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Gen. Clark a Big Fundraiser, Small Donor

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark may not have helped his case to be Barack Obama's vice presidential pick with his comments Sunday that he doesn't think John McCain's "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."

But even if that comment, which McCain's campaign quickly pounced on, didn't aid Clark's cause, what else has Clark been doing in the political arena that might bolster his resume?

Clark, whose 2004 presidential campaign managed one victory (Oklahoma), has spent at least some of his time since that aborted bid as an active fundraiser. He hasn't, however, been a particularly active donor to fellow Democrats.

So far this election cycle, Clark's political action committee, WESPAC, has raised a total of $595,000 and spent $607,000. But he's only made $11,500 in political contributions to Democratic candidates and causes -- a combined $6,500 to the state Democratic parties of Arkansas and Alabama, and $5,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.

Clark has spent the remainder of his cash on various "administrative" expenses, and for political consultants, travel, staff salaries and the like, according to a breakdown by CQ MoneyLine. Overall, Clark has donated just 2 percent of what he's spent since the start of 2007. Clark made a similar percentage of contributions in the 2006 cycle, when he raised $986,000, spent $1.1 million, and gave $25,000 going to Democratic candidates and causes.

Nearly every current and former presidential candidate runs a PAC, and it's not unusual for those committees to be primarily devoted to funding the candidates' day-to-day political operations rather than to helping other hopefuls. And Clark has acted as a campaign surrogate and given other non-financial help to Obama and others. But Clark's contribution rates do appear fairly paltry.

By comparison, CQ MoneyLine shows that Clinton's HILLPAC hasn't donated a cent of the $212,000 it's spent this cycle, though she has obviously been focused on her presidential campaign. In the 2006 cycle, HILLPAC donated 17 percent of the $3 million it spent to Democratic candidates and causes. Obama's HOPEFUND has contributed a whopping 52 percent of the $626,000 it has spent this cycle, and 21 percent of the $3.8 million it spent in the 2006 cycle.

Ex-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has actually been less generous than Clark. Edwards's One America Committee hasn't donated a cent of the $195,000 it had spent through March 31 of this year, nor did it contribute any of the $2.7 million it spent in the 2006 cycle.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 30, 2008; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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As a Vietnam vet myself I can echo Gen. Clark's assessment regarding Sen. McCain's use of his military experience as a qualifier for executive service. Punching out of a jet over hostile territory and being captured, while lamentable, is no preparation for the deluge of decisions that cross the president's desk on a daily basis. Certainly, the languid pace of the Senate offers no comparable training.

Since the McCain campaign's response did not refute the assertions, but rather attacked the candidate for his surrogate's qualified remarks, one can assume that Sen. McCain does not dispute the accuracy of Gen. Clark's remarks.

We should instead focus on which candidate possesses the mental acuity and discipline to work through the problems that ultimately reach his desk.

Posted by: Carlos_in_Tx | June 30, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Gen. Clark's wording was wrong in that regard, in that he really didn't spell out what he was saying.

But then again, it's not like he's supporting a candidate with any executive experience either. An officer is a leader, a lawyer, is a lawyer.

And Sen. McCain's efforts during the Clinton administration help lead Gen Clark to prominence in the NATO Kosovo conflict. McCain (along with others) helped bring NATO into the solution.

Posted by: Skirting issues | June 30, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Senator McCain's service to this country is as honorable as Senator Kerry's service to his country.

I'm surprised, however, that many of the Republicans who could dish these low attacks can't take it. The hypocrisy on the right simply amazes me.

Posted by: RCE | June 30, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:


False Flags for Denver DNC?

Judith Young
Pacific FP
Monday, June 30, 2008

On June 24, 2008 on the Alex Jones Show, a nationally syndicated news/talk program that also has a huge Internet audience, retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern discussed the potential for a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran before the Bush Administration leaves office next year.

Former morning briefer for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., McGovern noted that Iran is carefully avoiding any actions that could be interpreted as provocations for an attack: hence justification for an attack would require a pretext manufactured by the Administration and/or the Israelis.

In an editorial published by on June 20, McGovern had brought our attention to a little-noticed statement by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about a June 4 White House meeting with President George W. Bush:

* "We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House."1

(Article continues below)

McGovern concluded that a perfect storm seems to be gathering in late summer or early fall, when the Bush Administration and allies in Israel will launch attacks against Iran.

There is reason to hypothesize that the requisite staged provocation for an attack on Iran has already been planned and is scheduled to take place in Denver at the time of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in late August.

For the rest please go to:

Posted by: che | June 30, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

hoo boy, you mcbase boys and girls sure took those rnc talking points and ran with 'em today. and the taken out of context comments so nicely coordinated, too.

gonna be a long summer of lies and distortions from the zig zag express' minions.

Posted by: linda | June 30, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No doubt that Generals talk that way when they talk to each other. Anyone who did not make General Officer ought to watch out.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | June 30, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

From a reader of TPM:

I could not have said it better --

"Continues to boggle my mind what a difference 4 years can make to the conservatives.

1996: Bob Dole is a war hero! Clinton is a draft dodger! WORSHIP THE WAR HERO!

2000: Forget the war! Ignore the potential Vietnam-era AWOL-ness of our candidate, and his complete lack of foreign policy knowledge! He's got integrity!

2004: So what your candidate actually fought and was injured in the same war during which our candidate was so very much NOT AWOL! We mock his service and question the legitimacy of his injuries! Have a purple band-aid to wear at our convention!

