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. Edward Loizeaux, Los Altos, California

    Experience at being a uniformed Army officer does not qualify one to be the SecDef to which Clark obviously aspires. Politicizing the military and "running" for SecDef are not in this nation's best interest.

    July 1, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Richard

    Obama has no judgment. McCain is by far the better candidate.

    July 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Clark IS Correct

    Clark is correct and Obama needs to give him a high five for watching his back.

    July 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Sarah, Louisville KY

    Clark hit the nail on the head. The only defense that the republicans have is that Obama "lacks experience". Experience isn't the equivalent of judgement, and McCain (and um..Bush!) is the prime example of that.

    Other than the experience factor, all that the GOP lovers can bash Obama with is that he is friends with "terrorists" and "America haters." Really? I feel like I'm reading a tabloid when that rubbish starts up.

    July 1, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. Foreign observer

    Honor the men having suffered in war but look for what is important today. Jobs, infrastructure, end of war, unity, end of racial distractions, education, alliance with friendly nations to face the todays threats.

    July 1, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Dems be dopes


    Some experience in the military is better than no experience in the military, especally if you plan on leading the military.

    How many times did McCain get fired in the military?

    How many times did Clark get fired in the military?

    How many past and present general officers trust McCain?

    How many past and present general officers trust Clark?

    Getting shot down does not qualify anyone to be CIC, neither does voting "present" when a decision must be made.

    July 1, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. No Bush/McCain


    July 1, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. Nova from NV

    I know there is one Ralf Nuder fool running around in these blogs. Voting for Ralf Nuder is a through away vote.

    Wesley Clark should go back to what he does best, nothing. He criticized McCain without even looking at John's accomplishments. Last time Obama supporters were asked about Obama's accomplishments, they were dumb-founded on national TV. Just do a youtube search on Obama accomplishments.

    July 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Last Honest Man

    What an Idiot! Obama biggest issue to most logical people is his judgment.

    July 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Karen, Missouri

    Wesley Clark only said what I've been thinking for a year now. McCain gets up-tight whenever anyone remotely says anything related to his service. McCain is full of himself. What crybaby McCain is.

    July 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Tony

    "Clark is Wright"! How right it is Bukky. Gen. Clark was so bad he was fired and dismissed by Pres. Clinton.

    July 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. Elizabeth

    If this is the best that the right winged media can throw out to try and hurt the Obama campaign, try again. Clark's words were sensible and anyone who is going to be herded like a brainless animal off the edge of a cliff like the flimsy one they've constructed here is too weak-minded to make an informed decision anyway.

    July 1, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Eli

    Wesley Clark said nothing negative about McCain's military service nor his patriotism. He merely responded to a specific statement about how riding in a plane and being shot down does not qualify anyone to be president. That is a fact.

    People who take that to mean anything negative about the military or McCain's heroism need to question their mental capacity.

    July 1, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Teddy

    General Clark, yes, he did not lose an American soldier in that conflict. But how many serbs have you killed? Many of those Serbs were civilians. You almost bombed Serb into the stone age. The U.S. could just use a few nuclear bombs to wipe out Iraq from the map and will not suffer any casualties during the process. Therefore, winning the war without the loss of a single American soldier does mean it is a great war. I do not think the war against Serbs was moral. Because of war, the Serbians will hate Americans for generations to come. Because of American intervention, the Serbians have lost the birth place of their civilization.

    You should go to retire and enjoy your military pension. I do not think Obama will select you as a vice President candidate.

    July 1, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  15. mitchell hussein martin

    his judgement was lost when he was in captivity.anyone's judgement should be questionable,if they have been tortured.it does something to one's mentality when you have been broken.

    July 1, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. Tina, NC

    Now McBush is whining about how Obama and Sen. Jim Webb are coordinating an attack again him.
    "On MSNBC last night, Webb told McCain that he should "calm down" with the use of his military service in the campaign, adding that it was time to "get the politics out of the military."
    Now the McCain campaign is responding to Webb, arguing that Webb's comments prove that Obama "can't control his surrogate operation." McCain spokesperson Brian Rogers sends us this:

    If you didn't think this was a coordinated attack on John McCain's credentials before, it's clear now that it is. Barack Obama's surrogates are telling the McCain campaign to "calm down" about attacks on his military record? Seriously? Now somehow Wes Clark's attacks are John McCain's fault? It's absurd. If Barack Obama can't control his own surrogate operation, how can he be trusted to run the country?
    The Republicans are so petty. I'll tell you one thing, I don't want someone as President who constantly whines and crys every time somebody says something bad about them. If McBush thinks he's getting questioned now what does he think will happen if he's elected.

    btw, the MSM is in so in bed with McBush it's sickening!

    July 1, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. Scott from VA

    The folks praising Clark for attacking McCain with a very clever kind of "swiftboating" should be ashamed of themselves. So, what makes Clark an expert on anything related to being President. He is nothing more than an Obama hack who is spreading a message that Obama kinda, sorta disavows, but doesn't really. Just more Obama dishonesty in his campaign.

    July 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  18. John, Catholic


    Do not lump Catholics in with Evangelicals. It is offensive to both for completely different reasons that I will not go into.

    July 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |

    ALL the people who bring up the saaaamme TALKING points on EEVERY topic....

    geez.. give it a rest....

    example... headline: "Barack Obama likes Apple Pie and Chevrolet"

    responses: b-b-but did he like them when he was friends with WRIGHT for 20 years.. and ... and... um.. REZKO.... yeah.. and uh.. MUSLIMS DON'T "EAT" APPLE PIE... but i saw him do a TERRORIST FIST BUMP before he drove off in his chevy!

    people in this country are stupid, and most of these haters are paid to smear lies... PERIOD

    July 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. USA-NC-08

    The Democratic Party is sinking to a new low (and there I thought that you could not get lower than the Michigan "arrangement"). This is just disgusting. Now they attack our soldiers and heroes (yes: being tortured in the name of your country makes you a hero!). For those of us that do not serve, honoring our military men and women is one of the purest ways we can show our patriotism. They put their lives at risk for us. Things like this prove that I made the right decision when I switched to Independent in early June.

    July 1, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Tony Rogers

    Yes General Clark,

    I am happy that someone is not afraid of telling the truth and does not let this media system define America's thoughts. The American people do not see out of the same lenses as the media no matter how much they think we do. McCain is not qualified and he is the person who continues to run on fear and war. He is the one who touts his war experience as the differentiator between him other candidates. He has continuously attacked Obama on his lack of experience and knowledge. That’s fine but now what is wrong with challenging his perceived strengths? This is good for the country. Let's all talk and listen because we certainly need a new leader. And General Clark is more then qualified to question McCain.

    Tony Rogers

    July 1, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  22. Marie in Tampa

    Sharon Minnesota, you're sooooo wrong. Reverend Wright hasn't engaged/supported any activity that unnecessarily kills dozens of thousands of people. I would prefer dozens of Jeremiah Wright's than one Bush or one McCain who authorized this stupid, illegal and immoral war.

    Obama's judgment is better than McCain's...without a shadow of a doubt.

    July 1, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Rob

    Tony, the Vietnam war was not against the Soviets! Haha typical of an uneducated McCain supporter to still be living in the McCarthy era. Most of these people who try to say Obama's judgement is bad because of his preacher and so on need to get with the program. Wright said a few controversial things, as do most preachers. He, however, did not vote to send thousands of our boys, including several of my friends, over to fight an unjust war and die thinking that they were defending the USA when in fact they were spreading seeds of anti-US hatred all over the world. If people convince themselves of all these negative things being rumored about Obama that have NO grounds just as a way to make themselves feel better about not electing a guy because he has a middle eastern sounding name, my confidence in America's intelligence will dwindle severely (not that its not already at strikingly low point)

    July 1, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Alf Z, FL.

    If Obama was a white first term senator, would we be talking about him? No! Hillary is the best qualified candidate! As she & Edwards stated, McCain would be ready on day one to be commander in chief. They both left out Obama!!!!

    Sorry guys, if it's not Hillary, my vote is for McCain; experience and a long moderate voting record, not a tax and liberal nut case (are we going to overlook his drug use?).

    Btw, Obama votes primarily as present, what's that all about; present for what, coffee? A candidate of change, change what, his ties?

    July 1, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. vern-anaheim,ca

    gen.clark is more than qualifed to make comments about john mccains military service.he was the leader nato and i know he had greater resonsibilities than mccain had but i agree that i respect sen. mccains military service but being a pow doesn't qualify him to be commander in chief

    July 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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