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. Meredith

    First, Why isn't McCain making this statement for himself? You don't see Obama's foreign policy adviser speaking for him all the time.
    Second, the adviser is a LOBBYIST for Georgia.

    August 13, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. RyanD.

    Saakashvili just made fun of McCain for being "all-talk".

    I don't think this is the horse John McWar wants to hitch his buggy to.

    Obama 08'

    August 13, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. brenda

    OBAMA is a snake oil salesman.......

    August 13, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. gary

    KEEP VOTING FOR YOUTH AN UNEXPERIENCE AND WE WONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING. WITH AGE COMES WISDOM. OUR NATIONAL SECURITY IS THE MAIN ISSUE. WITHOUT THAT ,NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. TODAY GEORGIA TOMMORROW U.S.A. THINK ABOUT IT. OUR COUNTRY IS HEADED FOR THE WORST YET. WE NEED SOMEONE THAT HAS KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SECURING IT.

    August 13, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. McCon

    Where is the OUT CRY for John Act like he is the President. Do we have a dual presidency here. BUSH/Chainee &McCon.

    August 13, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Dan

    This story does nothing for me. Let me just put this in perspective. A big Shot American Politician was jet skiing with a pro-American Autocract in the black sea, and this is supposed to make me think that John McCain has more experience dealing with Russia?

    to CNN< why are you even reporting this?

    I'm a republican, and have been for years. But McCain has run such a horrible Campaign, I just can't vote for him.

    August 13, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. BAD CANDIDATES PERIOD!

    The United States is in big trouble......... neither candidate is a good choice for our failing economy..... OBAMA with his racist wife & pasture........ You can't tell me OBAMA isn't racist when his pasture of 20+ years is spouting stuff out like he was... I would think after 20+ years you would get a sense of who a person is....MCCAIN with his desire to stay in Iraq..... MCCAIN is essentially like voting for another 4 years of BUSH which is a nightmare and a whole other topic...

    August 13, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Except that you are all talk, Senator.

    Shame on you for turning one nation's agony into a campaign soundbite.

    August 13, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Let me remind all of you of this:

    Putin's sudden surge in power started right after "Jet-Pilot" took office and has accelerated ever since. Why? Because he knows the "Connecticut Cowboy" doesn't know how to make a decision or deliver an idea. It's the difference between being an experienced soldier or a weekend warrior.

    August 13, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. RM

    MCCAIN WAS SHOT DOWN BEFORE HE COULD EVEN ENGAGE THE ENEMY...IS THAT EXPERIENCE BEING LOCKED UP (POW) FOR 5-6 YEARS? AMERICA PLEASE WAKE UP...THIS IS A REAL JOKE...WESLEY CLARK WAS SOOOOOOOO RRRRRIIIGHHHHHHHT!

    August 13, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Tony

    McCain, all talk, NO ACTION! LOSER!

    August 13, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Will from NYC

    The "maverick" wants to maverick us into another war...

    Someone who represented McCain said... "we need to isolate and punish russia"

    sounds familiar

    August 13, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Don

    Quite frankly, McCain's "friendship" with a Georgian president is irrelevant. He might not even be the president of Georgia for much longer...

    August 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. McDonald

    Oh McDonald had a ranch – ye ya ye ya
    He had a little barbie doll-ye ya ye ya –
    Here lies, here flop, here go, every where, you go
    clueless, confused, So you go–We had no use for you,
    So go away

    August 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Clif

    Wow! We had to live through the presidentcies of ( No new taxes)Tricky Dick, Reaganomics, two terms of Bushwackers and hopefully not McShame . The whole world is hopeing we can get this one right. " Obama 08"

    August 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Donkey Party

    You McCain Supporters / PUMA jokers are some scared little sheep. Go ahead and follow the old guy with 'experience'. I'm taking the young guy with 'competence'. Competence trumps experience any day of the week.

    August 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Debby

    No lack of experience ya think? Obama hasn't had an original proposal come out of his mouth since being on the campaign trail. The only thing he proposes is Universal Health Care that will leave out what 20 million people so how does that make it universal. LOL People had a chance to vote for someone who can think for herself as the Dem. nominee but they liked the cool dude better. This happened with George W. to they thought of him as sitting down and having a beer with the guy vs. picking someone that can actually lead. Look where we are after 8 years. LOL At least with McCain he has some smarts and original ideas.

    August 13, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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