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. NObama

    Dear Jan,

    If elected, Obama will NOT bring the troops home. You'll see.

    June 30, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. David

    Obama at the time refused to vote to condemn the issue. In September he refused to vote to condemn Moveon.org when he needed them in the primary. Now he flip flops when he doesn't need them. This is not leadership. The headline should be how he flip flopped for political convenience. His word means nothing.

    June 30, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Obama/Kathleen Sebelius '08

    June 30, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. P, CA

    I agree with Obama on this. That ad was more than a little messed up.

    I'd love to create an invention that would turn every hateful thought/word/action/blog post into intense physical pain on the part of the hater. It seems like some of you are zealous enough that you'd probably fight through the "shock collar" just to type "Obama's an idiot empty suit racist" and then die curled up on the floor...

    Is it all really worth it? Seriously. Take a look inside yourself and at the hate you're spitting all over the place. See if you really get joy from antagonizing people so much. If you do, you're sick and need to be in a mental hospital. 'Nuff said.

    Thank you for posting this, CNN.

    June 30, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    John McCain called Vietnamese ""gooks" . I hope he doesn't use that language in the white house.

    June 30, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. Sadie

    MoveOn has been having countless fundraisers in his honor (I get emails from the organization at least once a week touting bake sales for change and the like), so I can't help but be bothered by this. Don't let us down, Obama, many of your supporters AGREE with MoveOn about Gen. Petraeus (my family still calls him General Betray Us).

    June 30, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. EDW

    Although it makes me flinch that he would critisize Moveon.org, I can understand that he must make a stand to not tolerate this mess. They don't always put out good reports on people and they can be a loose cannon for his campaign.

    June 30, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Jaime in Texas

    Obama should have spoken out during the primary season, but he used MoveOn to get the nomination and now he speaks out against them.

    June 30, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Jay

    MoveOn.org should move on. Same old politics supporting the same politicians. Obama is a man of his word. He never speaks against another politician; he gets someone else to do that. Is it any wonder his "judgement" is flawless. This guy is as dangerous as Michelle.

    June 30, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Tjaye in LA

    So, if he doesn't speak against controversial people who back him, then you people call him untrustworthy and if he does speak against controversial people who back him then you people call him untrustworthy.

    Isn't it funny how flexible people can be when their goal is to be inflexible and unsupportive regardless of what he does?

    June 30, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. txgtrfrk

    I wonder how Vince Foster would have felt about Hillary being Prez?

    June 30, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. jared

    keep your friends close and your enimines closer.

    June 30, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Gene

    To Gary:

    his comment : "SEEMS THE TRUE COLORS ARE SHOWING ON O.B. HE NOW TRASHES AN ORG. THAT BACKED HIM THROUGH HIS EARLY PRIMARIES. TIME WILL TELL"

    Personally.. I think it's great that Obama has the balls to stand up to both his supporters and his opponents. If his supporters start going negative, he puts them in their place... the sign of a true leader.

    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.

    June 30, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. California Voter

    Obama is now moving toward the center now that the primaries are over. Moveon.org is speaks to his primary side and now he needs to win over the middle. He is no different than any other politician in trying to appeal to whoever's votes he's after. Apparently, he feels, and maybe with some justification, that his loyal voters won't care about this shifts from left to center. Guess the new politics and change is just like the old politics in Washington. Oh well, you get what you pay for.

    June 30, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. M.S. Indiana

    NObama and you will do McCain;s bidding, loose your job, take your health care if you have any, let you suffer while China rises.. But at least he will put you in a war in iraq

    June 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Vote?

    These people are paid to VOTE! if you think he decided not to vote because it was political pandering your crazy. If that was the case why didn't he do what hes paid to do and stand up on the floor and say so. he did not vote because it might have been not a politically sound move. or he was playing golf perhaps!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Dee

    I agree Chicago,

    I've heard stern criticism coming from Barack addressed to African Americans before. It doesn't mean he's turning his back on the African American community. I think that is Barrack's MO. He likes to let people know he's appreciative of them, but he'll call them out if he thinks he needs too. He also doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. He calls his own canidacy flawed (i.e. in many of his speeches). I like Barack, unlike John McCain or other politicians who will always try to agree with their supporters no matter what stance their supporters take on issues. Barack is real.

