Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Clark's Comments Play to McCain's Strengths

John McCain's campaign is aggressively pushing back against the idea floated by retired Gen. Wesley Clark that the GOP presidential candidate's military credentials are not as impressive as he claims them to be on the campaign trail.

VIDEO | Retired Gen. Wesley Clark was on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. Watch here. (Video courtesy CBS)

"[McCain] hasn't held executive responsibility," Clark said on "Face the Nation" yesterday. "That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded -- that wasn't a wartime squadron. I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."

After putting out a statement condemning Clark's comments yesterday, McCain's campaign organized a conference call to unveil a truth squad aimed at rebutting false claims about his military record during the campaign.

Orson Swindle, a fellow prisoner of war in Vietnam, led the charge against Clark and, by association, Obama on the call today that also featured Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and a handful of other military veterans.

Swindle condemned Clark's "unworthy comments" and added: "I am pretty disappointed in what he would do and why he would do it."

Warner, who said he had gotten to know Clark relatively well during the 1990s, proclaimed himself "utterly shocked" by the comments. "It is a disrespectful way to attack one of his fellow career military officers."

Asked whether Clark's statement represented a broader attempt by Barack Obama and his surrogates to raise questions about McCain's military record, Swindle pointed out recent comments by Gen. Merrill McPeak to the Washington Times as further evidence of a coordinated campaign. "I have to start believing that maybe it is," said Swindle.

The comments made by Clark and McPeak, while far from politic, seem unlikely -- at least from The Fix's vantage point -- to be part of a coordinated effort to sully McCain's record.

Obama offered a criticism of those sort of tactics during a speech on patriotism (more on that in this space shortly) today. "No one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides," Obama said. "We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform."

That said, the comments made by Obama's surrogates do him little good in a raw political context. Any day John McCain is able to talk about his military service and remind people of the sacrifices he has made for the country is a good day for the Republican candidate.

The issue playing field -- from Iraq to the economy to health care -- is badly tipped in Democrats' favor. McCain, knowing this, is seeking to turn the race into a battle of resumes -- perhaps the only way he can win in the fall.

Clark's comments allow McCain to do just that.

UPDATE, 3:15 pm: Some within the Democratic party -- particularly those favorably inclined to Wes Clark -- are taking significant umbrage with the way in which the story is playing out in the media. "The media driven notion that Gen. Clark somehow attacked Sen. McCain's military service is patently false," said Media Matters spokesman Karl Frisch. "This controversy was created and fueled by a media unwilling to live up to the basic journalistic standard of accuracy and thoroughness."

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 30, 2008; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Freedom's Watch To Run Radio Ads
Next: Analysis: Obama's Blend of Idealism and Realism

Comments

sorry for my jumbled opening. it should have read:

chris: realizing that you can't answer every post here, will you please answer the criticism that you misquoted clarke by failing to quote shieffer's interjection?

Posted by: unbemused | July 5, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

sorry for my jumbled opening; i'll blame the computer. it should have read:
chris, realizing that you can't answer every post here, will you please answer the criticism that you misquoted clarke by failing to quote shieffer's interjection?

Posted by: bemused | July 5, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

sorry for my jumbled opening; i'll blame the computer. it should have read:
chris, realizing that you can't answer every post here, will you please answer the criticism that you misquoted clarke by failing to quote shieffer's interjection?

Posted by: bemused | July 5, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

chris: realizing that you can't answer every post here, will you please answer the criticism that you misquoted clarke by combining about misquoting clarke by failing to quote shieffer's interjection?

a few reasons to respond:
because when objectively judged using the accepted, common rules of english useage AND the stated policies of The Washington Post and most other newspapers with any integrity remaining, the clear conclusion is that you absolutely misquoted clarke -- and to a substantive degree.

your quotation of clarke -- the quote that ends with him saying that he doesn't think getting shot down in a fighter-plane is a qualification to be president -- is a factual innacuracy that unquestionably misrepresented the tone, context and FACTS of reality.

look at what really happened: clarke is explaining that mccain is to be honored and thanked for his allegiance to his country but that his military record does not include any experience dealing with diplomats and dictators. THEN, shieffer interrupts that mccain DID get shot down in a fighter plane. THEN, clarke answers -- shieffer's comments using shieffer's own words.

