July 1st, 2008
03:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Clark: John McCain lacks 'judgment'

Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark appears on Tuesday's 'The Situation Room.'
Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark appears on Tuesday's 'The Situation Room.'

(CNN) - Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, appearing on CNN's "The Situation Room" Tuesday, continued to press the argument that John McCain is not suited to be commander-in-chief, and took aim at the Arizona senator's "judgment."

"I've never said anything to dishonor John McCain … I like him. But I will say this, that when it comes to being President of the United States, it's about judgment," Clark told CNN's John Roberts. "And I've seen stronger judgment from Barack Obama, despite the fact that he doesn't have military experience than I've seen from John McCain despite all his worldly travels.

"To me, this is about, and I hope the American people will make the decision based on judgment," he added.

Clark also criticized Orson Swindle, a McCain surrogate and former Vietnam POW, who blasted Clark's record as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

"I don't know Orson. I'm sure he's an outstanding man and did a great job in uniform. He doesn't know me either," said Clark.

"But I did in my last command as the head of the forces in NATO, lead the forces of NATO in the fight to stop ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. We did win a war. We bombed for 78 days … we did it without the loss of a single American soldier … We did it with a combination of diplomacy and force," he said.

Clark also discussed his support in 2004 for John Kerry, namely on his military experience, and how it differs from McCain's.

"John McCain basically served honorably while in uniform, he did everything the country could have asked," Clark told CNN. "What John Kerry did is John Kerry got out of the uniform and took a judgment, a judgment I didn't agree with at the time, but he had the moral courage to stand up for himself and oppose the conflict in Vietnam.”


Filed under: John McCain • Wesley Clark
soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Bea

    Gen. Clark is qualified to make the comments he made. Now the republicans will try to discredit him. I admire him for not backing down or apologizing.

    July 1, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Andre' of Maryland

    Clark is right!!!

    John McCain pushed for this unnecessary war that has help hurt our economy and kill so many soldiers. His leadership lead us into this disaster and if elected he would keep us there.

    It is time to turn the page on this ideal that being a member of service provides you everything needed to be President. I would much rather my President to be smart and intelligent on far more other things than war. Especially in today's global economy.

    McCain is a relict of the past....it's time to step into the future.

    July 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Jerry

    General Clark is right, McCain has the judgement of a fat cat, take his position on trade, if he thinks it is helping the US workers all you have to do is look at the trade deficit. With a deficit of over 700 Billion how in the hell can anyone say that free trade is good for the US

    July 1, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Well said General Clark.

    July 1, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Winthorp

    Yeah, go Wesley Clark! You tell it. It is absolutely shameful that McCain made Obama apologize for what is the TRUTH!!

    Obama/Clark '08/ '12

    July 1, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Man From Atlantis

    He's just keeping it real. Truth hurts. Deal with it. I've been naked before, but that doesn't make me a porn star.

    July 1, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. SickandTired

    Can this be said any clearer? McCain lacks judgement. POINT BLANK.

    July 1, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. No Obama

    CNN the most sickest name in News!!

    July 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. No McCain!

    Wesley Clark is very, very smart. Too bad 45 PERCENT OF THE NATION can't see that.

    Obama '08!

    July 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Keep making it up as you go Clark. We know you support Obama because he is the nomonee from your party, period, end of story. Please stop making stupid arguments as to why you support him. You talk in circles and look like a fool.

    July 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Eric

    So, let me get this straight...

    We should listen to and trust people that are leading us in a reprehensible and poorly managed war (Bush, McCain, Petraeus)...

    But, people like Wesley Clark who lead us during a successful and bloodless military engagement should be ignored and discredited.

    Many years of experience fighting in a war is NOT good.

    A few years of figuring out how to not be in a war IS good.

    Think about it America, and decide who has a better grasp on what is best for our military and our country.

    Obama '08!

