July 1st, 2008
03:45 PM ET
6 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. Serge the DEM

    C from Texas... Clark was a 4-Star General who led a successful campaign in Kosovo, with ZERO American casualties... I and many fellow americans DO care what he thinks. So should you!

    July 1, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Detroit

    Gen. Clark was so bad he was fired the former CIC Clinton. Now he tried to redeemed his honor by doing the foot-soldier work for an undecisive and double-standard Obama who called to fire shock jock Don Imus but defended the terrorists-loving and white-hating Rev. Wright. It shows how low Gen. Clark has fallen.

    July 1, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. no mccain

    i agree with you,gen.clark
    obama 08

    July 1, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Gen. Wes is right

    SAYING THAT BEING CAPTURED BY THE ENEMY IS AN INDICATION OF QUALIFICATION FOR PRESIDENT IS LIKE SAYING THAT PLAYING IN THE NFL QUALIFIES ONE TO BECOME THE COMMISSIONER OF THE NFL.

    July 1, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Catherine

    Thank You General Clark! John McCain because you were a prisoner of War does not buy you a ticket to the White House! We as American Love and Honor of our Veterans, but you should at least be able raise your arms above your shoulds! I would have voted for General Clark, America remember when Hurrican Katrina was going on President Bush flew over Louisana to take McCain a cake for his birthday! McCain please be mindful that SENTAOR OBAMA has some American War Wounds! My grandfather, father, brothers, and so on THEY WERE VETS ! And Michelle Obama you rock ! I would love to see Sen and Cindy McCain send a day as a african AMERICAN! Othey're rich I wish Air Force One would deliver OUR VETS SOME FOOD

    July 1, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. Jimmie

    How did Wesley Clark get his position as a general? Did he get it by the sweat of his brow or did he just happenn to know the right people at the right time? His low-grade comment about McCain should have been left unsaid from a man in such a high caliber position. No one made a comment regarding McCain's POW status qualifying him to be a president. It ranks in the same category as Geraldine Ferraro making the comment that Obama would not be where he is at today had he not been a black man. Comments that are meant to hurt and demean the person they are spoken against.

    The front runners, McCain and Obama, can expect many more degoratory things to be said about them from now until election day. The Clinton machine did their upmost best to bring Obama down, but it backfired on them.

    I am not surprised at the things that are being said about McCain by a supposedly upstanding retired general. I don't base my decision on who to vote for based on what someone else has to say about a particular candidate. .

    I, like many others, am undecided as to whom I plan to vote for in November. I need more input on the issues that are affecting our daily lives. High cost of fuel, high cost of food, closing down of automobile plants putting many people out of work, the critical situation with the housing market, drilling for more oil, making America self-sufficient, again and countless number of other issues are the only things that plague my mind.

    Geradine Ferraro is a big laugh to me, she made a comment that Obama would not be where he is today had he not been a black man. That is a very racist comment, however, she has since changed her mind and have decided to support Obama, only because she is a Democrat. How in the world did this woman ever get into politics to begin with?

    July 1, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Annette, Washington, DC

    Given the comment was made by a General ( leader of a command of soldiers) seems to me whether Rep or Demo...it's his opinion.

    July 1, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Ironic

    This is ironic. The general who champion the School of the Americas, which has been condemned by many international rights group for training thugs and murderous, is now the poster boy of the political left? Not only that he is cheered for insulting McCain career and the thousand of like officer and enlisted men who have severed in like capacity wither in the Navy, Air Force or Army as not being in a real leadership position. A squadron commander or carrier air group commander, or senior enlisted, has tremendous responsibility in what is the equivalent to running a mid-size airlines with the added responsibility of life and death of sending men into harms way with the possibility of collateral damage as he discovered in Kosovo when one of his errant bomber hit and killed Chinese Journalist. Apparently he does not remember that fiasco, for which his superiors and George Tenant took the blame. I am sure he no sleepless nights over that decision or what impact it had on the pilots who carried out the mission. What his comment does reveal, is a West point ring thumping think Green mentality that the only true protectors of the country are in the Army's armor and infantry units. The Air Force and Navy is just a tax service to carry the true fighting force of the US into battle.

    July 1, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. Vanessa

    What Clarke is saying is true. We can't just say, contest over, POW wins! No more than we can say, contest over, the black guy wins. We have to look at their records, their positions, their policy ideas. McCain doesn't have new ideas. New challenges, a new global economy, new environmental problems, new debt, requires new ideas. Thank you for your service Sen. McCain but Obama '08!!

    July 1, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. Catherine

    Thank You General Clark! John McCain because you were a prisoner of War does not buy you a ticket to the White House! We as Americans, Love and Honor our Veterans, but you should at least be able raise your arms above your shoulders! I would have voted for General Clark! America, remember when Hurricane Katrina was going on? President Bush flew over Louisana to take McCain a cake for his birthday! McCain please be mindful that SENTAOR OBAMA has some American War Wounds! My grandfather, father, brothers, and so on THEY WERE VETS ! Also, Michelle Obama you rock ! I would love to see Sen. and Cindy McCain spend a day as an African AMERICAN!!! O they're rich I wish Air Force One would deliver OUR VETS SOME FOOD ... sorry I had to spell check

    July 1, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. alvin, canada

    McCain`s spiritual guide Rod Parsely who also preaches hatred for muslims and

    Jim Hagee who also preaches hatred for catholics shows the kind of judgment McCain has. Thats why it took him 3months to come out and denounce those extremists.

