ABC News' Jonathan Greenberger Reports: When the U.S. Senate voted earlier today on a resolution denouncing the liberal organization MoveOn.org for its recent advertisement referring to Gen. David Petraeus as "General Betray Us," Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., was notably absent.
He was in Washington â€“ he canceled a planned town hall forum in Rock Hill, SC, specifically so he could vote on a series of Iraq-related measures â€“ but when the MoveOn resolution came up, Obama was nowhere to be seen.
Tonight, at a fundraiser in Atlanta, Obama explained why.
"The notion that weâ€™re wasting time debating about a newspaper ad makes no sense. So I just, I didnâ€™t even vote on that vote," said Obama. "This is the kind of game playing that the American people are tired of."
But itâ€™s also true that the bill put Obama in a tough spot: oppose it, and he risked looking like he doesnâ€™t support the military; support it, and he would put himself at odds with a key liberal constituency. By skipping the vote, Obama didnâ€™t have to choose sides.
And as the Republican National Committee gleefully pointed out to reporters this afternoon, Obama has previously taken a pass on voting "yea" or "nay" when it comes to some controversial legislation: The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this year that while in the Illinois Senate, Obama "said he worked out an arrangement with abortion-rights advocates to encourage Democrats to vote â€˜presentâ€™ on some bills if they feared a â€˜noâ€™ would look insensitive and endanger their re-election."
Obama has previously called the MoveOn ad "counterproductive," and tonight he called it a "distraction."