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. RealityKing

    Discrimination is discrimination. Whether is be about race, sex or age..

    June 30, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. jimmy velman

    Sen. John McCain IS qualified to be President and
    Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

    June 30, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. MDB

    Since they closed down the other thread i will post here. For all you 18 year old nugget heads who don't know anything about anything I will give you a real clear 20 year history lesson on General Wesley Clark

    1990- NATO Supreme commander
    1992- Leader NATO forces Bosnia (375,000 dead)
    1992- Leader NATO forces Bosnia, sent NATO forces against Russian forces and almost started WW III
    1993- NATO Commander in charge of peace keeping troops in Rwanda (800,000 dead)
    2000- exact quote in front of the Senate Armed Forces Committee- "I don't see any problem with Taliban forces in Afghanistan" (250,000 and counting, dead).
    2001- quote in front of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, " I don't think Al-Quaeda will be a problem to us in the future"
    500,000 dead, and counting.


    June 30, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. Spirit of America

    Time for progressives in America to move on. Obama is just another phoney politician.

    June 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Peter E

    Somehow I don't recall Obama, or the mainstream media mentioning MoveOn and all its dirty attacks on opponents during the primaries... I also don't recall Obama denouncing that 'General Betray-us' ad WHEN it actually came out... NOW it becomes an 'issue?'

    June 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. corey, NH

    You can't help but admire his ability to demonstrate fairness. CB, I'm sorry you can't see that Obama is supporting you. He is just demonstrating that honesty and fair politics are something we can believe in. Some of us have lost our way.

    June 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. Texas Voter

    Why hasn't McCain distance himself and reject the comment made by Joe Liberman about the terrorist attact?

    June 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Proud American

    Obama a true gentleman and all Leader.

    June 30, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. BH

    Take that moveon.org. Ha ha ha... Obama, your poster boy, is running towards the center.
    I bet Lefties were busy winning the caucuses for this guy and never saw it coming, isn't it?

    June 30, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. Peter E

    And once again Obama, and the main stream media talking about campaign tactics instead of focusing on political issues and candidate records.
    This is a distraction! He could have spent this same effort answering questions about his questionable tax hikes, as well as his ever-changing positions on foreign policy. Now THOSE are issues.

    June 30, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  11. Bob

    Well,,, George Bush began the pattern by calling into question anyone who disagreed with his administration's policies. He branded more folks as unpatriotic than tail gunner Joe of the 50's!

    June 30, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. IndependentGA

    CB....He's not attacking people.... He's attacking their stupidity and childishness. Can't you tell the difference?

    The man said he doesnt want to win by unfairly smearing his opponents. Why can't his supporters respect that?

    Obviously, he refuses to bow down to get support. He's a take it or leave it kind of guy. I don't know rather to take him or leave him. But standing up to his supporters the way he's doing is making things a lot more clear for me.....

    June 30, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. Timothy

    Obama, done a good thing. Obama call correction on Move On.org and of his supporters when they cross the line. NOt Mccain only thing Mccain said of his 577 and his supporters I can'nt control them and dismiss it.

    June 30, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. Peter E

    Recap: During the primaries he never said a word about the ads and tactics employed by MoveOn against his opponents, particularly Clinton. Now he is rubbing up to the Clintons and finally denouncing MoveOn. You make the judgement whether that's truly consistent...

    June 30, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Belle

    No offense Senator Obama, but you sure did not critize MoveOn when they were busy bashing Hillary Clinton!

    Obama=doublespeak once again. Do you stand for anything?

    June 30, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. PS

    Accusations of treason! Knavery! Nay, TRIPLE knavery!!! Obama posture your puissance!

    June 30, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Anita from Arizona

    Huh NOBAMA???

    Don't we already have double digit unemployment and inflation? How is Obama going to bring something to this country that's already here? HELLO!!!!

    and Texas Trail Dog???

    I find your comments especially entertaining. You know, like a blowhard. You have a lot of judgement calls, but no meat to back it up. What's your Pookie Face, McCain done in the 20 years he's been in office beside the Keating 5, which is based on facts. I see the change your talking about. It's not chanage at all. It's more of the same your preaching.

    June 30, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    so now we're attacking obama for having independent thoughts?? he's not allowed to disagree with someone who's on our side???! what's up, democrats, have you forgotten, WE arent the lemmings?? we're the ones who ENCOURAGE thinking for yourself!!!!!

    of course obama is heading toward the center, he's no dummy he knows EXACTLY what he needs to do to get into the white house!!!

    June 30, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Robert Burns

    I'm a member of MoveOn.org, opposed it siding with any presidential candidate, supported Hillary, and now will support Barack. I agree that the shrill hue & cry of "threadbare arguments" is a pollution of political discourse. I also know that he can't be comfortable with a MoveOn.org endorsement in many parts of middle America.

    June 30, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. OBAMA OR DIE.....Washington DC

    Did anyone watch the BET awards last week? All I gotta say is McCain better watch out. SOOOOO many young people look up to these musicians who 100% support Obama. Don't for once think you won't see some of these artist come out and campaign for Obama before November. Did we forget about P Diddys "Vote or Die" campaign?!?

    I'm a 24 year blk women and I have friends from all backgrounds. Everyone I know is voting for Obama.

    McCain is out of touch with youth. He's like my grandfather. Obama has made it easier and more delightful to participate in the political elections. HE DOESN'T HAVE A CHANCE!!!!!!!

    OB '08 🙂

    June 30, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. mike obama

    Now he started wearing the lapel pin. I think one of the veteran told him to wear it to show true patriotism. All the while he was in denial.
    He is a text that will open the eyes of the gullible youth of America, half of them dont know who is their congressman, vice president or secretary of state.
    Audacity of Hope
    I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.
    For photo-op session during one of his events his campaign threw two muslim women wearing scarf under the bus. He is scared that american people will label him a muslim. Is he going to represent all the americans or throw the muslim americans under the bus to win the elections.
    Gullible youths of america beware of blindly following the pied piper. Your future will be dim and you will not know when the rug is pulled from under your feet.

    June 30, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. georgie

    gee, are there anymore people bo can stab in the back? just one more reason to vote McCain!

    June 30, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. jp/michigan

    Don't you just love Obama, little by little he is digging himself a big hole to be buried in! He is the typical politician, when I need you, you get praised, but when I don't need you watch out for the kick! What will it take for the American voter to see Obama for the calculating, backstabbing politician he really is? This is your choice for President, because it surely is mine!

    June 30, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Maxine

    Obama is a honesty and trustworthy man.Obama will make a GREAT President. This country need a change in direction which is a positive thing Obama for change.

    June 30, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  25. Anton

    I had to chuckle when I read the following from the above article "while Obama specifically avoided voting either way on the resolution". Sounds to me that Obama is unwilling to take any kind of position as his "present" votes indicate. Is this what we want in a president?

    June 30, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
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