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. RKS

    Flip flop, flip flop, flip flop......
    Let his true colors shine through!

    McCain 08!

    June 30, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. MikeH

    Perhaps it's a bit too harsh to characterize MoveOn as useful idiots to the Obama campaign, they are the progressive equivalent of Rush Limbaugh, Bill o'Lielly etc, except MoveOn is a bit more accurate.

    That said, some of MoveOn's more excessive statements serve to enflame the rabid right wing, who then shoot themselves in the foot with their over-the-top rhetoric.

    To that end MoveOn helps Obama, but it is tactically wise for Obama to criticize MoveOn for their actions.

    June 30, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Dr. Smart

    A true leader not only has the courage to stand up to his enemies – but also his alies. Obama is a true, honest and brave LEADER!!! This is who America needs people!!!

    OBAMA 08 & 12!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Roger

    Why are life long Democrats and liberal leaning or middle of the road American voters not going to vote for Senator Barack Obama in November, should he become the Democratic Parties nominee? The DNC is selling that Party unity is strong and there are no worries in November because the Democratic Party will be completely united. The agenda driven media will give this much more play then it deserves. We know Senator Obama has already pulled the gender card out and told all these life long Democrats “to just get over it” as if this entire group is only bitter women over the age of 40. Just in case it is bigger then just women and does in fact includes men and others peoples groups such as rural Americans, out comes the tired ole race card yet once again as the only reason why these life long Democrats do not want him as the Party nominee and why they will not vote for him in November of course that would be no more true this time then it has been any other time Obama has used his race card tactic.

    The real whys have to do with the wrongs done by the DNC toward the membership of their own Party and not all the inadequacies of Senator Obama as a Presidential candidate or even fact that the Party is not putting forward the one candidate that everyone since 2006 has agreed is the best candidate and only sure winner to recapture the White House. All these horrible wrongs by the Party leadership are the unifying force for all these groups of Democrats. These same Party leaderships wrongs is the sustaining power to there PUMA style movement’s commitment of defeating Obama and fixing there Party. It is also what is making this movement a growing movement instead of shrinking movement.

    What the DNC and other Party elected leaders do not realize is that this is not just a 2008 Presidential race issue but in reality is a much larger issue and therefore a longer project for the movement. The real issue is the need for re alignment of direction within the Party leadership as a whole. These life long Democrats view this need for re alignment a must happen action, which will most likely mean a change in Party leadership personnel. The pushing forward of the no experience and not near ready yet Obama as the Democratic Parties Presidential nominee is just a symptom of what is really wrong within the Party.

    As these life long Democrats watched their Party leaders on May 31st 2008 in the RBC meeting they felt they were witnessing Animal Farm come to life before there very eyes within their own Party. While many setting in the chairs at that meeting were in some way connected to or even part of the struggle to make the Democratic Party a “we the people” Party. Those very same people now as leaders have moved into the farm house and are behaving like those they struggled against. Once again Party bosses rain like the elite and cut deals in back rooms with indifference to we the people’s voice so that once again not all members are given an equal voice.

    Every Democratic Party leader or elected official should take note that all these long time Democrats have found their voice and will not abandon their Party, even those who have resigned will be back but only as united PUMA’s. The Party must understand they will be back as Democratic Party PUMA’s with a mission that is well thought out and action plans that are well defined to be carried out until there Party has the corrected re alignment once again.

    What this means is that the PUMA style movement will not be over even after Senator Obama’s defeat in November. Other election years as well could be in doubt for any candidate backed by the out of touch Party leadership. How long and painful a process this will be is up to the current Democratic Party leadership. The sooner they get out of the smoke filled back rooms and remember their Party is to be the sentinels of the democratic process of we the people the sooner these long time Democrats will let the PUMA loose in the wild and the Democratic Party will once again capture the White House and stay in control of congress.

    June 30, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. Dem Switching

    Get use to it Mr. Obama.

    June 30, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |








    June 30, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Rick H. Indian Wells, Ca.

    I am a HUGE Obama fan (He is actually a family friend) and I generally agree to his view of "decent" politics. However, after the past 7 years many of us are so angry and disgusted by our government and the GOP slime machine, that we feel we need to fight back without mincing words or worrying about crossing a line. There is too much at stake in this election, probably the most important in modern times. We like that Barack is level headed and is a genuinely decent man, but many of us wish he would play a little less to the middle and support those who are fighting for him and our country. And to respond to so many who think McCain's record is off limits- you are right! He had most of his record sealed from the public and many fellow POW vets are saying he was never tortured (his arms broke during his plane crash) and was actually a traitor. Why else would he have these records sealed and why does he become freakishly defensive whenever asked about the hundreds of pages of sealed information? It is NOT unpatriotic to demand the truth. What is he hiding?! We need to demand his records be open if he wants to be the prez.

    June 30, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Republican for Obama

    Obama verbally denounced the ad soon after it appeared, as did Clinton. He's being consistent with his ORIGINAL denouncement of it now. Get your facts straight before you look like a moron by thinking you suddenly found 'news'. It's old news that he didn't like the ad. To pretend he 'flip-flopped' on this only shows your ignorance.

    He stands by his opinion: It matters not if you support him or not, he will choose better/mature judgement at any cost, as this once again proves. He will choose the high ground before he panders to your vote, get used to it.

    He cites himself as a 'flawed' man in many of his speeches, which I personally feel makes him less flawed then any other candidate in almost a generation.

