August 13th, 2008
08:23 AM ET
6 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. J.D.

    Well the good news is we won't have to go to war over this. The world is going to just stand by as the Russians decide to take over Georgia. Oh how history repeats itself.

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. Rosemarie

    I am sick of these people talking about experience, experience. Where have experience gotten America? You could have all the experience in the world but if you don't have good judgement you could be dead. Point of fact. I am an experience driver but I insist on driving too fast and cash my car. Where did experience get me? DEAD!. If I had good judgement, I would know that driving too fast it STUPID. Enough with the experience!! You guys have thousands of years of experience in Washington and it's still not working for America. Make a change America! VOTE for CHANGE! VOTE for OBAMA!

    OBAMA 08!!!!

    August 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Chris

    Here is the deal both McCain and Obama are not the President so anything they have to say are just words. The person who needs to be talking and taking action is the one who looked into Putin eyes and could see his soul!!! LOL

    August 13, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Tyler in Raleigh

    GREAT!!!! He isnt even president yet and he is trying to get us into another 100 year occupation!

    It worked so well in the Middle East, lets skip Iran for now and move to Georgia!

    August 13, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. anonymous

    PROUD WHITE FEMALE VOTER FOR MC CAIN!!! Stuff it pround African voter! You people always have to play the race card and then blame white for it. You people make me sick. it would serve all you self-serving fools if NOBAMA happened to get elected (won't happen). You think you can really lay back with your hands out then – Affirmative action will have a new meaning.

    August 13, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Marie-Lynn

    For Luis: you have no judgment, at all. That reply from you show your IQ is very very poor. I feel sorry for you. No offense

    August 13, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Chris, NJ

    and in response to what Raymond Duke said. It's a bit hypocritical for liberals and democrats to be calling McCain old and senile. Frank Lautenburg (D-NJ) is running for yet another term and if I remember correctly, the man will be 90 something by the time the term ends.

    August 13, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. EC

    Like the rapper Ludicres said, "let's paint the white house black", Obama is going to take care of all these folk's problems. He is the only one who knows how to handle white folk.

    August 13, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Jamie, Atlanta

    Mcain took sides too quickly and started that empty tough talk that reminds us all of cowboy rhetoric GWB. Its John "kneejerk" Macain. Too quick to react before putting enough judgement into play. Barack Obama will have the better judgement on Americas foreign policy and security issues.

    August 13, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. bill pike

    no, he has one years experince 15 times–he draws his check.

    August 13, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. My Friends, let me tell you

    The dittohead with 40 names does not have a clue,he just keeps spewing his hate for his fearful leader,Rush Limbaugh.

    August 13, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Can McCain point to Georgia on a map? Can any of us? I don't think that all of the details pertaining to this conflict have been provided to us. I do not believe that the details of Russia's role in the is conflict has been disclosed to us. The terms of their cease fire are fairly mild and it does not appear that Russia is in a mad power grab which is what I was led to believe. It actually sounds like Russia over reacted to succession movement. And why do these people want to break off

    August 13, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Anonymous

    YOU PEOPLE JUST DONT UNDERSTAND. POLITICS ARE POLITICS. YOU HAVE TO SECURE OUR COUNTRY BEFORE YOU CAN WORRY ABOUT ECONOMY ETC. MCCAIN MAYBE OLDER ,BUT WITH AGE COMES WISDOM. THINK ABOUT IT. YOU PEOPLE ARE VOTING FOR O.B.'S IMAGE AND SMOOTH TALKING.VOTE FOR EXPERIENCE. OUR COUNTRY IS HEADED TOWARD A WORLD WAR AND THAN YOU WONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING. AMERICA BETTER WAKE UP BEFORE THERE ISN'T ANYTHING TO WAKE UP FOR.

    August 13, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyMan OffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    You mean the breadth and depth of knowledge McCain lifted from Wikipedia?

