September 20th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate votes to condemn MoveOn, Clinton votes no

Clinton voted against a Senate measure Thursday that condemns

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate overwhelmingly voted to formally condemn the liberal organization 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: 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," 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."

"Hillary Clinton had a choice," he said. "She could stand with our troop commander in Iraq, or she could stand with the libelous left wing of her party. She chose the latter.

"The idea that she would be a credible commander-in-chief of our armed forces requires the willing suspension of disbelief," he added, a reference to Clinton's comments to Petraeus at a recent Senate Armed Service Committee hearing in which she said his upbeat assessment of conditions in Iraq required "the willing suspension of disbelief."

Meanwhile, Executive Director Eli Pariser said of the vote in a statement, "No wonder public approval of Congress is tanking. They’re so out of touch with reality that they can find time to condemn an ad but they can't do what most Americans want – vote to end this war."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: • Presidential Candidates
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Ryan, New York, NY

    Can someone please let me know when Petraeus achieved such a level of infallibility that any question or condemnation of anything about him is an attack on the entire military system and every component of it, including the common soldiers?

    Also, while I expected all of the Republicans and Lieberman to support the vote, I'm appalled that 20 Democrats voted in favor of codemning an ad campaign, just on 1st Amendment principles alone.

    It sets a bad precedent and can we now expect Senate votes on every controversial ad campaign? Next up, the anti-smoking ad campaign saying that if you smoke, you'll get gangrene for being completely sensationalist and misleading, thereby undermining the basic message.

    September 20, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Jenny, Rio Vista CA

    No wonder Congress has just an 11% favorable rating. There are troops dying in Iraq because of Bush and his cronies and all they can do is debate
    They vote FOR condeming and then turn around and vote against giving the troops valuable time at home. WHO SUPPORTS THE TROOPS??? You Republican hypocrits.... you make me ill.

    September 20, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Twenty Democrats went along with this?

    There is hope for politicians that are willing to reach across the aisle.

    This wasn't fellow veterans attacking fellow veterans over a beef from 30 years previous, this was a highly paid radical group attacking a Generals credibility (BEFORE he even spoke) while he is currently in charge of our men and women who are fighting a war.

    This isn't cutting off free speech, but just repudiating the vile words and methods that were used basically saying he betrayed his country while wearing the military uniform based on NO FACTS.

    I applaud the 20 Democrats who saw it for what it was.

    September 20, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    The Right Wing M.O. is to create straw men to atack as a distraction to their failed policies. To effectively fight the Right Wingers, Move- On needs to fight smarter not harder. They can actually win over moderates if they avoid walking into sucker punches. DON'T GIVE RIGHT WINGERS EASY SHOTS AT YOU. Become a messanger that's difficult to destroy & your message will ring louder.

    September 20, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. RJ, AZ

    I'm so glad that our lawmakers have managed to come up with newer and better ways to waste everyone's time and the six figures they "earn." Good job guys and gals. Vote yourself another raise while you're at it!

    September 20, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Jennifer, Savannah, Georgia

    As a sometime supporter of, I was not happy with the ad regarding General Petraeus. I think it's awful to suggest he's betraying his country. The Commander-in-Chief sets policy, not the General. He's just doing his job.
    However, since when is it the business of Congress to condemn the speech of its citizens? That's downright shameful. Hillary made the right choice to vote no.

    September 20, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Dora, Port Washington, NY

    The problem that I have is not whether you agree with the war or not – it's that we are, currently, at war and we should not be aiding our enemies with hate speach about our military officers. I just think it's awful how the liberal MoveOn organization so shamefully make such disgusting comments. I'm all for freedom of speech but this is pure stupidity and they should handle their disagreements with this administration in a much better constructive manner. Let's all stand behind our military and get the job done without anyone whining and name calling. ENOUGH!!!!!!! AMERICA IS SICK OF IT.

    September 20, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Bruno Forlani, Chicago, IL

    Good for Clinton and GOOOOOOD for the American People!!!

    Prime example of our BROKEN GOVERNMENT.

    Can some one please (yes you CONGRESS) explain to me how is it that you are more worried about and are ready to infringe in their civil rights, just because they are expressing their views, which by the way a lot of Americans agree with?

    You have more important things to do, like STOP FUNDING THE ILLEGAL WAR IN IRAQ!!!!!

    Why don't you get to work on the important DOMESTIC issues in these times of EXTREME CRISIS?

    STOP wasting our tax dollars in your censoring, just because YOU don't like what they have to say!

    Or does President Bush and his bullies have placed the "FEAR" in you too?

    September 20, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Those twenty democrats are going to have some explaining and apologizing to do.Move-on did it's homework and for that they will be exonerated of any accusations to the contrary.All of these numb-skulls will regret voting to condemn a truthful,albeit hurtful,ad campaign.The gloves are off and Sherman's march to the sea is getting closer.

