July 1st, 2008
07:40 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama takes swipe at MoveOn

Obama criticized MoveOn.org over its controversial ad.

Obama criticized MoveOn.org over its controversial ad.

(CNN) - Barack Obama on Monday seemed to take a direct swipe at MoveOn.org, the powerful liberal group which endorsed the Illinois senator's candidacy earlier this year and was at times instrumental to his organization in several key battleground states.

In a speech designed to combat charges he lacks patriotism, Obama sharply condemned organizations that use "these old, threadbare arguments" to level criticisms and specifically pointed to MoveOn.org's controversial newspaper ad last fall that attacked the top U.S. general in Iraq, David Petraeus.

Watch: Obama talks patriotism

"All too often our politics still seems trapped in these old, threadbare arguments – a fact most evident during our recent debates about the war in Iraq, when those who opposed administration policy were tagged by some as unpatriotic, and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal," Obama said.

MoveOn has not responded to Obama's comments.

The full page ad was published in the New York Times to coincide with Petraeus' appearance on the Hill last September to brief Congress on the progress in Iraq. Under a picture of Petraeus, a banner read, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

Watch: New York Times takes heat for ad

The ad went on to allege the general was "cooking the books for the White House," and intentionally painting a rosy picture of the conditions on the ground.

Despite pressure from Republicans, neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama formally repudiated the group for the ad, though both expressed criticisms. Clinton voted against a Senate resolution to formally condemn the group, while Obama specifically avoided voting either way on the resolution.

"The notion that we're wasting time debating about a newspaper ad, makes no sense," he said then. "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."

MoveOn.org, which endorsed Obama shortly before the crucial Febuary 5 round of primaries, boasts more than 3 million members and has since conducted large-scale get-out-the-vote efforts and fundraising on the Illinois senator's behalf.

soundoff (465 Responses)
  1. Dwayne L, OH

    I wouldn't even have responded to it myself. When you do, you give them a stick to beat you with.

    June 30, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. Mark

    That's a nice one Kim Taylor – Libs aren't the lemmings? You believe anything the media tells you. Conservatives are the ones founded on individualism and individual responsibility. Libs want the government to instruct and take care of them in everything. If you guys really think for yourselves, how come none of you have stopped and thought "wait a minute – our country's going bankrupt. We can't afford all of these social programs until we get our financial house in order. Washington should stop spending!" How 'bout "Huh – the scientific jury seems to still be out on man-made global warming, with more scientists challenging it all the time. Maybe Al Gore's 90 minute little slideshow doesn't encapsulate everything everybody has to say about this infinitely complex issue, so we should look into this before we throw the baby out with the bathwater." What about this one: "Alternative sources of energy must be found, but we're nowhere near the point where they're economical or practical. Until then, we should tap our own resources here with clean resource exploration and nuclear power so we don't cripple and even destroy the economies of our nation and our world. Surely there's a way to do this to make both sides happy." Until you show me an honest Lib who is actually willing to wake up to these facts rather than swallow what the politicians want to sell you, I'll never believe you think for yourselves about anything.

    June 30, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Really I Mean Really

    He never said anything about Move on.org. Maybe I was watching a different speech. please let's not make up news to keep me on the blogs. This will be the last post I make I can't take anymore of the Media information Crap. I'll just wait until Novemebr and cast my Vote for Obama. You guys have a great time. I'm going out and live my life.

    June 30, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. PUMA = Republican

    What is this with throwing people under the bus thing? For all the crap people spew, you would hope that some people that believe its true would've done the research to see if its true. First of all, when did he throw his grandmother under the bus? All he ever said was for her GENERATION she was a typical person. As much as she loved him and cared for him, she still had some of her prejudices. He said he still loved her, but she could sometimes say things that bothered him. How is that throwing her under the bus? How many people, morals, values has McCain thrown off the straight crap express? No candidate is perfect so stop with this jumping on every little thing, CAN WE HAVE REAL NEWS PLEASE?

    June 30, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    Typical of Greedy Tot. He specifically avoids casting a vote either way regarding MoveOn.org, but attacks the hand that feeds him on nationwide tv so he won't look too "liberal." At least Hillary Clinton has the guts to say what she believes. Watch BO squirm when he has to explain why he's still in Iraq after a year or so. What an empty suit!

    Well, when you can get him to take a position on anything, you can bet he be as liberal as they come. Can't wait to see what he does with The Dept of Ed and HUD, particularly HUD. We'll see lots more money for testing and housing bailouts, you can bet on that.

    He'll need more than 25 American flags to get me to believe him!

    June 30, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  6. Independant Thinker

    Obama is using these cronies to do his dirty work and then he makes statements like these just to make him look like hi\e is above it all.

    Just another set of lies!!!!

    June 30, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. MoveOn

    Which Obama are we talking about here? The current Obama or the one in the primary?

    I would like to know how Obama's church received 15 million to support a bigot preacher he calls a friend he couldn't disavow until he politically had to. Must be nice to grease your preacher so he can afford a multimillion dollar home. Of course, it was politically convenient to have this relationship.

    Then Obama's has Wesley Clark do his dirty work so he can look like he is squeeky clean.

    We do need change. Support someone who has integrity:

    McCain 08-12.

    June 30, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. Raf

    Wow.... I didn't know he avoided voting on the moveon.org ad. Does he take a firm stand on any issue? If you are going to be a strong leader, you have to take a stand. Wow...