your quote, however, has clarke speaking with no interruption. it's open-quote, then clarke going off on mccain, then closed-quote. now, a reporter MIGHT be legitimately excused for the minor tidying-up of a quote (when the purpose is clarity).

but not acknowledging schieffer's interjection was not a matter of helping the reader understand but succeeded only in creating a fictious scene in the minds of readers. this story quotes clarke quoting the interviewer -- but never telling the reader where clarke's words originated. the tactic is common among political pack-hacks.
reporter: leading democrat, do you believe john mccain could be a good president based on his experience beging captured and tortured by enemies of our country?
leading democrat: I don't know that mccain would be a good president based on his experience being captured...
REPORT: democrats question mccain's ability to be good president based on his ability to withstand being captured and tortured by u.s. enemies!
PACK REPORTS: Democrats scorched for questioning suffering of Mccain as pow!!!

recognize it?

chris, your duty to explain your misquote here is no less important than your paper correcting its honest mistakes. how is it that "smythe" spelled "smith" is important enough to be corrected but that a demonstrable misquote (see the video tape) concerning the election of the president is not?

Posted by: unbemused | July 5, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"no name" you write:

"Obama and his supporters will try to distroy anything that is good about America...for the self seeking urge to gain power...slowly they will be exposed for what they are."

1) There is not all that much good about America any more, after so many years of criminality and ineptitude in Washington, with Bush and Cheney being the icing on the cake gone bad. Our democracy is a farce, our fighting for freedom has been mocked and now exposed for what it is, and that has little to do with freedom for other peoples. I love the US but we are no longer an example to the rest of the world. We are going downhill.

2) I don't understand the rest of your gibberish. Don't you have something to say that is less ambiguous and actually makes a point?

3) We all frequently make spelling mistakes when writing here, but they are usually attributable to keys being close to or adjacent to one another on the keyboard. This is not the case with "e" and "i". You should have written dEstroy, and not dIstroy.

I assume you could be one of those unfortunate, manipulated souls who have ended up doing military service to "better" your life. Use the opportunity to get a basic education. I am not at all trying to be mean or insensitive.

4) I will re-write your silly polemic in a way it would at least ring true:

"America, albeit with dwindling supporters around the world (yes, there are actually less dictators today willing to dance to our tune) will try to destroy anything that is good about democracy and equality in the world...for the self-seeking urge to gain power...slowly it will be exposed for what it is."


Posted by: Ronn | July 4, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Obama and his supporters will try to distroy anything that is good about America...for the self seeking urge to gain power...slowly they will be exposed for what they are.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Back to the military here is a copy and paste from a BBC article about the attitude toward confrontation with Iran. Note Mike Mullen is currently our top ranking military officer. I for one admire military people capable of looking beyond the choice of using "might" instead of diplomacy. Had we had this type of thinking we could possibly have avoided the catastrophic situations Afghanistan and Iraq, at least; we could have tried.

...He said: "I believe [Iran is] still on a path to get nuclear weapons and I think that's something that needs to be deterred."


Iranian leaders say their nuclear intentions are peaceful
He added: "My position with regard to the Iranian regime hasn't changed. They remain a destabilising factor in the region.
"But I'm convinced that the solution still lies in using other elements of national power to change Iranian behaviour, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure."
He called for dialogue between the US and Tehran.


It does not mean you are a wimp because you prefer diplomacy and saving lives to brute force. On the contrary, considering the pressure from above and the from the collective military mindset remaining level-headed and speaking up for diplomacy takes more strength than ever.

Posted by: Ronn | July 2, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Stone, don't be so hard on Chris & the media. He has a job and his boss is one of the wealthy. He has to produce what is expected of him so he himself can continue paying the bills.

Some media does get less stuck though, but the limits within which honest reporting is possible is very restricted. And the few that usually dare to write facts are ignored, ridiculed or squashed, according to the needs of those in power. The more people listen to honest journalists the more harsh the punishments meted out.

And we are so complacently stuck in our tunnel vision about democracy and freedom and progress we are hardly ready to hear the real truths anyway.

Posted by: Ronn | July 2, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Shame on you Chris Cillizza/Media. Wish Tim was around to discuss this subject.

This is another reason why Americans' hate the media; she could never report the facts.

