- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2008

An antiwar coalition is retooling its message for a multimillion-dollar campaign to link the Iraq war to American economic woes. The group’s leaders will announce its plan today.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition of liberal groups including MoveOn.org, is implementing the tactic, “Iraq Campaign 2008,” after spending at least $3 million on its failed “Iraq Summer” campaign that prodded congressional Republicans to support the Democrats’ troop pullout plan.

AAEI now plans to spend millions of dollars “shining a light on the cost of war and mobilizing the growing majority of Americans who oppose spending billions to continue Bush’s endless war,” spokeswoman Moira Mack said.

The group also has taken aim at the Republican presidential front-runner, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, for saying he would keep U.S. forces in Iraq for 100 years if necessary.

The early focus on Mr. McCain likely will rekindle Republican charges that the group is partisan, criticism voiced when the summer campaign did not target congressional Democrats who opposed the proposed withdrawal.

The latest campaign will highlight what the group views as the majority of Americans who want their tax dollars spent on priorities at home and “establishing real security throughout the world” instead of the Iraq war, Ms. Mack said.

“As economic concerns weigh heavily on the minds of Americans, opposition to President Bush’s reckless war in Iraq continues to grow,” she said. “The massive cost of the war in Iraq — hurtling toward $1 trillion — has increased demand for a strategy to bring U.S. troops home.”


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