June 30th, 2008
10:24 AM ET
15 years ago

McCain campaign: Clark's comments 'sad'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/30/clark.mccain/art.clark.gi.jpg caption=" Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who ran for president in 2004, has questioned Sen. John McCain's qualifications."](CNN) - Sen. John McCain's campaign on Monday called retired Gen. Wesley Clark's remarks that McCain lacks command experience "the lowest form of politics."

Clark, a military adviser for Sen. Barack Obama, questioned Sunday whether McCain's military experience qualified him to be commander in chief.

The McCain campaign has called on Obama to condemn the comments.

"I think it's kind of sad," McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said Monday on CNN's "American Morning."

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Enlightened Voter

    What about mccain calling on Lieberman to condemn his attacks on Obama? Come on John, your such a hypocrite. BTW why should General Clark apologize, he only told the truth.

    June 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Generation X

    Can you say; General. He knows McCain is full of crap. Bush/McCain start a war with Iran. And, the new revolution will not be televised in the United States. NOT THIS TIME!!!

    June 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Justin (ny)

    I can find absolutely NOTHING wrong with Clark's comments... He did not LIE, he did not promote a false propoganda, he did not say anything other than the truth – getting shot does NOT make you qualified to be president – otherwise we'd have thousands of "qualified" veterans of war claiming the same thing.

    June 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Susan, PA

    ain't he saying the truth?

    Why was Bush favored over Kerry in 2004?

    June 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Donkey Party

    The truth hurts.

    June 30, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Milton, Harrisburg, PA

    Being held as a POW has nothing whatsoever to do with leadership ability as commander in chief. It means that McCain has standing and understanding what war is about, something Bush didn't have. What you need in a President is someone with exceptional diplomatic skills. The best commander and chief is the one that never has to become a commander and chief.

    June 30, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. bernj

    I am very pleased that General Clark had the courage to tell the truth about McCain. While I certainly understand that being a POW is far from going to a picnic, being a POW does not, in and of itself, make one a war hero. Moreover, there seems to be more than a little evidence that McCain was not even one of the better pilots in the Navy. Getting shot down in a multimillion dollar machine is not heroic. The truth is getting shot down means you blew it.

    McCain has no strategic military decision making experience. None.

    I think General Clark deserves serious consideration as Obama's VP. Military experience as a decision maker and not afraid to tell the truth. A good combination.

    June 30, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Dj

    Well... whether you like it or not, the General knows exactly what Mr. McCain has and has not done as a leader... it is public record...

    If the man was riding along in a plane (as opposed to flying it) when it was shot down, that's just the way it is. The truth is the truth – plain and simple.

    June 30, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Will in Richmond, VA

    Wesley Clark is a GENERAL. I think he would know what qualifies someone to be a leader.

    Sad, but true.

    June 30, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Frank

    Clark's comment is absolutely true and accurate. No one is questioning McCain's honor, his bravery, or his service to his country. But none of those equal command experience.

    I'm sick of McCain trying to portray himself as a paragon of experience in military and foreign affairs. He was shot down. He was a POW. His claim to superior experience is even weaker than Hillary's ("eight years as first lady!") was.

    June 30, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Belle2

    Obama and his fans need to start explaining what experience Obama has that qualifies him to be Commander in Chief instead of trying to demean McCain and his experience. I have always admired Clark but he is off the track here. I don't like McCain's positions on the issues but it is Obama's lack of experience and character that is a problem. I know I have to choose between a candidate whose positions on the issues I disagree and a candidate whose character and experience I find troubling. Obama and his fans are not going to convince me to vote for him unless they forego their hatred and animosity and begin to show Obama's virtues (if he has any).

    June 30, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Filipina

    Why is it McCain callling Obama to condemn what Clark said,,he is telling the truth, McCain is not qualified to be commander in chief...When McCain attacking Obama its ok for them but not Obama's supporter...McCain you are tooooooooo old to be a cry baby, just accept it you are not qualified.

    June 30, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Fred Muna

    I am of the same opinion as Clark. Fighting a war with the American military does not necessarily give you the foreign policy credentials – diplomacy & Strategic judgment – to be president. I think McCain may have some credentials in this area, but most of it does not come from the military experience which he touts. Joe Biden is well-versed with foreign policy issues from being on the senate foreign relations committee, meeting with representatives of different countries, helping negotiate many international peace agreements. This is the kind of experience McCain should be touting, and not just talking about being a POW which may resonate with some constituents but is really a substantive argument.