Stop referring to your self as an Analyst

Defination:

Objective: Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.

Subjective:existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought

Chris, let me know if you and your media friends need a different defination.

Posted by: Stone [Iraq Vet] | July 2, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

No wonder there is a T-shirt

John McCain is not
my drug
of choice

Posted by: Bob Lowe | July 2, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Kevin what makes you think your comment is any more worthy than any other comment, with which I agree or not?

If you come here only to denigrate other people's presence, by your own presence you are self contradictory...in other words; you are a very normal person.

And whether you like it or not, and I admit it is a major problem, our country's voters do not know much about real issues and vote, mostly, according to babble.

Long live the babble, because at least it makes people feel, at this moment in time, they have something to say and someone to listen.....After the elections we will all have learned (once again) it was all futile anyway.


Posted by: Ronn | July 2, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

This time in presidential campaigns is known as the 'silly season'.It is no different now.The notion that General Clark's comments play to Senator McCain's strengths is a stretch.The comments made by General Clark were unnecessary but not untrue.By the time the party conventions occur,this subject will have been proven moot.Get a life,people.

Posted by: kevin | July 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

There are a couple points I would make.
First, I think your opening statement is misleading. Absolutely nothing Clark said -- or anyone else said -- demeaned in any way McCain's military record. What he said was McCain's admirable and exemplary military record did not translate into presidential or command experience. Period.
Second: Please note that so far (besides the Limbaugh crowd and his ilk, who would davage anything non-conservative) the detractors are all military. Please note that the military refuses to criticize its own even when it is proven that they are wrong.

Posted by: Jim Smiley | July 2, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Ossilot, you are absolutely right in what you say. Remember though the press guys work for the bosses, and the bosses live in the same neighborhoods as the McCains and Bushes and send their kids to the same schools.

There is little real free press and. The big players always refer backing the horse that will come back to their stables.

In any case, what is this big deal about military records all the time? Dropping napalm on Viet Namese children and women before being shot down and INVOLUNTARILY being held prisoner doesn't qualify somebody at all. On the contrary, I would prefer to see a lot less "brass" in Washington.

BTW I lived through the VN war, My brother went, and he went twice. The second time he volunteered. My father went and returning home, the first thing he said was "no way you are going over there..." Both were career military men. My father for the first time ever voted Democrat to try to avoid Bush getting a second term.

Even my brother has said Viet Nam was one of the biggest mistake we ever made. And he has no intention of backing yet more presidential candidates ready to send troops to die for helping the likes of Cheney and Bush fill their pockets.

My father was a high ranking NCO and my brother a full bird colonel. Both men served honorably and as patriots, and both are fed up with the constant lies and indifference with which people like Bush and McCain are willing to see our young die abroad.

The saddest part is, these young men and women are usually bamboozled into believing they are doing it for democracy and freedom when in fact, the only freedom they are fighting for is the freedom of ruthless & wealthy people to exploit other nations.

Posted by: "R" | July 2, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Chris. Get some "guts" and call out McCain and his campaign to provide the American public with his military records!!

Be the first to do something right in reporting BOTH sides of this campaign.

Posted by: ossilot | July 2, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

So, it's okay to trash Obama's patriotism and religion in the media but when anything is said about McCain's military service, it's a no-no? McCain is running BASED on his military service so it is fair game to discuss by anyone. The media, however, does not want to cover the truth anymore - and that includes Chris Cillizza. Everyone is treating McCain with kid gloves just like they did with Bush. Look what that got us. Wesley Clarke is not part of the Obama campaign and should not be named as such. He's allowed to say whatever he wants and he was NOT attacking McCain. For me, I have absolutely no idea if McCain's military record is valid - how would I? All the media does is protect him and trash Obama for things he doesn't even say or do.

Posted by: ossilot | July 2, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I worked in General Clark's chain of command during the Kosovo crisis. He was well respected. He was an effective manager who get Milovich to quit before we had to deploy ground troops.

The other flag officer supporting Senator Obama, General McPeek is also well respected by his peers in the Air Force. He saved millions of taxpayer dollars helping designing a uniform that airmen appreciated but were forced to abandon after he retired because one of Cheney's old business cronies twisted arms.