    June 30, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. CHANGE

    Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton denounced the MoveOn.org ad against General Petraeus when it first appeared. Obama's criticism today is not something new.

    I wish his haters would be intelligent enough to get their facts straight even 10% of the time.

    OBAMA '08
    YES WE CAN!

    June 30, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Cynthia - Arkansas

    He also went on to say that the dissidents, who speak out against the government are the true patriots. As a member of MoveOn.org, I thought he was talking about me. We stood up against the war and were labeled unpartriotic. We spoke out about Bush, at a time when everyone else would go balistic if you said Bush was bad news. MoveOn has always been protrayed as some kind of well-oiled political machine. It's just common people, speaking out on issues they believe in. The Pertraeus ad may have gone too far, it sure gave Fox Noise something to howl about.

    June 30, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Vietnam Vet

    People that overreact on one issue Barack expresses an opinion on just need to realize that he's not turning his back on them. Move on people!

    Jan: QUIT WHINING ABOUT HILLARY! It's over. MOVE ON! It will take some time to remove the military from IRAQ. I don't have any illusion that you just pul them all out and that's it. However, you have to start somewhere, which McCain isn't willing to do.

    June 30, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Hannah

    I don't see him as "trashing" Move On. He is just trying to keep them honest. I am extremely liberal as well, but I do find that Move On can be a bit of an annoyance.

    June 30, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Texas Trail Dog

    Look Obama give it UP. Your no patriot. Everone who with the sense God gave a goose knows what kind of corrupt individual you are. YOU DO THINGS AT ONE TIME THEN YOU COME BACK LATER TO SAY I DIDN'T DO THEM. THEN YOU SAY THINGS THEN COME BACK LATER AND SAY OH YEAH I REMEMBER THAT BUT I DIDN'T NECESSARILY BELIEVE IT. NOW YOU EVEN TRIED TO DENY YOU SIGNED A BILL ON WHEN IS LIFE AND WHEN THERE IS NOT LIFE. YOU SAID IT WAS ALRIGHT TO GO AHEAD AND DISCARD A FETUS EVEN THOUGH THE FETUS SHOWED LIFE. WHAT KIND OF AND IDIOT DO YOU TAKE US FOR? AND WHAT KIND OF A SCOUNDREL ARE YOU.? JUST HOW LOW WILL YOU GO TO GAIN THE OVAL OFFICE? I SHUDDER AT THE THOUGHT OF YOU TRYING TO LEAD US DURING THESE TROUBLING TIMES. AND YOU OBAMA SUPPORTERS PLEASE TAKE AN ENGLISH COURSE. LEARN HOW TO SPELL SO YOU WRITE A COMMENT THAT IS READABLE. QUIT WRITING LIKE YOU TALK. YOU CAN'T ALL TALK AT ONCE.

    June 30, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Keith R.

    Maybe he attacked their tactics, but that's not to say they can't change and still be valuable.

    June 30, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Pchapin

    And to think so many thought Obama was so different & a choice for change. He is just another politician that hasn't authored or co-authored one bill since he has been a US senator. Yet having said that he's better then McCain, but we Dems. would have been better off with Hillary. At least we knew what she was about & she would have brought change too.

    June 30, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Michael Templer

    back to the McCain service record

    I think the media is putting his service in the wrong category

    his military experience doesn't qualify him to be Commander n Chief

    it qualifies him by underscoring his character and determination.

    It does though qualify him to understand what is going on

    on the ground and can address those military concerns

    but truly if there is a Commander n Chief test

    the list

    Washington
    Grant
    Eisenhower

    that's the list unless there is another flag officer i am missing

    I want to put Teddy Roosevelt but not quite their

    I do think if you have the experience it helps in terms of the mind set and how far you can push the military.

    But Remember Lincoln and FDR didn't have any military experience

    how did that workout

    as for attacking McCain like well before 2004

    i would say it was stupid

    but ask how stupid the American people were to believe the Swift boaters about John Kerry vs 2 guys whom avoided Vietnam

    June 30, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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