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