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. Big Tex

    Who cares about Bryd's past. We are looking to the future. We welcome his thoughtful and important endorsement! Geraldine Ferraro is an old bitter bag. She is trying to weigh into the process but somebody needs to tell her that she is all washed up and her opinion doesn't count anymore!

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

    Maybe he'll get to heaven after all.

    May 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Riley

    High Praises to Senator Byrd for evolving and experiences a total change of heart. As some of the ignorant comments here show, many people still harbor hatred in their hearts! Please don't insult the man, commend him on having the character and courage to change.

    O8ama!!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    WE LOVE & RESPECT YOU SEN.BYRD.

    YOU ARE A GREAT AMERICAN BY THE WAY YOU HAVE LED

    YOUR LIFE. WE OLDSTERS DO NOT HAVE TO GET STUCK IN

    THE SOMETIMES AWFUL PAST. THAT'S WHAT GOOD LEADERS

    ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. WE ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT &

    WHEN WE EXAMINE OUR SELVES & FIND WE ARE WRONG,

    WE NEED THE COURAGE & DECENCY TO ADMIT WE ARE

    WRONG & GET ON THE RIGHT PATH. KUDOS TO YOU.

    May 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. RON

    this shows that west virginia is a very raciest state... even more than alabama and mississippi...... ... but im glade he changed his life around...

    Obama 08

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Cathy

    It's nice to see that people can change for the better. Senator Byrd is a good example. I wish more Americans would follow Senator Byrd's example and denounce racial divide.

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Nana

    What an attention seeker!

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Alex

    What makes this endorsement speical is Senator Byrd has served his the longest serving elect official.

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Foreign observer

    Wise men and woman learn from their mistakes they did in the past. So did Byrd and we should show respect for a guy who kept young in mind !

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. skyjuice

    as Hillary said, " THE TIDE IS CHANGING"

    lol..

    GO BARACK GO !!!!

    OBAMA 2008 / 2012

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Mar

    This is nothing but a senile old man. How dare he go against what he state voted. I hope they lynch this old guy or run him out of town on a rail.

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. B.C. in Virginia

    I once had a great deal of respect for Senator Byrd. Apparently he has grown too old to understand that Obama lost his state by 41 points last week. So much for representing the beliefs and values of your constinuency. What a shame to democracy, Senator Byrd!

    The superdelegates can keep jumping ship, but there are MANY Democrats like myself who will not vote for the ultra-liberal Obama in the general election. WE ARE REAL!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. Alex

    What makes this endorsement special is that Senator Byrd is the longest serving elect official and is from West Virginia. Since both Senators from that state will work their constituency in November, it is great. He can gain ground in West Virginia. Great news!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Montreal

    i find it appaling the level of hate and gratuitous non-relevant insults. Take for example comment #2 by Judy.
    I am also saddened to see that keeping your word makes you a fool (ie "Obama has himself to blame for taking his name of the Mich. ballot)

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. FAYE MOGHTADER

    THANK YOU SENATOT BYRD.I STILL REMEMBER HIS SPEECH BEFORE THE SENATE VOTE ON IRAQ,HE SPOKE SO ELEQUENTLY,AND MADE A LOT OF SENSE.I AM PROUD TO HAVE HIM ENDORSE OBAMA,HE IS A VERY INTELLIGENT MAN.
    THANKS SENATOR BYRD
    FAY FROM VA

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Rob K

    Thank you for the endorsement, Sen. Byrd! Your reverence for the Constitution has always been impressive to me, and your ability to admit past failings while growing ever-more wise speaks volumes.

    God bless you, and thank you for your service...and your endorsement!

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. John Portelli

    Jesus Christ can endorse Obama and I will still vote for McCain if
    I don't have Hillary to vote for.

    Oh wait, Obama believes he IS Jesus Christ!

    John Portelli Albany, NY

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

    Much is left to be done Senator.

    God has sent you to change the nation.

    Long live Senator.

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Grow up

    To the person who said he wishes Byrd will die before the convention: Grow up! You must not know much about death, because if u did you wouldnt make statements like that!

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Edward, MO

    I need Hillary to remain in the race to weaken Obama. I need the price of gas to go up. How are energy stock investors like myself supposed to make a buck if a Democrat wins? We need to convince poor voters that there is something in it for them ( A president who bowls and that they can have a drink with) for them to vote for McCain and make me rich

    McCain '08

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. D'Anne

    Wishing death on someone is uncalled for and downright evil.

    May 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. David Goldman for OBAMA

    MY HERO.

    HERE IS A MAN WHOSE BODY MAY HAVE GOTTEN A BIT

    TIRED BUT HIS HEART & MIND ARE AS NEW AS THEY

    CAN BE. MUCH LOVE TO YOU SEN. BYRD.

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Terry

    I don't vote for someone simply because it's the "Koolaid" thing to do.

    I'll either write in Hillary or vote for McCain because this is to elect President of the United States, NOT a popularity contest that will require little responsibility. Experience over empty rhetoric.

    Hillary 08! Or McCain! NOBAMA!

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

    susie,

    i wonder how people can't understand even simple things. most of the American kids are suffereing from diabetes and everyone in america is feeing the pinch of gas prices....and you want to hate Obama because he said drive small cars and eat less? it lloks like you just want to hate Obama for any reason good or bad.

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Modern Monkey!!!!

    Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even an old white dude can see the light!!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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