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. howie

    The Afgan war is truely a debacle now, wonder what advice he is providivg Obama. Sounds as if McCain may be right. How many reviewing thse comments believe the afgan war is going great? So McCain must be right!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. mark

    McCain is an American hero that put his life on the line for every citizen in this country, show some respect. obama on the other hand can't be bothered to have constant communication with his generals in Afghanistan because he is too busy on date nights and stumping for the olympics...

    October 4, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. philthetruth

    ICARE, what you mistake for "analysis" is really the handwringing of an unqualified, radical, utopia-deluded, fool who apparently can't deliver on a single promise, has clearly overestimated the world's adoration of him, and doesn't appear to have the slightest clue on how to be president of anything. What you're being naive about is what most of us call amateur night, on on this night that we unfortunately have to witness for 3-plus more years, the amateur happens to be the first anti-American, Marxist president we've ever had. Hooray.

    October 4, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. GOP

    Maybe the reason he takes exception to what McCain said because he knows it’s all about politics and not about the safety of our solders.

    He maybe was giving Obama great advice but its still up to Obama to just ignore it. Then again, he maybe giving Obama the advice he knows Obama wants to hear.

    Do you people on the left understand that point because that is the same kind of thinking you had when Bush was president and his advisers were giving him advice on the wars.

    The funny part is you on the left will now defend the same people you were calling liars just a year ago when it was Bush that was our president.

    When McCain was crossing that bridge between the left and right, you liberals loved him. Now that he takes any stand that sounds a bit Republican, you call him crazy.

    You liberals are nothing but juvenile nut jobs that care very little for the country you live in and are a bunch of Hippocrates!

    October 4, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. terry

    The McCain I knew and loved would never have played the political card – he changed during the last campaign and he lost his credibility.
    just like Republican conservatives cheering that the United States lost the olympic bid; it wasn't Obama losing; it wasn't Chicago losing; it was this great country.

    get over the politics – support this country and our elected politcicans.

    October 4, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Gerry

    And here I thought McCain was still in Alaska hunting wolves from airplanes with Todd and Sarah. The next thing I expect to hear from McCain is we can see Russia from Alaska. There should be an age limit to elected representatives so old broken down fools like McCain no longer represent their state.

    October 4, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. John

    I take exception to anything John McCain says or does, knowing his small mind conceives of nothing that won't benefit him in the long run.
    His political life is almost over, and he'll be lucky to be reelected this next voting cycle.

    I find it ludicrous the same man who caused so many deaths in wartime of his own compatriots that landed him in Viet Nam so he wouldn't be murdered aboard ship, has the audacity and gall to claim his is the best way, the only way, and all others must fall on their swords.

    If John McCain had been honorable at any time in his life, he'd have fallen hard on one long ago.

    October 4, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. Ernesto

    McCain seems have lost the ability to think. I voted for the man and have wondered why many times since the election. I guess he drank the Palin Kool-Aid and has decided to go down that nutty road. General Jones is doing the best job possible to give good advice based on his military expertise which is considerably more than McCain's. Perhaps if our nation had better leadership during the Bush years we could now be taking care of other major challenges left over and never completed by those idiots.

    October 4, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Mike1952

    Very weak. There is no excuse for not having a strategy in Afghanistan after nine months and none in sight. The only plausible excuse is politics. All the while the troops there now are undermanned and at greater risk. Pitiful weakness on BO's part.

    The wrold is thumbing their noses at him while he bows and scrapes to them all.

    October 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. johnrj08

    Reading some of the comments here is like watching a bad slasher film. This country is so lucky to have someone with Barack Obama's intellect and energy as president at this critical time in our history, yet some of these backwoods holdovers from the Civil War era are calling him a "criminal" and "traitor". They had all the confidence and patience in the world for George W. Bush, but no policy or decision by President Obama is good enough for them now. The statement that General Jones has "drank the Kool-Aid" is beyond irrational and borders on traitorous. The man is a war hero. John McCain is the one who plays politics with crucial national issues. That is what he and his party have been doing since McCain lost the election.

    http://johnrj08.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/who-are-these-two-candidates/

    October 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    John McCain said "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" then chose a narcissistic, poorly spoken quitter as his running mate.....he long ago eliminated for me his credibility.

    October 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. HoldenLitgo

    Every time another republican opens their mouth and "democrat party" comes out it only further demonstrates their ignorance and complete lack of credibility. When do you suppose they'll start to offer solutions instead of misnomers?

    October 4, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. S WI

    I thought of leaving my own comment, however, after reading the some of the previous comments I realize that a lot of you are no better than those on the right, commenting on Fox. Lambs being led to slaughter. Think for yourself, look beyond the mindless cable news – news that is obviously bias.

    October 4, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Adalbert

    McCain is wrong again as usual.

    October 4, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. GI Joe

    McCain was NOT elected. He's a war-monger that thinks more wars are the cat's meow. I will never listen to a man that crashed planes and sang like a canary when he was captured.

    THAT does not make him an expert on war - quite the opposite, in fact.

    NO MORE WARS !

    October 4, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. ggb

    Let's try to understand Obama....this spring he strongly implores Europe to add troops without hesitation to Afghanistan, now he wavers. The European news reports him as "weak". He fires one military commander and does not heed his new commander's advice. The man on the ground. Oh excuse me, Obama has military experience. Do the dems not read history? Did they not learn anything from the Russian conflict? Once again, it is cut losses, let the brave men of this country die for lack of a coutnry' support. No one cannot convince me this is not politics and placating the dems! Obama showed his lack of military support all through his campaign. For this alone. I do not respect him as an american.

    October 4, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. Gumdrops

    GENERAL McCHRYSTAL was responsible for the COVER UP when PAT TILLMAN was killed by friendly fire. Why aren't we hearing about this?