    August 13, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    Why are people saying Sen Obama don't have the EXPERIENCE to lead this country. Now I wish someone would tell me, What EXPERIENCE Does Sen McCAIN have as president I mite change my vote. Remember the GOP didn"t want him last time he ran for president we got Bush. Go Obama

    August 13, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Obamalism

    Lesson for all... This is what you can expect when Iran gets a nuke. You've got a crazy regime and no leverage against them.

    August 13, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. MIKE

    WOW – MCCAIN AND HIS STAFF SAY HE IS EXPERIENCED AND KNOWS GEORGIA WELL AND IS FRIENDS OF THE GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ETC, ETC AND OBAMA ISN'T.
    YEAH – MCCAIN CAN'T EVEN PRONOUNCE THE GEORGIA PRESIDENT'S NAME – BUT HE WENT WATER SKIING WITH HIM. THAT'S REAL IMPORTANT.
    MCCAIN – SINCE YOU ARE A GEORGIAN HOW ABOUT GETTING ON YOUR AIRPLANE AND GOING OVER THERE TO FIGHT FOR YOUR "NEW HOMELAND"?????
    YOUR GOOD WATER SKIING BUDDY HAS SAID TO YOU – YOU SAY THE WORDS – NOT DO THE DEEDS. HE IS CALLING YOU OUT!!!!

    August 13, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. joe

    Any one who posted on here hating on Obama maybe don't realize that one of McCain's foreign policy advisor's is a lobbyist for Georgia!!! This is ridiculous and should be on the front page of every news site. McCain and this lobbyist will get their oil and their money and Americans will get more war and a horrible reputation. Vote McCain!!! He'll bomb before he thinks!!!

    August 13, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Keeping it real

    Reading the comments made after reading the article is simply mind blowing. It scares me that you people are responsible for voting in the next President. Instead of a heated debate based on facts held in a mature manner it's more like a high school cat fight in here. I am going to try to convince myself that the majority of Americans are not as asinine as the people making the comments above and an informed decision will be made.

    When you get upset for being called names like mindless drones or Obamabots, consider the impression you leave behind with the type of statements you make. I for one will be voting for the candidate with experience and common sense who didn't use celebrity type measures to become known which caused the reaction everyone should have expected by doing it that way.

    McCain 08

    August 13, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Emma

    I smell a rat!

    August 13, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. David, Belgium

    another reason why your elections ARE very important for the world.

    I simply can't believe that there are people out there who can support this guy, depressing

    August 13, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. M from Texas

    CNN, I've posted on two of your boards and you blocked all of my comments.

    I did not break your rules, you're just trying to control the public message.

    I'm writing to Fox news and sending them a copy of your message board, showing them how you blocked 3 of my commments, then you shut down comments after 21 pro Obama posts????

    And you wonder why your ratings are so low.

    August 13, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. tj in fla

    This same advisor was a paid lobbyist for Georgia until recently. What gives him creditability to criticize? The Maverick's sabre rattling certainly helped to defuse this situation. If we want 4 more years of this false bravado, let's by allmeans elect McCain.

    August 13, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Will in Richmond, VA

    All that 'depth of knowledge' you supposedly have didn't help you keep your foot out of your mouth, McCain.

    You are a sad, sad excuse for a leader. All this hard talk about what we should do and nothing to back it up, NOR are you providing any diplomatic solutions yourself.

    Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan are kittens compared to the Soviets and after what I've heard out of you this week, I am even more convinced that you are not the right person for the job.

    August 13, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. Cathy

    I love how McCain criticized Obama acting to presidential when in Berlin and stating we are "fellow citizens of the world," and now McCain is basically doing the same thing..but even worse..speaking on behalf of all Americans.

    McCain first response to any crisis "dictator like"…and basically threatens war if you don't do as I say (pound…pound). McCain thinks everyone should listen to America. MCCAIN WE HAVE NO MORE TROOPS FOR ANOTHER WAR….!!!! Obama is more rational and waits to get all the facts and speak to the parties effect by the crisis before he issues a position.

    This just shows that McCain will throw America into as many wars as he possible could….(and people don't think McCain would implement the draft…)

    August 13, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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