2008: Only a certified war hero can lead this country! WORSHIP THE WAR HERO!"

Posted by: Rev. SKG | June 30, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

So please remember that General Wesley Clark is still bitter over being sacked as
Commander of NATO and his failure to be
named to the US Joint Chief's of Staff,and
bitter because he didn't beat out old liar
Swift Boat John Kerry for the Democratic
Presidential Nomination in 2004 as well.
So I take anything coming out of Clark's
big mouth with a grain of salt and I hope
you voters do too,as Clark is a Shill for
Barack Hussein Obama and was nothing but
an armchair quarterback rear echelon general not a combat unit commander like
John McCain. Nice Try Obama and Clark but
it backfired on both of you, NOBAMA!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | June 30, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Cannot any of your Presidents / Potential Presidents fly? I believe George Bush Snr. hit the silk, are you not better picking someone who actually did something positive with a joystick in their hands?

Unlike you in the States we are not obsessed with war and military achievemnets when we choose our ruling politicians. Political ability takes a front seat and looking over your last 8 years it took a back seat! The quicker you get away from war orientated politics the better and rebuild your countries image shattered by your folly in Iraq.

Posted by: RR - UK | July 1, 2008 2:08 AM | Report abuse

RR- While it is certainly your choice in England to select leaders who chose not to serve the country in the military, it doesn't exonerate you from your actions. Britain was a staunch supporter of the US war in Iraq, contributed resources and troops, and ultimately deserves responsibility for the ensuing casualties. Yet, you seem to overlook that fact as you lash out at the States. As is typical of the English, hypocrisy abounds.

Posted by: Opal - India | July 1, 2008 2:46 AM | Report abuse

"Britain was a staunch supporter of the US war in Iraq" - hardly staunch - the public was aginst it - the Government was cajoled into it by the US - it was wrong and done only for Oil / Halliburton.

The US led intervention found no WMD which was the pretext for the war but the US knew this. It said that Al Queda operated from Iraq but this did not happen until after the invasion and more Iraqi civilians have been killed or injured as a result of the invasion than would have been if Saddam remained in power.

Why are the US not in Zimbabwe overthrowing Mugabe - NO OIL

Posted by: RR- UK | July 1, 2008 2:59 AM | Report abuse

So are all of you aware that because of his
unstable temper while a NATO Commander this
same General Wesley Clark was very much
totally disliked by other NATO Leaders?
So I think General Clark will be thrown
under Bus Driver Barack Hussein Obama Bus
very very soon and that will end the big
mouth of Obama's "Disposable General" as
well. Looks like Clark will never be the
next Sec of Defense for Obama now! NOBAMA!

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | July 1, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I cannot understand how anyone can take Wesley Clark seriously after his egregious error as NATO cdr in June 1999 when he vaingloriously ordered the British to mount an assault against the Russians who were headed toward the airfield in Pristina. Cooler heads prevailed and the Brit Commander told him he wasn't going to start WWIII for him just to keep the Russians off an airfield. Clark battled Sec of Defense Cohen and his command because his ego was more than he could contain. Clark was forced to retire. Generals Shelton and Schwarzkopf have been quoted as saying that Clark has an integrity and character problem. Having served two tours in the US Army in Vietnam, I would have to ask Clark why McCain's military service does not adequately prepare him for the Presidency, while Obama - who has no military experience whatsoever - is actually more prepared.

Posted by: Sigma2010 | July 1, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Just as no one should question the patriotism of a person w/ McCain's service, it is difficult to question the patriotism of a man w/ Obama's credentials who turned his life to public service.
He & McCain are both fundamentally decent men. I do not hold them responsible for foolish remarks of supporters.
OTOH, Clark was (is) mindlessly devoted Clintonite. She still has her website up urging people to "take it to Denver, etc."
I would not rule out that Clark meant to sabotage Obama. He should be very careful of these people.

Posted by: Miri | July 1, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

WOW! No the Great Field Marshall Next
Commander Guy Liar in Chief Messiah Barack
Hussein Obama has unleashed his most totally discredited military advisor,Gen.
Wesley "the weasel" Clark on Sen John McCain with a full truck load of Alexrod
lies and dirty Chicago gutter politics attacks against McCain and Obama has also
already thrown Wesley Clark under the bus
after Clark screwed up and somehow did get
vicious enough while attacking McCain. What
a pathetic pair here Obama and Clark so is
this all part of Barack Hussein Obama's
so-called "Re-Introducting Himself To The
Voters" or just more crazy looney toons
Obama and Axelrod nonsense again? NOBAMA!

Posted by: Sandy 5274 | July 1, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

what will wes clark do now that his political and military careers are over?

Posted by: greg | July 1, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The egotistical Clark should know better than to criticize a war hero such as John McCain. I am not a McCain voter but I certainly respect his service to this country and his survival of the horrid conditions of being a prisoner for more than five years.

Posted by: Karol | July 1, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

is absolutely correct. John McCain sat out the war as a POW. It's been rumored that he actually "gave up" information to his captors in order to get them to stop the torture. While military service is admirable, John McCain did not have any more experience than did John Kerry in'04, yet the right-wing ridiculed Kerry's service record and his purple hearts by wearing purple bandaids at their convention. Where was the outrage over that? Yeah right, there wasn't any.

Posted by: General Clark | July 1, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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