September 28th, 2007
02:40 PM ET
14 years ago

RNC: Bill Clinton supporting MoveOn for 'political payback'

Watch Clinton's comments in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

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’s pointed attack on Gen. David Petraeus.

"Why are the Clintons so invested in defending" RNC Chairman Mike Duncan asks in an e-mail fundraising solicitation "Well, remember what'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 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 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."

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton •
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. DB, GA

    Would the real Clinton candidate please stand up! just shup up Bill and quietly let your spouse run her campaign. Is that not the role of 'first lady'?

    September 28, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. James, Phoenix AZ

    "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"

    George Soros and 4 other wealthy liberals gave $78 million to Moveon.Org during the 2004 campaign (MORE than the Federal Government). Why would Bill and Hill do ANYTHING to disrupt campaign dollars from wealthy socialists like Soros?

    September 28, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Kate, Aurora CO

    Please explain to me why the Republican party does not seem to understand "Freedom of Speech"? Instead of talking about real issues, such as healthcare for children, the never ending war in Iraq, foreclosures..etc, they waste their time on this? I don't always agree with Clinton but in this issue I do. If anyone was a victim of harsh Republican reporting it was him and they are being very hypocritical.

    September 28, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Debi, NJ

    Well, President Clinton, wasn't defending MoveOn, he was condemning the attack from the Repubs on the Dems for the ad. So the RNC needs to get the facts before they bark – another bait and switch – shameful. BTW, I am a Republican and I agree with Mr. Clinton.

    September 28, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. streele , Boston, MA 02120

    why can't we all just MOVE ON?
    bill clinton for first hubby!

    September 28, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    Anything said by RNC Chairman, Mike Duncan, should be believed as the gospel truth? Right....

    The man's whole purpose in life is to spread innuendo and rhetoric to discredit any and all democrats running for office. Give me a break. The man is so hip deep in falsehoods he should register himself as an EPA superfund cleanup site.

    Telling it like I see it,

    September 28, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |

    The RNC is a bunch of hypocriting idiots. These morons are quite skilled in the art of character assasination. I hope that the next President of the united States, Hillary Clinton, treat them with the same ireverence that they did to Bill. Don't even give these fools the courtesy of respect, total disregard.

    September 28, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. Barry, Miami, FL

    It's about time someone took the Republicans to task for being the hypocrites that they are. Bill said it well. What the Republicans did to Max Cleland and John Kerry was disgusting. Now can both sides please can the personal attacks and BRING OUR TROOPS HOME?

    September 28, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Tony Nazar, Wilton, ME

    Is the Senate going to pass a resolution condemning Rush Limbaugh for alling the five soldiers phonies because they wrote an anti-Bush War op ed piece?

    I doubt it.

    The MSM, except for Olbermann on MSNBC, seem to have ignored the story being much more focused on the horror Media Matters visited on poor matyred Bill O'Reilly.

    September 28, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Peter D. Walnut Creek, CA

    The RNC is right!

    It was still more "Clinton Speak"! Bill, Bill, Bill, "disingenuous"? I admit it is a great word for what you are trying to say, but who are you trying to talk to? It's a political campaign, not law school! That is right up there with "willing suspension of disbelief". At least when your wife said "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans, they actually do” at the Kos convention, people knew what she was saying. They just had trouble believing it, that is all.

    My advise? You and Hillary need to pay more attention to detail … like the fact that unfortunately, politicians commonly demean each other with all kind of lies and half truths in campaign advertisements. However, there is a big line crossed when an honored, dedicated, serving member of the U.S. Armed Forces is subjected to a sleazy political attack. General Petraeus is one of the US troops in Iraq, and it is obvious to me neither or Hillary support him! Do the Democrats support the troops or not?

    Bill, Hillary, and, together with Nancy Pelosi, seem to be doing their best to keep the war going poorly thru November 2008.

    September 28, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. John Kyle, Sacremento, CA

    Every political organization whether it be a republican or democrat needs support from rich individuals. This RNC chairman is a fool if he thinks that the attack machines who support republican agenda are clean. There is nothing wrong that Bill and Hillary are supportive of moveon org. Can Bush or Cheney condemn the radio station from where Rush Limbaugh spits all the poison attacking every democrat? Bill is doing great service to keep republicans on their leashes.

    September 28, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Ryan, New York, NY

    Even if he's saying it for political payback, that doesn't mean he's wrong about the hypocrisy surrounding the ads.

    September 28, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Mike, Houston, TX

    Here's Bill doing one of the two things he knows best how to do. Lie outright, or defend a liar.

    September 28, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Andy B Phoenix, AZ

    HA HA Political payback? Bill Clinton simply stated the facts, something Republicans can't handle.

