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. Aaron Williams

    He's the protege of Zbigniew Brzeziński. He might look young and fresh but it's business as usual. Every election we line up for our partisan slogans and servile flattery, when we get little to no representation from our government, because they threw us overboard thirty years ago. The two party system is a joke, two sides of the same bought and paid for coin. The false left/right paradigm that big brother and the main stream media bashes into your skull everyday serves no other purpose than to distract and indoctrinate, except CNN lol. We are dancing the congo line off a cliff, and evidently we'll be waving our made in China flags and giving them a standing ovation till the bitter end. Undereducated egos and insecure arrogance are killing this country, and we're within a pen stroke of complete despotism. Period.

    June 30, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  2. Abby

    Move on.org – thought they gave obama Millions of bucks!!!
    Guess yet another group he does not need – he uses people for political gain – then ditches them. Rev. Wright, – remember him??
    What goes around – comes around!

    June 30, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. Glad to be an Independent

    Just because he points out that MoveOn.org does not mean he rejects their support. Obama is pointing out the type of politics he does not like. A true leader stands on principle whether it is friend or foe. Give Obama credit for standing on principle.

    June 30, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. Sweetie

    Our Nation or Obamanation.
    Speech on patriotism, but effectively blocks the voices of democrats in Florida. Hope or Joke. His and the DNC unity is my PUMA.
    Count all the votes, dont play politics with Michigan.or we will speak loud in November.
    Nobama = vote 4 Mc Cain

    June 30, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. Tyrone


    No one can pin anyone down on a situation such as this. Hopefully Sen. Obama will be the next President of the good old U.S.A. but guess what? Do you realize the absolute mess that he will inherit? Please God I would never want to be in the position of the President of the U.S.A in 2009. THE ONLY PERSON WHO WOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THIS POSITION IS SOMEONE WHO IS ANTI-A MERICAN!

    America is in total chaos. I cannot see how they are going to pull themselves out of this MESS. I think that Barack can be the way, but there is so much racism in America today that I doubt they are capable of taking advantage of this opportunity!

    June 30, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  6. Mary

    Now Senator Obama has tossed Move On.org under the bus-after all that organization done for him. Who will be next, the DNC, the suplerdelegates, Bill Clinton? Don't think we can trust that candidate.

    June 30, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. Lisa

    I'm shock people from California are voting for Barack when Hillary clearly won that state.

    June 30, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  8. Pearl

    IMHO, 1) MoveOn has every right to question the veracity of Gen. Petraeus' testimony, and 2) in other news of the day, Gen. Clark's observation was correct: Sen. McCain's military experience does not necessarily translate into the ability to lead as commander-in-chief. I understand that Sen. Obama wants to be POSITIVE, but there also needs to be space for the truth, even when it is uncomfortable.

    June 30, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  9. Rob from TN

    It's amazing to me how people (probably the majority of people reading this blog right now), who have never served a day in combat criticize a man who not only went to war, but was help captive for years! Who are you to question the war record of John McCain...at least he served his country. The only thing Obama serves is his own personal interest. Don't for one minute think Obama is looking after our best interests. What does Obama do to his close family friend, pastor, and mentor for 20 years Rev. Wright: he dumps him when it becomes politically expedient. What does Obama do to moveon.org when it becomes politically expedient: he dumps them. What will he do to you and me when it becomes politically expedient...well I guess you should see the patttern by now.

    June 30, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |


    June 30, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Proud American,



    June 30, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. Henry E. Lowe

    How does a degenerate gambler and womanizer like Bill Bennett get to impugn the character and legitimate questions of a bonafide war hero like Gen. Wesley Clark? Bennett kept throwing around "honorable and character" like he OWNED them Anderson, and YOU let him get away with it. In fact, YOU had this DIShonorable, shady character Bill Bennett on YOUR show perpetrating a FRAUD! Does that reflect on YOUR show's integrity? You doggone right it does!

    June 30, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. yellowdog john

    Clinton voted against a Senate resolution to formally condemn the group, while Obama specifically avoided voting either way on the resolution.

    The gutless wonder!

    I swear to - , the only reason I will be voting for Obama is because of the Supreme Court, That is it.

    They don't call them yellow dogs for nothing.

    June 30, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. ImportedPatriot

    I seem to recollect that when someone opposed George Bush's policies, they were immediately labeled unpatriotic. There's a House Representative from Southern California who opposed the war. I can't remember her full name but I think it is Kathleen Lee or something like that. She was completely villified and called un-American and un-patriotic. It seems, the Republicans are doing it again, thanks to John McCain and his truth seekers, the swift boaters.

