July 1st, 2008
07:40 AM ET
6 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. Omar

    Moveon.org is too "left-wing" to be effective? Tell me, have "moderate" Democrats been effective in challenging Bush's policies? So-called "moderates" don't even show up for the fight. Right now, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (and Barack Obama) have granted the Bush administration over $400 for covert operations inside Iran; they have voted to expand the government's ability to spy on citizens with a warrant; and they have voted to authorize $162 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – no strings attached.

    July 1, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  2. Ray, Columbus, OH

    Full disclosure: I am not an Obama supporter

    But he was right about not voting. Congress has nothing better to do than "condemn" someone for exercising their right to free speech? And what happens if you're actions are "condemned", they take away your birthday or something?

    We should pick members of Congress with a few monkeys throwing darts at names in the phone book. Couldn't do any worse.

    July 1, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. Sammy

    It's funny. When going through what people say it usually only takes the first 6 words to see if any particular post is nothing more than yelling the same ol things again. Pick a side. They both do it. Sometimes I will actually read one where someone has a thoughtful thing to say,

    Here's my thought: A general has a duty to the wishes of the current administration. Whether he agrees with his orders or not the only two choices are to carry them out or to resign. Fast forward one year if/when Obama is elected. When he tells his generals to start leaving Iraq then they must do so, regardless if they think its a bad idea. If this is the case just wait till these generals are attacked from the right wing as traitors. They will be just as wrong as MoveOn.org was.

    July 1, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. Roberto

    Let's all thank the Republicans for the great work they've done in the last 7.5 years (or the Rep congress of 1994-2006) by sending them down in flames in November. They had their chance and they blew it. They could have accomplished so much but, no, they had to strut their machismo and start an optional war. They had to prove they're the party of fiscal restraint by increasing pork projects by 600%. They had to prove they're the party of family values by getting caught with male pages, prostitutes and men's bathrooms soliciting gay sex.

    Tell them what you think of the job they did. Send them packing for 20 years.

    July 1, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  5. Jon

    MoveOn.org plays a major role in motivating the more extremist branches of the DNC. That said, they do make inappropriate moves, but so do all political groups of all platforms.

    Obama's criticism of one tactic does nothing but indicate once more that he is taking up the reigns as the leader of the DNC. Good for him.

    An aside directed toward Texas Trail Dog: your comment would be a lot more meaningful if you understood the simple difference between "your" and "you're." Can we say "sixth grade grammar?"

    July 1, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. Aliou FL for Obama

    As a would be head of state, It"s a good ting than Obama is not hung up with small stuff.

    July 1, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  7. Nia - Phoenix, AZ

    Don't bite the hand... It wouldn't surprise me if moveon bit back...so now to add to the list we have the GOP taking hit as well as moveon.org etc... well get ready for the battle.

    July 1, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  8. Obama Hater

    Obama is a preacher, period. He belongs in a pulpit, not the White House. He weakens our International appearance and only brings the bling.

    July 1, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  9. Barb in Tn

    Obama is such a phony. He is working thru Clark to fight McCain's claim to having more experience. Then he condemns it but Clark is still working on his campaign. McCain is not only talking about his POW experience but his many years in the Senate. McCain is the one who has actually crossed the isle to work with Dems. Obama has voted 98% of the time with his party during his short time in the US Senate. This is when he has bothered to vote at all. McCain knows how the Congress works alot better than Obama so he knows how to get things done. Change is a nice concept but it takes working within the system to get it started. Obama doesn't have the know how to do this based on his experience.
    Funny how McCain basically refused to comment on Clarks comment except to say that he wasn't going to run that kind of dirty campaign. The guy, Obama, who is supposedly against POLITICS AS USUAL is the one who is playing them as usual. While McCain is not stooping to his level. McCain is keeping his word, Obama is not. Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

    July 1, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  10. MDB

    Ahmadinejad said today they are digging and preparing 350,000 graves for whomever attacks them. Meanwhile, NATO is ready, China is ready, the US is ready and we know Israel is ready................................
    bottom line, Obama is toast. No one except a pure moron is going to elect Obama to protect us from Iran... Game Over!

