October 4th, 2009
12:15 PM ET
5 years ago

'I take exception' to McCain's remark, Jones says

I don't play politics with national security, Obama adviser and retired general James Jones said Sunday.
I don't play politics with national security, Obama adviser and retired general James Jones said Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A top military adviser to President Barack Obama said Sunday that politics does not play any role in the advice he gives to the president.

Last week, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, the former Republican presidential hopeful, said on the floor of the Senate that Jones was one of the president’s advisers who doesn’t “want to alienate the left base of the Democrat [sic] Party” as the White House considers whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Asked to react to McCain’s comments Sunday, National Security Adviser James Jones said he “took exception” to McCain’s remark.

“Sen. McCain knows me very well,” Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “I worked for Senator McCain when he was a captain. I’ve known him for many, many years. And he knows that I don’t play politics with national – I don’t play politics. And I certainly don’t play it with national security. And neither does anyone else I know. The lives of our young men and women are on the line. The strategy does not belong to any political party and I can assure you that the President of the United States is not playing to any political base. And I take exception to that remark.”


Filed under: Afghanistan • James Jones • John McCain • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Evan

    It's the Democratic Party.

    October 4, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Well said,mr.Jones,John McCain doesnt have a clue anymore,and to think we liked him before he lost his spine in 2000.Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh are anti American traiters,along with the morons that believe them.To rejoice in the loss of the Olympics was disgraceful to say the least.

    October 4, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    McCain is an old fool..... just look at his VP selection.

    October 4, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. BILL, WI

    The former U.S. general in Afghanistan was fired by political wonks for his inaction. Gen McChrystal says unless he gets more troops on the ground there is not much he can do. We just completed a week when the power elite in this country came to together to decide on a unified course of action for Afghanistan. All of the political wonks had a retired general, or two, advising them. Since there was no consensus for this new strategy it sounds like pure old politics ruled the day.

    October 4, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    My comment is simple – Before making the decision listen to all points of view – once the decision is made get in front of the wagon and help pull it..........Mr McCain and the entire republican party should take this advise to heart – unlike the previous admin who listenend only to those that said what they wanted to hear – The best decision come after healthy debate.

    October 4, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. ICARE

    I am glad Obie is taking his time. W took 8 years to stare at it. Obie deserves time to think it through. I like slow roasted thinking. Sometimes, he needs a kick in the butt, but I rather that he analyze the situation over quickly throwing a grenade over the wall.

    It is a complex issue and it needs some thoughts into it. All I can say is try all methods. I love ice skating and the champions goes to the one that perseveres and makes changes to correct problems :)

    October 4, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Drew

    The GOP thinks that bringing President Obama down will put
    America on their side: WRONG.

    They are only succeeding in further turning the country against THEM,
    thus insuring further democratic(the people) control.

    . . .keep going Rush and Hannity!

    October 4, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Donkey Party

    If McCain had his way, we'd be carpet bombing the rugged terrain on the Afghan / Pakistan border, unleashing massive destruction upon rock formations, and wiping out all herds of llamas and camels.

    October 4, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Rob

    John McCain should go the Palin family route... QUIT!

    October 4, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Tom from Iowa

    McCain does toss out the 'patriot' card more than the 'reverend' Jackson tosses the 'race' card. As far as being a military genius... McCain didn't know the difference between tactics and strategy during a debate with Obama. Funny thing is, Obama knew! That's not surprising though. McCain was a cocky jet jock that spent more time swapping stories in the bird farm ready room than he did studying military history. The majority of his active duty time was spent in the Hanoi Hilton. He almost 'washed out' of the academy. But like 'W', he had an influenetial father and grandfather that protected him...

    October 4, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    good job Mr. Jones
    John McCain must still have dick cheney and sarah palin in his ear...
    I am sick and tired of this boohoo crap from some of the republicans .. they lost the election and can't stand it .and yes some people hate the president because he is half black .and some hate hime because he is a democrate.. but people like palin, cheney, rove, rush, beck, dumb ass hassilbeck,and so on . just wont let go and will not support the commander and chief of the UNITED STATES . so I think they are un american to start with and or not helping our country get back on its feet from the Bush Cheney debackle. it is a sad day .and news media has a lot to do with the problem .. they have lost sight on the news .and become no better than a rag magazine..

    October 4, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. victim of republican greed

    What is a crinimal?

    It is time for the wingnuts to stop praying for a terrorist attack on American soil so you can say, "I told youDick Cheney is not as stupid as he looks."

    National security should not be politicized by McCain, Demint, Boehner, Kyl, Ensign, or anyone else.

    October 4, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey Paul.... the guys in the white coats are looking for you.... How did you get out this time?

    October 4, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Frank from Gilroy

    McCain is a schmuck. He should be barred from commenting on anything after his selection for VP.
    He is nothing but a bitter GOP war hawk.

    October 4, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. hockey dad

    McAint,.. McWane,.. McInsane, ..or whatever the hell his name is, has made his reputation as a war hero,.. but he's tarnishing that image every time he opens his yap. This man is a war hawk, in bed with the military lobby,.. if he had his way, he would bomb the Vatican.

    October 4, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Paul

    You can't fix stupid, but you can vote him out in 2012!

    October 4, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Nelly

    So we have been through the accusations (and reality) of sexism and racism in politics. From the comments on this story, ageism seems the latest tool for hatemongers. Disagree with McCain, certainly, but references to his age are as distasteful and morally corrupt as the racist or misogynist viewpoints which warrant our condemnation. Guess it depends on whose 'ism' is being vilified.

    October 4, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Paul H

    Right now at this moment while these politicians are bickering back and forth about these issues the Taliban is attacking our troops.
    Someone better come up off of their butt's and make some decisions or this thing is going to get out of hand.
    Obama is on the verge of making this his Vietnam. (as in the same results) That will be the final nail in the proverbial coffin.

    October 4, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. John

    Of course politics is being played...why have Americans become so naive? What is happening to our country that we so easily allow Obama and his political scallywags to just pull the wool over our eyes? I say kick them all out...Republicans and Democrats!

    October 4, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Gus

    BS – in Washington (and especially Chicago) it is ALWAYS about politics.

    October 4, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Old MSG, U.S. Army

    "We haven't fought to win since WWII. Now we have politicians playing politics with military matters and a preoccupation with playing nice on the battlefield. We need to return to the reality of war, it is hell. If we are going to use military force, it has to be overwhelming, total, and absolute."

    Stu's comment is worth repeating.

    The name calling leftist / liberals need to move out of their mommy and daddy's house or campus office and get real jobs. Try a few years in the military and see the real world.

    October 4, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Frank from Gilroy

    Rich,
    Thanks for your post.
    It proves what 80% of the people think of the GOP. You are mostly idiots, spewing hate, fear and misinformation.
    Now go to church and pray for the President to fail like the rest of them.

    October 4, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Doug - Dallas

    Good for James Jones for injecting common sense where it belongs. If your life was on the line would you want the decision makers to make their decision based on politics? The President is doing the right thing and his decision will be the best that can be made under the circumstances.

    October 4, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. victim of republican greed

    I find it hard to believe that the wingnuts suddenly are concerned about Afghanistan. Bush lied when he declared victory in Afghanistan and started an unnecessary war in Iraq that cost us over 4000 of our finest military. (I won't mention the hundreds of thousand of civilians that were killed.)

    Now, after 8 years of neglect, the wingnuts want us to now believe they actually care about our troops.

    October 4, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. JD

    Just remember, lefties – the sting in McCain's rebuke is THE TRUTH!!

    October 4, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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