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McCain and Giuliani lob verbal rounds into Clinton camp

September 12, 2007 | 10:20 pm

In a presumably uncoordinated pincers movement, both John McCain and Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Hillary Clinton today for her reaction to Senate testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and for not denouncing a newspaper ad questioning the patriotism of the U.S. military commander in Iraq.

In Monday's New York Times, MoveOn.org bought a full-page ad playing with the Petraeus name and turning it into Gen. Betray Us. Yesterday Clinton said the general's testimony on progress in Iraq requires a "willing suspension of disbelief."

"I think it willingly suspends disbelief to not repudiate an advertisement run by a radical left-wing organization that impugns and dishonors the integrity of a man who has served his nation with dedication all of his life," said McCain, a Navy veteran who spent nearly six years as a POW in Vietnam and was in the second day of his "No Surrender" tour of Iowa. "If you're not tough enough to repudiate a scurrilous, outrageous attack such as that, then I don't know how you're tough enough to be president of the United States."

"I think," Giuliani said on an Atlanta radio show, "that between [the general] and Hillary Clinton, I'd kind of take his advice on what's going on in Iraq, don't you think? And I really do think to accuse a general of the 'willing suspension of disbelief,' particularly in the atmosphere that MoveOn.org has created with these terrible attacks, I don't know, I mean I think that's not the way in a responsible way to go about, you know, forging the foreign policy of the United States and the military policy."

Giuliani called the ad "disgusting" and added, "I think the failure of the Democratic candidates to really condemn that, given how much money Moveon.org spends on behalf of Democratic candidates, which is millions if not hundreds of millions, is really, I really think it’s very, very unfortunate,"

"What we need right now," Giuliani added, "is a reasoned account. We need statesmanship, not political venom."

MoveOn.org is an easy target for Republicans, much less so for Democrats, who can receive millions of dollars of support--or attack ads--from the liberal advocacy group.

--Andrew Malcolm

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