O'Reilly falsely claimed Obama did not vote to condemn attacks on Petraeus and Kerry

››› ››› LILY YAN

On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely stated that Sen. Barack Obama did not cast a vote on a Senate amendment denouncing both an ad by MoveOn.org that targeted Gen. David Petraeus and "Swift Boat" attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). In fact, Obama voted in favor of an amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that denounced the MoveOn.org ad and character attacks on Kerry, former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), and other veterans.

On the October 8 broadcast of The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely stated that Sen. Barack Obama did not cast a vote on a Senate amendment denouncing both an ad by MoveOn.org that targeted Gen. David Petraeus and "Swift Boat" attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Contrary to O'Reilly's claim, Obama did cast a vote in favor of an amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that denounced the MoveOn.org ad and character attacks on Kerry, former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), and other veterans.

During the broadcast, O'Reilly stated: "You know, we did some research into his [Obama's] vote on MoveOn. MoveOn ran the Petraeus ad. ... They had a vote in the Senate condemning that action, along with -- and I did not know this -- condemning the Swift Boating of Kerry." O'Reilly added, "It was in the same amendment -- same amendment -- that, you know, when you challenge someone's patriotism, that is wrong. Obama did not vote."

As Media Matters for America has documented, Obama did, in fact, vote for the Boxer amendment condemning the MoveOn ad, as well as other attacks on past and present members of the armed forces, including the following reference to Kerry:

In 2004, a Senator from Massachusetts who is a Vietnam veteran and the recipient of a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts, was personally attacked and accused of dishonoring his country.

[...]

This attack was aptly described by a Senator and Vietnam veteran as ''dishonest and dishonorable.''

The Boxer amendment also criticized Republican-backed attacks on Cleland, a Vietnam veteran whose legs and right arm were amputated as a result of injuries sustained there. It stated of the MoveOn.org ad: "On September 10, 2007, an advertisement in the New York Times was an unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus, who is honorably leading our Armed Forces in Iraq and carrying out the mission assigned to him by the President of the United States." The amendment went on to "strongly condemn attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization." Fifty senators, including Obama, voted in support of the measure, while 47, including Sen. John McCain, voted against it. As Media Matters noted, under an agreement reached by the Senate leadership, a cloture vote and a vote on final passage were combined for this and other Iraq-related amendments, meaning that the amendment needed 60 votes to pass.

From the October 8 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: I think Wright was a legitimate issue. I think Ayers, a legitimate issue. I think people -- people's mindsets when they want to get power are important. Do I put a lot of credence in it? No, because the more I understand Barack Obama, the more I see a practical guy, who, you know, pretty much doesn't -- if -- if the power structure in Chicago is far-left, and the power structure can help Obama, he's gonna go there. You know, we did some research into his vote on MoveOn. MoveOn ran the Petraeus ad.

LIS WIEHL (co-host): Right.

O'REILLY: They had a vote in the Senate condemning that action, along with -- and I did not know this -- condemning the Swift Boating of Kerry.

WIEHL: They coupled those together?

O'REILLY: It was in the same amendment -- same amendment -- that, you know, when you challenge someone's patriotism, that is wrong. Obama did not vote.

WIEHL: Didn't vote "no" -- just didn't vote?

O'REILLY: Didn't vote -- didn't vote for that amendment. Now, the amendment passed, like, 74-22, something like that. Big vote. Obama was in the chamber.

WIEHL: I was gonna say, was he there?

O'REILLY: He was there. Did not vote on that. Now, Obama -- he didn't want to alienate MoveOn. MoveOn's a big fund-raiser for him. But he had the Kerry component in there.

WIEHL: Right.

O'REILLY: So, it wasn't just a slam on MoveOn, but Obama is a cautious politician. Did not vote. So, I think this is all legitimate. But is it the main thing? No. The main thing is your pocketbook.

Network/Outlet
Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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