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. stan

    John McCain has been the only one telling us of the dangers that Russia and Putin still pose. Russia/Putin for the last several years have been pulling the strings of Europe due to their need for Russia's natural gas and oil. this is just a power play by Russia to maintain/increase their control of the worlds energy reserves. Just like what they are trying to do int he Artic by claiming large areas as theirs for oil and natural gas exploration. Face the facts the Cold War is back on!!!! and only a true visionary like john McCain can see thru the "red curtain" that Putin's is trying to throw over the world!!!!

    We need to be putting troops into Georgia and the Ukraine to be a trip wire to stop the Russian’s from reforming the old Soviet Block…

    August 13, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Ron Democrat turned independent

    if you remember the cold war after russia invaded poland you'll remember that that the cremlin loved to engage in idle rhetoric and phony diplomacy while they went on to create the soviat union guess what here we go again

    August 13, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Danel

    Kudos to Mr. Sarkozy. He may NOT be a braggart like McCain ,or arrogant like Bush and Chenney but he carry a big stick when it comes to silent deplomacy. Talking instead of threatening solve a lot of problems.

    August 13, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Jay

    Jack Cafferty needs to wear a shirt daily with a disclaimer that his job at CNN is to bash Mccain daily and to work towards creating an even bigger bias in the media for Obama. Showing him as part of the "best political team on TV" is an insult to the word "best"! What a joke that guy is!

    August 13, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. A. Boston, MA

    Experience? When the Georgian President just called you out McCain? Where's the experience? Why don't you call your buddy Bush and give him some idea? That would help your candidacy. You're all talk McDonald!!!

    OBAMA 08

    August 13, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. A CANUCK

    They say Obama lacks experience.......but his level-headed good sense more than makes up for it. And that is what warmonger McCain doesn't possess.

    August 13, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I find it quite laughable that people are criticising Obama for actually THINKING...he doesn't speak before he thinks...he thinks before he speaks...I would consider that a good thing...but the MORONS that elected Bush Twice and seek to do so Thrice, somehow see his contemplative behavior as stupidity...they'd rather Oldman McCain who allows his cold-war flashbacks to control him...he rachets up the rhetoric as if he's trying to rekindle the cold-war...but the MORONS sees this and calls it wisdom...DUMB!!

    It is truly a testament to the stupidity of the American public...that they'd be so easily convinced that being INTELLIGENT, WELL-READ, WELL-PUBLISHED, THOUGHTFULL, MOTIVATING, is wrong for America...

    I'm starting to think, this country doesn't deserve better than BUSH & McCain!!

    August 13, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. LS

    McCain is dangerous. McCain has no business acting like a president or opening his big mouth as to what needs to be done in this situtation.

    Where's our idiot president Bush?

    If McCain is elected president, he will finish destroying this country, you can count on it !

    McCain is acting like he owns the stage and is right on everything he does, which in fact, he doesn't. McCain is a fake.

    August 13, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. George

    One of the qualities of a great nation is depth of the wisdom reflected by its people. Gauging the arguments for and against this or that candidate in this blog really scares any intelligent reader. All the vital attutides of a leader are being trashed here, its makes any sensible person reading this blog to wonder, with a bunch of idots supporting their candidate at all cost, who needs a wise leader. Who needs an experienced leader if the people are only interested nothing.

    For generations we heard phrases like: experience is the best teacher, tested and proven to be true, well done is better than well said, look at his record. We look at experience when hiring people in any position. Why are we trashing people with experice and forcing someone into position whci really needs an old hand. We tried that with Bush, look where we are in the world today. You call senator McCain all the bad names in the book, but he is the right leader of this country at this time given the choices.

    Senator Obama is a gamble and he does not even a stand on any issue. We need a leader with strong convictions, not a wind chaser.

    August 13, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Anonymous

    JUST KEEP VOTING A SMOOTH TALKER AND CON MAN INSTEAD OF A MAN WITH AGE AND WISDOM.AMERICA YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU ASK FOR.CNN YOUR A BUNCH OF JERKS NOT TAKING MY COMMENTS. YOU JUST WANT BIAS COMMENTS THAT PRAISE YOUR MESSIAH O.B. HE IS NOTHING BUT A MEDIA CLOWN.NATIONAL SECURITY IS THE MAIN ISSUE ,WITHOUT IT THE OTHER ISSUES YOU DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT. TODAY GEORGIA TOMMORROW U.S.A. THINK ABOUT YOU MORONS THAT VOTE YOUTH AND UN EXPERIENCE.

    August 13, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. paul oregon

    mccain who ?????????????????????????
    mchillary who????????????????????????

    August 13, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. biffington, biff

    ha!!!

    now go read the story just above this one, and see where McCain's "experience" landed him.

    they closed comments after 21 entries!!

    again, i say... HA!

    August 13, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. tigerakabj

    Lack of experience? This coming from a guy that is a lobbyist for the Georgian government (who started this conflict). McCain has no credibility b/c of his full-fledged drum beat for the illegal Iraq War. Period.

