US largest women's rights body snubs Palin, endorses Obama

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London, Sep 17 : America's largest women's rights body has delivered a snub to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin by endorsing rivals Barack Obama and Joe Biden's bid for power.

The National Organisation for Women (NOW) is 500,000 strong and hugely influential. The feminist organisation almost never supports a presidential candidate, but the Alaska Governor's Christian fundamentalist faith and her opposition to abortion rights has forced its hand.

NOW's decision to back Senator Obama when a woman is within striking distance of becoming elected is a bold step for the group and a setback for John McCain's hopes of luring the millions of women who supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

"The addition of Sarah Palin gave us a new sense of urgency," Kim Gandy, the head of NOW, told National Public Radio. "She is being portrayed as a supporter of women's rights... as a feminist when in fact her positions on so many of the issues are really anathema to ours."

Other women's rights organisations are also campaigning against Governor Palin, pushed along by a spontaneous anti-Palin movement among women, The Independent reported.

After triggering a huge surge of enthusiasm for John McCain's campaign and sending him into the lead over Barack Obama, Palin has come under intense scrutiny from the national media.

The investigation known as "Troopergate" threatens to expose her as a bullying governor who fired Alaska's de facto police chief for family rather than professional reasons.

The controversy moved up a notch yesterday when Palin's campaign team announced her refusal to co-operate with the Troopergate investigation because it was tainted by politics.

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