(CNN) - MoveOn.org, the liberal political action committee that claims over 3 million members, endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid Friday - the first time the group has made a primary endorsement.
The endorsement came after the group allowed its members to vote over the last two days on either Obama or rival Hillary Clinton. Obama overwhelmingly beat the New York Democrat, 70 percent to 30 percent.
“Our members’ endorsement of Sen. Obama is a clear call for a new America at this critical moment in history," MoveOn.org's Executive Director Eli Pariser said. "Seven years of the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration have left the country desperate for change. We need a president who will bring to bear the strong leadership and vision required to end the war in Iraq, provide health care to every American, deal with our climate crisis, and restore America’s standing in the world."
The group says it has 1.7 million members across the 22 states set to weigh in on Super Tuesday, and it is now actively recruiting volunteers on Obama's behalf. It also boast an impressive Get out the Vote campaign - in 2006 its members made 7 million calls on behalf of Democratic candidates.
"We’ll be able to immediately jump into action in support of Sen. Obama’s candidacy," Pariser said. "We’ve learned that the key to achieving change in Washington without compromising core values is having a galvanized electorate to back you up. And Barack Obama has our members ‘fired up and ready to go’ on that front."
The group previously made waves last September when it ran a full-page ad in the New York Times that asked of the top U.S. General in Iraq, "Gen. Petraeus Gen. "Betray Us?" The ad immediately drew outrage from members of both parties.
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee accused former President Bill Clinton Friday of engaging in “political payback,” after he condemned Republicans earlier this week for criticizing MoveOn.org’s pointed attack on Gen. David Petraeus.
"Why are the Clintons so invested in defending MoveOn.org?" RNC Chairman Mike Duncan asks in an e-mail fundraising solicitation "Well, remember what MoveOn.org's original purpose was? It was founded to attack any Republican who dared stand against the Clinton machine during the former President's impeachment and trial in the Senate for perjury and obstruction of justice."
"Not many people, even Democrats, dared to defend MoveOn.org in the wake of its attack on General Petraeus," Duncan added. "But if Bill and Hillary Clinton understand anything, it's political payback."
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper Wednesday, the former president said Republicans who condemned MoveOn.org for their recent ad in The New York Times attacking Petraeus are "disingenuous." He also highlighted a string of past questionable campaign commercials targeting Democrats, and suggested Republicans are acting hypocritically.
"These are the people that ran a television ad in Georgia with [former Sen.] Max Cleland — who lost half his body in Vietnam — in the same ad with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein,” Clinton said. “That's what the Republicans did. And the person that rode to the Senate on that ad was there voting to condemn the Democrats over the Petraeus ad.
"I mean, these are the people that funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And the president appointed one of the principal founders of the Swift Boat ads to be an ambassador," he continued. "But they're really upset about Petraeus. But it was okay to question [Massachusetts Sen.] John Kerry's patriotism on a blatantly dishonest play that had dishonest claims by people that didn't know what they were talking about."
A Moveon.org ad about Petraeus in the New York Times has generated a great deal of controversy.
(CNN) - The New York Times' public editor Sunday became the latest public figure to slam the paper over a controversial ad by MoveOn.org that criticized Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Iraq.
Clark Hoyt, who analyzes the paper's coverage as the "readers' representative," wrote, "I think the ad violated The Times's own written standards, and the paper now says that the advertiser got a price break it was not entitled to."
The group, Hoyt wrote, paid $64,575, which is the paper's "standby" rate - meaning it cannot guarantee placement on a certain day. The group wanted it to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus testified to Congress about the state of affairs in Iraq, and it did, meaning MoveOn should have paid $142,083, he wrote.
In response, MoveOn announced that it was never told of the error, but that it will retroactively pay the higher rate - even though it believes the higher figure "is above the market rate paid by most" organizations.
The liberal advocacy group challenged former New York mayor and current Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani - who paid the same lower rate for his response ad - to follow its lead.
The Times said it had erred. Spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said the paper's earlier insistence that MoveOn had paid the standard rate was incorrect. "We do not, however, determine rates based on the political content of ads, and Times Company personnel did not review this ad until after the rate was accepted," she said. "Nonetheless, we made an error and were slow to respond when asked about it. We apologize."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - One day after the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution condemning MoveOn.org’s “General Betray Us” ad and President Bush offered his own harsh condemnation of the group, the liberal advocacy organization said it is being flooded with messages of support from members of the U.S. military and their families.
And as of midnight on Thursday, MoveOn also said it had raised $500,000 from 12,000 individuals to support a new ad its running criticizing Republicans who blocked an effort to give U.S. troops more time between deployments to the Middle East.
“These folks have made sacrifices many of can’t imagine,” the organization stated in a news release. “Their charge to us was clear: keep speaking the truth about how President Bush and the Republicans have betrayed our trust.”
MoveOn has been a hot topic of conversation ever since it published an ad in The New York Times questioning the credibility of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Senator Barack Obama, D-Illinois
(CNN)—Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama said Thursday, "I happen to believe that General (David) Petraeus has served this country honorably." But he also said he did not cast a vote in the Senate on Thursday condemning an ad from MoveOn.org that attacked Petraeus, because he thought it was a distraction.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, Obama said the Congress could better spend its time figuring out ways to care for returning veterans, and making education more affordable for American families. "The notion that we're wasting time debating about a newspaper ad, makes no sense," the senator from Illinois said. "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."
