Hillary Clinton Refuses to Cross MoveOn.Org

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The Senate on Thursday passed a Republican-sponsored amendment reaffirming its "full support " for Gen. David Petraeus and "strongly" condemning "personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces."

The amendment, which passed 72-25 (see how they voted 72-25), condemned a MoveOn.org political advertisement, which called the top U.S. commander in Iraq "General Betray Us."

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2001, was among the 25 liberal senators voting no. In other words, she refused to support Gen. Petraeus or condemn the personal attacks on him. So did Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

Sens. Joseph Biden and Barack Obama -- who also are running for the Democratic presidential nomination -- did not vote on the amendment, which was sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn.

"This amendment was an opportunity for every senator to declare with not only their voices but also with their votes that they fully support our troops and our commanding General in Iraq," Sen. Cornyn (R-Tex.) said on Thursday.

"For MoveOn.org and their left-wing allies to brand General Petraeus a traitor and a liar crossed a historic line of decency. It was a despicable political attack by a radical left-wing interest group. I'm pleased that majority of the Senate, in a bipartisan vote, has repudiated it," Cornyn added.

"We will not tolerate the patriotism and integrity of our troops and their leaders in the field being dragged down into the swamp of Washington politics."

Appeasing the far-left?

Sen. Clinton, in refusing to condemn MoveOn.org for its attack ad, may be trying to mollify the group that has criticized her for her cautious, "centrist" stance on the Iraq war.

At an April 10, 2007 town hall meeting sponsored by MoveOn.org Political Action, MoveOn members chose Sen. Obama as the Democratic candidate who "would be best able to lead the country out of Iraq." Clinton finished a distant fifth.

In 2005, with a run for president in mind, Sen. Clinton tried to back-pedal on her war stance, saying if she'd been asked to authorize the Iraq war "based on what we know now," she "never would have agreed." Clinton said the Bush administration misled Congress with faulty intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Fighting back

MoveOn.org, which has reaped heaps of publicity over the General Betray Us ad it ran (for a discounted price) in the New York Times, condemned the Senate vote, telling its supporters, "The U.S. Senate just told you to sit down and be quiet."

MoveOn.org noted that senators on Thursday failed to pass an exit strategy for U.S. troops in Iraq; and they failed to pass a bill expanding a children's health insurance program. "Instead, they condemned MoveOn.org."

The liberal advocacy group, which claims to reflect "where America stands," said it will not be quiet and it will continue to fight back: "We will keep speaking out until Congress forces an exit plan for this awful war."

MoveOn.org is now running on its Web site the names of people who sign on to its "we will fight back" statement.

House Dems won't allow a vote

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats so far have refused to bring up a similar resolution in the House of Representatives.

House minority leader John Boehner introduced a resolution condemning what he called the "slanderous" MoveOn.org ad "attacking the four-star commanding general leading our troops in harm's way."

According to Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asked Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) point blank, "when can we expect to see a resolution like [the Senate's] on the House floor?"

Hoyer replied, "I don't having any intent at this point in time to bring up that resolution."

Boehner insisted that House members from both parties "deserve the opportunity to express their support for General Petraeus and to condemn the despicable attacks launched against this honorable man by a radical left-wing political organization."

Boehner accused House Democrats of taking "every cue" from MoveOn.org.

See Earlier Stories:
Clinton Bombs in Liberal Straw Poll (April 12, 2007)
Iraq Threatens to Dog Senator Clinton's White House Bid (Feb. 5, 2007)

Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.