    Obama '08

    June 30, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Steve

    What a brave statement to criticize a nut-case organization like moveon.org.

    Abomination 08!

    June 30, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Matt, Canoga Park

    Obama you gutless coward. You have the nearve to NOW say what Move On did was wrong. NOW??? You are a coward, a gutless low level bottom feeding coward. You could have stood up against them a year ago. You could have said something, anything to say what they did was wrong. But you were gutless then to stand up against the radicals in your party and are more so now that you do months after the fact.

    What were you afraid of? Them attacking you with the same venom.

    June 30, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. Sherri

    Senator Obama has my trust completely. I admire when he lets supporters know they have crossed a line. That is integrity. It is exactly what a friend does for a friend. Barack Obama is honest, intelligent and thoughtful. Go Obama!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Robbie

    I love moveon.org, but i love a man who speaks the truth more!!

    June 30, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. MIKE

    obama 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. Paul

    United Democrats! Dream on BHO, dream on!!! You are too far left. You are too liberal. You lie. You're just another lousy politician. Come election time, you will have your Obamatrons and no one else. You and your wife have lost patriotic Democrats like myself. Kiss the Whitehouse goodbye.

    June 30, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    it's patriotic NOT to oppose this occupation!!!

    it's UNpatriotic to let this administration get away with everything they've done, they are an insult to our great country!!

    if questioning his patriotism is all the repugs and hate-mongers can come up with, bring it on!!! your ugly hate and greed will be irrelevant after november, and then the REAL americans can get back to rebuilding our country and constitution back to what they were!!! buh-bye, haters!

    June 30, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. jerrysf

    Wow! Wes CLark AND MoveOn under the bus in the same day. He must have a detailed and calculated list tracking exactly when someone has outlived their usefulness.

    Who's next?

    June 30, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Canuck

    Move-on are pathetic gutter snipes. Dems you are stuck with them, enjoy.

    Remember how Clark praised Kerry's military experience as being what is need to be president back in 2004? This pathetic guy needs to shut is cake hole.

    June 30, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. Terry

    Another great speech!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Obama

    June 30, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. Obama 08

    Every person, business, and organization is capable of making: mistakes, errors, and wrong decisions. No matter who they support they are still capable of doing it. Most politicians won't admit that!!! Most politicians will not admit to their mistakes or mistakes by people who support them. Take Bush and both Clintons for example!!! None of them ever admitted that they or their supportors ever made any mistakes, but we all know they did!!!

    Obama is great!!! He admits to mistakes made by him or made by any of his supportors. Obama is the right person to correct all the mistakes made by our past presidents!!! Obama is the right person to correct the mistakes made by the Bush and Clinton Familys!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Carol, Lansing MI

    Here we go with the Swift Boat Vets, with Bud Day.

    “Heroes do not use their medals for personal political gain. As I said they are not theirs to use." (Sic) Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady

    Once again John McCain and Bud Day from the swift boat vets are “seriously collaborating” to use their medals for personal political gain.

    Day used his Medal of Honor to weigh in on the controversy surrounding presidential candidate John Kerry's military service and medals. Day was very critical of Kerry declaring that by bringing up his Vietnam service Kerry had "opened up his character as a war hero" for criticism. Day said, "Kerry's character is not only fair game, it is the primary issue."

    Day has habitably and fragrantly politicized his Medal of Honor. By using its awe-inspiring prestige as authorization to attack the credibility of other POWs, veterans and POW/MIA family members, he has "opened up his character as a war hero" to questions about the award of his Medal of Honor.

    By involving his Medal of Honor in politics and using it as an authority to trash other veterans, Day has "opened up his character as a war hero" for criticism. Day planted the standard for himself when he said that "Kerry's character is not only fair game, it is the primary issue."
    Day's character and the legitimacy of his Medal of Honor "is not only fair game, it is the primary issue."

    Military regulation requires that before the award of a Medal of Honor can be considered, unquestionable proof in the form of eyewitnesses must be provided.

    Day had no witnesses because he was alone. Why was the "eye witnesses" requirement waived for Day?

    Who approved Day for the Medal of Honor and did McCain or his admiral father have anything to do with it?

    John McCain and Bud Day have formed a political tag team to deflect inquiries about McCain's questionable conduct while in captivity. They have cynically used the Medal of Honor as a shield – but in the process they have stained it.

    June 30, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz






    June 30, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. Lynn

    I used to be a member of moveon.org until they chose to endorse a candidate before the primary season was over. I ask for my money back that I sent to them to fight the Republicans not swiftboat one of their own. I didn't get my money back. This whole Democratic primary season was disgusting that is why I am now an Independent. I wonder how they like their candidate now?

    June 30, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. True

    You call this a swipe? The only ones calling Obama Liberal were Republicans, he never tagged himself as a Liberal. Obama fights for what is right according to his values and he's not going to be a Dem. political prostitute.

    June 30, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Tara

    This is truely great leadership. this Man does not pander. As large and influential as moveon.org is Obama will not compromise his morals or positions. Yet John McCain is pandering to any for right wack jobs he can to win, even changing his once very intelligent and moral positions.

    June 30, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Rachel

    hmm, he cant seem throw supporters fast enough... Grandma under the bus check, 2 pastors under the bus check, church under the bus check, wesley clark under the bus check, moveon.org under the bus check, who's next.......who's next Oprah watch your back your ratings are slipping your prime under the bus material.

    June 30, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19