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. Eric

    As long as MoveOn continues to do what they're doing and Obama keeps his distance I'm good. We need MoveOn since the swiftboaters are OFFICIALLY tied to McCain.

    July 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. JB

    This is why I like this guy so much. Take on DailyKos next!

    Although, I would have been happier if he did it earlier. But then he wouldn't have gotten th nod, so, smart, I guess.

    These far left loons have been trying to take over the party. Clearly, with Obama in office that is not a concern.

    These institutions were established to protect Clinton and all his missteps. I guess we don't need them anymore. Thank god. Good by Clintons!! The worst Pres and carpet bagging senator – EVER. Ask the people of NY if they are happy (for the job done) w/ HRC.

    July 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. LOL

    I love how SOOOOO many people say things like they hate BO. But EVERY poll shows him up. Funny, guess the same thing happened when you ALL voted for HRC... YOU LOST. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  4. Vito

    Wow, let me state the obvious here. Moveon.org has supported Obama, but that does not mean that Obama must agree with every tactic they employ. I am a democrat and a liberal, but that does not mean that every decision a liberal organization makes is going to be correct.

    Yes, perhaps Obama said what he said because he is trying to appeal to more centrist voters, but what he said is also in line with what he has been saying all along this campaign. What this shows is that he is sticking to his beliefs about honest, higher minded campaigning, and rejecting gutter politics.

    July 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. NObama

    He is moveon.org's boy and will fall in line. Moveon.org told him to lose the flag pin and he did. He knows who the boss is. Don't worry Mr. Soros.

    July 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Tom, St. Paul

    This is why I LOVE THIS GUY! He clearly sees that the future does not lie with heavy-handed partisan attacks. MoveOn, it's time for you to move on! Why don't you and Rush and Sean go off and fight somewhere so the rest of us can rebuild productive political dialog in this nation.

    July 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. Michelle, PA

    Another day, another mountain out of a molehill from the media. Yawn! Can we please get back to talking about what these two guys are going to do about gas prices, jobs, infrastructure and Iraq? PLEASE???

    July 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. Belle2

    Obama fans do not seem to understand the problem. This is a very small space to explain completely but let try. If taken literally and on face value, Gen Clark's words are rather benign. However, when taken in context with other Obama fans making negative attacks against McCain's military service and his time as a POW and Obama's insistence that he will not attack anyone's patriotism, it takes on a different meaning. We all know when Obama says he will not attack what he really means is "they attacked me." bc

    July 1, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  9. MilCurrent

    Wesley Clark is an arrogant jerk. I'm glad he's supporting the demolibs. I give no credence to anything he says.

    July 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  10. wilfred

    B.O. new name should be FLIPPER

    July 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  11. FL.voter

    I thought his virtue was his judgment?? Hejudged wrong again? Hard for me to believe? Not BO?

    McCain 08'

    July 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  12. proud army and navy mom

    this article title is deceiving and you are better than this cnn. at no time, in his statements, did he mention moveon.org.

    he was talking about anyone who uses these kinds of tactics. it is so pitiful that because this man has honor and dignity, that people do their best to try to tear him down.

    we faint from the sheer unfairness of this current system, but we rail against any change that is trying to made. no wonder people from other countries view us in such a negative light. we must seem like a bunch of loud-mouthed hypocrites!

    July 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  13. Will, in Richmond, VA

    Look, problems with politics are on both sides of the fence. Conservatives and Liberals have been really nasty to each other, using sound bites and hyperbole to be effective with very little focus on real facts.

    We DO need to move away from this. Obama has to hold his supporters in check too.

    July 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  14. NC voter

    Hey! MoveOn.org! Once you're there give a high 5 to Rev Wright, Obama's grandma and whole gang he's thrown under that bus!

    July 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  15. Frank

    If you just look at the past few years......the specific voting actions and rhetoric (we are losing the war) then the term 'unpatriotic' does indeed fit, most, if not all, of the Democrats!

    July 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Pat


    "He did have a big misstep though in my opinion… with Gen. Clark… He shouldn't have apologized and rejected his comments. McCain keeps trying to cram his POW status as experience while constantly bashing Obama for not having any experience. Clark was dead on.. there was no apology needed… Obama should have stood up for Clark on that one and asked McCain for a real response.. not a "that's not fair" stamping his little feet response."

    I completely agree with your comments on Gen. Wesley Clark. Obama needs to stop apologizing when one of his supporters speaks the truth. Prisoner of war does not equate to military experience, especially a prisoner of war who capitulated to the enemy.

    July 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |


    So much for new politics...

    How do so many people fit under one bus???

    July 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  18. Jon

    Obama's speech is pure desperate rhetoric if you look at the anti-American positions taken by Democrats. Shame on you and the Democrats who want to make this country less FREE!

    July 1, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. Phil Proud Republic from MA

    Obama youre a loser

    July 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |

    I don't care about Moveon or the Clintons. Barack Obama is letting valuable time get away while John McCain is talking about issues of trade, energy, oil, etc. Barack Obama needs to start talking issues and stop wasting time answering nonsense topics. He is losing voters because they don't hear him talking about issues. If the Clintons weren't self-serving they would have backed him the day after Hillary conceded, can we be adults!!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. benjamin

    good for you obama - glad you aren't just playing partisanship like all the others....

    and good job handling wes clark's comments as well.

    i honour a dem who doesn't just applaud everything that every other dem has to say.

    July 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  22. mad liberal

    Dont make the LIBERALS mad Obama. They are all you have!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. Matt

    Guns don't suicide people, people suicide people

    July 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. Charles

    Obama bites the bourgeois liberal hand that fed him-like we didn't see that coming!

    July 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Really

    Either you are with us or your an enemy. Get on the Barrack bus or get run over. We are about change and if you don't like it then you are against the children, the planet, your country. If you are not a Barrack supporter by now than you are racists.

    Change you can believe in. Not sure what change he is talking about and he does not have any record of making drastic changes but if he says it, it must be true.

    Oh yes we can destroy the country from within. Oh yes we can.

    Obama/Jimmy Carter '08.

    July 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
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