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. Susan Meyers, Macedon, New York

    Oh, please. This is just the republicans questioning the patriotism of anyone who criticises anything to do with this war or the government's "war on the people" oops, I mean war on terror.

    Last I heard this was still a free country and Moveon or anyone else has a right to say whatever they want. If you don't agree, go live with Hugo Chavez for awhile.

    September 20, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. JK

    What party controls the senate? Don't you remember who won in 2006? Why are you still acting like its 1994 and blaming a party that's not even in control??

    September 20, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Max, Boston, MA

    Does Congress really have so much free time that they're willing to waste it on meaningless measures like this?

    I'll have to look up who voted what, because I certainly hope my Senator didn't approve of this frivolous waste of time.

    September 20, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    This new low of hypocrisy, as well as an attack on free speech, makes me sick to my stomach.

    I mean seriously, this is such a pathetic straw man argument that I have absolutely no respect for anyone who supports it.

    I can't believe how we've allowed ourselves to becomes so polarized and divided that we are faced with such stupidity and arrogance today. I'm ashamed with what our country has become.

    September 20, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. John Ross, Oklahoma City, OK

    Why these cowards did not vote on Webb's legislation yesterday which had asked for enough time for troops at home when they come from Iraq. Why is the media not giving enough coverage on such a issue concerning troops. Moveon should place an ad in the RED districts naming all these senators who voted against the Webb legislation. I admire the courage shown by Hillary, Obama and comapany.

    September 20, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Joe Z

    I am a MoveOn member and I agree 100% with Eli Pariser's statement that Congress is wasting it's time voting on ads in the NYT. Please do your job Congress and leave criticizing ads in the NYT to Fox News.

    "Nothing is more American, nothing is more patriotic than speaking out, questioning authority and holding your leaders accountable."
    "I'm promoting a new American patriotism because it is vital to the life and health of this country that we criticize our leaders fairly but freely. Some ask, `How can you criticize the president at a time of war?' I answer, `How can you not?' "

    General Wesley K. Clark

    September 20, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Laura Niles MI

    This is the whole problem with democrats. They are so afraid of criticism they let the republicans bait them and waste most of their time defending trumped up charges there is not enough time left to do what they should be doing. Maybe if they had bothered to fight over the Swift Boat ads instead of cowering in their corner Kerry couldn't have been deep sixed and if Gore hadn't caved in on the recount and just kept fighting in spite of the Supreme Court Selection of Bush, none of the Bush destruction would have ever happened. If the Bushies are so sensitive, maybe they should have thought twice before they announced the Petraeus report would be written by the White House, Bush, and there would be no transcript. Though if their minds were bigger that a pea, they would realize the video recorded on C-Span is even better than a transcript, but that just goes to show you how little reality registers with that bunch.

    September 20, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Raymond, El Paso TX

    WELL DUH!!! Of course Republicans are going to make a big deal out of this. How else are they going to deflect attention from the profiteering orgy taking place in Iraq?

    Do the math. If there's 180,000 non-military employees working for contractors in Iraq, and we're spending billions upon billions of tax dollars, doesn't that mean somebody isn't making a whole hell of a lot of money?

    Can you say Halliburton? Why do you think Cheney came out of his hole to chime in? He's got a lot to lose.

    September 20, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. CitizenJ

    Obama didn't vote because he was protesting the singling out of He voted for the Democratic version condemning these smears in general.

    September 20, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. CJ

    Why doesn't the senate try to do something for once to earn their money instead of sitting on their fat back sides and ignoring the many problems we are facing? Why don't they begin to look at ACCOUNTABILITY for the mess we are in? Within the past seven years, our country has nearly been destroyed. Just look around you! We need more news related to the Security and Prosperity Partnership, NAFTA, the North American Union, the Amero, the Federal Reserve, and start asking questions and demanding answers. It would be wonderful for every Congressman to have to enter a hospital without insurance to see how many of our people are treated because they cannot afford the $600.00 plus per month for insurance premiums. Perhaps they all should have to visit the rural areas of this country and see how many people still live without clean running water or indoor plumbing and how many of our own children do not get enough to eat. Maybe they should all visit an oncology ward of a hospital and see the many cancer patients who simply cannot afford the drugs that are available on the market to treat this disease. The same problems exist for all drugs and illnesses. Our freedoms are being sucked away little by little, and if we do not unite and get a grip on this, we are going to find we are a nation of the "haves and have nots" and those who are included in the "have not" group will be nothing more than peasants answering to a dictator. At least "MOVEON" is not afraid to say what they think while they still have the right to do so.

    September 20, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Doug Crum, Duluth GA

    For those who think that represents mainstream America then please explain to me why the Democratic Congress has a lower approval rating than the approval rating of President Bush?

