July 1st, 2008
07:40 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama takes swipe at MoveOn

[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?"

Watch: New York Times takes heat for ad

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.

soundoff (465 Responses)
  1. Jim

    So he's addressing questions about his patriotism by not denouncing groups that criticize the military? He never denounced the ad or the group, he took their money and their help, and now he indirectly criticizes one of their ads? Talk about flip-flopping!!

    June 30, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. Colin

    Actually, McCain has, on numerous occasions, blasted the 527s.

    As a conservative, it's actually pleasant to see Obama see the worst of his side of the political spectrum. Good job, Barack, but McCain still has my vote.

    June 30, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Ohio John

    MoveOn is too left for this political centrist.

    Truth is, I had a high skeptic view of the Iraq invasion. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell made me say OK "let's do this."

    Anybody with a sensible mind knows Sadaam Hussein was a dictator with no conscious. He murdered his own people, and his demise was a benefit for the world.

    Here we are 2008, and the problems of Iraq still exsist. I believe Sen. McCain can deliver solutions for Iraq, while Sen. Obama can not.

    June 30, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. Lynne

    As a dual US/Australian citizen living in Melbourne, Australia it appears that the only candidate running is Obama. For a man who is half white and half black, when did he turn all black?? He could be coloured green for all I care but he does not come across as sincere or reliable with his changing his beliefs with the change of the political climate. Could we possibly hear about the OTHER candidate running? This one isn't of much interest.

    June 30, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Anne



    Haven't we had enough of the phrase "under the bus" already? If you can't think of anything more intelligent to post than this overused reality-tv catchphrase, then please reconsider commenting. You have nothing of value to contribute to the conversation.

    June 30, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Colin

    P.S., to all you agreeing with Clark's comment: It's not like McCain walked off the field of battle on ran for president. With both military AND over 20 years of political service, he is more than qualified.

    While Barack served under 200 days in the Senate before announcing his candidacy. Hmmm...

    June 30, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Total Northern California Democrat for Obama

    I am a MoveOn member and I don't care if Barack lectures us. WE are not running for prez but he is. He can lecture me all he wants!! GO OBAMA!

    June 30, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Peter E

    Please MoveOn, CONTINUE to support Obama and help him into the White House the same way you helped Kerry in '04!...

    Hate doesn't pay! And Obama supporters really need to start listening to their own candidate instead of continuing on with their childish name-calling ('Mc-insert-insulting-word') hatefest.

    Hatefest against Hillary may have propeled Obama in the primaries, but in the general election people will start talking about issues and candidates' records. So stop with the name-calling and start looking at data and facts! Start thinking instead of talking. Start asking questions instead of mindlessly parroting talking points. Don't let the media tell you what to think and how to decide! Think for yourselves! You aren't helping Obama gain more votes by acting childish and name-calling!

    June 30, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. PF Harlock

    That "General Petraeus or General Betray us?" ad is widely regarded a cheap shot and a political mistake. Barack Obama clearly voicing his disdain for it is consistent with his message throughout his campaign.

    June 30, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. @HusseinIsAmerican2

    this article is totally misleading............it does not deserve my comment!

    June 30, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. webster208

    Clinton voted "against" the resolution repudiating MoveOn.Org, and Obama "specifically avoided" voting. Is Obama not capable of taking any position when it is not politically expedient? That explains all the "present" votes. That's fine for as long as long as he does not come around lecturing all those who had the moral courage not to be fence-sitters.

    June 30, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. WJS

    Obama wants the MoveOn.org votes to win the Primary, but NOW he changes his colors. He's just another politician like all the rest. He claims "change" but he'll throw puppies under the bus for votes if he has to. He never rejected their endorsement the way McCain rejected Hagee's endorsement. If he was really interested in changing how Washington does business, he would have shown some backbone and voted for the Senate Resolution and rejected the MO.org endorsement.

    June 30, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Vale

    In regard to the comments about General Petraeus "painting a rosy picture of the conditions on the ground," you have to think about the state of the war in Iraq. Can you tell me how to successfully exit the war? Note that successful means not leaving it a war zone. I'd love to hear it if so.

    June 30, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. Jeff Long

    These attacks on McCain's military career has now gone way too far. Beer's also attacked McCain on him being a POW. It's funny how they always start off by saying, "With all do respect..." and then they proceed to attack McCain and his record. I served my country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait (That's right, I said it, Kuwait). Its hurting me to read the comments on his military career. Nobody should attack a man's military service. McCain has just now Secured my vote!! This is one democrat who will be going republican in the fall.

    June 30, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. Clinton/McCain

    That's what he gets for being friends with terrorists. That is the weather underground.

    June 30, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Sharon in Florida

    Can we say "Finally" again? Or maybe count the times we say it? There is a long list growing and he only has himself to blame for it. Take the blinders off, it's as clear as day. Seriously.

    June 30, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. L. Bien-Aime, CT

    Obama's speech is synonym for CHANGE.
    The man went against the people who endorsed him, not because he don't want their vote; but because he don't want it if it's comes wih negative baggage.
    To me, that shows CHARACTER, when most politician settle for reputation.
    Many are so blinded by their hate, negativity, and fear of something new that they object to any message that sounds different.
    How can the country move forward if we're looking backwards?
    How can you disclaim a statement without giving it some thoughts?
    Open your eyes and smell the bacon
    Obama 08

    June 30, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. pat from Chico, CA

    As usual, Senator Obama waits to take a stand until it's politically useful for him to do so.

    June 30, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. aware

    Obama plays the game very well. He feeds vitriol to his surrogates and then castigates them so he can pretend to take the high road.

    Fuzzy and obfuscating rhetoric and well worn political gamesman ship suit Obama well!

    The game Fools Obama supporters! 🙁

    June 30, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. Chut Pata

    There is a definite reason a conservative like me keeps supporting Obama because Obama continues to prove that he is just a voice of reason in these days of political lunacy.

    He is definitely not a hard core leftist and it is about time moveon.org etc realized that. He is a man of family, man of god, and a patriot.

    Moveon.org should differentiate between the positive spirit of a soldier as reflected by the general, and the political coverup of political blunders by the Bush administration.

    Move.org should expect Obama to expose Bush adminstration but not break the spirit of the general.

    June 30, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. Kevin

    He needed them, he used them, now he disposes of them. Expect a lot of this from an Obama administration.

    June 30, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  22. IndependentGA

    I like this guy... For far too long, the extreme right and left have hijacked our government and political system. He is right when he says the types of attacks on the Gen. and the people who make them are out-dated.
    Most people want to know about the issues. One thing I cn say about Obama, Most of the time, he responds to personal attacks, but when he attacks, its about issues. Neither Hillary or McCain can say that. No matter what Obama does or say, the people who don't like him(Hate-mongers) will always find the negative. Yes I said hatemongers.
    Sadly, thats what haters do. They hate. But those people are insignificant. They are angry people. WHen he wins this election inspite of you haters, then what? You're gonna hate the people that supported him.

    lmao at you hating idiots.

    June 30, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Let's see: MoveOn.org.... Bill Clinton... and not to mention the Hollywood bunch with the likes of Michael Moore all campaigning for Obama...
    Now THAT's a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one... If they do now what they did for their respective candidates in '04 and '08 then this could very easily become the most spectacular campaign meltdown since Dukakis...

    June 30, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. CB

    Obama – you're losing me. I've been an ardent supporter...but your not winning anybody over attacking those who support you.

    June 30, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Obama has to speak out about Moveon.org when they go too far or he won't have the credibility to speak out about all the Republican backed 527's when they start blasting him.

    June 30, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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