January 29th, 2008
08:54 AM ET
15 years ago

Women's group slams Kennedy for 'betrayal'


Kennedy formally endorsed Obama Monday, after months of remaining neutral. (Photo Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy is under heavy fire from a state chapter of the National Organization for Women for his decision to back Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.

In a sharply critical statement, the New York state chapter of NOW took aim at Kennedy Monday for what it called an "ultimate betrayal," and suggested the Massachusetts Democrat "can't or won't" handle the idea of Clinton becoming President of the United States.

"Sen. Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard," said the statement. "Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few."

"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment!" the statement continues. "He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton."

After months on the sidelines, Kennedy formally endorsed Obama Monday during a speech at American University, despite reported pleas from the Clinton campaign that he remain neutral. He hailed the Illinois senator for his potential to be a “president who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American dream."

Kennedy also praised Clinton and John Edwards in his speech, saying that “whoever is our nominee will have my enthusiastic support."

But the NOW state chapter suggested Monday Kennedy's decision was a larger representation of society’s ongoing disrespect for women's rights.

"This latest move by Kennedy is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a president that is the first woman after centuries of men who ‘know what’s best for us.’”

Meanwhile, the national chapter of NOW sought to distance itself from the state chapter’s comments, issuing a statement Monday evening that praised Kennedy's record with respect to women's rights.

"Though the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee has proudly endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, we respect Sen. Kennedy's endorsement," NOW President Kim Gandy said. "We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote."

Kennedy's office has not returned CNN's request for comment.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (2,092 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    What has Kennedys' ICON Barrack Obama done to deserve all these endorsements.

    January 28, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. Buddy, California

    Any woman would be fine, except (status quo) Hillary. And NOW knows this.

    January 28, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. Juanito, Washington, DC

    What is this crap? Senator Clinton should distance herself from these idiots.

    January 28, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. Tom H

    A leader is someone who will inspire people to follow.

    That is NOT Hillary!

    Obama has the presence and charisma to bridge the ever-widening gap between Dems and Republicans. The "Red State / Blue State" divide has to end and Obama is the only candidate that could pull that off. Electing Hillary would only be a defacto re-election of Bill Clinton. No foreign head of state would take her seriously.

    The fact that NOW-NY would endorse her strictly on the basis of gender is narrow minded and foolish. By that same standard, they would endorse Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme for president.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. Scott Billson

    If Kennedy had supported Clinton, the NAACP would be all over his back with Al Sharpton calling him a racist. There's no way Kennedy could have won this one.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. Trey

    This just shows that these pro-women groups are just as racist as the KKK. This like many other issues that's taken place shows that America may not be ready for Obama...sad, sad, sad.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  7. Eva

    Morrow – yours is the most intelligent posted I have read here. I wish others were as thoughtful.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  8. AdrianTurner

    I cant belive what Obama did to Hillary when she went to shake Ted's hand He turned his head I am 25 year old male and I just thought it was rude.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. JKF Admirer

    Questions for members of NOW.
    1. Are you mothers of young adults.
    2.What are they saying about Barack?
    3. \What should we saying about those black leaders namely John Lewis, Andrew Young who say Barack is too young and not black enough.
    4, You should be ashamed that the possible candidate for first women president needs a man to do her job for here. A candidate who would distort the truth. I can't imagine my mama being a liar.
    Now mothers in NOW when you going listen to your teenage kids
    Be objective, and not blinded by buddism.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  10. cheryl

    While i respect Ted and his family decision, I felt that he has betrayed the Clinton's. His endorsemnt for Oboma will not have an effect on my decision, i am voting for Hillary. If Mr. Clinton was black we would not have all that drama, and to think that we would say that those people are racies is rediculas.

    If Ted was really the Clinton friends he would have stuck by them. Shame on Him!!!

    January 28, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  11. Gonzalo

    Please, who really cares about the comment of NOW or the Ted Kennedy endorsement? Any intelligent voter would dismiss such endorsements , as what they are, endorsements. They are just people's or group's particular opinion and in the end you control your vote, so move on. Endorsements mean nothing didn't Nevada show that with the Culinary Union going to Obama and SC with most of the black leadership siding with the Clintons, that its the people not endorsements that decide elections. However, I do feel that the media has focused way too much Obama(when is the last time you read about Edwards?) or positive story on Hilary. I want balanced reporting not a biased one, please be fair to all candidates. In addition, people remember this is a discussion board not an endorsement board.

    January 28, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  12. Viv

    As a woman, I would love to see a woman in office. But the idea isn't just to bring a woman into office, and if you don't, you are betraying women. That is not fair! Ted Kennedy had every right to express, endorse and do whatever he wants. It does not make him a trader! It does not mean he is not a good senator and all the good he's done for 40 years just goes away. As a white woman, I truly wish we had a good woman running, I'd love to vote for her. But the fact is Hillary just isn't the right woman. That's what the bottom line is. Trust is a major issue in getting my vote, I just don't trust her. She is fake, she says what she believes people want to hear, even if it means she'll say two different things in one day, depending on where she is at the time as if we were stupid. I have noticed her campain is getting better, she now just follows whatever is working for Obama. At one point she claimed that speeches aren't what we need to hear, well she is making speeches, she is using his style, though it doesn't become her,she ran on "experience" but changed her mind and followed Obama's message and now is running for" Change", what's next? she had all the old people sitting behind her, now like Obama, she has young college people sitting behind her. She is anxious to serve her own agenda and become first woman president, this isn't about women,or the people, the country. It is about her. That's why she doesn't get this woman's vote! I look forward to Obama's presidency and leagcy and hope that he'll make room for a woman at the next election.2012, of course not Hillary! let's find us a woman we can believe in!