Twenty Democrats in the Senate joined the Republicans in the 72-25 vote that officially repudiates the group's ad. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, also voted for the measure, sponsored by Texas Republican John Cornyn.
Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, also a candidate for the Democratic nomination, voted against the measure. She has been criticized by several Republican presidential candidates for not distancing herself from the ad.
Obama was introduced by former NBA star Dominique Wilkins, and the musician Usher at his rally Thursday.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Clinton voted against a Senate measure Thursday that condemns MoveOn.org.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate overwhelmingly voted to formally condemn the liberal organization MoveOn.org Thursday for its recent publication of an ad questioning the credibility of the top commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus.
Twenty Democrats joined the Republicans in the 72-25 vote that officially repudiates the group's ad. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, also voted for the measure, sponsored by Texas Republican John Cornyn. (Related: Bush: MoveOn.org ad on Petraeus 'disgusting')
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, who has been criticized by several Republican presidential rivals for not formally distancing herself from the organization, voted against the measure.
As for the other 2008 Senate Democratic hopefuls, Chris Dodd of Connecticut voted against the measure while Barack Obama ofIllinois and Joe Biden of Delaware did not vote.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan issued a statement highly critical of both Clinton and Obama shortly after the votes were cast.
“Senators Clinton and Obama need to decide whether they’re running for America, or running for MoveOn.org," he said. "If Clinton and Obama cannot bring themselves to take a stand against a vicious attack on the man leading our forces in Iraq, why should American voters believe they are capable of demonstrating the leadership we need in a Commander in Chief?”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was also highly critical of Clinton, saying in a statement her vote raises questions over whether she would be a "credible commander-in-chief."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush on Thursday slammed last week's advertisement from an anti-war group that criticized the top military commander in Iraq and upbraided Democrats, saying they were skittish about criticizing the group.
Bush, at a press conference at the White House, was asked about his reaction to MoveOn.org's ad in The New York Times that "mocked" Gen. David Petraeus as Gen. "Betray Us."
The president called the advertisement "disgusting." The group and other war critics have accused Petraeus and the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" to make it seem that military success is being achieved in Iraq.
Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, in reports to Congress last week, said they believe the U.S. troop increase, or "surge," has had successes, an assertion questioned by war critics.
A new Giuliani ad says the former New York City mayor is MoveOn.org's "worst nightmare."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org announced Tuesday it is expanding its Iowa television ad attacking GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani to national cable, a move that follows the former New York City mayor's release of a radio ad blasting the group and calling himself its "worst nightmare."
The MoveOn ad, which began airing in Iowa Monday, slams Giuliani for leaving the bipartisan Iraq Study Group after two months. The ad argues that he “has always been a big fan of George Bush’s war in Iraq. Yet when Giuliani had the chance to actually do something about the war, he went AWOL."
Giuliani's radio ad released Tuesday does not address MoveOn's claims, but instead calls the organization "the most powerful left wing group in the country" and says the organization is attacking the New York Republican because they “know Rudy is a Republican who can beat Democrats. And they know, no matter what they say, Rudy will never ever back down."
Soon after Giuliani's ad was unveiled, MoveOn announced it would expand its ad nationally on CNN. The organization also argued that the former mayor's ad "demonstrates that he can't answer the basic charge leveled against him: that he betrayed the public's trust when he went AWOL from the Iraq Study Group to take on high-fee speaking engagements.”
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Giuliani speaks with NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kenny Wallace Sunday before the start of the Sylvania 300 auto race at the New Hampshire International Speedway.
LOUDON, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani Sunday continued his defense of Gen. David Petraeus and explained to reporters why he launched his Web advertisement criticizing Sen. Hillary Clinton for not denouncing a MoveOn.org ad attacking him.
"[My] motivation was to stand up to her and to stand up for a very, very good general," the former mayor of New York City said. "What she did was just plain wrong. Sometimes there are things that are just wrong. It was wrong for her to attack the integrity of a commanding general in a time of war. It's not the right thing to do."
Giuliani's Web advertisement attacked Clinton and portrayed her position on the Iraq war as inconsistent and her remarks as disrespectful toward Petraeus.
The advertisement also denounced the liberal group MoveOn.org for their advertisement against the general and called on Clinton to do the same.
When asked by CNN if his advertisement would introduce more mudslinging into the campaign, Giuliani responded, "How come you're not asking that about MoveOn.org? Why don't you ask that about Hillary Clinton?"
"I didn't attack an American general," he added. "I am raising a point about an American politician, not about an American general and I think I have every right to do that."
Rudy Giuliani spent Sunday at the New Hampshire International Speedway for the NASCAR Nextel Cup-Sylvania 300. This was the second time the presidential hopeful attended a NASCAR event.
MoveOn.org plans to escalate the political ad wars in an early primary state.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After first sharply criticizing Gen. David Petraeus, MoveOn.org is now setting its sights on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
MoveOn.org is planning to air a television ad in Iowa, which will focus on Giuliani’s “frequent absences” while working with Iraq Study Group, said a MoveOn.org spokesperson. Earlier in the week, the liberal advocacy group took out an ad in The New York Times attacking Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq.
A Giuliani spokeswoman was dismissive of the new television ad.
“This is, after all, the same liberal group whose website compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler, the same liberal group that wanted no military response against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the aftermath of September 11,” the spokeswoman said.
The announcement of the new MoveOn.org television ad comes the same day Giuliani placed his own ad in the Times Friday rebutting the organization and attacking "the Democrats' orchestrated attacks on General Petraeus."
- CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai