CNN & MoveOn.org – 2007-09-21 23:13:56
“Bush: MoveOn.org Ad on Petraeus ‘Disgusting'”
WASHINGTON (September 21, 2008) — A MoveOn.org political advertisement that criticized the top US commander in Iraq was “disgusting,” President Bush said Thursday, accusing Democrats of being afraid to criticize the anti-war group.
Bush told reporters at a White House news conference that MoveOn.org’s ad in The New York Times about Gen. David Petraeus was a “sorry deal.” The September 10 full-page ad was titled “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”
“I felt like the ad was an attack, not only on Gen. Petraeus, but on the U.S. military,” Bush said. “And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad.”
Bush said that “most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org” and they “are more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military.” Video Watch Bush condemn the MoveOn.org ad »
He said, “It’s one thing to attack me. It’s another thing to attack somebody like Gen. Petraeus.”
Many Democratic lawmakers immediately criticized the ad after it was published.
Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org, reacted quickly to Bush’s comments.
“What’s disgusting is that the president has more interest in political attacks than developing an exit strategy to get our troops out of Iraq and end this awful war,” Pariser said. “The president has no credibility on Iraq: He lied repeatedly to the American people to get us into the war. Most Americans oppose the war and want us to get out.”
MoveOn.org and other war critics have accused Petraeus and the Bush administration of “cherry-picking” data to make it seem that military success is being achieved in Iraq.
During testimony last week before Congress, Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said they believed the U.S. troop increase in Iraq has had some success, an assertion that critics of the war have questioned.
A Senate GOP amendment to repudiate the MoveOn.org ad passed Thursday 72-25 as Republicans tried to force Democrats to distance themselves, on the record, from the controversy.
GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the amendment “gives our colleagues a chance to distance themselves from these despicable tactics, distance themselves from the notion that some group literally has them on a leash, like a puppet on a string.”
Among Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut voted against the resolution. Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Barack Obama of Illinois didn’t vote.
The Democrats on Thursday failed to pass their resolution. It included a condemnation of the “unwarranted personal attack” on Petraeus, but also condemned “personal attacks” that happened in 2002 against then-Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia and attacks in 2004 against Sen. John Kerry. The vote was 51-46, but 60 votes were needed to proceed.
The Democrats’ amendment was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she faults the Republicans for blocking the Democratic resolution praising Cleland, who was wounded while serving in Vietnam, and Kerry, who is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.
“The Senate just voted to denounce, condemn, whatever it is, MoveOn for that ad, but at same time, they rejected assaults on those who have served in our military with great heroism — the Boxer amendment,” Pelosi said. “It seems that the Republicans are selective in how they want to honor those who are serving or have served in the military. It was very disappointing, but it was also very telling.”
Support our member-driven organization: MoveOn.org Political Action is entirely funded by our 3.2 million members. We have no corporate contributors, no foundation grants, no money from unions. Our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way.
An ‘Amazing’ Outpouring of Support for Critical Ad
(September 21, 2007) — Yesterday, an amazing thing happened. After the Senate’s shameful vote, and after President Bush called MoveOn “disgusting,”1 our email started to fill up with messages like this one:
• I’m currently in Iraq. I do not agree with this war, and if I did support this war, it would not matter. You have the RIGHT to speak the truth. We KNOW that you support us. Thank you for speaking out for being our voice. We do not have a voice. We are overshooted by those who say that we soldiers do not support organizations like MoveOn. WE DO.
YOU ARE OUR voice.
And then came the donations. By midnight, over 12,000 people had donated $500,000—more than we’ve raised any day this year—for our new ad calling out the Republicans who blocked adequate rest for troops headed back to Iraq.
The message from MoveOn members was loud and clear: Don’t back down. Take the fight back to the issues that matter.
So today we’re shooting for a very ambitious goal: Reach $1 million so we can dramatically expand the campaign we launched yesterday going after politicians who support this awful war….
All day, messages from vets and military family members kept pouring into our email, many of them aimed at the Senate:
• I have given a son to this country. My brother, my father, my uncle have all served honorably and bravely. I am a loyal American. I am outraged and sick to death of the tactics this administration uses to try to silence dissent to a war that is unjust, built and maintained on lies, political power, and greed. I was content to let others fight more loudly, but no more.
–Sharyn W., NC
• I am a prior soldier who served in Iraq for 13 months, and am now an expecting mom with a husband who is deployed in Baghdad. I don’t think I can ever forgive the Bush administration for the lies that tricked America into this war and hurt my family so badly. I am ashamed of those American politicians who would condemn an organization for practicing the Freedom of Speech that so many soldiers have died for.
–Danielle B., OH
• As a US Navy veteran and an Iraq war veteran of over a year I want to ask, What has happened to us? What has happened to our voice? Where is this country going with stopping free speech and free press? … Every time I think of the long nights I had in Anbar remembering what I was fighting for, well here it is….
–Ahmad H., LA
These folks have made sacrifices many of us can’t imagine. Their charge to us was clear: keep speaking the truth about how President Bush and the Republicans have betrayed our trust.
So we’re going to expand our ad campaign—keep it on the air longer and run it against other politicians who helped block adequate rest time for our troops.
And still the messages kept coming …
• I’ve had three nephews serve since 2002, one of whom was killed in Anbar Province. I have a fourth nephew at Quantico training. I want this war over before he is deployed and before any more of our soldiers are sacrificed.
–Michele R., NE
• Three members of my family are military. Two Marines have served in Iraq and an Army Lt. is deploying in November. If we had all spoken out when the administration used General Powell perhaps we would not be in this mess.
–Carol B., PA
As a Marine I served for many reasons but one of them was to • allow people the freedom of speech, whether I agreed with it or not. Wearing a uniform does not mean someone isn’t a shill, is spewing propaganda, and downright lies. MoveOn has every right to buy an ad and say what they want about a public figure. This administration has lied to us, deceived us, misled us and when posed with a challenge this is how they respond?
–Keith G., VA
The Senate won’t pass a policy to end the war or even to make sure our troops in the field have enough rest time between deployments, but they hold votes to crack down on millions of Americans who are upset about the war?
Well—it isn’t going to work. We put together a hard-hitting ad that highlights how Republicans failed our troops and if we can raise enough money today, we’ll air it across the country. Please help if you can:
For all of us on the MoveOn staff, this week was a bit of a rollercoaster—MoveOn was attacked by nearly the entire Republican party, while too many Democrats ran for the hills. But what kept us going were messages like these—and the incredible privilege we feel to serve all 3.2 million Americans in MoveOn.org.
When the story is written of how the Iraq war ended, you will be the heroes. Thank you.
Eli, Adam G., Adam R., Anna, Carrie, Daniel, Erik, Ilyse, Jennifer, Joan, Justin, Karin, Laura, Marika, Matt, Natalie, Nita, Noah, Tanya, Tom & Wes