September 20th, 2007
06:08 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Senate debate on ad 'makes no sense'

Senator Barack Obama, D-Illinois

(CNN)—Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama said Thursday, "I happen to believe that General (David) Petraeus has served this country honorably." But he also said he did not cast a vote in the Senate on Thursday condemning an ad from MoveOn.org that attacked Petraeus, because he thought it was a distraction.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, Obama said the Congress could better spend its time figuring out ways to care for returning veterans, and making education more affordable for American families. "The notion that we're wasting time debating about a newspaper ad, makes no sense," the senator from Illinois said. "So I didn't even vote on that vote, I just said I'm not going to vote on this. This is the kind of game playing that the American people are tired of."

Twenty Democrats in the Senate joined the Republicans in the 72-25 vote that officially repudiates the group's ad. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, also voted for the measure, sponsored by Texas Republican John Cornyn.

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, also a candidate for the Democratic nomination, voted against the measure. She has been criticized by several Republican presidential candidates for not distancing herself from the ad.

Obama was introduced by former NBA star Dominique Wilkins, and the musician Usher at his rally Thursday.

– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. DT Wisconsin

    Just a note about the comparisons to the MoveOn and Swift Boat ads:

    Moveon's ad was a cheap hit piece from a large, faceless organization with massive financial backing and power to influence actual candidates' decisions. Pretty cowardly, especially considering the general had not yet testified when the ad came out.

    The Swift Boat ads were backed by dozens of veterans that showed their faces and gave their names in stating things about a man they knew- one who played up his service at every turn.

    Like it or not, based on the substance of the respective ads and the will to stand up for them, the Swift ads would easily garner less criticism than the MoveOn ads. Had a faceless group spouted unfounded accusations about Kerry, as MoveOn did to Patraeus, they, too, would be scorned by all fair-minded people.

    September 21, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Thanks DT, I posted that same type of rational and completely accurate portrait of the difference between the two as mine was deleted.

    The SBVFT were veterans just like Kerry and some were more decorated and spent a lot more time in Vietnam than he, and nobody knows the WHOLE truth but this brave group of men.

    I do believe there was a level of hate towards him because of his words when he came home and his throwing away the medals/not throwing them away etc, etc just added to the issue.

    Moveon is faceless (with the exception of Soros) and for them to spend money on an ad to mock the General who is in charge of our men and women BEFORE even hearing what he had to say should be condemned.

    I applaud the 20 Democrats for making the distinction of what is right and what is wrong.

    September 21, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. kris, St. Paul, MN

    Obama fear to stand up voice for what he believe; he is playing double game. After all he is an empty container. His advisor's didn't get chance to fill it up.

    September 21, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. sonya, atlanta, ga

    Obama was right. All this political grandstanding theater is silly and a waste of time. And for the posters saying its a cop out, please. Obama cancelled a trip to SC to vote on withdrawing the troops from Iraqi. But he was sick and tired on sitting around wasting time on something that was so silly and non binding as the Move on ad. I am a member of Move on and sent an email protesting their ad. It was divise and game the Republicans a great distraction. Why call out the general- the messenger who is being used by Bush to press his fail war policies. Go after the person who fashion the policies not the general. That is why the Democrats will lose if they nominate HRC. Because the democrats are cowards and only think about the political game and not about the american people. Twenty democrats voted for the censure probably their districts are conservative and dont want to lose that support in the upcoming election. HRC voted against the measure to pacify the liberal base of the Democratic Party who are upset with her trying to pander to the middle in order to set up herself in the general election. None of them have any backbone execept Obama to call foul on this stupidty. I wonder how many of our soliders died during the time it took the Senate to debate and vote. Congress should be ashame and America needs to rise up and throw out these corrupt money changers out of office.

    September 22, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Joe, Florida

    While I didn't like the ad; there's freedom of speech in this country. Attacking the ad legally is unconstitutional.

    September 23, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Coach Haughton

    So when it came time to vote, Obama was a no-show. He must have been too busy with Dominque Wilkins and Usher to remember he is still a member of Congress.

    Democrats in large number will be a no-show when it comes time to vote for you. At LEAST with Hillary you know where she stands.
    In response I write.
    All senators including clinton will miss some votes while they are campainging. Common sense to miss a vote on something stupid if you need to.

    September 23, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Paul Conley, Palmetto Bay, Florida

    Of course the Move-on vote was a distraction and the Republicans are making hay with it.
    Where were the whiners when the Republicans ran the Swift Boat smear ads and the smear ads against Max Cleland? The draft dodgers can smear war heroes and not a word is said. They can dish it out but they cannot take it.
    The Democrats should ignore the issue and move on to matters of importance like health care, the war, the soaring deficit etc.

    September 23, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. Brianna Webb, McEwen, TN

    Since you are so concerned about our troops why did you ignore the pleas of a young Sailor abused in boot camp? He is my brother and is your brother in Christ. You see he is COC just like you and if you won't help one of your own who will you help? If he had been black would that have made a difference. Thank God for Hillary Clinton someone who sees people not color.

    September 23, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
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