October 4th, 2009
12:15 PM ET
13 years ago

'I take exception' to McCain's remark, Jones says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/04/art.jones1004.cnn.jpg caption="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. RB

    Wow McCain! Dishing the military so you can politically posture for the cameras? nah! "You Lie!, "you lie!"
    When in the hell will they just do "term limits" on these creeps and outlaw campaign lobbyist completely? Let's see the Republican logic/credibility here. McCain pick Palin as a running mate, Palin turns out to be as dumb as a stump as McCain, Republican Party still backing "dumb as a stump, lying, aduilters, and law breaking movie stars as well as draft evading cowboys. They say, you are what you eat.

    October 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. evman

    Thnak G-d for a stand up, honest guy; Mr. Jones. McCain used to be one of my heroes, he's lost alot of lustre. That's too bad. McCain is the one who plays politics and comes up with non existent reality ideas so he can be re-elected in Arizona. He does this countrty no justice this way.

    October 4, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. ender

    Old MSG, U.S. Army October 4th, 2009 11:11 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."

    Stu's comment is worth repeating.

    The name calling leftist / liberals need to move out of their mommy and daddy's house or campus office and get real jobs. Try a few years in the military and see the real world.
    Yes it IS worth repeating as its very very true. It is ALSO worth repeating that George W Bush did near NOTHING there.

    The age of conquest is OVER. We cannot simply walk in and decimate a nation who doesn't agree with us or we feel is even a mild threat. We CANNOT do that or the rest of the world WILL come after us or any nation that attempts it.

    WAR in this age no longer exists. The only allowable tactic is police action and a show of force. If you were truly military you'd know that.

    And your snide little whine about democrats "getting a job" is nothing more than a foot stomping hissy from a little man. WE work. WE don't have months to run around attacking townhall meetings and following the "tea party convoy". WE aren't screaming "no socialism ..... but don't touch my medicare".

    October 4, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. James, Ho. TX

    Some are "Has Beens"; McCain the P.O.W. is a " Never Was".

    October 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. vic nashville , Tn

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates should request more troops

    Something wrong some where

    October 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. evman

    McCain has alot of nerve, he doesn't even support the troops when they come home, he votes against things that help them (ie. GI Bill for education). He doesn't mind them going to war and getting killed or injured, but G-d forbid he shou9ld support them when they come home. He's got his, so I guess the h*ll with them.

    I guess he doesn't miond so much that many are homeless, living under bridges and in dire need of medical help psychologically, emotionally and physically.

    Republicans are still IRRELEVENT, and the PARTY OF NO, and the PARTY OF NO IDEAS... Too bad, everyone gets hurt by that; Liberal to Conservative.

    October 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Death Panel Sarah

    Paul... I guess you are proof that 'you can't fix stupid'...but stupid lost last November, how can you vote HER out???

    October 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Liberal4Obama

    I have a name for what John McCain has, his condition, its It's called SENILITY and there is no cure for that.

    October 4, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. kenny west

    Asking Generals advice on war is like asking children about candy. They want it. If your asking how to win a battle ask a General, if you want to know if the battle is worth fighting you need more independent thought. I trust President Obama with this, more then a General who's whole career is based on fighting wars. My solution to this problem would be to pull out, if Afghanistan falls we can then fight a proper war aganst another country, we can send in the bombers instead this house to house stuff.

    October 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Joe Terrogano

    To all of the armchair generals,

    1. How long are you willing to stay and how many troops are acceptable losses?

    2. How many billions of dollars (Trillion?) are you willing to spend on this war?

    3. What is your definition of winning? Are you willing to engage in a decade of nation building in a tribal culture and risk failure?

    4. If we escalate this war with a build-up of troops and rising costs, who are you going to blame?

    Before you criticize, answer these questions.

    October 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. NoMcWarSame

    McWar is and will always be an arrogant bitter man who'll say things to get attention and make baseless accusations. I'm glad Mr. Jones stood up to McSame's drivel.

    October 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Kelsey

    In the absence of a policy from the White House, everyone else will make policy. That includes McCrystal and McCain. Obama is weak, inexperienced, and clueless. Others that are not clueless are just trying to help him.

    October 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. u2canfail

    It is just sad to me. As a military Mom, I think only the Mom's should decide military policy. I think if we got the Mom's together on both sides, WAR, would not be the only option.
    Gee guys, your testosterone is in your way.

    October 4, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Patriot


    Where were you during the 8 years of the Bush administration? Government spending soared under Bush, as did the deficit.

    Bush/Cheney and the neo-cons made us LESS SAFE. 9-11 occurred under THEIR WATCH, and they ignored the warnings they received in August of 2001 about Bin-Ladin planning to attack the US.

