Wesley Clark roasts the GOP candidates
November 21st, 2011
08:10 PM ET
9 years ago

Wesley Clark roasts the GOP candidates

(CNN) - Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, seemed to be enjoying his chance to bash the Republican presidential candidates Monday, making fun of their national security views and spotlighting what he says are their flip-floppy stances.

Clark was joined in remarks by former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig and Ret. Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton at the National Press Club on the eve of the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C. It will be the last foreign policy-focused debate before the Iowa caucus in January.

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.

Organized to speak by the Democratic National Committee, the three gushed over President Barack Obama's policies, comparing them to the "all over the map" and "shifting positions" of the Republicans.

In what seemed like a highlight reel of Clark's best jabs, the former supreme allied commander to NATO seemed to single out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the most with his references, but Clark didn't go so far as to call out the presidential hopefuls by name.

"One (candidate) praised President Obama's troop surge and concurred with the idea of later taking combat troops out of Afghanistan while criticizing setting a withdrawal date," Clark said of Romney's stance on Afghanistan. "Then he suggested U.S. troops should stay there. Then he said he'd like to see the troops come home as soon as possible."

Clark, a former military commentator for CNN who made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, also challenged Romney on his Iran position.

"One veteran candidate's position has evolved from needing to consult military lawyers about how to proceed against Iran in 2007 to an eagerness for military action now that gives many of us pause," he said.

In a 2007 debate, when Romney was asked if the president needed congressional permission before launching an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Romney responded by saying as president, "You sit down with your attorneys" to determine whether such authorization is needed, but he said, "Obviously, the president of the United States has to do what's in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat."

Clark's jabs, however, weren't reserved for Romney. He called Newt Gingrich's idea of covert action in Iran "cute."

"Some candidates seem to be rattling the sabres for war with Iran," Clark said. "One candidate was placing heavy emphasis on covert action as though he had just invented the idea and nothing is happening now, which is a little bit cute since the definition of covert action is that it cannot be acknowledged."

Criticism from Republican candidates over the Obama administration setting an Afghanistan withdrawal date was also a point of contention for Clark.

"Does anyone really believe that in complex matters of national security worked over months and years in Afghanistan that these dates can be kept secret between Afghanistan and numerous foreign governments without the Taliban hearing about it?" he said.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Kris Craig

    I've always liked Wesley Clark. Now I remember why.

    November 21, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. Squigman

    Why roast a republican. Vote them out of office, and watch them slow burn.

    November 21, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Oldie in TampaBay

    BRAVO! Calls em like he sees em!

    November 21, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. Ziioon!

    We need more Wesley Clarks to push this country forward than you sir! for your services and thoughtful answers!!

    November 21, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Keep Your Hope and Change

    Clark should have taken a successful military career and styled into a quite civilian retirement rather than spouting off about things he clearly knows nothing about. To argue Obama knows what he's doing is foolish when all Obama is truthfully doing is allowing the strategies and policies from the Bush Administration to continue. Any success during the past 3 years are simply due to Obama knowing enough to stay out of the way of our military.

    November 21, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. w l jones

    That part of the world been unstable for several thousand years whether we stay or leave nothing going to change. What the president is saying it time for you to stand on your own we gave you the tool now time for us to leave..

    November 21, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. Malcolm in St Louis

    yes let's start calling them out. They want balanced budgets and more wars... Syria, Iran .... not going to happen. They are not for real.

    November 21, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If the GOP had a real plan, I think that they would have said it by now. Given that they are still trying to figure out their candidate, it isn't a huge surprise that they have a wide varity of positions.

    November 21, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Gen. Clark still has a good chance at serving as POTUS. The Republicans can't even visualize a better candidate than Wesely Clark for 2016. Just look at the freak show they've presented for this election.

    November 21, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    They would be happy to return the favor.

    November 21, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Texas Doc

    GOP Response: Oh yeah, well pizza is a vegetable!

    November 21, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. phoenix86

    And Wesley Clark is relevant how????

    November 22, 2011 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  13. Mtnmedic

    If here is any man who can lead this country and be an effective CiC, it's Gen. Clark. He's educated, extremely intelligent, insightful, compasionate and very articulate. He's a pragmatist. As a warrior, he knows first hand how terrible war is and that it should never be waged. He knows foreign policy well and has a decent understanding of the economy. However, he's not a career politician and that's what doomed his presidential bid years ago. I hope he runs again next time around.

    November 22, 2011 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  14. Marry

    Thank you, Gen. Wesley Clark, for pointing out the truth about these “Candidates”!
    Can’t wait for 2012 to vote these “pledges” out!

    November 22, 2011 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  15. Namejkane

    Republican jobs program, war with Iran and hiring nine year olds to replace union workers what a bunch of clowns, I predict you lose the election in a ind, and dem, and even some republians in a landslide. Even teabags don't want mom and dad kicked off soc sec, medicade , Medicare and other social programs that they pay taxes for. If you want a crook for pres, vote republian

    November 22, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. tykl

    Gen Wesley Clark was a presidential candidate. What happened? Maybe his ideas aren't as good as he thinks.

    November 22, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |