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."

Full story

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

    So ; the truth really hurts; Shay – i agree 100%. Someone's finally on McCain only platform go head to head with him . He flew planes,crashed and was POW while Clark flew plans and commanded entire army battalions..who do u think won this round.

    Thank you for your service General Clark.

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Andrew

    Partial list of medals McCain has won:

    Silver Star Medal,
    Legion of Merit,
    Distinguished Flying Cross,
    Bronze Star Medal
    Purple Heart Medal,
    Meritorious Service Medal,
    Air Medal,
    Navy Commendation Medal,
    Combat Action Ribbon,
    Prisoner of War Medal

    John McCain's Experience:

    23 years in the Navy.
    6 years being tortured in Hanoi
    6 years in the House of Representatives.
    22 years in the US Senate.

    Wesley Clark ought to be ashamed of himself.

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Tim

    Why should he condemn him for questioning his experience to be president, when that has been the tactic of the entire McCain camp?

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Veteran in Kansas

    Actually, General Clark's comments are hold by many of us that have served in the military. John McCain is a war hero, but being a jet pilot, getting shot down and becoming a POW does not qualify one as Commander in Chief, nor does being an elected official or the Chairman of a Committee in Congress. What qualifies an individual to be Commander in Chief is the ability to listen to your senior military and State Department personnel, digest the information given to you and make a decision based upon that information when asked to do so. Commander in Chief is not the General of the Armies, they are a civilian with control of the Armed Forces. When problems do occur as they so often do, is when Commanders in Chief start believing that they rather than the Generals are running military operations.

    For those that wish to attack General Clark I will remind you that he was one of the few Flag Officiers that actually told the administration that they were off base and stood by his beliefs. Had more Flag Grade Officiers taken the stance that General Clark did, we would not be in the mess that we are in today.

    As for Lieberman's comment, sure it may happen, but I will point out that along with the idea that if we were pull out of Iraq, the terrorist would follow the troops home, are little more than scare tactics. I hate to break the news, but the terror groups are quite aware of where we are and if you think they would rather mix it up with armed American troops than with US civilians on the streets of America, you are saddly mistaken. If they could they would, and if they can they will, regardless of the situation in Iraq or Afganistan or who is President.

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. B

    There's nothing remarkable about what Clark said. Getting shot down doesn't in any way qualify McCain to be Pres, or suggest that he'd be a good Pres. McCain has decided to act outraged about the remark, but the feigned outrage comes across as forced and insincere.

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. Concerned, TX

    I think a Commander N Chief should be questioned. I also think mental stability should be looked at ...........often!

    Clark was a General, I think that gives him the right to voice his own opinion. He has to show leadership! McCain wants people to just accept his credentials because of his past life 35 years ago.

    What about now, we need someone to be intelligent enough to get the job done and not be dragging his feet! The job takes someone with that type of energy to fight NOW not THEN. Our country is in a mess.
    I'm sure BUsh is working right now on a new threat/war. That is SAD!

    June 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Abby

    You know what’s sad? Black’s comments and Lieberman’s comments! A legitimate discussion on what qualifies one to run a country is not sad!

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. MIKE

    MCCAIN please please please please quit!!!! tell Libermen to stop with the fear with terror attack you guys are trashbags your camp will do anything to gain votes . Obama 08!!!!!!!!

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Danel

    Now mcCain's campaign was asking Obama to condemn Clark's comments. How come NO ONE ask McCain to condemn Lieberman's comments and Black's comments? Why is Black still in his campaign leadership.

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. lil

    Mccain didnt call it sad when they swift boated Sen Kerry.
    Oh I forgot you cant say anything negative about flip flop mccain.

    June 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Mark

    What is sad about the comment?

    It was respectful to McCain being a hero and well reasoned.

    The McCain people are just AFRAID that the last strength of their candidate might not be worth much.

    June 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Really I Mean Really

    When both sides decide to talk about the issues then all of the crying will stop until then grow a set and man up.

    June 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Michael G- Ventura ca

    Way to go General Clark! The truth is told and we go from there.
    John McCain is not qualified for the Oval Office for a NUMBER of reasons..... this is one that has been over-looked by some.

