Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) would not criticize MoveOn.org on the campaign trail for an offensive advertisement the group produced to attack Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, but she sided with the anti-war lobby in a vote on Thursday.
Motivated by the full-page advertisement MoveOn.org published in the New York Times that accused Petraeus of betrayal, the Senate passed a resolution condemning “attacks of honor and integrity” on the general and other members of the Armed Forces.
The advertisement, purchased at a discounted rate, mocked Petraeus’ name as “Betray Us,” suggested he was “cooking the books” for the White House and characterized the general as a “military man constantly at war with the facts” who “will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war.”
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn’s “sense of the Senate” resolution passed 72-25.
Preceding the roll call vote on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) declared: “Let’s take sides. General Petraeus or MoveOn.org. Which one are we going to believe? Which one are we going to condemn?”
Clinton did not side with Petraeus.
Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), who is competing with Clinton for the Democratic nomination, did not vote. The full roll call vote is available here. No Republicans voted against it.
In a press conference Thursday morning, President Bush told reporters he thought the advertisement was “disgusting.”
He also spoke candidly about Democrats who were reluctant to criticize MoveOn.org. “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, then they are of irritating the United States military."
"That was a sorry deal,” Bush said.
Cornyn first offered his resolution immediately after the offending advertisement was printed on September 10—the day Petraeus was scheduled to make his first appearance to testify about progress in Iraq. When it was offered, Democratic Majority Whip, Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) used a parliamentary move--issued a point of order based on “germaneness”--against the measure to prevent the Senate from voting on it.
[Editor's Note: Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) is urging his colleagues to follow suit. Please click on the video below to view Blunt's Thursday afternoon floor exchange with Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) on the possibility of a similar resolution in the House.]