WASHINGTON (AP) — A new TV ad that urges Congress to oppose U.S. military strikes against Syria underscores the difficulty President Barack Obama is having in getting war-weary liberals to support him.
The 30-second ad by the liberal activist group MoveOn.org says the U.S. didn’t set out to spend eight years at war in Iraq and a decade in Afghanistan and predicts the same thing will happen if Congress approves Obama’s desired military action in Syria.
Obama says the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad should be punished for carrying out a deadly chemical weapons attack last month outside the capital of Damascus.
The ad, titled “Not Again,” concludes by telling Congress, “Don’t lead us down this road again.” Viewers are given a telephone number and urged to call Congress to voice opposition.
The full Senate could vote by the end of this week on whether to give Obama authority to use military force, though many lawmakers in both parties are opposed to doing so.
MoveOn says the ad will air this week on MSNBC, with a heavier rotation around Obama’s planned address to the nation Tuesday night.
The group is spending in the “mid five figures” to air the commercial.
MoveOn was one of Obama’s biggest campaign supporters, but Anna Galland, its executive director, said in an interview Saturday that the organization is following the will of its members. During a recent 24-hour vote, more than 70 percent of MoveOn’s members came out against military strikes, she said. Recent surveys also show public opinion running against U.S. intervention.
Galland said the group “will stand closely” with Obama on other issues, such as the implementation of his health care law. But on Syria, “we had a very clear mandate from our members to go out strongly on this,” she said. “This is a big moment.”