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. Jake, LA, OK

    Had the General been an African American you bet Obama would have been all over Moveon like white on rice.

    September 21, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  2. Pete, Washington

    Time and time again, Barack Obama is right again...

    When are the REST of the politicians going to understand that we want them to take care of AMERICA'S BUSINESS while Congress is in session.

    This petty, unproductive, waste of tax-payers dollars is childish. This was a foolish exercise, just so that members of both parties can try to SCORE some political points...

    Folks, this crap has got to stop. We DID NOT elect you to waste time with this 'Game Playing"....We have so much to do....

    Be like Barack and remember WHY we sent you there....Obama'08

    September 21, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  3. Erik

    Go Obama! That vote was a bunch of nonsense and those who pushed it and voted on it are wasting American tax payers money and ignoring the real issues. I'll be proud to call you my president! Thanks for standing up for the American people! Obama 08!

    September 21, 2007 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  4. Missing the appeal in Las Vegas, NV

    Wow! Did I miss the the mass kool-aid distribution back at the cult compound?? King Obama zombies unite! I hope this love fest lasts through his first year! Let's see your reaction the first time he votes for something you don't favor...OFF WITH HIS HEAD you'll be screaming, no doubt! You people deserve him and loud-mouthed,racist wife!

    September 21, 2007 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  5. Olson Johnson -- Rock Ridge

    Once again, Barack Obama is right.

    It happens so often, it's probably not even news anymore.

    September 21, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  6. Walters, A

    Is really a shameful thing that while soldiers are dying in Iraq with no better options, senators should be struggling to make stupid laws that isn't helping in anyway t this Debate. I now understand how we got stock with this current Dilemma as (president). I think Obama did the right thing not to vote for this kind of Foolishness. This is a democracy and Moveon. org has the Full RIGHT to criticise whoever they think is acting on Behalf of the president than the nation, is left for u to make your own Judgment wether the assessment is true or not. People have a right to disagree without questioning your personal integrity. GEN Pertraus is an honorable man but what should we belief, staying the course because he thinks so or Taking into considerations other reports which speaks contrary to his assessment.
    THIS IS MY SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM GOING BACK TO THE UN AND LOBBY FOR AND INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING FORCE MAKE UP OF A CROSS SECTION OF WORLD NATIONS NOT JUST USA FORCES WHICH ARE NOW MORE OF A TARGET THANK U. WHILE THE US SHOULD PULL OUT GRADUALLY>

    September 21, 2007 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  7. Sam, IA

    People dying from lack of medical care. Money being thrown away to contractors in the guise of homeland security, Our brave soldiers dying in Iraq,Bridges collapsing from lack of care,Roads crumbling from years of patching, and the Republicans set up another of thier famous, meaningless,votes on an AD?
    BULLSEYE Obama. You hit the nail right on the head. Give em hell!!!

    September 21, 2007 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  8. Chip Celina OH

    I really like this guy. I'm one of the deep rural whites that Providence speaks of. Not too sure I'm racist, the only people I don't like are rude, phony, obnoxious, arrogant idiots. It doesn't matter what race or gender or political party they are part of.

    Happy Friday!

    September 21, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  9. Mary, Beaver, PA

    I'm tired of politicians and their stinking self-righteous posturing. Obama is right, we are tired of this game-playing. General Petraeus is a big boy. I hardly think that he is crying himself to sleep at night over what an elitist group of leftists think. This is America, people. MoveOn has a right to their opinion and the newspaper has a right to publish their ad. In this country, our leaders should never be above criticism, even if it is juvenile and undeserved. What a pontificating bunch of sorry hypocrites these Senators are!

    September 21, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    Thank GODDESS a politician spoke WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW. Glad to see at least ONE Democrat has COMMON SENSE.

    September 21, 2007 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  11. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Sen. Obama demonstrated what kind of president he'd make by showing what kind of candidate he is: a cowardly one. MoveOn has promoted and supported him and Sen. John Edwards (who condemned their ad along with the Republicans) FAR more than Sen. Clinton, whom they barely tolerate. Sure, the Senate should have had better things to do than debate their ad, and NO Democrat should have supported putting a condemnation on the agenda much less voting for it. But Sen. Obama, having benefited from MoveOn's advocacy should have stood up for them. At the very least, he should have stabbed them in the front. But no, to continue sucking up their support AND avoid looking like a traitor in REPUBLICAN eyes, he RAN AWAY. Those of you who are supporting the man because you're for "change" - whatever that means - should not be surprised when he runs away from you too.

    September 21, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. Antony, Dallas TX

    Bravo Obama! That is the kind of politics that we need. Again Obama has shown he is above petty politics and the washington game playing. GO OBAMA O8!!

    September 21, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. barney from baltimore

    On the subject of what makes sense and what does not.

