In Departure from New York State N.O.W., City Chapter Says Ted Kennedy Is a Friend

012908 kennedy web In Departure from New York State N.O.W., City Chapter Says Ted Kennedy Is a FriendEarlier today the head of the New York State chapter of N.O.W. (the National Organization for Women), Marcia Pappas, sent out a statement describing Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama as “the ultimate betrayal." But the head of the New York City chapter of N.O.W. has a completely different take.

“He’s been a friend to N.O.W., a friend to women, and a friend to the women’s movement and has a long record of supporting women’s issues,” N.Y.C. N.O.W. president and Hillary Clinton backer Sonia Ossorio told me just now. “I think Ted Kennedy has been a tremendous friend to women.”

That’s a far cry from what Pappas said about Kennedy, in part:

“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.”

When reached in her Albany office, Pappas said she was “inundated” with calls from reporters and would get back to me.

The rift over Kennedy isn’t the first time Pappas and Ossorio have put out conflicting messages (see Greg Camp versus Micah Kellner for Assembly). The national organization of N.O.W. has yet to weigh in (when reached by phone an employee said they would have a statement out shortly), but Pappas has a record of over-the-top rhetoric.

For example, the January 11th press release she wrote, headlined “Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary is Proof We Need a Woman President.”

UPDATE: Here’s the statement from N.O.W. national president Kim Gandy, which will go on the group‘s website shortly. “The National Organization for Women has enormous respect and admiration for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D- Mass.). For decades Sen. Kennedy has been a friend of NOW, and a leader and fighter for women’s civil and reproductive rights, and his record shows that.

“Though the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee has proudly endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, we respect Sen. Kennedy’s endorsement. We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote.”