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. Bingo, Alaabama

    Clark is an unfortunate combination of ignorance and arrogance and, quite possibly, the most despised senior US military officer in the last 20 years. His gross micromismanagement of operations in Kosovo (where, by the way, we still have a US military presence where we have absolutely no US national interests) has become a case study in professional military education of how not to command in war. I would gladly follow McCain to hell and back with confidence that we would return with victory and honor. I would not follow Clark into the latrine.

    July 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Johnny


    Isn't it funny how we accept prescriptions from a 25 year old doctor but quick to dismiss a man of General Wesley Clark's wealth of experience. We should be learning from him especially on this subject matter.

    He spoke because he saw the GOP trying to con us again.

    July 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Phil, FL

    Didn't McCain lose a lot of planes and set a ship or two on fire?

    July 1, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. george

    Clark is on the money. I see no discrediting of John McCain in his comments. Here come the swiftboaters again discrediting the reputation of Democrats who have served honoraly in the military just like they did John Kerry in 2004. How many elections Republicans are going to fight on wars, and that they are most capable to defend us? Come on let's fight a war on health care, energy, the mortgage crisis, and other pocket book issues. We want a President who can fight this war at home and shows real leadership around the world so that trillions of dollars don't have to be dumped abroad, thousands of lives don't have to die or be maimed. Yeah, we need great judgement on those issues and that's why Clark is right. Experience doesn't mean you have the best judgement.

    July 1, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Slider


    Um...that's "smoke and mirrors", Dem-tard.

    As for Clark, he has obviously not taken the advice of General Sheldon, at the behest of Cohen, about him showing his face on television again.

    As for Obama, he has now congratulated gays on marrying recently; even though he doesn't believe in gay marriage.

    Yep. Obama is gonna make a fine CIC; just ask the General that was relieved after his many snafus were no longer tolerable: and by the Clinton administration no less.

    July 1, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Gene

    I totally back Clark up in his statements. He's dead on, and articulate. He's not being offensive, and not backing down from his statements. He just states facts, and McCain's camp is in a whirl wind trying to deal with it. Personally.. I'd take someone with sound judgment over experience any day. Look where all this experience has gotten us in the last 7 years.

    I have a question for all you McCain supporters who keep claiming that Obama is an empty suit. Every time something gets thrown at Obama... he stands up.. faces it, discusses it, and actually has the guts to bring it out in the open. Every time something gets thrown at McCain... he talks about how it's not fair, dirty, uncalled for.. but then he never actually addresses the issues... he just stamps his feet and lashes out and carefully avoids the subject which is brought up. How can you vote for someone who throws out dirt daily, yet can't handle anything being thrown back at him? I mean... he's a military officer, but he's got absolutely no spine.

    Why doesn't McCain stand up and say "Gen Clark... I consider my experience as a POW to be experience that qualifies me as the next president because...."?

    The answer is because he can't. Because McCain knows that everything the general says is true. And rather than just saying to the public "He's right..that doesn't qualify me... but this is what does...", he just cries foul and avoids the question.

    You all should take a look at how Ron Paul tore him apart. Now, I'm not a supporter of Ron Paul.. but in the repub's primary debates... Ron kept exposing McCain over and over, and not letting him get away with any of the BS that McCain was trying to throw out... He had McCain stumbling and bumbling.. like a caged animal who had no escape.

    July 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. HTA

    He might make a great Secretary of Defense.

    July 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Phil, FL

    CNN – can you not 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 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    The NATO action in Kosovo wasn't a war. there were no US ground troops involved. We bombed people who had no air defenses to speak of. The only way the pilots would have had casualties is if they forgot to fill up before taking off and ran out of gas. The two situations are not remotely comparable.

    July 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. George

    Did he say Stronger judgement????

    Voting Present
    Flip Flop on many items
    and so much more

    Wow. Is he delusional

    July 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. DJ, LA, CA

    Scoreboard: Clinton with General Clark lost 0 American troops on the ground. Bush lost 4,000 + KIA plus 10,000 severely wounded. I think Clark put McBush in his place.

    July 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. The Lady

    True that, True that.

    July 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Lori Mueller

    Go General Clark! The fear of the corporate media and the rebublicans is showing (again)! In fact, Clark should be at the top of the ticket if you ask me!

    July 1, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Lori Mueller

    Hey, C form Texas, I was interested in what it was John Kerry was trading?

    July 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. William

    He is using his surrogates to do his dirty laundry like he did to Hillary. His surrogate even went to the extent of demeaning Bill Clinton to term him a racist. This guy from South side Chicago will go to any extent to show his followers that he is Mr.Clean with a blank slate. Ask any of his gullibe youths to name one acheivement of his in the Senate. His gullible too will have a blank face to answer this question.Clark should ask his master why did he sit in a radical church listening to his spiritual advisors radical speeches for the last 20 years. It talks about his masters judgement and character.

    July 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Bukky

    I need a bumper sticker that says "Clark Is Wright" The repubs need to stop calling foul everytime someone makes a point.

    July 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    Ditto General Clark, tripple ditto. You keep going there, I agree 100%.

    July 1, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. chris in va

    McCain sold out his fellow POW's the same way he is getting a head start on selling out the USA to the Mexicans and Columbians. McCain, Hero-No! Traitor-YES!

    July 1, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. charles

    The only reason McCain got as far as he did is because his daddy was a high ranking navy officer.
    I have a lot more respect for Clark than McCain.

    July 1, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. lil

    Concerned Teacher,
    Dont waste your time explaining it they want listen.
    These people dont read they just believe what ever the snipet of news
    say and what they want to believe. They watch fox news and post their comments here on the cnn blog thats why its so unfair to only play snipet of what people say in interviews or in speeches.

    July 1, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. Pat from Chico, CA

    I've admired Mr. Clark for years. What a disappointment to learn that he's just a shill. The type of campaigning he's engaging in was scummy four years ago, when John Kerry was the target. And it's even scummier now. What happened to the "new" politics Senator Obama promised? Shame, shame, shame.

    July 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. ChicagoJosh

    Sharon in Minnesota...

    What are the real issues?? Is it a REAL issue which christian church the president belongs to, or is it a REAL issue how many american soldiers die in vain???

    I guess thats the difference between me and you.

    July 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. xddy4u

    Clark is the man. He's not playing the waiting game for VP. He's going after it loud and clear. Now here's a man that actually ran defensive operations. If I was Obama, I'd take a second look at Clark.
    Obama/Clark 08

    July 1, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Femi

    I just don't understand the controversy behind Clark's comment about McCain. Are the Press men looking for things to help get McCain elected or what? Bill Cinton was not a war hero when he was elected President of America. Till today his record remains unbeatable. I don't think, Bush- current President ever fight any war. He only by misjudgement dragged American soldiers to unwarranted war. When does POW become a requirement for office of the President? Press be fair to Americans, this does not call for any horror. If you want to help McCain, declare your support openly rather than pretending, then we will know we have another formidable group to campaign against. By judgement, McCain is not qualify to be American President, Period!
    Obama Femi 08

    July 1, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Still Waiting for Something other than Rev Wright's sound Bite that is racist in the 20 years Sharon Minnesota loves to bring up

    Clark is still correct. No matter how you cut it. Even Gen Clark is waiting to see another Sermon from Rev Wright's 20 years of being a racist.

    Everyone keeps talking about 20 years, but we've seen ONE 3 minute soundbite from well over a Thousand Sermons in those 20 years.


    July 1, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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