September 20th, 2007
06:08 PM ET
11 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 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. Claude, Mesa AZ

    Once again, he's 110% correct. I am sick and tired of these games and if we keep it up, life as we know it in the the U.S. will end because the enemy is already within.

    September 20, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. Connie, Louisville, Tn.

    That's why he will make a great President. He is able to keep his eye on what is important to the people. The Democrats that supported it should have their names published as TRAITORS.

    September 20, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. las vegas nv

    nice you go obama,

    September 20, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  4. Jack Hudson Fl.

    Barack, did not withold a vote because he felt it was a distraction. He didnt cast a vote because he didnt want a paper trail. But failure to cast a vote, was a vote. He chose to not stand up for right principle when a just person is undeservingly slandered.

    The Republicans wouldnt have to call for such a vote, if the democrats only did what was right. The double standard with the Liberal press is incredible. With the gentleman who so admirably spilled his illegal money into democratic coffers, including Hillary coming to light. How is it there is no coverage of that. Wasnt it the democrats who were going to clean up the congress. Ha, was that before or after they got the money out of the freezer or where ever else they hide their illegal funds. Just like the New York Times with the Moveon add. Can you say hypocrite or double standard.

    September 20, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Ron Nebraska

    Again Mr. Obama is exactly right! This is the kind of intelligent thought we need right now in a leader for our country.

    September 20, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    The republicans were trying to pull a Chupacabra.

    September 20, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Leon, Vista, Ca

    The rebublicans were trying to pull a Chupacabra. Vote no against condemning the swift boat campaign because it's a thing of the past? what a joke. They should have tied the swift boat ad and the MoveOn ad together.

    September 20, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. Casey, Columbia, MD is not sponsored by the Democratic party. I don't see what the big deal is about Democratic leaders distancing themselves from them unless they are members. I agree with Sen. Obama about Congress dealing with more important matters. We have freedom of speech in America. has the right to publish their ads as long as it doesn't violate any laws.

    September 20, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Lance in Monrovia CA

    Obama's not just getting people to sit down and sing Kum bah ya. He's actually creating a seriously lethal movement.

    He's organizing Chicago style and he's bringing people off their butts for a change, no small feat when it comes to us jaded Americans.

    The dude has more legislative experience than Hillary Clinton and John Edwards combined, coming from Chicago, the toughest political waters in the nation.

    I went to Nevada with about 60 L.A. volunteers last weekend. None of them had ever done canvassing for a campaign before. I personally talked to 200 undecided voters and NOT ONE said they didn't like him. My wife and I got three signed pledge cards for people to caucus for him, and we heard ONLY ONE hardcore Clinton supporter. I heard the same stories from the other 60 L.A. volunteers and I'm sure the other 150 or so Nevada volunteers doing the same thing that day would say the same, and I know they got waaay more pledge cards than we did.

    Over and over again I heard that people are fed up with politics as usual and feel that Obama may be the only candidate that can actually pull off real change.

    How can you argue with a dude that could have had any six figure job he wanted out of Harvard but went and organized on the Southside for 14 Grand instead.

    How can you argue with the first Senator both in Chicago and on Capitol Hill to pass meaningful ethics reform in a generation?

    How can you argue with the fact that only Obama has found a really loyal following that continues to grow and grow based on, not fear and loathing, but hope and real ideas for our future?
    How can you argue with a candidate that goes to Detriot to talk about the environment and to Wall Street to talk about tax cuts for the middle class and finally making the richest .1 percent of this country pay their fair share?
    Myself and four other Obama supporters showed up at Bill Clinton's book signing in Pasadena day before yesterday. Not one Hillary supporter was there with a sign and several people in line confessed they were Obama supporters.

    This guy WILL NOT lie down. He is a fighter in the truest sense of the word. He rises above the tag of politician and is A LEADER.

    Not only can he get elected, but he can foster the movement he's started into a political machine unmatched since the days of FDR. He's slowly but surely creating political will, despite constant and baseless attacks by the corporately owned media that for sure knows that once he's in office, their days of vertical integration and monopoly of our airwaves and newspapers are limited.

    I am sick and tired of seeing a handful of rich old pigs feeding at the trough that is the Washington beltway establishment. It's time that we had someone in office for a change that is motivated by action and people rather than money.

    Y'know, that's just the thing with pigs… Today's pig is tomorrow's bacon.
    Can you smell what Barack is cookin'?

    Obama 08!!!!

    September 20, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. Carmen, Miami FL

    Wow, those Republicans sure scored one against the Democrats. They got a motion to pass condemning a newspaper ad! Ooh, the Dems are never going to come back from this one!

    No, wait. Obama was right, this is a waste of time, and I'd like to think that Americans are sick of it.

    September 20, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  11. Ron, TX

    It was absolutely ABSURD that the Senate wasted time on "condemning" that rediculous ad. I'm glad Obama stood up and made a point that the Senate shouldn't be filandering voting on resolutions condemning advertisements when they should be WORKING.

