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. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Unfortunately, I suspect comments like this will not win the respect of the right wing (who don't much care what Obama says), but will incur the wrath of the lefties who will feel like they've been hung out to dry.

    If Obama is going to criticize groups like MoveOn and supporters like Wesley Clark, he'd better speak out against the false outrage of people like John McCain and also name names of right wing groups.

    We don't mind Obama being tough on the left, but he'd better stand up against the right, as well.

    June 30, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    dam, i TOTALLY messed that up, those double negatives get so confusing!

    it is unamerican and unpatriotic to blindly support the vile, greedy regime currently in the white house!

    it is UNpatriotic to support our occupation of iraq that is killing our troops!

    June 30, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. boered1

    You MORONS just because someone endorses a canfdidate and raises money for them does NOT mean that the candidate endorses them. Ovbama has said over and over he does not like this kind of crap that moveon used against Petraus but that does not mean the Congress should waste their time in writing up a bill to say this is not nice, Congress has better things to do, or should have, and THAT is why Obama did not support the bill and THAT is why is feels confident enough to say to a large supporter that he disagrees with them on this subject, slavish following of ANY group is a sign of weakness and one thing Obama has shown is he is not weak! Thank god the liar hillary is gone so we will not have to hear more pandering from her, now when the idiot mccain (who had a gay affair while in Vietnam) loses this election we will see a President who is actually for the PEOPLE not some 527 or PAC or Lobbyist!

    June 30, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. David Illinois

    Roger you have said it better than anyone. The Obama supporters just don't get what really went down here. I have never voted for a Republican and don't want to this time but there is no way I can vote for Obama after this party tried to shove him down our throats.

    June 30, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Closely Watching

    Shirley, to your remark I can only say "?????????????????????". What part of this article even touches upon Michelle Obama Or Hillary Clinton when polish and poise are considered? What a ridiculous statement!
    And to David Illinois I respond that the one candidate that I clearly saw through was Hillary with her mismanaged campaign that spiraled into debt and resulted in multiple firings, her tall tales such as the sniper fire in Bosnia story, her kitchen sink style attacks and her willingness to stoop so low as to accept money from some 12 year old who had to sell his toys to raise it. You my friend are the sap if you still believe that HRC was the better candidate and I may cry in November but you need to wipe your eyes in July. Get over it.

    Obama '08~REAL change we can believe in.

    June 30, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Texas Haley

    This just proves Barack can't be bought (that's supposed to be a good thing, right?) If everyone thought the MoveOn ad was unfair and Barack DIDN'T say anything about it, wouldn't that look just like the political pandering that we all hate so much? It's not like it was even a very direct or harsh comment – it amazes me how usually all these buzz stories created by the media are based on one sentence and we all spend a week freaking out about it. I'd hate it if everyone were constantly picking apart every little thing I said. The guy's not perfect, we all know that, but I still think he's miles ahead of any other candidate as far as integrity and at least the tiniest glimmer of hope for this country, which is something we've been starving for for the last 8 years.

    John McCain may have military experience, and I'm sorry he was in a POW camp, but I don't exactly see how that qualifies him to be president. There's a lot more to running a country than just the military.

    June 30, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. DJ, LA, CA

    All Obama is saying is don't WASTE TIME and taxpayer $ debating a newspaper ad.

    It not a swipe at Move.on as it is a swipe on those type of political attack tactics

    June 30, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Concerned

    As at least one of you has already said, MoveOn.Org is necessary. The ad with the baby, Alex, is brillant. I love that little boy as if he were my child. I wish that I could give him a motherly snuggle. I want Alex and all other babies free from unnecessary wars. A vote for McCain is a vote for more wars.. McCain was a prisioner o war. I believe that he will forever be a "prisioner" of war and war is what he lives and breathes.

    June 30, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. John

    When will McCain denounce swiftboaters and Fox News?

    June 30, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Charlotte

    Obama supporter from Fl. You always hit it on the head. Glad you know what people will think of your candidate before they do. You said it all. Figures, with over 130 votes as present, he would avoid a controversy

    June 30, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Obama Supporter

    Moveon.org isn't any better then the Swift Boat crew the GOP uses...Obama has zero control over who they endorse . The speech he gave today was a man who was speaking from the heart and then for the people still talking trash about Obama. Get over it.

