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. Marj from South Carolina

    Clark is absolutely right. McCain has served his country well but that does not serve as qualifications to become its President. McCain should quit whining! For such an old man, he needs to grow up and quit complaining. He should campaign on the issues as he promised he would. Same thing goes for Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman.

    July 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. Ilona Hussein, Proud Canadian!

    JUDGEMENT

    This is so true GOOD JUDGEMENT SHOULD BE VERY CLOSE TO BEING THE NUMBER ONE CRITERIA, (If not the number one) FOR BEING COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

    Please tell me, why so many McCain supporters think that he is qualified to be COMMANDER IN CHIEF! And please DON'T tell me that JOHN McCAIN HAS DEMONSTRATED SOUND JUDGEMENT, because we all know where JOHN McCAIN'S SOUND JUDGEMENT has taken him today.........YES HIS SOUND JUDGEMENT has taken him TO COLOMBIA TO OUTSOURCE MORE U.S. JOBS.

    Now folks, please tell me that you are HAPPY with JOHN McCAIN'S JUDGEMENT!

    July 1, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Donna

    The only General Clark did was to educate those who have not served, in the military, what the command structure in the military was, is, and forever will be.

    Shame on those who question General Clark's intigrity and his service to this county. Furthermore, General Clark has the background to discuss economic issues (without any advisors), Senator McCain can't.

    July 1, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Marj from South Carolina

    For a grown man who claims to be a war hero, McCain sure sounds like a big cry baby to me!

    July 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Upon Further Review,Texas

    Warriors rarely make good politcians.Warriors use bullets and politcians use lies.

    July 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. eloise

    Listen up: Ask General Clark about what he did in the Vietnam War? How about all that lying about the number of enemy dead?? Your listening to Pres. Johnson & then letting down the troops?? For all you younger Clark backers – look up your history before you back this man. He may have 'fixed' his image since then, but he was a disgrace then.

    July 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Josh, CA

    Gen. Clark is educating the "uneducated" bunch and keeps opening people's eyes.

    Bravo Gen. Clark!

    July 1, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Donna

    This is what not important (July 1st, 2008 4:38 pm ET) said:

    "Is this the same Wesley Clark that was involved in the Kosovo war? Yeah I still remember how NATO bombed Kosovo."

    NATO Supreme Commander, General Wesley Clark , fought against ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. It sounds like to me, you would not want President/General Dwight D. Eisenhower (also a former NATO Supreme Commander) to fight against one Adolf Hilter to stop genocide.

    July 1, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. M in SD

    I love the way Clark is managing this. This is just like the Bush machine going after people for nothing. If Clark did want to attack McCain's service there is plenty to go after. He isn't caving and he shouldn't.

    Clark for VP!

    July 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. Foreign observer

    All Clark says is true. There are several European foreign ministers who strongly doubt the jugdement of McCain. His temper on Russia, his fear when it´s about social justice and his adaptation towards traditional Republican views characterize McCain as the wrong men for the new time.

    July 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    I AGREE WITH GEN. CLARK! WHY? Because with ALL of his experience and the wisdom that should come from it......... McCain VOTED for the war, BELIEVED Bush's lies! How is that judgement????

    And what has that POOR JUDGEMENT NETTED THE U.S.?

    A NATIONAL DEBT OF $10 TRILLION........ COME ON RIGHT-WINGERS
    EXCUSE THIS!

    $1.38 BILLION BEING SPENT DAILY IN IRAQ!

    MORE YOUNG TROOPS DYING, 30K MAIMED & MANY, TOO MANY, COMING HOME TO COMMIT SUICIDE!

    HOW CAN ANYONE VOTE FOR MCCAIN?

    July 1, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Democrats are such self-righteous, self-entitled fools that it is comical. Hey kids, come live in the real world.

