(1st Add: Includes information on the Giuliani campaign's Friday advertisement.)
(CNSNews.com) - GOP presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and a group that supports the Bush administration's policy on the Iraq war announced on Thursday that they are asking the New York Times for the "same heavily discounted rate the newspaper gave MoveOn.org" when that group ran its "General Betray Us" ad on Monday.
Giuliani told reporters in Atlanta that he considered the liberal activist group's full-page advertisement -- "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" -- to be "abominable" and said his campaign is asking the newspaper for a comparable rate for an ad to run following President Bush's Thursday night speech on Iraq.
The former mayor of New York City said that his advertisement on Friday would "obviously take the opposite view" from MoveOn.org, which claimed in its ad that Gen. David Petraeus is "cooking the books" on Iraq and cherry-picking facts that support keeping a large number of troops in Iraq.
Giuliani included Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in his criticism for her comments that it would take "a willing suspension of disbelief" to accept at face value the general's report on the situation in Iraq.
"We think that her attack on Gen. Petraeus was a follow-up to the MoveOn.org/Times attack," he stated.
The candidate said that he agrees with Petraeus' assessment of the situation in Iraq, and he called the ad attacking an American general during a time of war "unprecedented."
"It's time for Americans to really insist that American politicians move beyond character assassination," Giuliani said. "And this is exactly what they tried to do with Gen. Petraeus. Well, it's one thing when politicians do it to each other. It's another thing when it's done to an American general who has put his life at risk to protect us."
Also on Thursday, Freedom's Watch - which ran a full-page ad in the Times on Sept. 11 calling for Congress to win the war - also said they were demanding the same rate and placement opportunity the newspaper gave the liberal group for an ad responding to the "General Betray Us" advertisement.
"It's outrageous that the New York Times would give a radical left-wing organization like MoveOn.org a discounted rate to publish an ad smearing the credibility of General Petraeus," said Bradley Blakeman, the group's president, in a news release.
"Freedom's Watch was not offered the same discounted rate to run an ad supporting our troops the very next day," Blakeman continued. "The New York Times owes us and its readers an explanation.
"We demand that the New York Times allow Freedom's Watch to run a response ad with the same placement, size and at exactly the same cost," he said, to ask the public to let their representatives know that "questioning the patriotism of military leaders by publishing libelous advertisements is not constructive and should stop."
Thursday's comments came the same day the New York Post ran a story claiming that the Times "dramatically slashed" its normal rates for the MoveOn.org advertisement.
A Post reporter who called the Times advertising department without identifying himself was quoted a price of $167,000 for a full-page black-and-white ad on a Monday.
A spokesman for MoveOn.org confirmed to the newspaper that the group had paid only $65,000 for the ad -- a reduction of more than $100,000 from the stated rate.
The Giuliani campaign did run a full-page ad on Friday that asked "Who should America listen to ... a decorated soldier's commitment to defending America or Hillary Clinton's commitment to defending MoveOn.org?"
The ad also quoted the former New York City mayor as stating: "These times call for statesmanship, not politicians spewing political venom."
And the Associated Press reports that the GOP frontrunner's organization paid the same $65,000 for the ad that MoveOn.org paid for its Monday advertisement.
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