    June 30, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. 2012

    Awww......c'mon, Barry, it's gettin' awful crowded under here! At least get us a bigger bus!

    June 30, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. boered1

    Pchapin June 30th, 2008 6:07 pm ET

    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

    let me put ypou straight HE HAS.. this is ANOTHER BASELESS LIE.. maybe oyu should actually go look at the Congressional Journal.. but then that would take research and you are not one to do that I can see. Now go vote for mccain (or the liar hillary) if you will mccains gay love affair while in Vietnam will hurt him with the evangelicals and hillary already lost so you will be with all the other losers

    June 30, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. David Goldman









    June 30, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Nice. The Senate votes to condemn MoveOn and Obama ducks taking a position again. Looks like he stuck to his IL Senate ways where he voted present 130 times, rather than take a stand. If the guy won't condemn a group that calls a distinguish general a traitor, when will he? Where's the support for the troops we hear about? Empty suit strikes again.

    June 30, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Enlightened Voter

    Hey Paul, my dad's name is Paul and you are just as ignorant and bigoted as he is. You guys are dinosaurs stuck in an archaic way of thinking. BTW 18 million voted for Obama including many republicans so we won't stand alone.

    June 30, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |

    Bam knows how to root out truth and is a friend of truth. He speaks it even when it is unpopular–even when ncessary to a friend–not jsut an adversary. Bam is the kind of person we want as a president and we should be careful to make sure that he is elected in Novemeber! UP WITH BAM!!! DOWN WITH CANEY-CANE!

    June 30, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. dan

    LOL- Yeap- CHANGE–Right! Sound like a sly politician being politically expedient. I wonder how silly MOVEON.org feels now?

    June 30, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. armywifehusbandon3rdtour

    Ok first off All politicians lie and when something isn't going the way they need it to they disregard it or write it off- As for getting out of Iraq not going to happen- let me explain Hiroshima and Nagasaki (didn't spell right) were how long ago and yes we are still in Japan we are still in Korea we are in germany hell we are everywhere that we invaded or fought– If you listen to Obama he never talks about pulling out the civilian contractors over there or leaving the green zone he just talks about pulling out and leaving support if needed now that if needed is like the fine writing that means we will stay there just with less people which puts us at more risk- my husband and friends are over there and they see the positive happening that doesn't get told by the news however what our candidates need to discuss is shortening the length of the tours especially for the army they do the longest tours and what about the other 60% of the army thats boots havent touched iraq or afghanistan? Forget about the nonsense of goin back and forth about the stupid things– its all going to be the same stuff regardless of who becomes president- Obama's integrity is at question he either votes present when controversial or votes for something when it benefits him not for the cause– They are all liars and deceive everyone- but look at it this way all is good cause Bush will be gone very shortly– By the way Obama talks about change so much like he needs to convince himself whats up with that...

    June 30, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. ANGIE

    you cry when obama is weak you cry when he stands up to people or someone this man cant win you obama haters will do everthing you can to make him look bad even when hes doing the right thing well you go obama your gonna be agreat president!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Hispanic For McCain

    Latinos (Hispanic) People are NOT Stupid you know we know better not to vote for a loser like OBAMA!!!!

    June 30, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    John, McCain denounced swiftboaters in 2004. Where were you? Obama waited until MoveOn raised money for him and did get-out-the-vote campaigns. He still wouldn't even denounce them by name. What a hypocrit!

    June 30, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Silence Dogood

    Obama is starting to remind me of a mob boss. I don't know how my enemies get beat up – I am a simple business man. It was an unfortunate accident. Just terrible. Wink, wink.

    June 30, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. frank

    I will follow mccain before obama
    mccain i know will have my back obama just thinks about his back

    June 30, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. Sergeant Will

    i'm a soldier in the US army station in Germany, i have been Deployed 3 time and on my way to my four Deployment i am sick of Deploying and wasting my time i am so happy that Sen Obamama want to with pull the troops out cause we are burned out. Sen Mccain have no idea and is jut like Bush who want our country to pay out taxes Dollars for a useless country.

    June 30, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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