    September 20, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Shelly, Orange County, CA

    As the very proud sister of a very proud Marine serving in Iraq, I have to say I am an equally proud member of MoveOn may not represent Republican right-wingers, but it certainly represents proud citizens like me who LOVE this country and our soldiers! Congress: stop waisting time and fix this mess!

    September 20, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. GoVets Madison WI just picked up another member. Wake up congress!!!!! Were paying you to do the work of the American people.

    September 20, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. b-rocks New York, NY

    Hillary Clinton voted for George Bush's war in Iraq. Pure and simple.

    It was the wrong vote using the wrong judgement.

    She may be trying to make up for it now, but opposing a non-binding resolution about a newspaper ad is not nearly enough.

    September 20, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. rand, Nevada

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech and of the press without fear of persecution? Once again, this administration is avoiding what really affects us all by making an issue out of something that is clearly within our constitutional rights. Shame on Congress for playing into this. I am fearful for our future.

    September 20, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Matthew W. Combest

    A vote to Condem – what exactly does this mean and why is the Seante wasting time voting on this while other important matters are outstanding??

    September 20, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Vox Populi

    MoveOn is a gaggle of fascist brownshirts whose core purpose is to disrupt the internal affairs of the United States. They should be condemned and exposed.

    September 20, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. B Mcm

    The republicans need to remove ann coulter–the she devil and then maybe the dems will talk. Either way your infringing on freedom of speech.

    September 20, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Kevin, Coral Springs, FL

    What a cop-out for Obama not to vote, what was he doing sleeping? Wouldn't have expected anything less from Biden, but Biden's standard is not something I would have thought Obama would want to aspire to.

    September 20, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Grovin, Darnassus, IL

    Senators now think it's "the people's business" for them to spend time condemning advertisements by private groups? (A) Sounds like an assault on freedom of speech to me; (B) I thought senators had enough to worry about.

    I personally don't give a flying fediddle about MoveOn, but they've got a right to say what they want just like anyone else.

    September 20, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    Voting to condemn this ad has nothing to do with voting to get rid of free speech, or to support the president. This vote was to condemn a piece of hate speech that attacks one of our general who is just taking orders. I really am dissapointed in all the senators who voted no or who refused to vote on the issue. At least Mrs. Clinton has the backbone to show how she really feels as sick as her position might be. Obama not casting a vote is just plain spineless.

    September 20, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    Posted By Tom – Dedham, Mass : September 20, 2007 4:31 pm

    Not that I exactly approved of what MoveOn did but I got their point, however, polls conducted after Petraeus' congressional appearance and Bush's primetime speech, show that most people still think we need to pull the troops asap and still think Petraeus wasn't being fully honest and that Bush had everything to do with what he presented Congress. Saying is one thing, doing is an entirely different story.

    I do find it rather amusing that you can justify the Swift Boat ads, yet condemn the MoveOn ad as "treasonous and vile". I'm willing to bet that if the shoe were on the proverbial other foot, it wouldn't be apples and oranges to you anymore.

    September 20, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    So where were all these democrats and republicans when John Kerry was getting blown out of the water???? Suck it up Petraeus, and leave alone! It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. You may not always like it, but that's the point, it's supposed to be FREE.

    September 20, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Carey, KCMO

    Good for Obama! What a waste of time. The amendment is beyond ridiculous. They should pay us back for the tax dollars they wasted voting on something so pointless. The children in the Senate need to grow up...SOON

    September 20, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Martin, Rochester, MN

    Wow, our senate is spending its time voting to condemn websites while we have a war going on? What a joke.

    September 20, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Kathleen, Omaha, Nebraska

    I support but I didn't like the ad against General Petraeus. However, it cheers my heart to see that almost all the comments so far support their right to free speech and see through the Republicans' efforts to use this to again assault the "patriotism" of Americans who speak out against the war and divert attention from the huge Iraq fiasco.

    I especially loved the mention of the lack of condemnation of the "Swift Boat" Republicans who devastated the reputation of a real patriot, John Kerry. And I also agree that Hillary showed strength and sense in not condemning something she had nothing to do with.

    September 20, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Connie Snyder, Henderson, Nevada

    I suppose average Americans posting comments here or voicing there opinions anywhere will be the next to be condemned by the GOP in Congress. What's next? Rounding up Eli Parisier and dragging him out of his house as they do in Iraq? Bush says he feels MoveOn has attacked our military itself by virtue of the NYTimes ad. is the president saying MoveOn is an enemy combatant for disagreeing with him? Gitmo isn't big enough to hold us all.

    September 20, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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