    July 1, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. DS from Wisconsin

    Reading through some of these comments, anyone who says that this war we are in is unneccessary is an idiot. Just to get the facts straight, there was actually a reason for us going into Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorism was and still is spreading all across the middle east while at the same time, Iran and North Korea are building nuclear weapons. Iraq and Afghanistan are some of the weaker countries that are involved in terrorism. They have been taken out first to try and contain the terrorism. The terrorists aren't going to stop doing their work so they must be contained by any means necessary. People who are against the war are just ignorant to what the future might possibly hold for us. Start reading up on history and maybe you'll understand what is going on around you. Those of you who are uneducated should look into what is actually going on in this world and think twice for who you are going to vote for in a few months.

    July 1, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Tex

    I agree that Sen. McCain's military service does not make him any more qualified than Sen Obama. Gen. (Ret) Clark's service does not make him anymore qualified for the position.

    Gen Clark is minimizing Sen McCain's military service. A retired general is no more qualified to be president than any other that has served in the armed forces.

    I believe in the total person concept. Look at the whole person, morally and ethically. Look at the candidates credentials and his service to country, whether it be in the military, senate, state or local community. by looking at the whole person, you will be able to determine who has the best judgment.

    July 1, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. John D. Sludge

    SOMEBODY TELL CLARK WE WON THE WAR IN VIETNAM SO HE CAN STOP PICKIN' FLOWERS NOW AND GET A REAL JOB

    July 1, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. al

    *************************************

    YEAH. TELL IT LIKE IT IS. CLARK.
    JUDGEMENT. WHOS GOING TO PROVIDE BETTER JUDGEMENT.
    STOP THE MADNESS. VOTE OBAMA.

    July 1, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Rob in Sacramento

    military experience, hardly qualifies a person to be a leader of anything. McCain was not a combat command officer has he been a leader in civilian life for the veterans he supposes to represent. in fact this man has voted against helping veterans at every step on the grounds of 'costs'; a consideration not applied to bailing out his good buddy Keating or his criminal advisers from Enron. the 'BS Express' would rather spew inane, elderly prattle like Obama being the candidate of Hamas or todays gem about the Supreme Court's ruling on child rape sentences than engage in substance. this is not the conduct of an honorable man capable of leadership, war hero or not. its more the behavior of a washed out has been who couldnt face a draft dodger & win in 2000.

    July 1, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Patrick

    He never states just how McCain lacks judgement. What he's talking about is that he wants a shot at being VP so he's smearing McCain to get in Obama's good graces. What a partisan hag.

    July 1, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. slim

    ha ha ha even obama said this guy doesn't know what he's talking about.

    July 1, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Patrick

    Hey Michelle from Indiana,

    What have you ever done to question McCain like that? I bet you've never been tortured by one of our enemies year after year with the only chance of it stopping if you sign something they throw in front of you. I wish that you would get captured by one of our enemies now so that you can feel the pain that McCain went through; then you would be speaking a different tune.

    July 1, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Dwayne L, OH

    He lacks judgement because he often has senior moments. He should eat more blue berry's. :-)

    July 1, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. Michael

    Gen. Clark is the one lacking judgment, he has just lost both my support and my respect.

    July 1, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. John, Catholic

    I have said it before and I will say it again. I am not a woman, I am not blue collar, and I am not a soldier. I am the only son so I am one of the last to be drafted.

    Any of the people who fall into any of those groups who want to support McCain are inviting more suffering on themselves. I say all the power too you. You get what you wanted and I hope you revel in it.

    When I was little I got grounded and sent to my room a lot for hours even days. It was punishment, it was torture!! I did not talk though because I was no snitch. Fee free to mail me my medal of devotion and patriotism. Do not forget to include my presidential seal and key to the white house.

    July 1, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Aida

    Well said Clark. I agree with every word you said. I have been questioning it all this time and finally, someone qualifed said it. I don't understand why they made Obama apologize?

    July 1, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. EDW

    Clark is not an Obama staffer, and Chicago did not sanction his statement; in fact, Clark supported Hillary Clinton until the bitter end.

    July 1, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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