Senator Obama has done well to consider which retired flag officers are in his corner.

retired Major Kop E. Khatt

Posted by: Kop E. Khatt | July 2, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I worked in General Clark's chain of command during the Kosovo crisis. He was not respected. He was a micromanager who got lucky when Milovich quit before we had to deploy ground troops.
The other flag officer supporting Senator Obama, General McPeek is not well respected by his peers in the Air Force. He spent millions of taxpayer dollars designing a uniform that airmen hated and was soon abandoned after he retired.
Senator Obama would do well to consider which retired flag officers are in his corner.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion anybody trying to gain points by referring to his or her role in the Viet Nam war should be regarded with suspicion.

We don't need any more gung-ho go get 'em at any cost guys at the top of the heap.

I wonder how much napalm McCain managed to drop on women and children before being shot down.....

Oh...what a hero!!!

Posted by: Ronn | July 2, 2008 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I totally agree with you.

I see this could be "the" critical hole that will sink the Obama's Fake Boat. If you try to swiftboat someone without any consistency, then means you are idiot: His Fake Boat will be drifted from now on.

As I said, this Election is 200% Republican Victory.

Posted by: peace4world | July 2, 2008 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I totally agree with you.

I see this could be "the" critical hole that will sink the Obama's Fake Boat. If you try to swiftboat someone without any consistency, then means you are idiot: His Fake Boat will be drifted from now on.

As I said, this Election is 200% Republican Victory.

Posted by: peace4world | July 2, 2008 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I totally agree with you.

I see this could be "the" critical hole that will sink the Obama's Fake Boat. If you try to swiftboat someone without any consistency, then means you are idiot: His Fake Boat will be drifted from now on.

As I said, this Election is 200% Republican Victory.

Posted by: peace4world | July 2, 2008 3:05 AM | Report abuse

whoa....hang on here.

First of all, if McCain can use his service record in favor of his bid for the presidency, then so should anyone be allowed to refer to that same record unfavorably.

Secondly, Wes Clark simply stated being shot down does not make McCain automatic presidential material. Well, that's fact. If anyone os voting for McCain there should be other reasons.

Then there is another point of argument. McCain's having been a prisoner of war is often referred to as some sort of definite indication of his patriotism and worthiness as president.

That is not a valid argument either. I empathize with McCain and what he surely had to endure but, let's face it; it was not McCain's choice to act patriotically and remain a prisoner of war. He had nothing to say in the matter. Consequently it can hardly be seen as a patriotic act on his part.

And in the final analysis, who better to speak out objectively about somebody's military record than another military man, and certainly far higher ranked than McCain ever was.

We can not reject those within, or retired from the military whenever they have something to say that doesn't fit into our preconceived opinion about someone. And that is one of the weaknesses of all political campaign for us, because we tend to avoid looking at and listening to any opinion hat doesn't jive with what we want to believe, and to happen.

Posted by: Ronn | July 2, 2008 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Play to McCain's STRENGTHS?"

Wot, pray tell, would those be?

This country totters on the brink of collapse and anarchy, and YOU talk about McCain's STRENGTHS ?

WHOSE Kool-Aid are YOU drinking?

A Vietnam Veteran.

Posted by: Hub Galliker | July 1, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Words of Wisdom is a liar. Plain and simple. Your double posts are double lies and you know it. You are pathetic. Obama went to a madrassa and did not learn to be Muslim. He went to Catholic school too. His father was a Muslim. In fact Obama throughout most of his adult life followed no religion until he met Reverend Wright and found Jesus and became a Christian.

You are a liar./

Posted by: Maria | July 1, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

to no name who posted this:
"And I recall that not too long ago the Democrats decided that having had four stars in the Army, finishing as valedictorian at West Point, and being a Rhodes scholar did not qualify one to earn the Democratic nomination for the Presidency."

And who might that be???