    September 20, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Henry Tucker, Ga

    CNN must be bought/controlled by Moveon.Org – – – as they deleted this earlier post:

    All you simpletons THINK this is the Senate versus Moveon.Org. What you fail to acknowledge or do not understand is that Moveon.Org is the front group for 5 liberals: George Soros, Herbert & Marion Sandler, Peter Lewis, and Stephen Bing.

    These 5 wealthy liberals gave over $78 million towards the 2004 Campaign – MORE than the US Federal Government!

    These 5 wealthly liberals have BOUGHT and PAID FOR the democratic party. NONE (aside from Bill Richardson) dare to defy Moveon.Org.

    The Senate was right to condemn this group and their antics. If you believe special interests has too much power in Washington – then you would be APPLAUDING these Senators.

    Instead – most of you continue moo-ing the democrat/Moo-veon.Org party line. You'll use your partisan narrow-view to suggest my statements are untrue or right-wing rhetoric… as opposed to seeking and learning the truth

    September 20, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    Posted By Henry Tucker, Ga : September 20, 2007 5:53 pm

    How much do you think the religious right paid for the GOP, Henry? Do you think they paid more than the oil industry? Perhaps more than the insurance and financial industries?

    Stop making such silly claims.

    September 20, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Common Sense

    Good, Hilary publically hit herself on the head with a hammer again and Obama demonstrated his superior judgement in staying far far away from this nightmare situation that no one can look good in.

    Way to go Barack! Obama08!

    September 20, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Horace Matsavage Eagle Lake, Florida

    hey cnn. could you please tell the senate that, no i will not be quiet. They work for me. i have never visited but i will be a regular visitor from now on.I dont beleive you could publish what i have to say to the president so ill leave that one alone.

    September 20, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Mia, Stafford, VA

    I think there are more PRESSING ISSUES that the Senate should be dealing with. This is a JOKE, as they are !!!!!

    If only they can unite on something important!

    September 20, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  17. Joe, San Francisco, CA

    The reason Congress has such a low approval rating is because we elected the Democrats to end this war. They have no done that and the voters are disappointed.

    September 20, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. Gumby, Tulsa, OK

    VERY UNFLATTERING photo of Hillary. She looks tired, don't you think?!?

    September 20, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    It seems to me that congress has more to do then vote to condemn an organization that is practising a treasured right in this country - free speech. Congratulations fools, this kind of stuff is why the country is so fed up with all of you.

    And to the spineless democrats who supported this what are you thinking? Why do you continue to allow the republicans to get away with doing this as well as the swift boat ads and ads questioning Max Clelands character? Turn the tables on them.

    September 20, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. Ken, Vallejo, CA

    It's so funny how libs try to equate the Moveon ad to the Swift boat ads. The difference is the Swift boat ads were true and exposed Kerry for what he was. Kerry lied about his record to try to overcome the anti military stance he later took and he got called on it. To this day no one can back up Kerry's war record. If most here agree that Petreaus is an honorable man then you too should condemn Moveon's ad. Most here would also agree to not knowing the true situation on the ground in Iraq, so how then can you say what Petreaus said is wrong or were not his own words? Can't have it both ways.

    September 20, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Hillary's refusal to publicly condemn MoveOn.Org's attack on General Petraeus is quite telling.

    We know what is most important to her now don't we.

    September 20, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. Tony G, Dallas TX

    Kevin, Coral Springs, FL : September 20, 2007 5:05 pm

    You are really pathetic. Congress has time to debate NEWSPAPER ADS while our military men and women are dying in Iraq. Senate did not even pass a measure earlier on by Barbara Boxer which was against tarnishing our military personel (which Obama) participated but this is the best they could come up with? Here is a text of what Obama siad in regard to missing the vote.:

    "The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements," Obama says. "This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq. It's precisely this kind of political game-playing that makes most Americans cynical about Washington's ability to solve America's problems. By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I registered my views on the ad itself the day it appeared.

    Obama goes on to say, "All of us respect the service of General Petraeus and all of our brave men and women in uniform. The way to honor that service is to give them a mission that is responsible, not to vote on amendments like the Cornyn amendment while we continue to pursue the wrong policy in Iraq."

    September 20, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. Ames Tiedeman, Austin, TEXAS

    Hillary Rodham Clinton will never, ever, be the President of the United States of America. She is the greatest divider ever. She makes Bush look like the wonderkind of uniting people! She shall never be the "Decider" she will stay the "Devider"

    September 20, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. ralph, Spartanburg, SC

    To all of the Republicans condeming the time the elections roll around, it's going to be for y'all......right outta Washington. America will no longer stand for any infringments on our constitutional rights and further waste of our tax dollars. We are going to vote you clowns out.

    September 20, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. J. Francisco, Yakama, Washington

    Yet they fail to repudiate the Republican hate and scare tactics! The Swiftboat crafty shifty business was fair and ethical?

    September 20, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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