    September 20, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Providence, RI

    Obama is "naive" and "inexperienced"- He is not ready to be President, and he cannot win deep rural white votes, where racism still bites... He is fit to be Harvard Professor. I respect him a lot...Harlold Ford, Jr., who is a very intelligent congressman, lost to Corcker in 2006 by 5% in Tennesse,because he was black...

    September 20, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  13. Zack, Boston, MA

    EXACTLY, Obama, EXACTLY: "This is the kind of game playing that the American people are tired of."

    September 20, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Trollmaster, SF, CA

    Obama did the right thing to basically tell everyone he's above this petty squandering.

    With a messed up war, an 8 trillion dollar debt, and other problems, Congress and the Senate has much more important things to do than condem a newspaper ad.

    September 20, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  15. JB Hull, IA

    Good for Obama!

    September 20, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    Providence RI says "he cannot win deep rural white votes, where racism still bites"

    I am from Texas. I am not against anyone, I am for Obama and for America. Obama can be elected and plenty of us white folks are incredibly enthusiastic to support this vastly superior candidate.

    1. A minority of whites are racists.
    2. Racists make of an even smaller fraction of people who vote and would determine the nomination.
    3. In Texas, nearly 50% of the population is minority.
    4. After electing George Bush president, is a former Professor really a bad idea? I'm not saying all professors would be good presidents, Newt Gingrich is a former college Professor, for example

    September 20, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    "This is the kind of game playing that the American people are tired of."

    Yet another reason, why Obama has got my vote. He takes the high road in a stupid petty argument. Stop trying to drive wedges between people and start solving the problems that this country has.

    September 20, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  18. DJ, Los Angeles

    Exactly what an absurb waste of time and my tax dollars to vote on comdemning an advertisement.

    This is still a free country, and if you don't agree with a political advertisement...don't waste taxpayer money on a meaningless vote to condemn it.

    What is this, elementary school? Did the principal call for recess?

    September 20, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  19. Steve Mehuron Omaha, NE.

    I could not agree more with Sen. Obama. Time could be better spent. The add was not very tasteful but it was far from unconstitutional. In fact, it pales in comparison to some of the comments heard daily from conservative talk show hosts.

    September 20, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  20. DT, Wisconsin

    I'm kind of torn on this. I do hate it when legislators waste time, so I can see Obama's point.

    On the other hand, this sort of political chess game has been played by both sides for years. By avoiding the vote (i.e., not voting to condemn the ad), Obama is in the clear from the attack machine that is Hillary & Dodd knew there'd be h*ll to pay if they criticized the ad-just ask Joe Lieberman if there are consequences for not following the group's orders (remember Ned Lamont?).

    Truth is, the increasing control this group is getting over the Democrats is resembling the Dem's claim of control of big oil & big pharma on the Republicans. Kneel & kiss their feet or pay the price.

    Slick move by Obama.

    September 20, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. Common Sense, USA

    This is why I support the man. Just look at the rest of the news on the Ticker. The other candidates are name-calling and wasting time. I genuinely believe Obama is on a different level and is the best candidate for President.

    September 20, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  22. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    You were elected to an office where voting is part of the job. Do it.

    September 20, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. trekks, kansas

    Im a consevative republican who often blogs the 'ticker'. I am from Kansas and I wanted to actually commend Barack briefly for this one. As a few of you have already stated, its yesterdays news and we should Move On from enlightening or glorifing the group with any more attention than what they have already recieved for the ad.
    If I were a democrat, I would vote for this man, however I would be concerned that he is going to find little room for change if elected.
    As far as Cluade and Providence, RIs blog, its really sad that the leftist media has convinced you people that those of us from rural areas are all "red-necked racists". Whenever you hear about the media trying to 'overdramatize' a story about a racial inccident, it wasnt hear in the heartland. Maybe, Providence, RI, these feelings of contempt you have for countryboys, is something you should bring up and discuss with your therapist.

    September 20, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  24. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    I generally like Obama but I'm sorry this was a major cop-out. The people elect you and pay your salary to cast votes, you don't get to chose which legislation is important enough to vote on. Surely even Obama supporters can see through this, he didn't want to vote "no" and anger most of the American people and he didn't want to vote "yes" and risk angering the far left move-on crowd that will finance his campaign and air commericals in his favor. I want to see better leadership from Obama before I'm ready to cast a vote for him.

    September 21, 2007 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  25. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Lance in Monrovia CA

    "I am sick and tired of seeing a handful of rich old pigs feeding at the trough that is the Washington beltway establishment. It's time that we had someone in office for a change that is motivated by action and people rather than money."

    Did it ever cross your mind that some here might be getting sick and tired of seeing your same 14 paragraph long opinion posted on every topic?

    Get a grip man. Don't you see what extensive public coverage is doing to Rudy?

    September 21, 2007 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
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