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

And McCain did not fly fighter planes. He flew A4D Skyhawks - nickname Scooters. And he crashed 5 of them in his short stint at flying. People who graduate 4th from the bottom of their class don't get to fly fighter planes in the Navy. This is no b/s this is the record. Check it out for yourself. It is out there in plain sight. He served his country in the service but it certainly doesn't qualify him to be president and remember he sang like a bird to the enemy and his father and grandfather were both admirals-otherwise he probably never would have gotten into Annapolis in the first place. Let us be open and honest about this please

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

TO Raymond: How typically republican of you. If you don't like the message, shoot the messenger. Have you forgotten how Bush used the same tactic against McCain when he was running in 2000 or what the right did to Tammy Duckworth (double amputee) and what Saxby Chambliss did to Max Cleland. You people are scum, pure and simple scum and the media right along with you

Posted by: Maria | July 1, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed Cilliza is given any space whatsoever or credibility. This is about the stupidest article I have ever read. John McCain has no credibility. The media is giving him credibility where it doesn't exist and as usual distorting the comments made by Clark and kudos to Clark for not backing down to these despicable excuses for human beings called the Repuglican Party and the MSM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

sad fact is that clark is right on target. obama may have not served in nam, but he did not get shot out of the sky after a few missions. mad dog mc cain was no ace. he was an admiral's son. let the truth out about mad dog. stop the press from appointing mad dog mc cain king. remember the savings and loan scandal. mad dog mc cain was knee deep in that pig f---. no more four more.

Posted by: blue111 | July 1, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Bob Schieffer: "...nor has he [Obama] ridden in a fighter plane and been shot down."

Wesley Clark: "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."

You intentionally left out that the remark was not gratuitous, but was offered in reply to a criticism. Your calculated omission chages the context to one of an outright personal attack -- my how salacious for an ambulance-chaser such as yourself.

Mr. Cillizza, this business shows you to be a Goddamned liar.

Posted by: Phil G. | July 1, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

more importantly..americans need to consider the fact that mccain SPENT OVER ONE TENTH OF HIS ADULT LIFE UNDERGOING TORTURE.. and what permanent damage that may have done..

Posted by: w04equals666 | July 1, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I really hadn't thought about it much, since what General Clark said was pretty innocuous opinion. "McCain's military service alone does not qualify him to be commander in chief." Big deal. What now comes out of this, is the over the top response by both the media and the McCain campaign. Maybe there's something there that they do not want people looking into. I put this in the category of "Whatever you do don't look under the sofa!"

How about it MSM? You gonna take a look?

Posted by: fabius | July 1, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

What exactly are McCain's strengths?

Posted by: koko3 | July 1, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

FOR THE LISTENING CHALLENGED:

General Wesley Clark was informing those who never served in the miltary about the chain of command structure in the Armed Services of the United States of America. Senator McCain's position in the miltary was only to carry out the orders of those in his chain of command and to ensure that those under his command knew what was their duties were for a certain operation.

If McCain was serving in the miltary when Clark was Supreme Commander of NATO and was his ship was participating in a NATO exercise, McCain would have had General Clark in his chain of command and McCain would have had to carry out General Clark's orders.

I cannot believe how many people just don't know how to listen.

SHAME ON THOSE WHO QUESTION GENERAL CLARK'S SERVICE AND INTIGRITY. He is the one who saw that an injustice and crimes against humanity was happening in the Balkan's (Kosovo) and he had the strenght of character to take the necessary actions, McCain had never been tested in this way. Has McCain ever had to testify in a war crimes and crimes against humanity trail like Clark did during his run for office, Clark took time off to testify against Slobodan Molosovic (sic).

I dare you to compare McCain's miltary record to Clark's.

Posted by: D. A. REUTER | July 1, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

GaryL1, John McCain did not crash his plane. He was shot down! His courage thru his ordeal is the validation of his character. Being in war is not direct experience to be president, but Obama does not have that battle experience or military service or any other type of relevant experience to be the chief executive and Commander in Chief. He has never run any business and has been in Federal government less than 4 years. Before that he had 7 years in the Illinois Senate. He has had almost no bills he introduced become law in either his state or federal career.

Posted by: Jim | July 1, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

There was nothing what General Clark said was not true. Maybe, he could have chosen a better way of saying it. The press is still enamored with McCain and is not objective. Gee Chris, I didn't see any shocking reactions like this when a McCain surrogate referred to Obama as a tan John Kerry. Does anyone think this not a bit racist?

Posted by: Jeff | July 1, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

McCain brought the Swift-boaters into his camp a week ago. Obama's people announced that they were looking at persons strong on security in the process of vetting VP candidates. Seems to me that this manufactured outrage was a convenient way for the Republicans to get rid of an outstanding VP candidate -- also badly wounded in Vietnam -- whose military credentials far surpass Senator McCain's in terms of leadership, policy, and international expertise. The Columbia Journalism Review was right yesterday in its article: "Attacking" McCain's Military Record
What Wesley Clark Really Said; How the Press Missed It! Apparently Obama did too!