    July 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. saga for Obama

    i just watched this interview and i agree with Gen. Clark...
    he said nothing wrong, he even went as far to say that he likes Sen. McCain but Obama is the better candidate. it is about judgment, McCain seemed to be to reactionary and showed bad judgment in having one of his minions attack Gen. Clark about Clarks record.
    bring peace to the region without a single U.S. casualty.
    McCain has showed very bad judgment and poor character in not coming out against comments made by Lieberman. He has not released his military records as of yet...i think that action might have been more prudent than just attacking Mr. Clark. if McCains only form of response to critics is attack then i hope America does choose Obama...

    July 1, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Get a grip Clark.

    Keep making it up as you go Clark. We know you support Obama because he is the nomonee from your party, period, end of story. Please stop making stupid arguments as to why you support him. You talk in circles and look like a fool.

    July 1, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    Clark is 100% correct. He isn't coming down on McCains miltary record, he is coming down on his judgement, where he would stand on the important issues of the day.........I mean McCain touts his own judgement all the time, which is fine, he is trying to get elected. Unfortunately he keeps coming down on the wrong side of almost every issue, which to me shows a lack of judgement, so I won't be voting for him. period.

    July 1, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Saad from NJ

    What Clark is saying is not necessarily wrong but the way he is saying it is wrong. It is indeed a fact that being in the military and its experience 'alone' does not qualify a person for being the President. It is a combination of many things/experiences/achievements/knowledge which qualify a person for the President's job.

    We are who we are today because our system of checks and balances along with our economic prosperity got us there. That said, a good hold on the economy and its concepts and principals, in my opinion, come before military experience. We have military which is fully functional and fully capable for military related needs. I know we have Federal Reserve too for the economic related needs but still…. if our economy is not in-place and hurting, so will our military due to lack of resources.

    So, my point is that Clark is not necessarily saying the wrong things, he is saying it in a wrong way.

    July 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    i agree gen clarke mccain does lack judgement

    July 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Alex

    The republicand don't want to admit it, their sense that this guy has 100 years of experience is enough. I could have 1000 years of experience but it doesn't mean I make wise decisions and have good judgement, it is person to person.

    July 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. CCharles

    Clark's a smart guy – he didn't say anything that we didn't already know – and a perfectly legitimate argument that military valor does not make one better poised to be President.

    It's deplorable that McCain's supporters are now attacking Gen Clark to undermine his very valid position.

    July 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Eleven Bravo

    Take it to 'em, Wes!

    The truth must REALLY hurt, judging by all of the crying going on

    July 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. RC

    I am really starting to like Clark a lot. He says it like it is.

    July 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Reality

    McCain has no judgement !!!!!!!!!! He goes in which ever way the wind blows. Out of touch and SUPER OLD !!

    July 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Barry In Las Vegas

    Obama has better judgement than McCain?

    Here is a guy who as a state senator ducked 60 key votes by voting "present" instead of taking a position.

    As a U S Senator, he isn't even doing that – he just doesn't vote if he thinks the bill before the Senate will be used against him in the campaign. He is simply "absent."

    The only "judgement" the American public has seen Obama exercise is his judgement to duck and hide when it comes to voting on an issue that requires taking a position and leadership.

    July 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. CITIZENS FOR TRUTH

    MCBUSH IS A GERIATRIC VERSION OF BUSH.

    GENERAL CLARK CONDUCTED A SUCCESSFUL,SWIFT,

    SCALPEL PRECISE, NOT FOR PROFIT, WAR, WITHOUT

    THE LOSE OF A SINGLE US LIFE OR OUR ECONOMY.

    YOU CAN NOT ASK FOR A BETTER JUDGE OF WHO

    IS BEST QUALIFIED TO LEAD THIS NATION'S & ITS

    FOREIGN POLICY OR THE TWO WARS WE ARE IN,

    THAN GENERAL CLARK. THIS MES THAT WE ARE IN HAS

    BEEN MISMANAGED IN ANY WAY ONE CAN IMAGINE &

    WOULD CONTINUE TO BE, IF MCSLEAZO GOT ELECTED.

    July 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. NObama

    I am sure that Clark was a fine general and brought considerable experience and thought to his military decisions. Obviously, he doesn't do the same as a civilian.

    July 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Enlightened Voter

    Exactly! And it takes judgment to run the country, not so called 'experience' which gwb had and look where that got us.

    July 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13