August 13th, 2008
08:23 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain adviser criticizes Obama's lack of experience with Georgia

McCain's adviser said the GOP candidate has 15 years of experience on Russia policy.

McCain's adviser said the GOP candidate has 15 years of experience on Russia policy.

NEWARK, New Jersey (CNN) - John McCain's top foreign policy adviser briefed reporters Tuesday on his candidate's policy towards Russia and Georgia, noting that McCain and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili are friends that have been speaking throughout the conflict "to exchange daily updates about what's going on."

The adviser, Randy Scheunemann, also confirmed a report that McCain and Saakashvili enjoyed a day of water sports in the summer of 2006.

"I can confirm that Sen. McCain and President Saakashvili were jet-skiing on the Black Sea together," he said.

Reporters spent several minutes asking Scheunemann, a former lobbyist for the government of Georgia, to firm up details on McCain's comments regarding the crisis that has unfolded in recent days.

Asked about Barack Obama's statements on the Georgia situation, Scheunemann accused the Democrat of lacking experience on the matter, saying his record consists only of a handful of paper statements, most of which related to matters of loose nuclear material. But McCain's record on Georgia and Russia, he argued, runs deep.

"There's a depth of knowledge, a breadth of knowledge, and an extent of historical experience that doesn't compare between the two on Russia policy," Scheunemann said. "You can't compare a 15-year historical record to three or four statements over the course of 15 months."

Scheunemann repeatedly stressed McCain's position that Russia's actions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia are without merit.

"What he has said is whatever tensions and hostilities preceded the Russian invasion, nothing justified the Russian invasion," he said.

Scheunemann said that Western leaders are now coming around to positions that McCain "has raised for years," in particular his calls for Russia to be expelled from the Group of Eight and for NATO to reconsider its decision to not extend membership to Georgia.

He said "nobody is talking about military action" against Russia. He also indicated that U.S. troops wouldn't likely be part of an international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (367 Responses)
  1. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    Both McCain and Bush know empty words because they use them a lot.

    Bush’s Russia policy is staring at Putin’s eyes to see his soul and he called him a good man.

    McCain’s Georgia policy is jet skiing with Saakashvili and Scheunemann, a former lobbyist for the government of Georgia probably reminds McCain what to say before he utters “Eduard Shevardnadze” instead of Saakashvili.

    McCain-as-foreign-policy-authority is a myth; McCain has shown time and time again that, far from being an expert when it comes to foreign policy, he is frequently - and dangerously - clueless.

    August 13, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Senator McCain can play President all he wants now, because it's the closest he's ever going to come to the real thing!

    August 13, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. Bill from ALabama

    Clearly,Obama,didn't know what to say initially,and he had to get advise from someone and repost his comment. This was the exact point Clinton and Clinton supporters were so angry with the debate Interviewers,about. Obama could only repeat what Clinton said,and it was obvious to everyone what he was doing. The man has no clear ideas of his own. She and the rest of us wanted Obama put on the spot first to show he doesn't have a clue as to what to do. He was allowed to second speak Clinton ,at all of the debates,until he had Hillary's platform down pat. It was a sham from start to finish, I tell you!

    August 13, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. William, from Cali!

    What does experience, have to do with it? they need.................................. HELP! .........RIGHT NOW!

    August 13, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Texas Trail Dog!


    August 13, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. Dem

    McCain sounds like he's in the pockets of more than just lobbyists... not good for the AMERICAN (not Georgian) people in the USA or our troops. =(

    August 13, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Clif

    McShame is a opportunist. He was dieing for something to kick off adroad so he could boast about his leadership abilities. He shows up as trying to be a gunslinger of a super power. I know everyone remember the other gunslinger that got us in the position this nation is in. McShame would be a paper president with a laimbrain cabinet surrounded by idiots. This nation would be the laughing stock of the world that has already lost it's credtability if he is elected. " The fall of the American Empire",sounds familliar. The poeple of this nation need to be taken in different direction. Check out his military record. He is not a hero. He was a collaberator with the enemy at the Hanoi Hilton. He was one of the Keating 5. "Oh" you remember the keating 5 don't you. I will refresh your memory. Lincoln Savings and Loan. The taxpayers had to fork out over 3 Billon Dollars for that fiasko. Don't you remember him coming home from VIet Nam and not liking how his wife looked after her auto accident. He immediately started fooling around. He had a problem keeping his pants zipped up. He dumped Carol by offering to pay her medical bills for life and bought a condo on the beach. 1980 Was a good year for McShame. How about that for a rag to riches story. "Obama 08".

    August 13, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. My Friends, let me tell you

    I want to have wars 24/7 so we can keep making lots of money.Im little Johnny,and I approved this message.

