July 1st, 2008
03:45 PM ET
9 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. Matt--NE

    Clark is a Tool, and a Fool, just like Obama.

    Funny how the left tried to claim Kerry's military service was worthy of him being president, but now, their obvious hatred of anything military is showing in their hatred for McCain.

    July 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Mike Jones

    Bravo, General Clark. Stick to your guns. Someone needs to address McCain's "experience".

    July 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Dan

    Yeah, Obama had great judgement being friends with Rev. Wright and the rest of the crew for 20 years! Are you kidding me?

    July 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Joe in NJ

    Except for his vote on the war (which he touts over and over and over and over) Obama has never been in a position to show judgement. All he has are opinions which are quite different.

    July 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. not important

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

    July 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Bob

    Can anyone explain how anything Obama has done in his life prepares him for the job. NOTHING! He has no experience and all his friends and preachers are terrorists or terrorist supporters. What is this man hiding.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. JC

    Senator Obama will have my vote, but I sure hope he isn't "compelled" by his handlers, or even the far right, to speak out against these latest comments from Gen. Clark.

    Can't anyone voice an honest opinion anymore?

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Sharon Minnesota

    No, Mr. Clark, it's Barack Obama who is sorely lacking in judgment. Remember, it took him 20 years to figure out J. Wright was a radical black liberation, racist preacher and then several more months to leave his congregation after a racist priest made a total fool of himself.
    And, he still hasn't really disavowed himself of that sick theology, just wanted to protect that church from media scrutiny.

    That, would be some real lack of judgment among many other incidences we have seen these last few months during the Democratic primary battle.

    Don't forget, with all the political propaganda by the media promoting Barack Obama pressuring the electorate, it's real easy to get confused about the issues.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Thank you General Clark, for saying what you did and for not backing down. I believe the majority of the Nation, will know exactly who to vote for.

    GO get um, Obama

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. James, SC

    So far our most outstanding leaders have been men who never served in the military. Also, some of our worst leaders served in the military. As a Vet. I realize that military leadership DOES NOT always translate to civilian leadership. Military leadership requires subordinates to follow commands. Civilian leadership requires getting people to agree. John McCain can't get his folks to agree, so how does his military experiences translate to becoming President?

    He speaks as though we the voters owe the Presidency to him because he was a POW.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Nova from NV

    Pretty funny coming from somebody who has never worked in a bi-partisan group or in congress. How about Obama's judgment when it comes to his ties with convicted felon Rezko? Or about Obama's judgment when he decides to listen to Rev. Write for thirty years?

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. The Weatherman

    Bombing the Yugoslavia back into the stone age is not genius. Someone had to rebuild and it took much longer. This put a huge financial strain on our Europeian allies which affects us downstream.

    General Clark is giving a bad example since the enemy was not funded by terrorists and donations from the entire middle east. He's comparing apples to oranges for those who are not well read.

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |


    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Realistic

    With Obama's sitting in an America-hating, racist church for 20 years along with his relationships with gangsters and thugs, don't try and sell me on Obama's judgment!

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Republican for Obama

    McCain ended up a POW because he didn't know how to get out at the right time, and was a bit lacking when it came to being a pilot. He will make the same mistake this time, and has already indicated in words (100 years, doesn' matter when they come home) that he intends to keep on killing our children.
    He lacks judgement for certain. The man can brag about his POW days until the cows come home. It doesn't change the fact that the POW episode, is in fact PROOF that he is not FIT to be our President. It took him 31 years to like our country? WOW, I don't call that patriotic, I would say he was close to treason during some of his months serving in Vietnam. POW or not, his words and actions during that time were NOT very american.

    July 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Clark is speaking from what he knows as a General in charge of a major military campaign.

    The fact that McCain has embraced the neocon nightmare vision of endless Middle East war shows that he lacks no judgement at all. He is sticking to the Bush game plan that has killed thousands of our young and wasted a TRILLION of our our dollars.

    What fool would vote for more of that?

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. adam

    McCain's camp took a comment about his leadership and morphed it into a comment on his service and in so doing, found it somehow ok to question anothers service.

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Mark

    Shame on you, Wes. The Democrat puppet-masters pushing Obama down our throats, have got you too! McCain 08, Hillary 2012

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. James Nelson

    Kudos to General Clark for speaking his mind, making an excellent point and sticking to his guns despite all the windy bloviation from rightwing gasbags and their mainstream media shills.

    McCain DOES lack judgement and, more importantly, the temperament to be President. I'd prefer the man with his finger on the nuclear button NOT to have an uncontrollable anger management problem, if you don't mind.

    July 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. judy, Wisconsin

    Clark's calm and credible interview on Cnn won't stop the so called "truth squad" from trashing him. I'm glad he stood by his statements–they were right on!

    July 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    You go get'em General Clark.
    We are with you on this one!
    Don't ever back down and stand your ground.
    Keep on telling the truth – we don't want a Bush third term.

    Obama/Sebelius '08
    Obama/Clark '08

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz










    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Earl

    Stick to your guns and don't let the "Swiftboat" BS win.

    ""SWIFTBOAT IN REVERSE"....how does it feel McDay?...you just swing whichever the wind blows.

    Senility is McWars attribute....he can't remember anything he said yesterday.

    Don't let them push you around Wesley...my money is on you.

    Did Rove crawl out from under a rock to put McDay on the front page after he changed all the old fossils depends?

    Not working this time guys....the war in Vietnam is over....get over it....MCWAR AND DAY ARE HASBEENS.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. NC voter

    HA HA HA!
    Keep it up laughing boy! The more you talk, the more time Obama has to waste back peddling!
    Anybody but Obama '08

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. John in Ohio

    Clark is exactly right, and should get more support for it. We, and I'm speaking as an Iraq veteran here, really need to stop fetishizing military service.

    If our nation was a tinpot military dictatorship then military experience might matter. If we were selecting a Caesar instead of electing a President, military experience might matter. I'd rather have someone without military experience (which Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt didn't have either) then somebody with it. I want somebody who has the judgment to put the right military people in the right military positions, not somebody who is supermilitaristic and tries to run it all himself.

    July 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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