Posted by: Elizabeth | July 1, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

McCain brought the Swift-boaters into his camp a week ago. Obama's people announced that they were looking at persons strong on security in the process of vetting VP candidates. Seems to me that this manufactured outrage was a convenient way for the Republicans to get rid of an outstanding VP candidate -- also badly wounded in Vietnam -- whose military credentials far surpass Senator McCain's in terms of leadership, policy, and international expertise. The Columbia Journalism Review was right yesterday in its article: "Attacking" McCain's Military Record
What Wesley Clark Really Said; How the Press Missed It! Apparently Obama did too!

Posted by: Elizabeth | July 1, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

And I recall that not too long ago the Democrats decided that having had four stars in the Army, finishing as valedictorian at West Point, and being a Rhodes scholar did not qualify one to earn the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Any objective listener to Gen. Clark's interview on Face the Press can easily understand he was not calling McCain's patriotism into dispute. He was simply stating an obvious fact. Getting shot down and spending horrific years in prison is not good experience to being President of the U.S. Of course not!! Running for office, representing people, negotiating with others of different points of view, administering large organizations, balancing interests--all of the above are experiences relevant to the job. It's not denigrating what McCain's life experiences to say that. Fortunately most candidates for public office have not been POWs, and it's a fortunate thing for them too. Let's hope we have fewer and fewer when a sensible person gets into office and stops this insane desire to attack every leader, ethnic group, religious organization, country neo-cons happen to hate this month.

Posted by: maclettie | July 1, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is right. Just because McCain was shot down and imprisoned doesn't imbue him with good judgment to be the commander in chief. Just look at his stupidity regarding Iraq. Questioning the use of imprisonment as an entitlement to commanding is legitimate. Which is NOT to deny that McCain was a supreme patriot who endured a lot for his country. So are the maimed returning from Iraq, and I don't see any of them declaring themselves fit, therefore, to be commander in chief.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is right. Just because McCain was shot down and imprisoned doesn't imbue him with good judgment to be the commander in chief. Just look at his stupidity regarding Iraq. Questioning the use of imprisonment as an entitlement to commanding is legitimate. Which is NOT to deny that McCain was a supreme patriot who endured a lot for his country. So are the maimed returning from Iraq, and I don't see any of them declaring themselves fit, therefore, to be commander in chief.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is right. Just because McCain was shot down and imprisoned doesn't imbue him with good judgment to be the commander in chief. Just look at his stupidity regarding Iraq. Questioning the use of imprisonment as an entitlement to commanding is legitimate. Which is NOT to deny that McCain was a supreme patriot who endured a lot for his country. So are the maimed returning from Iraq, and I don't see any of them declaring themselves fit, therefore, to be commander in chief.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is right. Just because McCain was shot down and imprisoned doesn't imbue him with good judgment to be the commander in chief. Just look at his stupidity regarding Iraq. Questioning the use of imprisonment as an entitlement to commanding is legitimate. Which is NOT to deny that McCain was a supreme patriot who endured a lot for his country. So are the maimed returning from Iraq, and I don't see any of them declaring themselves fit, therefore, to be commander in chief.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The remarks that General Kiss A-- Clark made on national TV are way over the top. As a so called General that got fired because he was not fit to be in command, he might keep his stupid mouth shut. He only got where he is because he was a total Kiss A.
What makes him an authority on anything. It's obvious what he's looking for. He couldn't make it in the last election with his big mouth, so he's trying to demonize McCain to make himself feel good. (Wesley Clark, you are not fit to shine John McCain's shoes.
You might be eating your words when McCain becomes President.

Posted by: Robert Fial | July 1, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"This controversy was created and fueled by a media unwilling to live up to the basic journalistic standard of accuracy and thoroughness."

Posted by: monkees ~ not just for people any more | July 1, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"Worse, however, is their insane idea for dealing with Iran. China and Russia have made is clear that any attack on Iran will invite retribution FROM THEM and might lead to a global conflict"

We can take Iran, Russia and China all at the same time. And McCain -- if elected -- will prove it!!!