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Brian for Free Enterprise, not for Socialism

    I call on Barack to do a favor to this country, and take his Socialism and concede the race to Hillary. His tax and spend, and tax some more policies will make us look more like Russia then the US if he is elected.

    He is Dr. No on solutions to the energy crisis.

    He is Dr. Tax when it comes to our paychecks and businesses.

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    Oh, the irony of it all- the people who are denouncing Wesley Clark's comments about John McCain's military experience are the same ones who questioned John Kerry's military experience in the 2004 election.

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. BigAce

    I'm not sure what the fuss is about, Gen. Clarke is correct. Being a soldier does not give you executive experience. Mayors, Governors have more executive experience than Senators. I'm sure John McSame followed orders very well, but as a Captain the the Air Force he did not make any decisions regarding bomb raids or flight missions. While he has more experience about how the military operates, he has no experience as an executive leader.

    BTW, since he is a veteran, why hasn't he done more for vets? Didn't he say that the latest bill for vet benefits were "too generous"?

    WOW! Tell young recruits to be prepared to sacrifice their lives and family for country and you tell them don't ask for anything in return for that ultimate sacrifice.

    Where are all the Flag Pen wearing, Bumper sticker Troop supporters when you really need them?

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Natalie

    I agree w/ Clark...being a prisoner of war is not a qualification of president or commander-in-chief. It happened 40 years ago, and McCain has been honored already. Giving him the job of president when his policies are horrendous, his war-mongering attitudes continue, and his temper is off the charts is absolutely ridiculous! Down w/ McCain, Liberman, and the GOP!!!!

    Obama/Clinton '08

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. independent chris

    Who cares about what four star generals say, what do they know! Doh!

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. GARY

    oh so clark thinks obama is qualified to be commander in chief obama will put his buddy william aryres as secretary of defence if cl;ark is suggesting obama is more military qualified than mccain then clark is delusional not to mention an idiot

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. JMark Indiana

    Go on Gen Clark!!!!!!!!!. McCain is not the only prisoner of war, there are thousands of those whose limbs, hands, eyes have gone for ever in the course of defending this nation. Therefore Mr. McCain does not qualify more than them. Plse Mr McCain and those of you who are drawing sward and reading to Kill Gen Clark, please tell me how your candiate is going to revive this sluggish economy and he'll get my vote.....period

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Dennis

    I too admire McCain for his military service. I don't question it to the extent that he served his company, and endured incredible suffering in the process. However, the McCain campaign's stance seems to be that nobody has any right to question his fitness to be Commander-in-Chief, and that his experience as a POW qualifies him. I'm not sure that follows. He served in the military, and that gives him an advantage over Senator Obama, but it doesn't necessarily mean he is more qualified. The McCain campaign is hiding behind the statement as if it were a grossly unfair attack, which it isn't.

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Independent in DC

    NEWSFLASH: Clark is correct. Serving in the military and being a POW, no matter how herioc, DOES NOT qualify you to be president.

    What's so hard to understand about that?

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. SUE


    June 30, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. McShame needs to stop

    What's sad about the truth!!! Its just sad when it true and you haven't come up with a "lie" to discredit it. Give it up....the American people are aware of the truth and this time we are embracing it. We don't need another Bush in disguise....so McCain go and retire somewhere!!!

    June 30, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Spider

    S. Shay-

    If there are any Vietnam vets out there that can discount McCain's military service ( ala Kerry's swiftboating), the Democrats will find them and Obama will gladly use them against him. However, at this point, the Democrats are saying McCain's service does not qualify him as CIC. I guess it doesn't, but you're right, Obama doesn;t tout his military service. HE DOESN'T HAVE ANY. He can't tout his congressional record. HE DOESN'T HAVE ONE. He can't tout his political experience. HE DOESN'T HAVE ANY. The only thing he can tout is his desire to change. Can't even tout his plan to accomplish the change HE DOESN'T HAVE A PLAN.
    We are in for a mess as a nation, folks. Wait and see.

    June 30, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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