    January 28, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. Steven and Veronica

    Thank you, joe and morrow. What eloquent, reasonable arguments.

    The evidence for gender bias is all over these boards. Women have learned to be, and had to be, masculine (external, active, competitive) women in order to succeed in society and as a result, their feminine (internal, receptive, seeking harmony) sides are wounded and/or undeveloped. In order to succeed, a woman HAS to do this. A professional woman who remains feminine is not taken seriously. There's no room for them to do so. Where are the strong, feminine role models? So here we have Hillary Clinton, who is bashed when she is masculine and bashed when she is feminine. This is a reality. It's time for society to start talking about this openly. Those women who have had such experiences are deeply appalled, hurt, and angry at finding themselves in a catch-22 (and watch your bias reading this: they are NOT helpless, just hurt and angry).

    Men have an advantage, being trained in how to be masculine from birth. They do suffer bias when they try to express their feminine sides (by expressing emotions, etc.), but the feminine is devalued and diminished (as child-like or purely erotic) in America–it's not the status quo. Just take a look at any magazine you have hanging around the house, cut out the pictures of men and women, put them in two piles, and compare the messages.

    You could also do that with news headlines.

    January 28, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  14. jeff

    I thought I understood what women's rights were for. I am hoping that NY NOW does not represent the majority of women. I am single white male, independant. I am currently looking at all the candidates and will listen to their positions. My vote is totally open. With one exception, I will never vote for Clinton. It has nothing to do with her being a women. It has to do with her policies and choices she has made. By the way who is running. Her or the Clinton Familiy .
    Put 10 other women up. I will listen to them and decide what I think. WHAT I THINK. This is my vote and NY NOW is serious out of touch.

    Think for yourself ignore endorsements and lobbies. Who cares how Ted Kenndy is going to vote or your favorite movie actor. They are not in the same position as you. Think. Act. Vote.

    January 28, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  15. Linda, Chandler AZ

    It's comments like these that give womens' rights groups a bad name. Ted Kennedy had every right to endorse Barack Obama....he happens to be the best candidate.

    January 28, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  16. GR, Atlanta, GA

    It is very interesting that at each point the people supporting Hillary Clinton do not get what they want, they run into a corner and proclaim that everyone is anti-woman...piling on...double-teaming them. Hillary Clinton attempts to make the race racial and she get hogtied in South Carolina on Saturday. Then, Caroline Kennedy compares Barack Obama to her dad, John F. Kennedy. Finally, Sen. Ted Kennedy enthusiastically endorses Obama. Of course, there is some type of conspiracy in the minds of Clinton people. Kennedy is against women. The message from the New York chapter of NOW does not merit publicity. It is an absolute joke and the National Organization of Women should denounce this chapter's statement.

    Personally, I can not wait until February 5, 2008. On that day, I will take as much pride in voting for Barack Obama (and against the unscrupulous tactics of Hillary Clinton) as I did in sittin four hours to vote against George W. Bush in 2004. This is the fifth time that I have voted in a US Presidential election. I've voted for a Democrat four times. I have definitely reached a point that I will vote for a Democrat in Obama or I will actively support a Republican. The Clinton machine has displayed an unethical nature that I expect to leave the White House when George and Laura Bush leave the White House with Dick Cheney. There is no doubt that Clinton will be more of the same. It is time for change in Washington and in America.

    January 28, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. j Stockwell

    what else would you expect from the sob
    have you forgot about what he did to mary joe?

    January 28, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  18. Nathan, Melbourne, Victoria

    Al Gore will endorse Obama next. See how the losers, Dean, Kerry, Kennedy and Gore line up behind Obama. The kiss of death if you ask me. Obama has already tanked the Democrats anyway with his traitorous slanderings. John McCain will win the White House.

    January 28, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  19. Angelina

    so NOW want us women to act like agressive men.........that is the way she is acting ...........

    January 28, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  20. Chris

    You can't please everyone...

    January 28, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. Tony.A Goodyear AZ

    All is fair in love and war, and this should probably be amended to include politics. I don't question that Sen. Kennedy has the right of every other American to stand behind who he believes to be the best person for the job. Having said that I believe that there two factors at work here. (1) Some of these characters smell blood in the water and concludes it is Hillary's. (2) Political opportunism, so they are gambling the house on the perceived victor. But it ain't over until the fat lady sings!

    January 28, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. Zac

    Honestly? Boo Hoo ladies. Clinton isn't the be all, end all candidate. She's the liberal version of George W. Bush with a far worse attitude. Baby Boomers are done. Gen X is ready to lead...step aside...and stop whining.

    January 28, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  23. t

    for joe who wrote an extremely ingnorant comment a few hours ago about how if obama were a woman there would be no coverage. You honestly believe hillary would be a legitimate candidate without her 35 years of experience riding the coat-tails of president clinton?

    January 28, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  24. Maggie

    Senator Kennedy has a right to support whom he chooses.
    But he should not have attacked his colleague and long-time friend Senator Hillary Clinton or her husband, the former President, as he did. It was disloyal and destructive.
    It has become increasingly apparent over the past few weeks where the true divisiveness and discord in America is coming from – the Democrats.
    I'm voting Republican!!!

    January 28, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  25. Steve

    1. I don't care what Teddy Kennedy, or any of his clan, thinks.

    2. Identity politics are alive and well in the Democratic party.

    3. NOW has exposed themselves once again as a sexist organization. Anyone who belongs to a group like this should be ashamed of themselves.

    January 28, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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