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. b/augusta

    McCain and Georgia's president are good friends according to the McCain's camp. I know how to pronounce the names of my good friends.

    August 13, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. nathan

    Jet Ski huh!
    $500 shoes, 9 houses, a millionaire wife.

    Represents everything I want in a President.

    August 13, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Joe

    McCain has experience with Georgia because he went jet skiing with the dude 3 years ago...WOW!

    If the Clinton vs Obama debate showed us anything, is that experience means NOTHING when it comes to JUDGMENT. McCain lacks severe judgment and that is why, along with the majority of the country, will be voting for Obama.

    August 13, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. Nadeem

    And the fact that McCain has paid gorgian lovvyists on hsi campaing has nothing to do with this?

    Where is the media scrutiny?

    August 13, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I don't think a warmonger like McCain should ever be put in charge of our country. He gets a gleam in his eye at the mention of being at war.

    He (so far) has showed the pompous elitist old presumptuous anal cavity to be nothing more than awar-mongering ego-maniac of biblical proportions.

    His blasphemy in some of his ads has turned me off.

    And Last, I AM NOT GEORGIAN and he does not speak for me, my friends.

    Go Obama '08 – diplomacy over war war war war war

    August 13, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. TX for OBAMA

    NEVER OBAMA,
    I guess you are willing to go yourself and send your kids/grandkids to World War 3 that John McShame will start for us. The reason why we work hard for Obama is that we are not willing to sign up for more wars.
    I urge you to spend some time on picking the next President.

    OBAMA '08

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Seth

    McCain is saying we should kick Russia out of the G8 and other international clubs, which is a stupid idea, if we were to do that then we would have no more leverage over them to persuade them to play by the rules.
    Also Russia would no longer finance our deficits, Americans would see instant price hikes at the store and at the gas pumps.
    Remember Russia controls a percentage of the world oil supply, so they could push up the price of oil on us and Europe.

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. FL Voter

    Oh that's rich. Randy Scheunemann is another lobbyist on McCain's staff, a lobbyist for Georgia nonetheless. Credibility please.

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Klaus

    Americans should be seriously concerned that McCain has close personal ties and that his chief foreign policy adviser worked as a lobbyist for the Georgian government. American foreign policy needs to be developed in terms of American interests, not McCain's emotions and financial backers.

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. Liberal4Obama

    John McCain was born in Panama, so when he says "We are all Georgians" does he mean his fellow Panamanians?

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Ms. D

    So call experience is what got this country jacked up right now!! I know what Mccain will do and that is adopt the same failed azz policies of Bush!! This country is moving and changing in time and Obama is the candidate that represents that too me!! Everything must change. You can be stuck in a time zone or you can get with the program and move on!!

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Susan

    Hey Randy – aren't you being paid for by the country of Georgia/ Double dipping once again. Typical Republican – talking out of both sides of you mouth.

    August 13, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. PG

    Dear Mr. Cowboy # 2: America is suffering. Remember America? Since you were born in Panama it seems that you forget that America is hurting and is yet to hear what you will do for this country.

    August 13, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. M from Texas

    How can you insult McCain for going jetsking 2 years ago, when Obama is taking a week long Hawaiian vacation during the middle of the energy and Russian/Georgian crisis.

    Don't forget that Pelosi gave congress a 5 week vacation while the economy is falling apart. Is this how Dems do business, when the going get tough, go on vacation?

    August 13, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Connie

    Maybe the media should find out how Randy Scheunemann is able to say that he knows first hand that McSenile was having a fun day in the Black Sea with his friend. Did the lobbyist set up the meeting for a senator for a reason ? Did the tax payers pay for his fun in the sun? I smell a rat , a dead rat. OBAMA/BAYH 08
    Connie from Indiana

    August 13, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. It Be Me

    McCain on a jet ski??? Gimme a break. the man can't turn on a computor, but he can ride a jet ski? If this were true, they'd have plastered pictures all over the place when this conflict started to prove McCain so called experience.

    August 13, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Lorna, NY

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

    ----------
    Oh, great, they went jet-skiing and they are close friends. Nice to know since he coudn't pronounce his name properly. John McCain is a real peice of work. I hope Americans will not be stupid twice!

    August 13, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Obama supporter:White, 60 year old woman

    Best thing Obama can do is stay on vacation and let McCain have center stage. The man is showing his true warmongering self and is showing people how out of step with the rest of the world.

    August 13, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Kevin

    McCain and Saakashvili are friends? then why can McCain even say the mans name right?

    just more BS from a top Bs'er

    August 13, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. GOP Terrorists have destroyed America

    The McClone crowd only seem to be proficient pointing fingers and whining. They can't propose anything constructive, and with his horrible record, probably won't come up with anything. The GOP have proven themselves to be a bunch of corrupt liars.

    Obama '08!

    August 13, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Sam

    If McCain was truly a friend of the Georgian President, he should have warned the guy not to start a war with Russia. The undeniable fact is that American troops will not help Georgia fight Russia, period.

    McCain's nonsensical bluster about Georgia is just that, empty blather!

    August 13, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. Kevin

    McCain and Saakashvili are friends? then why can't McCain even say the mans name right?

    just more BS from a top Bs'er

    August 13, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. Jimmy P - Chicago

    You liberals haven't a clue of the evils in this world. The Eastern mentality understands nothing but force – and the West has not the will to prevail. Russia will simply laugh at the impotence of the U.N., NATO, and the rest of the West and take all they gave up after the break-up of the Soviet Union. It's basically post WWII all over again! And once again, after being the whipping boy of the free world for decades, everyone will look to the U.S. to save their rears again. Although this time, it may not be possible!

    August 13, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Mike T. Vaughn

    Uhmmm did he also play volleyball with the Iraq so he figure he and Bush could win that war also righr? What a loser

    August 13, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. Nick

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

    OMG, what does that have to do with ANYTHING?
    Other than drawing up fun images of an old man on jet-ski this does not amount to anything!

    John McCain who speaks of the "Iraq-Afghanistan border" which is in fact commonly known as Iran!

    McCain is not ready to lead – Who knows where he would lead us with his lack of geographical skills?

    NO TO McCAN'T

    Obama '08

    August 13, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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