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. Naomi, Texas

    Right On Gen Clark! I encourage you to excercise your right to tell it like it is = free speech. You are really just saying what some of your colleagues wish they had the guts to say out loud!

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Change

    What will Mc Cain tell Mugabe of Zimbabwe when both live in the past (Veitnum war, Chimurenga war) that is where they both lay their leadership qualities, interesting isn't it.

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. cd

    How in the world does Wesley know Obama's judgment is better than McCain's? Who died and made him king? His opinions mean nothing in this election. It's beyond my imagination why Obama supporters cannot see through the smoke screen. If he wins in November, make your peace with God, the One and only true God! Obama can't save you! He'll destroy you!

    July 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Billy Jones

    No one has forgotten that you so want to be president yourself but were defeated early on just a few years ago. You can't stand the thought of some usurping military experience besting you...

    July 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Donna

    I am glad that Clark is not backing down from his words..the Republicans need to learn how to deal with criticism since they love to dish it out!!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Undecided NJ

    A few more Wesley Clarks and McCain is home free. I would like to vote for Obama because he is brown (black/white), but his policies so far leave me underwhelmed. I need him to speak up about the change he wants to bring about. I am not voting for blind change. I also think that NJ will be in play this year. It is a good feeling to finally have one's vote count for something.

    July 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. MOVE ON !!!!!

    CNN.........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...........CNN Mr Clark ..........is not going to back down ............PLEASE move on to the ECONOMY ISSUES!!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. asas

    his right mccains is a fraud with his whole carrer. Clar is the only one that can tell mccains stupuid mistakes. obama 08!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Terrence (Winsotn Salem, NC)

    Bea-

    I agree. One thing Obama is doing that I'm not liking is "apologizing" even when he didn't mess up. He apologizes too much for other people. I support him 100% but he really needs to take the kiddy gloves off. He didn't say anything about McCain so there was no need to denounce Clark's comments. McCain doesn't seem to dismiss Rush or Hannity. Grow some balls, O. You have my vote, but stop letting them force an apology.

    Obama 08

    July 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Tony

    Situation room shows low judgement when you invite Gen. Clark on the show to display his poor judgement about Sen McCain who is braver and fought in a real war against the superpower Soviet at the time as opposed to the general who fought as the Goliath against people with small rifles. Gen. Clark has no claim to be good general. Any average soldier can win that war. His poor judgement was his evaluation of Sen. Obama's experience and plans for this country which he has none.

    July 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. sherry

    I totally agree
    He may have ptsd
    We know he has a temper and sure doesnt think to highly of women , you can see that in the way he treats his wife.
    Hes a confused old man and needs to go home and relax and enjoy his twilight years

    July 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Swampy

    It is somewhere between a prediction and a hope of mine that Wesley Clark will be the next Vice President of the United States. He's brave, capable and outspoken, and he can help Barack Obama get votes in many swing states. What more can you ask for in a running mate?

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Michelle, Indiana

    Wesley Clark is right on the money with his statements. McCain does lack judgment. Though wait a few weeks and McCain's positions will all change again so you're never quite sure where he stands on any issue.

    Will McCain protect America the way he protected military information as a POW?

    From the article written by McCain in May 1973 for US News & World Report –

    I think it was on the fourth day that two guards came in, instead of one. One of them pulled back the blanket to show the other guard my injury……..I said, “O.K., I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.”

    They took me up into one of the interrogation rooms, and for the next 12 hours we wrote and rewrote. The North Vietnamese interrogator, who was pretty stupid, wrote the final confession, and I signed it. It was in their language, and spoke about black crimes, and other generalities.

    This is the Military Code of Conduct
    The Code: Consisting of six articles in simple language, the United States Military Code of Conduct orders American military personnel to resist capture at all cost and if captured; to attempt to escape, to give the enemy no information other than name, rank, serial number and date of birth, to take charge if senior, to obey orders of the seniors, to accept no favors from the enemy and to make no written or oral statements disloyal to the United States.

