More than 100 New York feminist leaders released a joint statement Sunday afternoon criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Obama for president - evidence that Clinton's support among women activists has declined significantly in the days before the super-Tuesday primary.
Clinton's support for the war in Iraq was the leading reason she lost the support of the group, which calls itself "New York Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama!" "We urgently need a presidential candidate whose first priority is to address domestic needs," the group added.
Those endorsing Obama include longtime peace activist Cora Weiss; Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation; Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times writer Margo Jefferson; award-winning women's rights historians Alice Kessler Harris and Linda Gordon; Barbara Weinstein, president of the American Historical Association, and Ellen P. Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives at Columbia Law School. Susan Sarandon and Francis Fox Piven signed on Monday.
"Choosing to support Senator Obama was not an easy decision for us," the group stated, "because electing a woman president would be a cause for celebration in itself." They "deplored" the "sexist attacks against Senator Clinton that have circulated in the media." But, they stated, they nevertheless supported Obama because his election "would be another historic achievement" and because "his support for gender equality has been unwavering."
The group based their opposition to Clinton on "her seven-year record as senator." Despite her recent pledges to remove troops from Iraq, the group stated, Clinton's "record of embracing military solutions and the foreign policy advisers she has selected make us doubt that she will end this calamitous war."
The group supported Obama not only for his positions on the war and gender equality, but also because of "the dramatic engagement of young people" with his campaign.
This group joins other prominent feminist leaders who have turned against Hillary and endorsed Obama, including Kate Michelman, president for 20 years of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the country's leading reproductive rights group, and Ellen Bravo, former director of 9to5, the National Association of Working Women.