on purpose.

    May 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Raphael Tx

    Obama bandwagoners do not forget that if the Democratic Primary was run the same way as the General Election or Republican Primary, it would be over and Hillary would be the nominee. This splitting states is ridicioulous and it will become relevant in the General Election.

    If Obama would just stop blaming and start coming up with solutions his so called "Change" would make some sense. Obama's "Change" to Black Liberation Theology? No thanks, thats not the type of change America needs.

    Go Hillary, if not Hillary Go McCain.

    May 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. mary

    Senator Byrd, OLE, OLE, y OLE. as we says here in Spain.

    As the holy BIBLE say .. You shall known the truth and the truth shall set you FREE.

    Long LIFE to the USA, to the united nations and to the united poeple.

    May 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. jay, ny

    I can just see the Obama supporters now if Byrd had dared back Clinton. They would be saying that the only people who support her are racist biggots. Now that Byrd is backing Obama he has apparently bought his way into heaven. Disgusting people.

    May 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Tony - DC

    With Byrd being so close to meeting his maker, guess he is trying to make amends for wearing the robe and hood!

    May 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Gloria

    Who cares..........

    I an NOT voting for OBAMA...........

    And you know what....I don't care what you say about the no vote is a McCain vote.

    Obama will not win anyway. There is no way a black man is going to be President before a woman........

    Geraldine is correct but of course coming from a woman you all say blah.....blah.......blah.

    WOMAN POWER!

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

    Obama bandwagoners do not forget that if the Democratic Primary was run the same way as the General Election or Republican Primary, it would be over and Hillary would be the nominee. This splitting states is ridicioulous and it will become relevant in the General Election.

    If Obama would just stop blaming and start coming up with solutions his so called "Change" would make some sense. Obama's "Change" to Black Liberation Theology? No thanks, thats not the type of change America needs.

    Go Hillary, if not Hillary Go McCain.

    May 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Shotta Nic

    Just when you get discouraged from all the racist comments coming from these boards, its good to see that somebody has actually changed and is voting on merit verses race.

    The funny thing is that I would respect the "KKK" version of Byrd more than some of the people who comment because atleast he outward with his beliefs vs. people who find ludicrous claims as an excuse (ex. elitist, sexist, etc.)

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

    Sound like you just don't want to be called a racist again!!

    That's the problem with this campaign – everyone wants to be politically correct.

    You're a racist either way! Wouldn't surprise me one bit you endorse Obama.

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

    It's funny that some Hillary supporters are telling superdelegates to vote for who they feel is the best candidate and then turn around and complain that this man voted contrary to his district. Which is is? Vote for the best candidate or vote with your district?

    May 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Mike in Fairfax

    Wait a minute! You guys think McCain is too old to think straight .. but this guy isn't??!! Byrd is obviously senile if this is the decision he made.

    May 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. alice2Fresno,CA

    Congrats to Obama. I am sure Hillary was hoping for this endorsement. given Byrd's high ranking status in the Senate. Obama now has both the Senators from W. Virginia. Great!!

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

    Byrd not only learned to change his own views, he was the one voice heard worldwide standing against the US starting the Iraq war and for upholding the Constitution of the USA.
    He never faltered, gave us hope and paved the way for Obama.

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

    I will also vote for McCain. Hey Nobama supporters... show me what he has done for this country... anything.... I can also sing CHANGE mantra.... but there is nothing he can show which shows he loves this country... starting from the lepel controversy.

    May 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. BHO Not my candidate

    Byrd is this a statement directly from the KKK you used to LEAD... its disgusting your still a senator... now you endorse the token?

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Cindy in California

    I think Senator Byrd is an honorable and gracious man. His compliments of Senator Obama are right on point

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

    Thank you so much Senator!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. kathe oakland, california

    One more thing. To all you Americans who are disrespectful and have no vision of the American future – - I feel sorry for you. This is to you all including JUDY, J, JACK COLSON you are all so sad, sad, sad.

    You need to join us Americans in this 2008 FUTURE

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Helen

    Wooooooooo...I didn't see this coming. I am speechless.

    BUT I BELIEVE GOD IS ABLE TO CHANGE ANYONE.

    Welcome....

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Joe Reg

    Senator Byrd is bless with longevity.

    God wants him to help America
    change direction.

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Way to go, Senator Byrd! I totally respect you and your judgment.

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. austbill

    Perhaps this vote was cast out of guilt for pevious KKK involvement.

    May 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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