    It makes no sense to continue to talk about opposing or not opposing the War in Iraq. The war in Iraq ended. The objective of removing Saddam was accomplished. The objective of establishing a Democratic government and holding elections was accomplished. Participation in those elections was huge.

    If the war were an operation, a bloody operation, and Iraq the patient, the fact is that the operation is over. It was performed and we must move on (no pun intended) from there.

    We are now in the recovery room. Serioius infections are threatening the patient. Doctors are dieing from the infection. What is the proper response?

    What would you do? Leave the room, shut the door, and let the patient die?

    September 21, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    I don't agree with him on this one. As asinine as the Republicans were for pushing this resolution, I think that not voting was a cop out. This was a perfect opportunity to stand up to the hypocrites in the senate who wish to limit free speech when it comes from the liberals but remained mute when Kerry was trashed in the Swiftboat ads.

    September 21, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. Christian, Tampa FL

    The Senate has gone to heck in a handbasket. Blocking all this anti-war legislation as if the Republicans were still in control, and then wasting time by taking up a measure against a newspaper ad.

    Obama is one of the few voices of reason left in our Congress.

    September 21, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Chuck Woolery

    What a surprise – a no vote, how convenient. Wow he really does have his morals in place. Now he can claim victory regardless of the outcome of this latest disgrace, or of moveon's progressive ownership of the democratic party. Way to ride that fence!

    September 21, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. CorruptUsr

    The vote was a completely symbolic vote supporting Gen. David Petraeus. It didn't mention the MoveOn.org hate ad. Do you support Gen. Petraeus, yes or no. Simple.

    The vote was almost unanimous. But Sen. Hillary Clinton, candidate for commander in chief, she voted no. Sen. Barack Obama, who also wants to command the military, didn't show up and Senators Dick Durbin and Carl Levin — big anti-war guys — they voted no. Sen. Harry Reid, the leader of Democrats in the Senate, he also voted no.

    Remember what they were voting on: Do you support Gen. Petraeus, yes or no. Their countrymen were saying sure we support him, why wouldn't you. But MoveOn.org made it clear: Don't you dare, and these Democrats clearly showed where they take their orders from.

    It's shocking really. They had voted to confirm him in his job as commander in Iraq, and yet they couldn't simply say we hope he succeeds and he's a good man. These senators were afraid.

    It was a sad moment. It was a simple thing, and Bush was right when he said these politicians are more afraid of annoying MoveOn than insulting our own military.

    Shamefully, these are the leaders of today's Democratic party. I'm sure Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave.

    September 21, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. RuthieM

    I wholeheartedly applaud Senator Obama on this one! Another great insight. It was a ridiculous and time-wasted voting. OBAMA'08!!!!

    September 21, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. David, Gilbert Arizona

    So, Jack Hudson in Fl.

    Should the Senate debate and vote on every newspaper ad that some might find offensive?

    Besides it isn't slander. It's libel. Slander is oral. Libel is written.

    The Senate vote was stupid. The entire Senate should have gotten up and walked out when the measure was first introduced.

    September 21, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. David, Gilbert Arizona

    So, Jack Hudson in Fl.

    Should the Senate debate and vote on every newspaper ad that some might find offensive?

    Besides it isn't slander. It's libel. Slander is oral. Libel is written.

    The Senate vote was stupid. The entire Senate should have gotten up and walked out when the measure was first introduced.

    September 21, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Once again, Senator Obama shows what leadership is really about. He canceled a scheduled fundraiser in South Carolina and flew back to Washington to debate and vote on the Iraq war resolution. He rightly refused to go along with the absurd vote on the MoveOn ad. He correctly pointed out that this game playing and one-upmanship in the Senate is so tired and divisive. I'm glad he refused to participate.
    Well done Sir...you continue to lead.

    September 21, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Mike Ft Collins , CO

    I didn't see the republicans get upset with the Swift boat adds. They have enough to do without this political statement against free speech.

    Shame on all those democrats that voted for this once again you have shown us your lack of a spine. While I don't personally agree with the Move-On statement and told them so I beleive that they have a right to say it. Democrats should start to think about who they work for because many of us are tired of their not understanding who that is.

    September 21, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Lisa, Ann Arbor, MI

    Obama has my vote!
    He is about ACTION, not just words. He is the real deal, and he WILL bring about change to our political system.

    September 21, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I'm a Republican who will vote with the rest of the country in 08 for Rudy, but I do agree with Obama...in reality...other than his pandering to the left wing with some wacked healthcare plan...he has alot of moderate ideas. We need to have a fisically conservative/socially liberal president...theres only one – and you can't argue that....its Rudy...

    September 21, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Phil Milbrae, Ca

    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.

    September 21, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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