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. Walter

    McCain treats members of the military the same way that other Republicans do.

    He respects your service IF you agree with his politics.

    October 4, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Concerned American

    Senator John McCain is a true hero & should have been our President...Sarah Palin is intelligent & honest...a role model for the good American women in their roles as mothers, wives & providers...those who critisize them are JEALOUS, are the Dems that are trying to convince America by their LIES...remember Obama when he was campaigning?...or still is campaigning...Obama should settle down & try to be a good President instead of a n actor/campaigner...look at all the money he is costing the American taxpayers for Air Force 1 & Security flying to other countries & I might add giving them our money, flying to various states here for Town Hall meetings when he could easily speak via TV & the internet...tell Obama to start addressing America's concerns not those of other countries...Obama's attempt to close Gitmo is an insult to the families & friends of 911 & all the true American people...Obama's criticism of our CIA who have protected the US against further 911 attacks is not the role of America's president but an ill-advised amateur...Senator McCain,please advise President Obama who needs the help of a well experienced intellectual & war hero like yourself...to those DEMS who are constantly saying that a person is too old a word of advise: Look at the older people in your family & among your friends, from them the youth gains intelligence & experience, and, the youth asks them to be leaders...Senator McCain is an excellent example of this!!

    October 4, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Rumsfeld

    McCain is yesterday's news and his words do nothing to move the matter forward. As a politician, he has become irrelevant. As a military man, his image is far overblown.

    October 4, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. The Right-Wing is destroying America

    To all Birthers, Deathers, Tea-Baggers, Gun-toters, and non-questioning apostles of Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc:

    It is clear you will NEVER approve of anything President Obama says or does. It is clear that you want his presidency to fail, and if you want him to fail, you want the country to fail.

    That is treason. So, please take your treasonous agenda and leave the Union so the rest of us can PROGRESS as a country rather than REGRESS.

    October 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    I fully endorse the notion that the President always entertain options related to this war or any war. The enemy is constantly changing tatics and thus a new approach could be needed at any time in a war effort. However I am apalled that Obama would put off even looking at his top General's assesment while he asks others to come up with alternatives and try and keep it hidden from the public. This is his "Man' he chose for to lead the effort in Affiganistan. He should be all over the assesment ASAP from the moment it was available. The decison to try and keep it hidden is a clear political move by Obama. He knows sending more troops would doom him with the liberals in his party. I have no problem with asking for alternatives to sending 40,000 more troops, he should do this. But to delay and try and hide a critical assesment from his top man for weeks for the purpose of his own political cover makes me sick.

    October 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. USN

    The reason for the increase action is the bad guys smell weakness in the new dear leader. barry waits to see the poles wial men die . He cuts the budgets and puts men in the meat grinder, GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED OR PULL THEM OUT. Or are too busy taking over the US

    October 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Tanya Kujath

    McCain is sounding a little like a sore loser!

    October 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Hugo

    I tend to agree with Jones, I think there is a far bigger picture on the horizon than the quagmire we are in with Afghanistan. It is called the Dark Menace of the Peace aka Iran. Obama and his military advisor's had better wake up and LEAD our Nation and the World against an establishment government of tyranny, oppression and terrorism in the Middle East. Israel will soon take the lead in protecting themselves and I for one am beginning to think the World... if we do not play this right, it very well could escalate into WW3.

    October 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Someone who actually served

    Personally, I would take a look at the article right below this one to see that our NSA James Jones is an idiot who is playing politics. As a retired Marine General, he should be taking the advice of his boots on the ground, in this case General McChrystal. A very big reason why the slaughter in Vietnam happened was because the Johnson Administration was doing the richard dance, much like what James Jones is doing today, and not listening to the commanders on the ground. You would have thought that James Jones would have remembered that lesson, being a boot on the ground in Vietnam, but I guess not. Lets not play politics with with our men and women who serve so valiantly in Afghanistan, rather lets give them our 100 percent support to finish this mission, once and for all.

    October 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Mike in Texas

    How many thousand died in Iraq for a bogus reason? How many less lives would have been lost had our last President stuck to the real war in Afghanistan?

    All you Obama haters seem to have short term memory loss. Had we focused in Afghanistan like we should have we probably wouldn't be in the situation we are now.

    When people questioned Bush about Iraq the were labeled as traitors and Un Amercian. Now these same people are criticizing Obama but it is ok because they are always right......(Sniff).........I smell hypocrisy and double standard. Typical of both sides.

    October 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    I lost all respect for John McCain when he caved to the religious fanatics of his party and spoke at Jerry Falwell's school in 2006. McCain compromised his integrity for a shot at the presidency – and he continues to compromise his integrity in his quest to be an "elder statesman" for the GOP.

    It's sad and unfortunate that McCain has not figured out that the people he's sucking up to are the very same ones who smeared him not only in 2000 when they spread rumors about his "illegitimate black daughter" during the primaries, they are also the ones who foisted Caribou Barbie Palin on him in last year's election.

    Like everyone else, the GOP leadership has only used and abused you, Senator McCain – and you look like a fool. Now is the time for you to regain your self-pride and stop spouting their nonsense and following their marching orders!