    August 13, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Joseph IRAQ WAR VET


    August 13, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. nana roy

    My husband and I have been in business for 15 years. Most of those profitable years were during the Clinton years. We have for the first time in our voting history have not heard one thing that can help us in Ohio in the construction business. We are wish there were a slot to vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE...

    August 13, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Terri in Fl

    Oh yes, it was the same neocon "experience" that brought us Iraq. I think we can do with out that kind of experience.

    I'd rather go with someone who has the experience of using his head and his education and most of all his experience living life as a regular American who knows what it means to push one's way through school, live on a budget and prepare one's children for school and life. That kind of a person will be much more thoughtful about tossing America's treasure in human capital and purse away.

    August 13, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Chris from NY

    Threats are but the only thing any American can make at this time. Be it president Bush or the presidential candidates. For anyone to critize Obama on this Georigia issue is seeking for recognition than what the issue requires. Experience is not wisdom. Otherwise people will not do same thing over and over again. McCain and Bush are singing the same song that hey have sang for may years with same result. But Sarkozy sang a song yesterday that was diffrent from what we heard from Bush and McCain but similar to the position Obama had maitained all along . We can't be everything to the world but to ourselves first. Others can help and they are willing to do so if given the opportunity.

    What's going on in Georgia is not going to stop the bank from foreclosing my house next month.

    August 13, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. God Bless America

    If McCain has his way more Americans will Die!!!!!!!! We have our own Georgia to worry about and fight for!!!!!!! We will fight to make OBAMA our next President. Then we will make sure he brings our AMERICA SONS AND DAUGHTERS home from this WICKED WAR started by BUSH/CHENNEY to line their pockets for MONEY. WHILE TANKING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY AND POSITION IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. ran

    We now have a real issue to use in comparing the 2 possible POTUS and it's clear that OBAMA is the way to go. Mccains' answer to any conflict is WAR. People open yor eyes and ears. Vote OBAMA and only DEMOCRATS. The CHANGE we need.

    August 13, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Ty in Missouri

    I am waiting for the McCain spin people to say that McCain had tea with the Czar of Russia. Since they did not have jet skis back then. YES he is that OLD!!!! and very out of touch. If this OLD MAN is the best the republicans can come up with we are really in a bad state in more ways than one. Very scary.

    August 13, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. joe

    McCain knows everyone. He's been around so long and is so old everyone knows him. This means he has better judgment!!!! Hahahhaa. What a joke....

    August 13, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. question

    seems to me, that there are a lot of people, here......who have no idea, what is going on....and talking alot of to talk.....what a sorry bunch of you are....

    August 13, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Lorraine

    Here we go again. McCain making promises because it sounds good. He is not the president. What exactly does he think he can do. HE HAS NO POWER. McCain is ready to go to war.

    August 13, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Election Watcher

    Just ask yourself if you work for a company and the CEO steps down, do you want a member of the board of directorsto step in or someone from the mail room?
    Just say Nobama '08

    August 13, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. james

    Mccain does not have experience at being the one making the decisions. Just because he's old as a fossil, doesn't mean he's experienced. It's about one's judgment. What if all his experience had been negative?
    Would you want a bad doctor with 50 years experience who's lost 50% of his patients on the operating table, or a newly educated, steady nerves, level headed doctor that knows exactly what he's doing?

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Marc

    McCain showed his support for Georgia and chastised Russia for their aggressioin, just like Obama did, albeit days later. I don't see where you guys are getting that he wanted to start another war. I think it's the Georgian president who's losing his cool when he should be trying diplomacy on his own with Russia and appealing to the UN for intervention.

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. Obamalism

    What do you expect? McCain is NOT our sitting president. He can't make the decisions that he wants. Parroting the role of the president while only being a candidate is Obama's thing.

    NOTICE: You pitiful UN loving fools out there...where is the UN? huh? Where? Sitting on their butts just like our democrats in congress!!!! usual.

    Elect someone who knows how to make a decision. THAT is what true leaders do.

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. Erik

    This "lack of experience" wheeze is growing tiresome. There is no specific experience to adequately prepare somebody for the office of President. It's about vision, character, statesmanship, and the ability to inspire others to make America better. This snide, blinky old man doesn't have what it takes.

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Sam Willer

    McCain will keep stoking the fires of war. FYI, McCain has said in the past that every American should get military service and wouldn't have a problem bringing back the draft. If you people want to keep your sons and daughters at home for the next 4 years, vote Obama!!!

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. ANGIE

    I will lay money on it this was all planned with mccain his adviser, And the president to help mccain win REMEMBER WHAT CHARLIE BLACK SAID, NO TELLING WHAT HE MAY DO TO WIN THINK ABOUT SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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