    June 30, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. Tomas P

    hello to ERICA and ANDERSON. Dear Anderson, Im so shocked and disgusted with the, racism, bigetry and ignorance, I saw on TV this afternoon, expressed by a "election 2008 " focus group that was questioned , by ANNENBERG PUBLIC POLICY ON C-SPAN.
    It is hard to believe that these people represent, or are representative of most Americans. If they are , then I think i might have to leave this country.
    The 2008 elections are so important, for so many reasons, and it is incredible to believe that their are people, who continue to use race and ethnicity as a deciding factor.
    Grow up America! im disgusted with these old white conservative facist, retrograded minded people.

    June 30, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  16. TerryDo

    Obama is such a con artist. In order to address his own patriotism, he takes a gentle swipe at his home team, MoveOn.org,
    Obama is now pretending he is upset with MoveOn.org’s controversial newspaper ad last fall that attacked the top U.S. general in Iraq, David Petraeus
    He chose his meeting with H.R. Clinton in Unity.
    Then Obama addressed his patriotism in Independence.
    Don’t you find his campaign organizers just a little too much Martha Stewart, in the sense of mixing and matching themes to City?
    I guess when he gives his speech about his Economic policy he will choose Las Vegas.
    And when he gives his speech about his Foreign policy he will choose China Town.
    Then when he gives his speech about his Healthcare he will chose Yellow Medicine County etc..
    It is amusing to watch his “time for silly politics” because he is getting an A+ in that game.

    June 30, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Cameleon

    Who is this Barak Obama. He is like a Cameleon. Will the real Barak Obama please stand up. One week he is Mr. Liberal the next week he is throwing liberals under the bus. When will we know what his agenda for our country is going to be?

    June 30, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. Chico

    HISPANICS FOR MCCAIN... You have it right. We will not support Obama and see our country destroyed. Those of us who settled the Southwest will not vote for the Mullato
    Muselman. We know our History with the Muslim Hordes.

    June 30, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  19. dictator

    we can only think of one thing : a man of character. not a flip-floper such as Mcsame who can easyly call people lousy.

    June 30, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. McCain is a HUGE FAKE



    June 30, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  21. Big AL

    I give Obama credit, and that is what we need in this country. The clowns that we have in the oval office now, have us with no credit around this world and also inside the US. McSane need to stop crying we don't need a cry baby in the oval office. But I'm also getting tried of McSane crying about people qustioning his miltary record, that is a good debate. I'm a vet but do that make me ready to be Commaner in Chief. I can find plenty of Vets on the side of the streets holding up an cardboard sign stating that they will work for food. Are they ready to ne CIC. And to end on an high note. What Gen.Clark said is true, but I see McSane and crooks an't handle the truth. He didn't say anything when him and the crack headed wife of his talking about Obama and his wife love for this country. So please!!!!!!!! Stop Crying....

    June 30, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. Tomas P

    The comments that really disturb me are, in regards to Barrack Obamas race, and the idea discussed in regards to ....the question ... Is the US ready for a black Presedent?

    June 30, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. tj

    CNN never post my messages becayse I am antiObama.
    Obama shows his real colors.
    The is cynical man – without any principles – only crowds of idiots can listen to him wih their open mouthes admiring 'CHANGE' speach.
    He doesn't care about anything – he wants to be elected. Period.
    And for this he 'll betray everything and everybody.
    Good luck you idiots with such great leader – we already had one for 8 years

    June 30, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  24. KJ

    Fools are made, not born.

    All the lefties who have been fooled by Obama are experiencing buyers remorse. The Obamarama has been a media driven illusion.
    Obama is neither qualified or electable. He's flip-flopped on FISA, NAFTA, Public Financing of Campaign, the MOVE-ON ads, etc.......

    It's not too late for the Dems to redeem themselves and choose the best candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama is simply the PRESUMPTIVE candidate at this point. Nothing is official until the late August DNC convention. Bring on a real convention with multiple ballots! A day is an eternity in politics, let the long overdue vetting of Obama finally begin! Here's hoping for a complete political implosion of Barack Obama BEFORE late August!

    June 30, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  25. Miguel

    At least, Barack Obama had the pants to stand up to Moveon.org, unlike McCain who can't stand up to Karl Rove and the Bush Administration, and kissing up to them for Campaign cash.

    Saying John McCain is guaranteed to be a better Commander in Chief in the next Presidential term is like saying that having Phil Jackson as your coach will guarantee you a Championship. It doesn't always work out. The Lakers finished second place this year.

    June 30, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
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