Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pelosi on "would have preferred that they not do such an ad.”

Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn Political Action, in Manhattan yesterday.

Behind an Antiwar Ad, a Powerful Liberal Group

Published: September 15, 2007

There is no mistaking the influence of, with its 3.2 million members and powerful fund-raising apparatus, within the Democratic Party.

This liberal activist group has come to occupy a prominent seat at the table among the party elite, so much so that Republicans leaped at a chance to hold Democrats and their presidential candidates responsible for MoveOn’s positions after it ran an advertisement attacking the credibility of Gen. David H. Petraeus.

MoveOn, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for Democratic candidates since its inception in 1998, clearly enjoys friendly relations with Democratic Party officials. Its leaders have met several times over the year with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to discuss policy and strategy on ending the Iraq war.

MoveOn representatives also take part, as co-founders of a coalition of antiwar groups together under the umbrella Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, in a daily conference call with the Democratic leadership staff on Capitol Hill to coordinate efforts.

Despite conservatives’ efforts to lump together the grass-roots organization and the party and to force individual Democrats to take responsibility for MoveOn’s wordplay on General Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, as “General Betray Us” in its advertisement in The New York Times, the relationship between the two is often complicated and, at times, shows visible fractures.

Antiwar Ad Prompts Dispute

Published: September 15, 2007

An advertisement by in The New York Times on Monday has become the focus of a rancorous political dispute that has now rippled through the presidential campaign.

The full-page, black-and-white advertisement questioned the integrity of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq. It ran on the first day of General Petraeus’s highly anticipated testimony before Congress on the progress of the war.

Republicans seized on the advertisement, saying it was unpatriotic because it suggested that General Petraeus, a decorated four-star general, should be called “General Betray Us.” They have used what MoveOn has acknowledged was inflammatory language to denounce the group as an extreme left-wing organization. And they have tried to lash the advertisement to the Democratic presidential candidates because MoveOn has ties to the party and is influential with its core voters.

In response to the advertisement, another appeared in The New York Times yesterday, this one paid for by Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican candidate for president and former mayor of New York. It attacked Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, a leading Democratic candidate for president, suggesting that she was part of “orchestrated attacks" on the general with It said she “continued the character attack on General Petraeus and refused to denounce’s ad."

On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton criticized the report on the war, but not the general’s character. Asked later about the MoveOn advertisement, she avoided answering.

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