    Then, they forgot about Bin Laden altogether in Afghanistan and plunged us into a costly war in Iraq, which was based on lies about WMD and Hussein's connections to 9-11.

    As far as czars, Bush had 47 of them. That's right–47.

    Taxes? President Obama has repeatedly said he will not raise taxes n the Middle Class–he wants to take back the reckless tax cuts that Bush gave to the wealthy. (Reckless because you NEVER cut taxes during a time of war–it causes HUGE DEFICITS).

    You need to stop watching Fixed News and listening to blowhard Rush - maybe then you will learn some facts.

    That's right, I forgot–the right-wing extremists don't about the facts–they just spew lies, fear, and division so they can regain power and help the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the rest of us. It's what they do best, and it's why the Repubs are a dying party.

    October 4, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Willie in Atlanta

    It's amazing how keyboard commando's sit in the comfort of their own homes and deploy kids to the meat grinder! I ask you, just like I ask my co-workers, how many of you are pushing your kids of war fighting kids to serve????

    October 4, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Wise Latina

    We should forget about old dinosaurs like Jones and McCain, who are desperately and vainly trying to grasp onto any fading morsel of their old glory days. Out to pasture, fellows. Listen to McChrystal, who has on-the-ground current detailed knowledge (and a recent history of success), and not these cats and their in-fighting for face time.

    Oh, and by the way, Mr. O, you too would be better served by spending more time speaking with your military advisers and generals than trying to stroke your own overinflated ego with failed attempts to get kick-backs for you and your Chicago croonies in Copenhagen, and endless television appearances where you try to look good, but you say nothing of any substance. That may work in campaigning to ACORN, but now its way past due for you to provide some real leadership and real action.

    October 4, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. John in Tampa

    During the election McCain was doing a live TV interview. He did not know a Shia from a Sunni, nor Al Quida from Iranians–Joe Lieberman had to lean in over his shoulder and straighten him out. That happened TWICE. In another interview he spoke of the Iraq-Afghanistan border–which does not exist, because at least 700 miles of Iran lies between them.
    McCain was once an honorable military man, but he has forgotten more than he ever knew. Now aren't you glad he's not the Commander-in-Chief of your children? He'd stay in a place 100 years, but he doesn't know where he is or who he's fighting.

    October 4, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. S Callahan

    It seems like everything is so meshed now...Perhaps famous reporters Bartlett and Steele could give us a perspective on this.....or at least we can surmise insight...any connection of this guy to SAIC? ..that would tell us more.

    October 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. mw

    Good for Jones for speaking up. McCain is moving too far to the hatefilled right.

    October 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. w, ord


    October 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Clint

    Because McCain was a pow he fancies himself an expert on all things military. He's not an expert on anything except marrying rich. People are getting extremely tired of the GOP and their gleeful undermining of America.

    October 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Nancy G

    Thank you Fringe media for putting this clueless man in the WH.

    You will have to answer to the people................................................

    I do belive the people spoke loud and clear last November. Sarah Palin wasn't clueless??? Ret. Gen James Jones, I applaud you for telling it like it is.

    October 4, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Al in Chesapeake

    All you liberals (such as James from Chicago) the only verbage you know is to call a conservative names. Why do you think your Jones is so much smarter than McCain. Maybe he would wanted to change places with Senator McCain when he was in that great Hilton Hotel in N.Vietnam. When will you liberals learn to say something nice about anyone in a different party then yours. Of course some of you even call your own party members names if they don't agree with your ideas.

    October 4, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Mike in Texas

    to Paul? Higher Taxes? Are you a smoker? Otherwise you are wrong.

    Socialism? Elaborate....doubt you can with facts only.

    Deficit? yes but tell me a Repub that hasn't had deficit spending. and spare me the our grandchildren crap. Think about how many things you do that aren't good for society or the environment.

    You sound like the racist, paranoid birther. You and you fringe whackos like Michelle Bachman keep putting yourself in a corner.

    Czar? This a media named term. and if you agree with the term Bush had more Czars than Obama.

    It's people like you that made the Republican party minority. You don't put country first....think about that the next time you go to Wal Mart to buy foreign products in your gas guzzling polluting pick up as you throw your McDonald's wrappers out the window.

    Thank you and have a great day.

    October 4, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Natasha from NJ

    Ignore Mccain and his comments. He's just another politician who remarks for no reason and hopes to be remembered after his defeat for presidency.
    In addition, Mccain should quit deriding the Democrats, since there are other pressing issues that need to be discussed such as the question of whether troops should be withdrawn or increased.
    Lastly, Mccain should just allow Jones to do his job, and help the Democrats lift a nation in the dumps. This is what the American people want. Not blabber-mouth politicians.

    October 4, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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