Mullen not bothered by Pawlenty 'general' remark
August 12th, 2011
09:19 AM ET
3 years ago

Mullen not bothered by Pawlenty 'general' remark

Washington (CNN) - It was a quick remark in a long, sometimes-contentious GOP presidential debate. But for the tradition-oriented United States military, referring to an admiral as ‘General’ can be seen as a major misstep.

Luckily for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff isn’t bothered by the mistake in title.

The moment came when Pawlenty was asked about President Barack Obama’s drawdown strategy in Afghanistan.

“President Obama has accelerated that faster than either General Mullen or General Petraeus recommended,” Pawlenty said. “I would have accepted their recommendations and drawn them down a little slower.

Mullen, a navy admiral, is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen’s spokesman says the admiral isn’t troubled by the mistake.

“The Chairman is occasionally referred to as ‘general.’ It does not bother him. Indeed, he has grown so close to the Army and Marine Corps these last few years, that he considers it an honor,” Captain John Kirby, US Navy, said.

-CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


Filed under: Mike Mullen • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Emerson

    Pawlenty has done everything short of setting his skivies on fire, while still wearing them, and nobody care. Tim, save yourself some time and money and go look for a job.

    August 12, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Trouble is...Pawlenty has been wrong about so many other things.

    August 12, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Dave

    God save us from this clown. This is the guy that held up Al Franken's legitimate senate win. Refused to sign off until he absolutely had to. What a slap to the voters of Minnesota. The bridge collapse disaster also happened under him. Oh dear God, save us from that Texas governor too. Please. Im begging.

    August 12, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Aaron

    At least he's not governor of Minnesota anymore. All he did was campaign for president while sucking the governor's salary out of the MN taxpayers.

    August 12, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Save the Rich, vote GOP

    Hey, if he wins can we refer to him as VP?

    August 12, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And was that yo yesterday Paw, speaking with voters at that factory with a bunch of empty FRONT ROW seats, and a young man texting his friends to turn back because you were boring everyone into a hypnotic state?
    That WAS you wasn't it?
    Embarrassing. Just quit.

    August 12, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Jae

    It's raining? U know if that Obama wouldn't have said he likes rain then it wouldnt have rained today? That's what's wrong with his country and why we have to take it back.

    August 12, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    This is not an issue unless Pawlenty repeats the error ad nauseum. That would be disrepectful, not a one time slip when his mind is running at high speed.

    August 12, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. A True Centrist

    It was proven, through a review of the election results and registered voters database, that more votes were coming out of some counties than there were registered voters. Not sure if the funny stuff was from the Dems or Repubs but either way, there was NOTHING legitimate about that election.

    I believe the USA Today still has a link to the article about the votes outnumbering the registered voters if you want to take a look.

    August 12, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Just As I Thought

    Strange?? But I do not recall Obambi's gaffe of "corpsman" or any of his other MANY gaffes.......Interesting.......maybe people will realize how much harm the "social media" is doing in this country as has been realized in the UK!

    August 12, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. denice

    This little Teaparty "Pawn" is going down in flames with his "Haven,t Got A Clue" experience??? Wait awhile,It will get "More Entertaining". Guaranteed!

    August 12, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Marie MD

    I wouldn't take it personally either. It is, after all, the ond who left MN in economic ruin. I wonder of he can tell servicement from one branch or anither by just their uniforms. I doubt it very much!

    August 12, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. Republicans - The Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    The Republicans claim to know SO MUCH about the military, they claim to be the only patriotic citizens, they seem to equate wasteful spending on weapons systems as "supporting the troops" and they are suppose to be all for the "best", "most-qualified" person getting any job.

    With all of that, please tell me how Pawlenty is Commander-in-Chief material.

    If Senator Obama had called an Admiral, a General, the neo-cons would have lost their minds. McCain would have spouted off and Limpbaugh would have droned on for hours.

    True they are equivalent ranks, both flag officers but before using terms, shouldn`t the speaker be knowlegible and conversant in them?

    August 12, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. dirtygopfleabaggers

    Yawn. Can I cast my vote Obama now?, please wake me when it's time.

    August 12, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. A True Centrist

    Not as bad as President Obama stating he awarded the Medal of Honor in person to a soldier who was actually deceased when he was awarded the medal, but Pawlenty should know better. Admiral Mullen has earned his title and deserves the respect of being referenced as such.

    August 12, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Ken in NC

    Former Minnesota Gov. T. Paw doesn't know the difference between the Navy and Army. I can just imagine him as the Commander-In-Chief. I can see him now, if elected POTUS trying to appoint an Army Pvt. to the post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I guess he would even refer to himself as the Vice President. Go home T. Paw. and take that wind bag Bachman with you if the voters of Minnesota will allow the two of you to come back. If they will not allow the two of you back in the state, maybe Michele Bachman will allow you to go back to Iowa with her or maybe Palin will give you each seats on her bus on the way back to Alaska for a price.

    August 12, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    Pawlenty was the bottom performer in the debate, last night, so the error is consistent with that performance.

    August 12, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. T'sah from Virginia

    It's NOT the misstep he made in name – it's his message. The Commander in Chief should have the last word and President Obama wanted the withdrawal to be sooner and it's up to the commanders in the field to accomplish that – We've been there for 10 years – what does "...drawn them down a little slower..." means???

    August 12, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. GI Joe

    Guess the fact that he and his sons dodged any military "experience" might have something to do with it. It amazes me that the republicans haven't taken part in most wars since the draft was stopped. If he can't tell a General from an Admiral, he has no right being Commander in Chief.

    What if he's color blind and thinks that "red button" is blue (for room service)??

    August 12, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "I would have accepted their recommendations and drawn them down a little slower."

    Romney said the same kind of crap. Essentially, the GOP POTUS candidates' position on military matters is as follows:

    Abdicate all authority, power, discretion, thought and responsibility as Commander in Chief to the military commanders.

    Is that what the founders envisioned when they specifically made the CiC a civilian position accountable to the public via elections? Hint: NO.

    August 12, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |