Republicans focus on attacking MoveOn.org 'Gen. Betray Us' ad during 'surge' hearing
In their opening statements Monday, the top Republicans on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees turned their sights toward a liberal group's advertisement in the New York Times today.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), vying for the party's presidential nomination, said he was "aggravated" by the full-page ad purchased by MoveOn.org, which asks whether Petraeus will "Betray Us" in his testimony Monday.
MoveOn cites reports by The Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post that indicate the administration's measures of progress are inaccurate and incomplete.
"Most importantly, General Petraeus will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war," MoveOn's ad said.
Hunter accused Democrats of spending the last week "prepping the battlefield" by questioning Petraeus's credibility, and he called it an "outrage" that there were suggestions the general couldn't be trusted.
"He's going to give us the one thing we ask, and that's a candid independent assessment," Hunter said.
Hunter's Republican colleague, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), called the ad "outrageous and deplorable," and she accused MoveOn of coordinating with Democratic lawmakers to undercut the testimony.
Ros-Lehtinen returned to criticizing the ad after Petraeus and Crocker gave their opening statements.
"Again I offer my colleagues the opportunity to use this hearing to distance themselves from the despicable ad that was published today calling into question the patriotism of Mr. Petraeus," she said, provoking a sharp response from an off-camera committee member.
"Point of order, Mr. Chairman, nobody has to distance themselves from something they weren't associated with," said the committee member, whose identity couldn't immediately be ascertained.
"Take it easy," Ros-Lehtinen muttered in response.
Later in the hearing, Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) expressed his displeasure with the ad and held up a copy of it when he was questioning Petraeus.
Top Democratic Senator Joseph Biden said on NBC that he did not agree with the sentiments of the advertisement, but also disagreed with Petraeus's expected conclusion that the current troop surge in Iraq was working and should be extended, according to Agence France Presse.
"I really respect him, and I think he's dead, flat wrong," Biden said of Petraeus on NBC television.
"The truth of the matter is that ... this administration's policy and the surge are a failure."
The following video is from CNN.com, broadcast on September 10.