[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/30/art.obamamove.ap.jpg caption="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?"
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.