    October 4, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. LouAz

    Someone get Osama bin Laden.
    We should not be doing anything else in Afghanistan.
    If that takes 70,000 + troops, so be it. If it takes more, send them.
    But they should not be doing anything except looking for ObL.
    When they find him, kill him.
    No show trial, or tribunal, or incarceration at Gitmo. None of that crap.
    First guy that finds him, kill him.
    Then kill that Egyptian that is his #2, if he is nearby.
    The whole world will understand what happened.
    Then pack up all our stuff and come home. Thank you soldier(s).

    McCrystal wants to play Patton and MacArthur with an Army of Occupation like we had in Germany and Japan after WW II. He has said very little about bin Laden, which should be his complete focus.
    He should determine if bin Laden is in Afghanistan, and if not, say so, and come home.
    Jones should be doing nothing but advising our President about getting Osama bin Laden.
    MCcain should go back to sleep.

    Afghanistan is not a Country, despite how the US/Brits/French/Ruskies decided to draw maps after WW I and WW II. It is a bunch of different tribes trying to live like they have since the spread of Islam hundreds of years ago. We should not be there, except to get bin Laden. Someday, they will sort out their differences and become one or more Countries, and enter the 20 th century. Somday ,still farther away, they may join the 21st century.

    October 4, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Our Kenyan–in-Chief is not going to do anything to upset the ACORN crowd. They got him elected.

    October 4, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. GOP

    victim of republican greed October 4th, 2009 11:12 am ET

    I find it hard to believe that the wingnuts suddenly are concerned about Afghanistan. Bush lied when he declared victory in Afghanistan.

    Bush never declared victory in Afghanistan. Get your facts right before you write this down.

    In addition, the people on the right understand how to fight a war while you on the left only know how to protest wars!

    Most people on the right have been in our nation’s military service while most on the left only call these brave people nasty names.

    I will stand on the right because I know others here have my back and love our country.

    You liberals want to stab our country in the back and to live off the backs of hard working Americans.

    October 4, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Ryan indy

    McCain straight up stated the TRUTH....... Obama is more focused on getting his friends in chicago crooked deals than our troops at War right now...... OBama is a small pathetic President. And all you democrats whinning about how is being treated, he will be treated with the same respect you showed President Bush for 8 yrs, which was zero. What comes around goes around!!!!!

    October 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Paul

    Yeah...Dumocrat party is way to go.

    High taxes...heck yeah. We all love high taxes!

    Biggest deficit in US history and 2009 biggest yearly increase in deficit in US history! Screw our kids and grandkids!

    Socialism, because everyone deserves your money!

    More czars in a six months than the Russian dynasty had in 300+ years. Awesome! Nothing like having non-vetted, un-elected persons running our country!

    Obama's friends, staff, and closest advisors include racists, terrorists, convicted felons, self-advowed communists, and wackos! THESE are the type of people that should be advising Obama.

    Transparency...so far has refused to release official birth certificate, adoption records, passport, elementary school records, high school records, Occidental College records, Harvard University records, Columbia University records, college thesis, Senate records, etc...Who cares if he said he would have the most transparent administration.

    Release terrorists, but prosecute CIA personel. Definitely makes us safer!

    Screw Poland, Chech, and Israel over. Screw our allies! It is much more important that countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran like us!

    The French Pres called Obama naive and foolish. Israel feels, and knows, they have been stabbed in the back. Hence the anti-Obama protests in Israel that shockingly wasn't shown on tv. Poland and Check knows where they stand. Israel knows we no longer have their back and have betrayed them. Gordan Brown was stiffed by Obama approx. five times. Don't worry though, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Cuba, and Venzuela think we/Obama are/is great!

    Safety...it is much safer now that North Korea has tested two nukes and fired seven missiles. Also, Iran has tested its short and mid range missiles. And, for no reason at all Russia's two nuclear subs showed up a little over a hundred miles off our East coast.

    October 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. R.B.

    Every other day, it seems, more troops are lost. The general is right: it's not about politics-it's about our TROOPS. Though I support President Obama, I am deeply concerned about the safety of our brave soldiers.

    Our troops were never meant to be used as nation builders in foreign countries. The numbers of troops, whether more or less, can NOT be expected to replace the failure of politicians to bring to bear other resources for achieving our goals in Afghanistan.

    Let's remember Afghanistan was Russia's "Vietnam." It is disastrously naive, and even moreso -extremely inmoral- to use our soldiers in this way, using their numbers, as politicians use rhetoric or money, to throw at an issue hoping it will go away. Whether Republican or Democrat, I think the majority of the American people agree: politics was- and IS- the problem here. Those of us who voted for change-haven't seen it- with regard to our TROOPS in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is GOING ON? Who WAS at the helm of this travesty during Bush? Who IS at the helm now? And I don't mean the military.

    Will the military be used to occupy every land that doesn't agree with us? OUR TROOPS were meant to be used for precise measures NOT as armed shields for gross and continuous politicial failure. Party affiliation has nothing to do with it. THE MILITARY HAS DONE ENOUGH. WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? MORE TROOPS???

    I don't think we are seeing the BIG PICTURE here.

    October 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. AMERICA LOST AND REPUBLICANS REJOICE ON US LOSING THE OLYMPICS

    Keep spewing that TERRIORIST LOVING REPUBLICAN HATE we love to have more control in congress :)

    October 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Lola

    I don't understand why the media gives so much time to the McCains and Palins. We the American people did not vote for them for a reason. And we really could care less on what they are doing now. I wish the media would focus strickly on what is important and not on what is wrong. Don't give so much attention to the wrong and negative. Eventually if you don't cover them they will go away. You have the power to help calm our country down so don't worry about your ratings, take a little heat, but do what is right.

    October 4, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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