Posted by: American Lover | July 1, 2008 12:43 PM | 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 a 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 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Cillizza has no credibility. he offers a doctored quote, does no research on the context of Clark's remarks and basically serves as a McCain shill. Just another lazy media suck-up.

Posted by: Rich | July 1, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If Mccain is elected we will all live to regret he didn't die in that prison camp. If Mccain is elected he will make Bush look like a piker when it comes to throwing away American lives in useless wars. He is no good and we better recognize it now. People need to be told exactly who and what he is.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

A lot of candidates have things in their lives that none of us would ever want to go through. It is like someone who had cancer or a child murdered and trying to use it as something that qualifies them or as a reason they can never be criticized. The fact is "MCCAIN WAS A COMPLETE DISGRACE AS A MILITARY MAN" plain and simple and the record is there to prove it. He graduated 896 out of a class of 899. Was an admitted drunk, confirmed by everybody who knew him. He was a drunk all the way through his academy years and in the Navy. Again confirmed by everyone including friends who knew him. He got by on who his family was, otherwise he would have been thrown out of the naval academy with out a doubt. He was a number one screw up from the moment he entered the academy till he was shot down. He was not to be trusted or depended on by his fellow soldiers and that is the F'n truth. This is all fact, ON THE RECORD for all to see. Yet we are not supposed to be allowed to even talk about it? Is this some kind of F'n joke or what. This guy is running to president of the united states and he is a first class screw up in every part of his life. Hell, he isn't even very smart. What the fu@k is going on here. If you don't want to vote for Obama because he is black just say it. But don't try to pretend John Mccain is in the least qualified to be president because he isn't. Quite the contrary, he is dangerous and one of the biggest threats to our country we have even been presented with. With Bush we just didn't know but with Mccain it is all there for us to see.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Wes Clark's comments on McCain's objective rediness, shows that the Clinton's too are starting the general election.
Clark is their guy and this is how they play hard ball. They know to win the nominee will have to go on the hard offensive and define McCain, who has gotten a free ride from the press.
The Obama campaign needs to take notes, as the McCain camp goes wild and the candidate goes into a hisssy fit, again.

Also its clear Gen. Clare will not retreat on his assessment of McCains mixed record.
General Clarke as an American hero, a Nato leader and superior officer to Capt McCain. He has a clear duty, the power of resume and sucessful military record to tell it for real when it comes to Mr. McCain.
This needs to play out, a bit before the conventions, as it goes to the heart of fitness, rediness and judgement.

Posted by: empireport | July 1, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Chris - I don't understand how you can honestly leave that doctored quote in this story. That is not a contiguous quote, yet you present it as it is. No elipses, even, to at least demonstrate there was content removed and another speaker?

At this point it is rank dishonesty and I am severely disappointed in you. Forget this issue, which like all the rest will go away in a couple days. I am disappointed in you for your lack of journalistic integrity.

Posted by: Nathan | July 1, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

This hullaballoo created by the mainstream media over Clark's reasonable analysis is what is known as the GREAT MEDIA DISCONNECT. The MSM press pack is an echo chamber, reinforcing its prejudices.

It despises Clark because he had the temerity to actually quickly win a war that stopped a genocide in the birthplace to two world wars (without getting any allied soldiers killed) -- at the same time the media was persuing Monicagate and had to dismiss the amazing victory in the Balkans as wag the dog.

They created the McCain "brand" of foreign policy expertise and will ferociously defend it from any logical questioning.

Posted by: purple tiger | July 1, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I'll grant all of the statements about McCain's war record. He was a brave prisoner of war. But does being a prisoner of war qualify you to be President? That's the question Wes Clark raised--not, "Was McCan an honorable man?"

We have a similar problem in our congressinal district--2nd, in Minnesota. We have a strutting peacock called John Kline. Lt.Col. in the Marines. Flew choppers in Viet Nam. Carried the nuclear "football" for Carter and Reagan. All honorable things--but do they qualify Kline to be a congressman? No.

Posted by: Apostle | July 1, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Bush's people said that McCain had an illegitimate black baby, and McCain's been flattering, supporting and emulating him for years. I can't help but remember that when McCain pronounces himself shocked and appalled by Clark pointing out that being a fighter pilot and a POW have nothing to do with being a good president.

