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MoveOn.org moves from 'betray us' to 'betrayal of trust' ad

  • Story Highlights
  • MoveOn.org launches ad attacking President Bush's Iraq plan
  • Group says returning troop levels to 130,000 is a continuation of current policy
  • Liberal advocacy group wants all U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq
  • Lawmakers criticized MoveOn.org's full-page ad attacking top commander in Iraq
  • Next Article in Politics »
By Alexander Mooney
CNN Washington Bureau
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Five days after setting off a political firestorm with an ad in The New York Times attacking the top U.S. commander in Iraq, MoveOn.org has set its sights on President Bush.

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The MoveOn.org ad was posted on YouTube on Friday.

The liberal advocacy group announced Friday it is rolling out a new national television ad campaign next week accusing Bush of "a betrayal of trust."

"Before the surge, George Bush had 130,000 troops stuck in Iraq," states the ad's narrator. "Americans had elected a new Congress to bring them home. Instead, Bush sent 30,000 more troops."

"Now he's making a big deal about, you guessed it ... pulling out 30,000," the narrator adds. "So, next year, there will still be 130,000 troops stuck in Iraq."

In a statement, Nita Chaudhary, a MoveOn.org spokeswoman, said the president has "given us a sham draw-down plan -- 30,000 troops by next July is not a plan to end the war."

"No one is fooled by this," Chaudhary said. "It's just a political scheme to provide cover for Republicans and run out the clock to the end of his term."

Absent from the television spot is the commander, Gen. David Petraeus. MoveOn.org, in its "Petraeus or Betray us?" ad in The New York Times, said the general wasn't being truthful in his Iraq report for political reasons.

The Times ad claimed Petraeus "will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war." It also suggested that Petraeus' testimony was influenced by the White House.

Republican lawmakers condemned the full-page ad when Petraeus testified before them earlier this week.

Democratic lawmakers also questioned the ad, including Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, who called it "over the top."

"I don't like any kind of characterizations in our politics that call into question any active-duty, distinguished general who I think under any circumstances serves with the best interests of our country," said Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org, told CNN the group wanted to move past Petraeus in the TV ad campaign and "remind people about the president's role in this as well."

And despite condemnation from members of both parties over the ad in The New York Times, Pariser says he has no regrets the organization placed it, saying, "We're happy it caused people to take a close look at the statistics."

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican candidate for president, placed his own ad in The New York Times on Friday rebutting MoveOn.org and attacking "the Democrats' orchestrated attacks on General Petraeus."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a fellow Republican presidential candidate, said Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards, who are all Democratic presidential candidates, are afraid to renounce MoveOn.org and the ad.

Romney called MoveOn.org's ad "unacceptable and reprehensible" and praised Petraeus as "a great American." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Martina Stewart contributed to this report.

All About George W. BushIraq WarDavid PetraeusMoveOn.org

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