    September 28, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Gavin, Merrillville Indiana

    Any Dem who voted to condemn MoveOn will NEVER get my support again...

    It's not because of what MoveOn did, but because they buckled to the hypocritical republicans–any Dem that bows to the GOP is OFF my list.

    Thank goodness Hillary didn't submit to them... She WILL get my vote!

    September 28, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Ed Tallahassee FL

    It is possible to disagree with the War and support the troops. I know I want them home and safe not in the middle of a civil war. I have friends that are over there right now, and I want them home safe as do their families.

    MoveOn's ad was tacky, and a bad pun, but they do have a point. We haven't been able to trust the Whitehouse about this war from the start, why start now? Skeptatism is health for Democracy.

    Petraeus was in a no win situation. If he says things are going poorly then he makes the military look bad. If he says they are doing well then he looks like one of the Whitehouse "Yes" men. I think it was rather cowardly of the White House to hang everything on Petraus, then hid behind the creditablity a war hero and let him take the heat when it is their bad policy that created this mess.

    I think it is also tacky how the Republicans pick and choose their out-rage. It's wrong to attack a sitting General, but if he becomes a politian with a "D" next to his name it's open season on his military record. I also think it was tacky when they attacked former Military leaders that brought-up concrens with the policy when the way started.

    September 28, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Payback??? Bill Clinton simply stated the facts and decried the personal attacks. Furthermore, he was also right in denouncing the disgraceful ads against war heroes like McCain, Cleland and Kerry.

    The RNC is as usual a buch of HYPOCRITES!!!

    September 28, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. I was a Republican prior to........, Topeka, Kansas

    Can we spell hypocrites in 2007, it goes RNC. I understand where Clinton's coming from. Let's focus on the issues at hand and not let ourselves be taken off course by this meaningless banter from both sides. But then in the same regard, if you can not stand the heat, don't go in the kitchen stands too.

    September 28, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Why is it controversial to say it's about time to stop mud-slinging and saying over-the-top things about candidates? When did outright lies and deception become a Christian core value?

    September 28, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Clem Quoyeser, Santa Rosa, CA

    Bill Clinton is right! It is hypocritical for the very reasons he mentions and how come nobody in the press has bothered to talk about the validity of the content of the MoveOn add?

    September 28, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. Phil Toole, San Jose, CA

    Wow, Peter, "When an honored, dedicated, serving member of the U.S. Armed Forces is subjected to a sleazy political attack..." That sounds pretty familiar. Isn't that exactly what they did to both Max Cleland – a dedicated Vetnam Vet who lost his limbs during that fiasco and John Kerry? Republicans are great at dishing out ads that verge on slander/defamaton of character, but god forbid you go after one of theirs. "Do the Democrats support the troops or not?" I just love how the Republicans fall back on this line of thought. When will you guys realize that their is a HUGE difference between supporting the war and supporting the troops. While Patreus could well be considered one of the "troops," based on his testimony he proved to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for Bush. Besides, what have you or your Republican friends done to support our troops? Do you send care packages? Do you write the troops letters? Do you donate money to VA funds? Do you volunteer at VA hospitals? Saying you support the troops and actually supporting them are two distinctly conflicting ideas.

    September 28, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Moe, NY

    Obviously the RNC has forgotten that we still, no thanks to republicans, have freedom of speech in this country. I believe that is what President Clinton is defending. I, for one, would not believe anything the RNC has to say on any subject. All we have gotten, as american citizens, from the GOP in almost 8 years now is...corruption, and lies, lies and more lies. How can anyone in this country still place their trust in the GOP?

    September 28, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Bob, New York, NY

    Anyone who compares John Kerry, a guy who wrote some of his own awards packages, to General Petraeus really is reaching pretty far for comparisons.

    I have no respect for someone who would make justifications for something along these lines because "they did it first". You can't play in the mud without getting it on you.

    What happened to all that civility and bipartisianship that the Dems were going to bring back to politics anyways?

    September 28, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. Jeff, Chicaog

    Its not about being hypocritical. The Patraeus add has absolutely nothing to do with Max Cleland or the Swift Boats (by the way, the attack on Cleland was an abomination but the attack on Kerry was dead on. He's a scum bag, but I digress). The Dems don't want to answer the question. They keep changing the subject by saying the Republicans did this or that, or shouldn't we focus on more important issues. Just answer the question. Do you or do you not condemn the add? Its quite simple.

    September 28, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Jeff, Chicago

    To Phil, how is Patraeus "one of theirs"? He is a highly decorated, respected member of the armed forces that has put his life on the line for this country on many occasions. He is not a politician, but a hero who deserves better than to be called a liar and traitor to his country. Shame on anyone who thinks otherwise.

    September 28, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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