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Sweet blog extra: Obama takes walk on vote to condemn MoveOn.org ad. 97 senators vote. Obama one of three who don't. UPDATED.

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WASHINGTON---White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) cancelled his campaign schedule on Thursday in order to be in the Senate for votes. But he was one of only three senators—of either party—to take a walk and not vote yes or no on a GOP measure to condemn an ad Moveon.org ran in the New York Times against Gen. David Petraeus.


Obama said he did not vote because “This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq….. By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I
registered my views on the ad itself the day it appeared."

While the GOP-authored measure was engineered to drive a wedge between Democrats—making a choice between a politically influential left-wing anti-war group and backing a decorated general—Democratic presidential rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Chris Dodd did take a position; they voted no.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) passed on a 72-25-3 (not voting) roll call. Also not voting: White House contender Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

However, Obama did vote on a Democratic measure by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) intended to provide political cover for Democrats. Boxer’s amendment reffirms support for all U.S. military personnel and to condemn attacks on the patriotism of any soldier. designed to counter Cornyn. The Boxer amendment failed on a 51-46-3 vote. Cornyns’ measure said it was a “sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

Obama has a history going back to his days as a state senator in Springfield of not voting or voting “present” when it comes to measures he considered designed specifically to produce a vote record that can be attacked.

In Springfield in 1997, Obama voted present on late term abortion bills. In 1999, he voted present on a bill increasing penalties for firing a gun near a school and on legislation dealing with the privacy of sex-abuse victims. In 2001 he voted present on a series of abortion related bills.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Thursday Obama’s present votes in Springfield were “part of a legislative strategy he crafted with advocates that helped senators in marginal districts vote their conscience on choice and to reduce gun violence.”


Full Obama comment:
"The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not
on criticizing newspaper advertisements. This amendment was a stunt
designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be
doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq. It's
precisely this kind of political game-playing that makes most Americans
cynical about Washington's ability to solve America's problems. By not
casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I
registered my views on the ad itself the day it appeared."

"All of us respect the service of General Petraeus and all of our brave
men and women in uniform. The way to honor that service is to give them
a mission that is responsible, not to vote on amendments like the Cornyn
amendment while we continue to pursue the wrong policy in Iraq."

3 Comments

"Boxer’s amendment reffirms support for all U.S. military personnel and to condemn attacks on the patriotism of any soldier. designed to counter Cornyn. The Boxer amendment failed on a 51-46-3 vote."

Of course it failed. The 'Republicans' didn't want anyone to ask pointed questions of whether it would apply to their earlier attacks on former U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-GA).

Obama was 100% right. Cornyn tried to pull a cheap stunt, yet another example of why the public (that would include me) is FED UP with this sleazy grandstanding garbage. Can we PLEASE focus on electing responsible adults? If this is what their so-called 'experience' gets us, I'm ready to try something else.

So, Barry, what do you think of "General Betray Us" now?

The real irony here...is Obama just appointed Gen Petreus to salvage his buttocks/plan to "win" in Afghanistan, after his "hand-picked" Gen was fired for critizing The One to Rolling Stone Magazine...

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 20, 2007 3:00 PM.

Sweet column: Jackson tells Sweet Obama "does not have to jump through hoops to prove his ethnicity." Does not recall saying Obama is "acting like he's white." was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog column special: Valerie Jarrett steps up role in Obama campaign. "She's always been the other side of Barack's brain." is the next entry in this blog.

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