(CNN) - The nation's oldest and largest women's rights organization made a rare endorsement in a presidential contest, endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president over the Republican ticket that features female Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
The National Organization for Women, which had originally endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, made no mention of Palin in its Statement, calling Obama "the candidate who is out there every day standing up - clearly and consistently - for women."
NOW has not endorsed a general election candidate since their endorsement of Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, the last year a woman was featured on a major party’s presidential ticket.
In a statement released yesterday, the Chair of the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee, Kim Gandy, praised Obama and slammed McCain for his policy positions on abortion rights, pay equity and the appointment of Supreme Court justices who share the group’s views on women’s issues. Palin holds virtually identical positions to McCain in these areas.
The McCain campaign criticized the feminist group’s decision. "It's extremely disappointing that an organization that purports to be an advocate for all women not only opposes but feels compelled to go out of its way to criticize and make negative comments about the only ticket in the presidential race with a woman on the ticket," said Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella.
The announcement comes four months after pro-choice political action group NARAL backed Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries. NARAL's decision angered fellow pro-choice Democratic group Emily's List who endorsed Sen. Clinton and criticized NARAL's decision, calling it "tremendously disrespectful." Emily’s List has since endorsed Obama.