Wash. Times uncritically reported Graham's claim that Obama did not vote on resolution condemning "General Betray Us" ad

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

The Washington Times reported that Sen. Lindsey Graham "said Obama forfeited the respect of the military by not voting on a resolution condemning MoveOn.org's 'General Betray Us' ad denouncing Gen. David H. Petraeus" -- but the Times did not note that Obama did vote for a separate amendment that condemned the ad, an amendment that Graham voted against.

An October 27 Washington Times article uncritically reported that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) "said [Sen. Barack] Obama forfeited the respect of the military by not voting on a resolution condemning MoveOn.org's 'General Betray Us' ad denouncing Gen. David H. Petraeus, which ran in the New York Times on the eve of the general's testimony on the Iraq war." Reporters Stephen Dinan and S.A. Miller did not note that while Obama was not present for the vote on an amendment by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that, in the words of the amendment, "repudiate[s] the unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus by the liberal activist group Moveon.org," Obama did vote for a separate amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that condemned the ad, as well as other attacks on past and present members of the armed forces. Dinan and Miller also did not note that Graham and Sen. John McCain, for whom Graham was campaigning, voted against the Boxer amendment.

As Media Matters for America documented, the Boxer amendment "strongly condemn[ed] 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." The amendment 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." It also criticized Republican-backed attacks on Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) military service, as well as attacks on Vietnam veteran and former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA). Fifty senators, including Obama, voted in support of the measure, while 47, including McCain, voted against. 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 Washington Times article:

On the campaign trail in Iowa and Ohio, Mr. McCain stuck to his message of the past week but his close friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, questioned Mr. Obama's fitness to lead the military.

Mr. Graham said Mr. Obama forfeited the respect of the military by not voting on a resolution condemning MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad denouncing Gen. David H. Petraeus, which ran in the New York Times on the eve of the general's testimony on the Iraq war.

"Barack Obama was in the Democratic cloakroom. It would have taken him five seconds to come out and vote," Mr. Graham said at a rally in Cedar Falls, Iowa, attended by about 2,000 people. "He does not deserve to be commander in chief."

Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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