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. mark

    I cannot understand why Clarc's comments draw so much attention???

    He praised McCain but righfully doubted if being a prisoner helps you being a good president.

    July 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Susan from Scotts Valley

    Clark is absolutely right. It does come down to judgment. A lot of great presidents didn't have military service. It's not a pre-requisite, nor should it be. And it doesn't mean just because you had this experience you're going to be a great president.

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Kevin in Dallas

    Clark says Obama's shown better judgement than McCain when it comes to being the Commander-in-Chief. Yet he fails to show any examples of that judgement. So what is his claim based on? I don't mean to call him a liar, I'm just saying I've learned my lesson on taking people in politics at their word.

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Obama Women

    No one can trust McBush--Definitely not women!

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Sound Judgement over experience

    John Mccain's judgment:
    Keating 5
    Against GI bill
    Against Women's equal pay
    For, then against immigration reform
    Gas Tax Holiday (not endorsed by one economist)
    Voted for Iraq war
    For 100 yr presence in Iraq
    45 new nuclear plants with no means of getting rid of their waste
    Cold War foreign policy
    Drilling off our coasts....

    July 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. David

    I love Gen. Clark. I don't believe the media knows how to handle someone who speak his/her mind. We have grown to comfortable with saying what you think people want to hear. Tell it like it is. I grew up in the south. We believed in telling it. If feelings get hurt, so be it. At least you know you didn't keep it inside. That's one reason people are having all the health problems here in America. The truth shall make you free.

    July 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Jill

    General Clark is right. What is the media's problem?

    July 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Phil, FL

    Open McCains military records. That will answer all the questions.

    Come on CNN – push to get the military records un-sealed. By the way – WHY are they sealed? Something incriminating in them?

    No Investigative Journalists at CNN?

    July 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Women In California For Obama

    Go Gen. Clark! I'm glad this is coming from one of his own "a white man". McWar has TRIED to turn down his nose on Obama and disrespected him constantly. While his military record is much to be respected-this is about being president. McCain lacks ALL the essential criteria needed for this job. Now, I am just waiting for Obama to come out and apologize for this statement too. How long is he going to keep acting like a puppet? Someone else talks and he takes the blame. There is nothing wrong with Gen. Clark's statement. Every bit of it is true. McCain's theory is...do unto others... For the first time in this campaign McCain is "bothered" and doesn't know how to deal with it. It's okay when Obama is taking the heat but don't touch him. He has been dealt a blow and he can't deal with it. He's upset and his surrogates because this is the platform they were planning to run on and it has blown up in their faces. Keep up the good work Gen. Clark.

    July 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Phil, FL

    Hey CNN

    Open McCains military records. That will answer all the questions.

    Come on CNN – push to get the military records un-sealed. By the way – WHY are they sealed? Something incriminating in them?

    No Investigative Journalists at CNN?

    July 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Rob indetroit

    why is it okay for Sen. mccain's people to sling mud at Sen. Obama , but not okay for Obama's people to do the same.

    July 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. tim from mn

    Thank you General! If anyone can question McCain on this it is you & you're doing the right thing.

    IRAQ WAR VETS FOR OBAMA 08!!!

    July 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Susan from Scotts Valley

    Barry – You seem to be well-read on the subject of Obama. Then how about reading that voting Present is a very common practice in the Illinois state senate to voice an opinion. It was part of their way of doing things. The fact that it is foreign to you doesn't make it wrong. And as far as the Senate, how many votes has McCain been absent for?

    July 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Nando, Florida

    I agree with Gen Clarke

    July 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. JFK

    While McCain is not my favored choice, I have more concern over Obama's lack of foreign policy experience. I am not convinced he is better choice dealing with the rest of the world.

    July 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Rusty, Portland

    Clark is a woos just like Obama-Clark would never have survived 5 years in Vietnam as a POW-Obama would have been crying "mommy"
    in about 2 minutes-

    July 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. jc

    What an impressive "new politics" being displayed by Obama's campaign. Repeated attacks against his opponents (Hillary and now McCain) by his surrogates and when anyone has the audacity to say anything about Obama, his campaign labels it as typical Washington politics trying to smear him instead of focusing on the issues.

    New politics, my behind.

    July 1, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Tony

    Who do you trust to hunt for Osama? Obama or MaCain.

    July 1, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Dan Dent

    John Kennedy was a War Hero and saved the lives of his fellow
    PT Boat Crew this shows guts and leadership, I would submit
    that McCain has the same.

    July 1, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. susie

    Wasn't clark fired when he was the commander of NATO.

    Now he "thrown under the bus" by Obama.

    Obama's judgement – he was a member of an American hating church for 20 years and didn't realize what was being preached.

    He and his wife donated thousands to that church and sat there and listened to Rev. Wright preach hatred towards America and make racist statements.

    July 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. C from Texas

    And this is the guy that supported the trader John Kerry. Does it not surprise you that he slams McCain because he supports Obama? Get real people.

    Obama has no experience what so ever with military operations, so how can he make a judgment call on a military operation? wait he'll take the advice of his advisor's......like Gen. Clark, now there's something to think about. Clark is just a wan-a-be President nothing more. Who really cares what he thinks.

    McCain '08

    July 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Jayson

    All one has to do is look at Obamas friends to see who clearly lacks judgement. Obama also lacks the judgement to bother voting yay or nay on bills which was what he was elected to do by his constituents. What good does it do his constituents to have the person elected to represent them show up and vote present??

    July 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. drlung

    combined with jim webb's comments today this is obviously part of an obama campaign strategy. denigrate what john mccain's service means and thereby equalize the ground between obama and mccain in a a major area of obama vulnerability. it's smart, slick and nasty, exactly what we have become accustomed to from obama. just ask bill clinton

    July 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Phil, FL

    Rusty – McShame survived by "singing" what they wanted to knows. And he was favored because of daddy and grand-daddy – put that in your pot pipe and smoke it.

    July 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Rusty, Portland

    Does OBAMA think he's fooling anybody by sending out these hacks like Clark to make statements debasing McCain and then saying he doesn't agree with them--does Obama think we are stupid? Probably, but people are slowing catching on-

    July 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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