    October 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Dan

    I love when you bloggers on the right start accussing the left of name calling...since you guys made name calling an art form. And Nancy G...Fringe media...really...Its obvious where you get your fake news from since FOX has been pushing the idea of "fringe media" for weeks now, but as I see it the only fringe out their is these right-wing racist kooks that FOX is using for ratings.

    October 4, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    To those who bring up John McCain's experience as a POW in Vietnam as an argument in support of everything the Senator does:

    Senator McCain's experience as a POW does not give him special powers of intellect or deduction, especially in regard to current military matters.

    National Security Advisor James Jones, who is a retired Marine Corps general, has a lot more experience in commanding troops than John McCain does, which – in my mind – makes him more knowledgable about military matters than John McCain.

    October 4, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Peter E

    McCain know playing politics when he sees it. Because he does it all the time. He used to be a real maverick... back in 2000. Until president Bush got elected. By 2008 he had no spine left and weas voting with Bush over 90% of the time. Then he manufactured a neocon platform for his presidential run. Obama within half a year adopted several of McCain's original ideas from 2008 to the letter! And yet now McCain opposes them as if it was a liberal platform. Now that's playing politics! Did I say 'playing politics?' I meant to say 'being a maverick' of course...

    October 4, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Lynne

    Four things the press constantly overlook as they arm chair quarterback:

    1. Bush/Cheney were the ones who abandoned the fight against Al Queda in Afghanistan for 7.5 years and McCain had nothing to say about it.

    2. NATO is a part of the equation as they also are involved in the fighting and training. TYo abandon their views will mean more American troops as they will pull out.

    3. Before any decision can be made, the results of the Afghani election and the Afghani's response to it MUST be part of the decsion. I imagine the White House will be putting pressure on Karzai to give his opposition a role in his gov't, and what better way of doing so than delaying the decision to send more American troops until he gets a responsible gov't in place.

    4. Sec Gates has already stated the troops asked for won't be available until the Spring. If the Rep. are so determined more troops be sent earlier, they should be figuring out how to increase the miltary and how to get the equipment in place if they think they can change that on an quicker time table.

    October 4, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. victim of republican greed

    Indiana voter-

    When we were attacked on 9-11, I supported our president. It was after his putting our troops in harms way for a cause that seemed to be more, "Saddam tried to kill my Daddy," than for national security, I became somewhat disappointed. When we learned there were no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, and the attacks on constitutional rights, etc., I did become very critical of Bush.

    As for my irresponsibility, I am merely reporting what Limbaugh, Beck and your other heroes are saying.

    October 4, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Rodger

    G W Bush got Iraq under contol when the Liberals wanted to Cut and Run like the Cowards they are.

    America is watching everything Obama does and if He knows whats Good for Him then he better get "HIs War" under control.

    If he fails anymore He will end being viewed worse than Jimmy Carter was. Under Carter there was Mortgage Rates at 25%, thats how bad Carter was.

    CNN America is not Happy with your reporting on your socalled facts.

    October 4, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. KevinBob

    Everyone knows Obama is brown-nosing his left-wing loon base. Their is absolutely no excuse for him to be unprepared to make a decision on troop levels. What has he been doing for the past 9 months and beyond? His responses in the past have gone from anti-war to we must win. This guy is a puppet getting his strings jerked around and he doesn't know what to do because he lacks principle to base his decisions.

    October 4, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Bull

    Jones you are full of Bull. All advisors are in it for the politics, that's what you do for a living. You are nothing but a Yes Man.

    October 4, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. USN

    Now now dan .. no name calling , want your mommy?

    October 4, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Willy Brown October 4th, 2009 10:12 am ET

    Jones drank the Obama Kool-Aid.
    ----------------

    And you obviously drank the McCain/Palin Koolaid.. Tastes bitter doesn't it. Typical ignorant post from someone who has never served his country but then what do we expect from retarded neo-cons like you and Phoenix 86.

    October 4, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Patriot

    Al in Chesapeake:

    You want to talk about name-calling?

    Rush Limbaugh has referred to progressives as "lunatics," "fascists," and a host of other hateful, ugly labels.

    Tea-Baggers carried signs comparing our President to Hitler, zoo animals, and witch doctors. Glenn Beck said that our President "hates white people." Right-wing talk radio, Fox, and Repubs in Congress sling insults at Progressives and our President on a daily basis.

    Also, the Bush administration called anyone oppposed to the war in Iraq "appeasors" and "un-American." In fact, anyone who disagreed with Bush at all was called "un-American" by the right-wing media and politicians.

    So, if you want to talk about name-calling, look no further than the right-wing. They are masters at creating hate and division.

    October 4, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Reminder: Afghanistan is a mess because the Bush/Cheney Administration never properly supported the military and civilian efforts there. They let Osama bin Laden slip over the Pakistani border, enabling him to reconstitute and make stronger al Qaeda.

    Why did the Bush/Cheney Administration lose interest? Because Afghanistan doesn't have oil like Iraq and because their strategy for a two-term Bush presidency was to keep the boogieman (bin Laden) around and the US at war to guarantee they could scare the American public into voting for Bush in 2004.

    And that's not paranoia – that's GOP "party before country" politics!

    October 4, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. GOP

    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 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Stu October 4th, 2009 10:26 am ET

    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.
    ----------------–

    Uh...heil hitler? Mien Fuhrer?

    October 4, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11