    July 1, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. joe

    What about McCain's making 30 plus propaganda tapes for North Viet-Nam? Everyone turns a blind eye to issues like this. All the heros in war are dead. Suprising that he, of all people, would support bush's efforts to torture soldiers. The media has failed this population , the same people whose tax dollars are funding this madness. Likewise the courts, who refused to explain what the right of redress means! Clearly the people in power have ignored the will of the people! Is this this majority rule? Is 70% not a majority? Is this democracy? Are 950 lies not enough to prompt congress to act? What has to happen before the taxpayer says, no more?

    July 1, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. joe

    What about McCain's making 30 plus propaganda tapes for North Viet-Nam? Everyone turns a blind eye to issues like this. All the heros in war are dead. Suprising that he, of all people, would support bush's efforts to torture soldiers. The media has failed this population , the same people whose tax dollars are funding this madness. Likewise the courts, who refused to explain what the right of redress means! Clearly the people in power have ignored the will of the people! Is this majority rule? Is 70% not a majority? Is this democracy? Are 950 lies not enough to prompt congress to act? What has to happen before the taxpayer says, no more?

    July 1, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    I say Mike, Syracuse, NY, is the smartest guy on this blog.

    July 1, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Lynn

    I adore Wesley Clark and I think he would have been a great VP if we could change the Presidential choice. I hate to see him put someone down for their military service. John McCain was a POW for 5 years. What this man had to go thru. I am not a fan of McCain or Obama but I think McCain should be thank for his service.

    July 1, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  16. susie

    If McCain is so bad.... why did John Kerry want him to be his running mate back in 2004?

    Please someone tell me what Obama is going to change - oh wait, he is going to turn the USA into a socialist state.

    If you want BIG govenment and a 50% tax rate -- vote OBAMA!

    July 1, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    I agree with Clark 100%

    July 1, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. sarah

    yeah clark,, sitting in a church exposing your children to racist, anti american rants on a regular basis is great judgement. calling bill and hillary clinton racists, really great judgement. using drugs excellent judgement. someone should definately question your judgement and your sanity.

    July 1, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. M.S. Indiana

    Alf Z, FL., and when it comes to 2 old white guys, Ron Paul got my Vote...
    McCain stands for nothing that our Republican party stands for...
    he is just an other Bush wanna bee...

    After all there are millions of people who have served in the military, think we can pick a better person from there then old old ways of doing things...

    And dear McCain cant even take a stance, tell me where he have not flip flopped... Tomorrow he will properly promote peace in the middle east and no more wars against the Muslims...

    July 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. Tim

    General Clark should keep his comments to himself.

    July 1, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Ken

    This article makes me laugh. What's even more funny is the fact that most of you agree. Talk about lack in judgment. Does Westley Clark knows Obama, the man that he now works for and endorsed? I don't see McCain befriend a racist like Rev. Wright. I don't see McCain befriend an anti-America extremist like William Eyres. Talk about a lack in judgment. Wake up people.

    July 1, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. saga for Obama

    hmmmm...is it true that McCain is being backed by members of KKK and other white supremacist terrorist? after reading some of these comments....i would say so.
    blah blah Wright...
    yadda yadda Farrakhan
    yippidy yippidy Rezko....

    how a bout KEATING 5...that was a McCain OJ
    what about womanizing.... them some morals for ya
    kinda lovin that war in afgan. and Iraq...so what a few people die? right?
    oh yeah gotta love the ENRON buddies
    how a bout the senile paranoia? "oh he talked about me...Barack can you please cut him loose?" whaa whaa whaa...john mccain..

    get real

    July 1, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Michele Hussein, Oregon

    So the bottom line is that Clark hurt McCain's feelings right where it counts the most to him (McCain).

    What is the difference between what Clark said and what the McCain camp has attempted by trying to discredit Clark? Even their efforts to denigrate Clark's service is backfiring ......

    July 1, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. WISDOM

    I agree 100% with General Clark. Nobody is doubting McCain's honorable service to this nation, but that alone doesn't make him a better leader. In fact, I rather trust younger and less experience, but honest man over older man with life time of rotten experience who ditched his wife and kids over a younger and rich girl. You know who I'm talking about: John Mccain is the one who ditched his wife and kids over then a rich young girl, Cindy.

    Now, how can you trust a man like McCain as your president? He is now criticizing Obama for changing his mind on Public Campaign Financing issue? What a hypocrite he is....

    July 1, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. mark

    Someone remind me how it's the Republicans who are the nasty, mean spirited, attack dog, mud slinging party?

    It seems for months and months, that's all the Dems do is speak nasty, attack and throw barbs, at each other and at their opponents.

    McCain has demonstrated he has the better judgement, and character through out this primary season, and the pressure and challenge has brought out the true and worst parts of the Obama and the Obamaites.

    So Please someone remind me why everyone says the Repubs are the nasty ones. I see it quite the opposite.

    PS: I'm an independant, swear no allegiance to a party, I vote for who I think will do the better job.

    July 1, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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