    June 30, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Peter of Oregon

    John Keating 5 McCain's response is hillarious.

    He served in the military, he was shot down and held prisoner for 5 years enduring and surviving horrible torture. He's seen war first hand like few people have, and Obama states his great respect of McCain's service every time he mentions his name.

    General Clark was not attacking McCain's service to this country. He was saying that his service did not automatically qualify him to be President of the United States.

    John McCain's military service and his ability to lead this country are two seperate things entirely.

    June 30, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    General Clark spoke of McCain's heroism as a POW, but made a factual statement that it did not qualify him as president. There is nothing "sad " about this comment. It is true. General Clark ran one of the most effective military activities in recent years in Bosnia, where no one of our soldiers was killed. I kinda think the guy knows what he is talking about!!!

    June 30, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Theo

    I think this is all laughable. When will the elections be about the policies. Neither candidate knows what will actually happen when they get in office. All they know now is that the current president is a complete failure and the country is in a downward spiral. All you hear is about a "possible" new war with Iran. Think about it....... If you are a republican then you know for the next 4 years what to expect. If you are a democrat you know the next 4 years what to expect, the total opposite of the republicans. So people can say whatever, but we all know what to expect from either party. Cut and dry. All this mess about Obama is all a hype job to scare people. The same with Mccain. They both will have the influence of their "party" over their heads.

    June 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. EA

    GOP=Get Ovet it People! The Rebulicans have always and will always be a bunch or a) fatcats, who think that the Unites States were founded by them and them alone. Not of the backs of slaves and migrant workers from every corner of the globe, and b) uneducated morons, who still believe that 2/3 of the country still thinks it's the 50's and 60's. Change is coming so please learn to deal with it and play nice in the sandbox. As for McCain thinking he's the end all be all for us regarding his"war" experiences, well let's just say the sharpest tool in the shed doesn't always cut through the toughest surfaces. Mr. Clark could be on to something here....

    June 30, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Donkey Party

    I think General Clark makes a valid point. You want to vote for someone just because they got their plane shot down? That's almost as absurd as voting for Hillary just because she's a woman...

    June 30, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Wes Clark is not going to be Obama's V.P. America wants CHANGE, not dueling political parties over who has the most military leaders and experience on their sides.

    The President of the US does not fight or command troops on the battlefield. There are numerous generals, admirals, colonels, lieutenants, and others who actually are on the battlefield during war and advise the President.

    Unfortunately Obama has to defend his patriotism and McCain his military service during this election.

    June 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. Sabrina

    Obama needs to come out behind his surrogates and condemn them, this the change he is touting, more of the same old politics from OBAMA, he is not for change, just good buzz words that mean nothing.

    June 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. JoeMamma

    Sad? Sad but True.

    McLieberCain does not represent the real GOP. Our party has been highjacked by "neo-cons" who are neither new or conservative.
    I proudly voted for Bush twice but will never vote for a third term-McSame.

    Lifelong Conservative for Obama or Barr.

    June 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Peter of Oregon

    I think that if John McCain can't handle comments from the Obama Campaign that he may not agree with, and feels he has to cry to the media about how Obama isn't treating him nice like he promised, he isn't fit to be Commander and Chief.

    June 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. SickandTired

    Everything Wesley Clark said is true. Why is this such a big problem? McCain was a war hero and I respect that, but when people start saying what he actually did in the military other than being a POW, why does the truth hurt? This campaign is a tit for tat waste of time. Wesley Clark gets slayed for making a true comment and Lieberman gets praised for making stupid comments. What's wrong with this picture?

    June 30, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Stop It

    I hate this, two respectable millitary men talking comparing their service to the country. Enough.

    June 30, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Kurt

    Wesley Clark has finally said what has needed to be said for a long time, and what many of us have thought for a long time. But no, McCain's military experience must trump all and ordain him for the White House. It is an absurd expectation for anyone, and an absurd expectation for John McCain. And when you criticize McCain on any one of his embarrasing attempts at policy, no matter which one, you always face the torture card. My hat's off to Wesley Clark...

    June 30, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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