    I don’t know about any of you, but this kind of protection and judgment I can do without.

    McCain admonishes Obama for wanting to talk to the Iranian government, but he himself collaborated with the enemy with whom we were at war. Isn’t what he did much worse than just talking to someone with whom we are trying to prevent going to war?

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. asas

    yes clark is right mccains is a fraud

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Lois Ayres

    He also lacks:

    Iraq exit plan
    A domestic agenda
    2008 voting record
    Charisma
    Hair

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Anyone that followed Bush's failed policies lacks good judgement.

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. brianr

    Everything Clark just said here was reasonable. All this fuss about Clark 'swiftboating' McCain is pure nonsense. What it will do though is take Clark out of the running for VP now.

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Gus

    I didn't hear anything about Bill Clintons Command experience when running for president, nor am I hearing anything about Obamas. Obama's never been in the Military, and while McCain was doing his duty fighting a war for his country Bill was running around Europe protesting the war. Making a personal decision to drop bombs on other human beings is a Command Decision that McCain had to make. The only things Bill and Obama ever dropped was in the toilet bowl.

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. vw

    I respectfully disagree with your comments, General Clark.
    Who lacks judgment? Of course it is Obama.
    If Obama has stronger judgement, how can you tell he chose a paster (who hates USA) for his own and his family for more than 20 years? how can you tell he selected a long-term friend who keep bribing him with real estate (land and house)? how can you tell us he repudiated his paster and his closest friend just for the presidency?
    Clark, please act as a General with your own brain, not only a slaughter hired by someone.

    July 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Undecided NJ

    One more thing. Obama needs to build a large lead quickly as he has the momentum right now. If he loses the momentum, it will not be easy to regain. Maybe townhall meetings with McCain and early debates should not be taken off the table.

    July 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Common Sense

    Clark is right on one thing, Obama has better judgement. Unfortunately, he is comparing Obama to himself. Clark, as NATO commander, made poor judgements that lead to many Albania refugees to die. But that is besides the point.

    The point is, at what point does Obama tell Clark to stop talking? The more Clark brings up the military, the more exposes Obama to his lack of military and foreign experience. Tack on Webbs comment today about McCain needing to "calm down" regarding his military experience (after Kerry and Webb both ran their own campaigns based on their own Military history), they are doing the Obama campaign more harm than good.

    July 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. GG NYC

    Listen, I believe Gen. Clark is right too. But, he has to shut up and get out of the spotlight!! He is only making it worse, and giving the talking heads an excuse to continue talking about this...it does not help Obama or the Dems. Gen. Clark, you had your two minutes of spotlight, now let it shine where it should - on Barack Obama. Otherwise we will be discussing the military records of the candidates - NOT a topic favorable to Barack - instead of his policies and strengths. How is this not obvious?

    July 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Marcus E. Anderson all for Obama 08

    time for Sen Obama to distance himself from the honorable General Clark. Whil Gen Clark is entitled to his opinion this is a presidential election and the Mcsame and Puma Clinton fakr Democrats will jump all over this and use this as a way to undermine Sen Obamas positive and forward thinking campaign.

    all you Puma Clinton/Mcsame supportes and PAC supporters and Bigots keep your foul derrogatory comments to yourself we are done with the blog hate.

    From 2000-2008 America was bushed from 2008-2016 we will clear the bush.

    Obama 08

    July 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. Mary M, Houston, TX

    I think this whole thing is laughable. Obama's been in the senate for less than 3 years. What has he done to prove to Clark that he has "stronger judgement". Ridiculous.

    On top of that, Obama has distanced himself from Clark since he made these statements about McCain.

    Clark is obviously getting caught up in partisan bullcrap.

    And, for the record, I'm not voting for Obama OR McCain.

    July 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. Proud American

    Clark (unlike McCain) you are a wise man.
    Obama/Clark 08

    July 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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