    July 1, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  11. The truth will set you free!

    It will be an abomination in the eyes of God if Obama gets the presidency. He is so anti American and so utterly liberal it's not even funny. He and those who are behind his candidacy are remaking him all over again with all this patriotism talk.....he is a puppet to those who hate the freedoms of this country and they will use him because he is willing to do what they want to become President. I never thought I would be saying this but Hillary is less scary than B. Hussein Obama. Like sheep to the slaughter all these Obamites are hanging onto this man's every word although he is not saying much of anything. These foolish people would follow this man over a cliff because they are so blind. God forbid this arrogant and vain man called Hussein Obama and his hate filled wife get in office.

    July 1, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  12. Devon Spencer

    Republicans are doing what they do every election and calling the Democratic party's candidate the most liberal person ever, well...
    If Obama is criticizing a highly liberal group who does some dumb things (but definitely does help the Democratic party more than it hurts it) then he is definitely not some die hard liberal. He is clearly showing to us that he will take on all of these stupid political games. The Republicans will do anything they can to destroy Democrats this year because they know they are screwed, and yet they think their old political games they played in 2004 against Kerry will work again. Americans are sick of Republican leadership and that was proven in 2006, special elections in 2008, and will be proven in the general election this year again.

    July 1, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  13. Texas Trail Dog

    OBAMA'S AND HIS LIES ABOUT PATRIOTISM IS RIDICULOUS. HIE'S DOING THE SAME THING HE DID AGAINST HILLARY. HAVE OTHER PEOPLE TO MAKE SARCASTIC REMARKS ABOUT THE OTHER CANDIDATE THEN HE HIMSELF COME OUT THE NEXT DAY TO SAY I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. THIS MAN IS A COWARD UNFIT OF THE HIGHEST OFFICE OF THE LAND. SURELY YOU PEOPLE CAN SEE OBAMA FOR WHAT HE IS. YOU CAN'T SEE A SCAM. FOR ALL THIS TO COME OUT THE DAY BEFORE OBAMA STATES HE IS GOING TO MAKE A SPEECH ON PATRIOTISM HE HAS GEN. CLARK MAKE A STATEMENT THAT McCAIN BEING IN A NAM PRISON CAMP DOES NOT GIVE HIM THE EXPERIENCE TO BE PRESIDENT. WELL I'LL TAKE McCAIN'S PRISON TERM PLUS HIS TWENTY ODD SENATORIAL YEARS AGAINST OBAMA SEVERAL MONTHS AS A SENATOR TO BE WAY MORE QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT THAN OBAMA IS. YOU WANT A MAN SUCH AS McCAIN OR DO YOU WANT A LYING SNAKE, RESKO MONEY TAKER, TERRORIST SUPPORTER, ANTI-WHITES, ANTI-CHRISTIAN, COKE HEAD HOMO OBAMA TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.

    July 1, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  14. Edward Lynn

    There's an old saying that goes, "it may be hard to stand up to your enemies, but it can be even harder to stand up to your friends." Obama is showing that he has the rare courage to do this, and I find it refreshing and encouraging! It's a good sign, too. Because I definately want a president who's not afraid to tell those working under him when they're out of line. Just imagine if the current resident of the White House had shown this kind of courage over the last 7 1/2 years!

    No more of the same, it's time for a change. Sorry, McCain... we're leaving the Bush Leagues, and boarding the Obama train!