    Obama/Sebelius 2008/2012.

    August 13, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Upon Further Review

    Its a sad when day when even the moderator is biased.

    August 13, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. W Smith

    I am amazed at the ignorance of the people who support Obama and think he even knows how to spell Fopreign Relations.

    August 13, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. The Watcher

    Either put up or shut up! At least Obama has the sense to know his limitations...which are considerable.

    August 13, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Evan Crum

    Nice McCain, so you want a war with Russia which by the way would crush us. Look people, a lot of the media is portraying Georgia as the poor victim here. If you look at the conflict Georgia has been the one starting most of this. Russia is trying to stop "ethnic cleansing" by the Georgian military. So please, fellow Americans read up on info before you say Russia is doing something bad. They are trying to stop killings. As one can see the Georgian president (who is pretty crazy) stated that the Russians are going to attack the capital. The CNN reporter who is riding with the Russian troops stated they aren't even headed that way.

    Check your sources fellow Americans before jumping on the "Destroy Russia and protect Georgia" bandwagon.

    August 13, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Sharon Kitchen

    I started to write to let Realy and others like him know about "real"history........but that would take too long and not to many real want to know all that has gone on........but i decided no........ I WILL vote for Obama......I will NOT cast a ballott for McSame,McShame,McWar,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I do not need to vote for someone who will splash around with a pres from another country and say that is a long "history". Nor do I need to vote for a oil,rich,old,person who thinks every thing should lead to war....This country and I NEED a NEW path.....one that has positive actions,thoughts,deeds. That NEW path needs to be lead by a NEW leader that can think BEFORE he acts. A person who does NOT think war is always the way to go.A person who WANTS to work with everyone,accross ALL lines that seperate. John McCain and his rich wife need to go on home. I am VERY tired of them and John's "MY FRIENDS". He is NOT my friend. My son has fought for 8 straight years and 5 Tours. I want him home.
    I want to keep my house. I want to be able to drive to the grocery store.
    Sure.....I ride my electic bike to work now.....but until I can aford a solar powered vehicle....I sure get wet when I ride home after a 10 hour day and it is raining......what does John and Cindy ride ?????Does it have a roof......I imagine they are taken places......do they have to worry about if they will have enough food to last the month ? Pay for their electic bill ? Have money for medicine ? I doubt it. So,John and Cindy go home. Leave us alone !!!!!! Obama please get this mess corrected as soon a you can......you will have alot of people like me ready to help.

    August 13, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. kam

    hahaha Old man with so much of experience didn't know the difference between shias and sunnis iranis and iraqis but he knows about a small country like georgia. Please Randy give us a break.

    August 13, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Ron Democrat turned independent

    correction obama always says the same thing as somebody else he as never had an original thought i have heard of so far. he always speaks in generalities then settles in on whatever his opponents score on and gives you it as been my position all along speech. which of course cnn just laps up. and they are suppose to be inteligent

    August 13, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. The War Won't Be Cold this time

    I find it quite laughable that people are criticising Obama for actually THINKING...he doesn't speak before he thinks...he thinks before he speaks...I would consider that a good thing...but the MORONS that elected Bush Twice and seek to do so Thrice, somehow see his contemplative behavior as stupidity...they'd rather Oldman McCain who allows his cold-war flashbacks to control him...he rachets up the rhetoric as if he's trying to rekindle the cold-war...but the MORONS sees this and calls it wisdom...DUMB!!

    It is truly a testament to the stupidity of the American public...that they'd be so easily convinced that being INTELLIGENT, WELL-READ, WELL-PUBLISHED, THOUGHTFULL, MOTIVATING, is wrong for America...

    I'm starting to think, this country doesn't deserve better than BUSH & McCain!!

    August 13, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. Arizona Official

    Well, Well, Well... McBush's supporter who indicated that the Arizona McSame as the BushChenny's corrupted administration got 15 years of experinced on Russia's policy, of course, you are going to support McBush, lying to the American people just about anything trying to gain your votes. The truth is that, the McBush will carry on the Bush and Chenny's corrupted and failed policy. That 15 years of experience is not worth anything. Everything still gonna be the same if the Arizona McBush is elected President. Nothing is going to be different than the Bush and Chenny's failed Policy. This country needs a new direction, a change that we all can believe in, and That's Senator Obama will help this country and the American people with that new direction. Obama for President!

    August 13, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    ...and now the President of Georgia has called McCain's hole card. He's calling on McCain to put up or shut up. Thanks, pal.

    August 13, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Tired

    McCain probably told his buddy to create some action so that he could try look better. He has been waiting for something like this to happen. His surrogates said so.

    August 13, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. biffington, biff

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

    'CAUSE REGULAR-'JOE', AMERICANS...... GO JET-SKIING...

    "EVERY DAY" !!!!!

    (But you re gonna have a tough time convincing me a 70 year old McCain (with his frailties) was jet-skiing, period).

    August 13, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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