The NY Times reports:
The Senate approved a resolution on Thursday denouncing the liberal antiwar group MoveOn.org over an advertisement that questioned the credibility of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq.
MoveOn.org, with 3.2 million members, has become a powerful force in Democratic politics and the advertisement it paid for, which appeared in The New York Times, has come under sharp attack from Congressional Republicans and others as unpatriotic and impugning the integrity of General Petraeus.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, both Democratic candidates for president, voted against the resolution, which passed 72 to 25.
But curiously absent from the vote was Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, also a Democratic candidate for president, who had canceled a campaign appearance in South Carolina so he could be in Washington for votes.
Mr. Obama issued a statement calling the resolution, put forward by Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, “a stunt.” Mr. Obama said, “By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against these empty politics.”
Mr. Obama had voted minutes earlier in favor of an extremely similar resolution proposed by Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.
Ms. Boxer’s proposal, which failed, called for the Senate to “strongly condemn all attacks on the honor, integrity and patriotism” of anyone in the United States armed forces. It did not mention the MoveOn.org ad. Mr. Dodd and Mrs. Clinton also voted in favor of Ms. Boxer’s proposal.
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, was in Iowa and did not vote.
At a White House news conference, President Bush called the advertisement disgusting and said it was an attack not only on General Petraeus but also on the entire American military.
“And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad,” Mr. Bush said. “And that leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org — or more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military.”
Representative Thomas M. Davis III, Republican of Virginia, has urged the House to hold hearings on the MoveOn.org ad and to investigate whether The Times gave the group an improper discount. A New York Times Company spokeswoman has said that the group paid a standard “standby” rate.
MoveOn.org lashed out at Mr. Bush’s comments and pledged to double its spending on ads criticizing Republican lawmakers for blocking efforts by Democrats to change the war strategy. Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, said, “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.”
At Huffington Post, R.J. Eskow lays out how Democrats could have strategically played this and won.
I don't believe any strategic games were necessary to win. MoveOn.org has nothing to apologize for, while the Bush administration and Republicans (and now 22 Democrats) have everything to apologize for. Particularly these Democrats that voted for this resolution condemning MoveOn.org:
Not voting were Biden, Cantwell, and Obama (who is playing games with the base, by moments earlier voting yes on a similar resolution by Barbara Boxer that failed). The full list can be found here.
Another day passed with American troops and Iraqi civilians dying for what we all know is the increased wealth from oil for a very few of Bush's and Cheney's family and friends. Mike Stark at Daily Kos has a plan. I think it's a good one and about Goddamned time.