    June 30, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Michael Ray Thompson

    Barak and his army of liberals have lied so much they don't know where they stand on the issues. He's adopted the Democratic Party's policy of denie anything that you've done or believe that makes you look bad. Lying comes naturally to the Democratic Party's machine. "American public, don't be fooled:

    June 30, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. Independant Thinker

    Hey Anita from Arizona

    No we don't have double digit unemployment and inflation.

    Unemployment is currently at 5.5% one of the lowest rates in the past 20 years.

    The inflation is currently 4.18%

    Nieither figure is anywhere near double digits, even if you add them together.

    Another Obama sheeple that doesn"t have a clue.

    June 30, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. sad

    Plain and simple. The more I hear and see him in action the less I trust him.

    June 30, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. Neil from Eagan

    As a young man, John McCain spent time in North Viet Nam as a POW being tortured for our country.

    As a young man, Barack Hussein Obama spent time on the streets of Chicago doing drugs. (Read his book).

    Who would make a better President of the United States of America?

    June 30, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  13. JG from MA-Obamabot and proud of it

    Think what you would have said had he not stood up to them. Take, for example, the whole Rev Wright thing. Obama is now accused of throwing him under the bus. But what if he had said "Wright is Right, God damm america, etc. "?

    Some of you just don't want to try to like the guy.

    Obama/Democrats '08

    Clinton/Democrats '16

    Sincerely yours,
    The future

    June 30, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. NannieTurner

    If McCain had been president ,this war in Iraq would have been long over.He,along with Senator Joe Biden made many trips over there and would appear on the sunday morning shows.Senator McCain and Biden both called on Bush to send more troops to gain control in Iraq,even before things got completely out of control.Did Idiot boy listen,and act accordingly?Of course not.His only answer was that the generals told him that they didnt need more troops.Senator Mccain is an honorable and decent man.I have never ever voted Republican in all my seventy five years.In November I will cast my vote for the honorable Senator John Mccain for my president.He has served the citizens of Arizona for many,many years.If he was not doing a good job these citizens would not have continued to vote for him to stay.That is proof enough that he is a man of honor and sterling character.I appreciate his service to my country.Those who seek to demean his sacrifice and patriotism are cowards and worse.I will work day and night and do everything I can to see him elected to the presidency.Obama is not worthy to stoop down and wipe John McCain's shoes.

    June 30, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  15. RI

    I find it disgusting that a person running for the President of the US has to prove his or her patriotism to their country. Is it because he is not white? Are people of minority background not patriotic? Do they not join the military in larger numbers than their counterparts? Is it not their right to feel either good about their government or criticize it? It makes me feel like minorities are not considered as US citizens and should be just happy with the fact that we are accepted as citizens of the USA !!

    June 30, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. Bean Counter, Motor City, MI

    I guess this is the beginning of Mr. Obama's sprint to the middle ground... typical politician.

    June 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  17. mj

    I don't understand why you must support every single thing that someone who supports you does. I think Obama is great but I don't like every issue that he supports. I like McCain but I won't vote for him even though I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Just because we support someone, doesn't mean we have to be a puppet and perform for them just the way they wish. Obama has shown that he can appreciate the support of Moveon but he doesn't have to like every single thing they do and that, in my opinion, shows that he isn't "owned" by them. I'm amazed at some of the responses here–the lack of debth about the issues. We have a man running for president who speaks out against something that he doesn't like, even if that is something that comes from a supporter–why is this so bad? We don't all have to think the same way!

    June 30, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. brewme

    I happen to think my grandfather would make a terrific president. There is no subistute for experience. This Obama character has no idea how to run this country nor should he have the chance. He is a great orator but lacks any substance.

    The truth will come out about Obama. Mark my word.

    June 30, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. Bayousara

    I used to donate to MoveOn.com. I quit when they endorsed Obama over Hillary.

    I was hoping MoveOn would remain neutral within the Democratic party, but they didn't and lost my support.

    I voted as a Dem and am now a card-carrying Independent.

    June 30, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  20. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    If you listen the tape, you do not hear Obama, mention any certain person/persons in this. I do not know how MoveOn.org was included in this, unless there are two tapes

    Explain CNN

    June 30, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Josh from Tampa, FL

    CNN, the link to this article states "Obama Scolds A Supporter" and is misleading. It creates unnecessary drama. It really should read "Obama shuns Moveon.org" or "Obama Scolds a Far-left and Annoying Organization."

    June 30, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. King in MO

    Funny how Obama is hit for not being strong or having integrity. He stands on principle in this speech and tells America how he feels. He tells democratic 527s to stop the BS and not even a peep from them. That is absolute leadership people.

    John McCain condemns his party's 527s and they give him the finger. They do what they want to do and he just says " I can't control them". That is an absolute disaster waiting to happen.

    Obama/Webb Change and Leadership we can believe in.

    June 30, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. OZ gal


    June 30, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. lexel

    Mr. Obama's consistency in dealing with issues and being vocal with his opinions or thoughts regardless if it is his supporter or not is a commendable quality. It implies a security of equality and fairness among the American people during his term if he becomes the president. Accusation of flip flopping or turning his back on his supporters is of slim chance as he only has one opinion of the issue and MoveOn.Org has chosen because of straight talks and the "time to move on" beyond President Bush's term

    June 30, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |

    Obama doesn't see things as always black or white (no pun intended) Most things in life are not. One can aprove off many things in an organization, party, canidate (even spouse or child) and still find some problems in the mix. Just because some ne or organization supports you dosn't mean you are beholding to all they say or believe. He is pragmatic not ideological. This is what will keep him eclectic ,able to cross the isle, and flexible when need be. Dogmatics and people who think everthing is universal are dangerous.

    June 30, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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