    July 1, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  15. Obama 08/12

    Obama or die ......Washington DC/Please don't downgrade your Grandfather but certainly don't include all older generations people in your statement ( I am French ,German /Irish/English I am 78 and I have been for Obama from day one .)
    Down with old politics and move on with the new .
    I read all campaign news of how Obama is doing and it dont take age old or young and all in between to see what has transpired in last 7 1/2 years to this country with Bush /Cheney in Iraq ,all the lives lost / wounded so helping Obama win makes what I have given small change if our brave men and woman don't end up in /Bush /Cheney/mcBush 100 years of war all started by these sleeze bags .
    How could anyone in their right mind vote for McCain and for more of this McBush b ull_ _ _ _

    Obama Yes We Can you are on your way to the Oval Offi e

    July 1, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  16. sc

    GIVE ME A BREAK.
    LIES, LIES
    PHONY PROMISSES. HOW STUPID CAN PEOPLE BE ???

    July 1, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  17. dave

    July 15 everyone wear something Blue to show that we are proud of what Hillary accomplished in the run for presidency and even if you do not support Hillary to show that a women could do anything she wants to do.

    July 1, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  18. Richard, Upper Peninsula MI

    Lynn in NM said "He has to move to the center, as if the electorate is so stupid they won't remember he is one of the most liberal senators we have."
    ______________________________________________________
    The electorate is stupid, how do you think we ended up with 8 years of Bush?

    July 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  19. Filipinos, Latinos, Americanos for Obama

    Obama has always spoken the TRUTH...

    It is only TRUTH that will set free the United States of America...

    Let us choose TRUTH!

    Vote OBAMA for PRESIDENT!!!

    GO Bama GO!!!

    July 1, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  20. Walt, Belton,TX

    When the subject has so many potential and real points to worry about and ponder, then causing doubt and delving into them is worth while. Especially when you consider the future of our great Country and that of our Grandkids is at stake.

    Personally, I have not seen any real evidence that says Obama was not brought up as a muslim and that his book did not say that he would side with the muslims if it came down to a choice. He speaks of his african heritage with pride and denigrates his white heritage. If that is not doubtful as to one's priorities, I don't know what is.

    July 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  21. Stephanie

    To which Moveon.org replied "hey, it's all good, Obama's campaign manager called us earlier on to let us know it's all rhetoric and he has to say these things to get the bitter patriotic religious people on his side, no worries"

    July 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  22. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Dearie me.....In keeping with the message that the good old boy bloggers have made against Hillary when one of her supporters got off message.

    THE SUPPORTERS ONLY ARE FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE SET BY THE CANDIDATE.

    Does this apply to obama also. I mean Hillary was flamed and called names etc because one of her supporters said something that was considered negative to the other party. In that case I think since Hillary was held responsible, because as the good old boy bloggers said she should have kept more control of her campaign workers. Well heck de doo dah,,,how about obama keeping more track of HIS SUPPORTERS...Oh, guess that's ok he's a man and men don't have to live up to the rules they oppose on women.

    July 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  23. BHulion

    What the American people are tired of is politicians (Dems & Reps) who do not take a stand either way. If you want to lead, then do so; if not get out of the way and let those who do, do so. Not voting either way is a coward's way out. Stand up for your convictions and do what is best for all Americans, not just those to whom you pander.

    July 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  24. Chris

    Once again….does word really matter if there is and never will be any actions behind it?…….Obama once again played the role of being above it all, yet he did not speak out against the ad when it ran and avoided to vote the resolution against it. Its a pattern here where he continues to not take any hard stands that may jeopardize his political ambition until public opinion poll dictates one way or another. Folks, hard times comes unexpectely and a better future demands actions today in order to build a foundation for tomorrow. If an Obama presidency is one where no actions is ever taken until after public opinion polls has all be tabulated and summarized.... then what sort of change will we have…..when hindsight acts are often too little too late.

    July 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  25. Matt

    After giving the democrats 2 years of control of Congress, it is obvious they have no idea what they are doing.

    Meanwhile, Obama has chosen to dodge voting on any bill that may be controversial.

    It is obvious that he has no spine.

    More and more people are beginning to realize how big of a mistake it would be to cast a vote for Obama.

    Americans are not stupid, Obama will never be President.

    July 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
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