May 19th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Byrd endorses Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    I am a fan of Sen Byrds ever sence his speech to the senate telling them to step back and think before they attacked Iraq. He saw through the Bush bunch long before anyone else did. That said shouldn't his endorsement reflect the voters of the redneck state he represents?

    May 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. chris


    It's quite clear that our Democratic leaders have slowly trickled in superdelegates to make Obama the Nominee...There are many people like myself that are outraged with this contriving manipulation. You will be partly responsible for the "Historical Division" of the Democratic Party. There are a large percentage of people forming a new Independent ticket, which will include disgruntled Democrats and Republicans if Obama is the nominee.

    No Prospective President should be a member or financial supporter of a radical, racist, hate preaching Church that is Anti-America. Additionally, and evern more troubling, friends with a former Terrorist.

    WHAT IS WRONG with our LEADERS????????

    May 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Larry of Boston

    Byrd is a relic – he should have retired 15 years ago for all he is worth. It is sure interesting that the candidate of change is endorsed by all the democratic big cat insiders who have been there for decades and are part of the problem .......Obama is all worng for the US at this time

    May 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. phyllis

    WELL...WELL....WELL.senator byrd is for Obama....please people don't say bad things about wv because he endorsed obama...he is not the state...and by far he dosen't do anything for the state of wv,last time i heard he dosen't even live in the state of wv.he wants everything in wv to have his name on byrd drive etc. but you know what wv is to good of a state to even reconize him as a senator.he has took to many jobs from the younger people over the years by still sitting there in washington...just how old and senile do you have to be to get the heck out? dont even speak about JOHN MCCane being to old for president..wv is a beautiful state and its hillery all the way lay off.

    May 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Pedeen

    I'm feeling good!! thanks Sen. Byrd! way to go! Nobody can't stop change its like a political tsunami! either join it or you get swept out!. Just loving it!!!. If I were Hillary and Farraro or ferrari I could have joined the tide long ago instead of wasting money and time, because at this moment change is taking place!!! long live Democracy and Long Live UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

    May 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. British Observer


    How low can you get by wishing Sen Byrd dead? If you dont like Obama that's your problem but to wish someone dead is quite low even for a Clinton/Mccain supporter.

    Get a life!

    May 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. James, SC

    Outstanding! When an ex-kkk leader turned government leader who once aposed the Civil Rights movement SUPPORTS a Presidential candidate who represents all that he (Byrd) once knew as wrong, we have truly began to move in the right direction.

    Thanks Senator Byrd.

    May 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. LANCE

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. PA_Hill-fan

    There goes the will of the people of West Virginia!

    May 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Former Democrat

    Party before the Nation. Way to go Democrats. Sacrifice your country to achieve your ends.

    Better heads will prevail in November. The Left wing candidate has been exposed.

    May 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Montana is Obama Country

    Welcome aboard the Whitehouse Express Superdelegate Byrd..!!


    May 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Jeanne

    I think the fact that both senators from West Virginia are endorsing Obama, a state which Clinton won, shows his strength as the likely nominee for the Democrats in the General Election. I think this is a very good endorsement for Obama.

    May 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |

    Mr. Byrd I applaud you for changing your attitudes and racist past ways. Welcome to the winning team!

    May 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Vicki


    It is okay you have a right to feel what you want. But, in public you should try to stay positive (if you where a true DEM you would)

    May 19, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |

    A former KKK leader endorsing Obama... For those of you who seek change, it's right in front of you. Anyone else who's happy with the current president's 23 or so percent approval rating can vote McCain.

    Obama 08

    May 19, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Peg

    Good news! Thank you, Senator.

    Supers.....keep it comin' We need to get this train to the station so we can fuel up for the trip to Pennsylvania Avenue in November.

    May 19, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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