Posted by: aleks | July 1, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

I am not a veteran and I don't intend to speak disrespectfully of John McCain's service. But he does seem to have been a real wild-card with very poor judgement. I am very sorry that he underwent that terrible experience in that sad sad war in VietNam. But I don't think bombing Iran will make up for losing in VietNam.

I wince when he uses his 5 1/2 years and broken arms as a defense against any and all criticism. And when he combines that with "bomb Iran" and "never surrender" (to whom?) and "follow him [bin Laden] to the gates of hell," I think, this guy is way too hot. He's going to crash another plane, and this time it's going to be the United States.

General Clark is correct. McCain's particular experience in war doesn't fit him to be President of the United States.

Posted by: GaryL1 | July 1, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

I am so glad people are actually reading the article that misquote's General Clark. As a veteran of 20 years in the military, i dont think i am qualified to be president just because i served and neither should John McCain. Chris I thought you were a better reporter than this but i guess its ok to excuse McCain and the associates of the past. No One said that service was not honorable, so get off McCain's "___" and start reporting the news and not he is a HERO all the time

Posted by: Fred | July 1, 2008 5:43 AM | Report abuse

I heard the whole coments made by General Clark and what these nazi republican propaganda talk show hosts are saying is completely wrong. Hey im impressed and saddend by what Senator McCain went through I know i would never have been able to do it. However i do agree that just because he went through it does not automaticly qualify him to be president.

Posted by: biloxi kid | July 1, 2008 5:12 AM | Report abuse

As a Vietnam veteran of multiple tours including 1,000 hours of combat missions, I, like General Clark, do not fall on my knees and start drooling over McCain's war record. Our mission was to capture and otherwise cause damage to the enemy not the other way around. Mr. McCain blew it and was rewarded with a hero's homecoming. The rest of us poor schmucks did our jobs well and were KIA'd or returned home to be released from service in the dead of night then treated like social pariahs. If a war record is going to be used as a credential for presidential qualifications, at least set the bar at some measure of success. McCain's lack of self discipline and ineptness gives me a strong indication that he was one of the twits that flew with the guard channel turned down because "they were never talking to him." McCain's war record is unimpressive and so inept that even the current holder of the office can slither over that bar to claim mission accomplished.

Posted by: Brokenhand | July 1, 2008 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Its Amazing the lengths the MSM will go to coddle cry baby McCain, not attack is far game. If you point out he cant get his facts straight on Iraq, its ageism, if you ask for specifics on his experience you are attacking his military service. If McCain flip flops the media will argue he should be liked by both sides of the issue.
It is really amazing the way the media is covering this election.
Clearly thees rich spoiled reporter biggest concern is there McCain BBQ invites. If Iraq or the economy mattered to them they wouldn't shill for McCain. this is how the media got us into Iraq,by declaring ant criticism of him unpatriotic. and by defending McCain is how they will get us into Iran. Media McCarthism, accuse Dems who speak out of being unpatriotic.
The media has failed the American people.

Posted by: Julian | July 1, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama was LISTED BY A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AS BEING A MUSLIM


Obama's half brother has publicly stated that Obama is a Muslim.


Obama's own campaign has stated that Obama attended a madrassa, however it was not a "radical madrassa" just a regular madrassa in which they taught the Koran and the kids learned other Muslim things like there are 57 states of Islam.


We simply post the facts.

The case is pretty much closed on Obama's Muslim heritage, which is correct, real and true. If the Obama campaign says anything different, they are either being deceptive or outright lying to you.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama was LISTED BY A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AS BEING A MUSLIM


Obama's half brother has publicly stated that Obama is a Muslim.


Obama's own campaign has stated that Obama attended a madrassa, however it was not a "radical madrassa" just a regular madrassa in which they taught the Koran and the kids learned other Muslim things like there are 57 states of Islam.


We simply post the facts.

The case is pretty much closed on Obama's Muslim heritage, which is correct, real and true. If the Obama campaign says anything different, they are either being deceptive or outright lying to you.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Not taking anything away from McCain, but compared to Wesley Clark he was a nobody in the service. He was a commander in the Navy during his residence at the Hotel Hilton. That compares to being a major or a Lt. Colonel in the army. Wesley Clark was NATO Commander and a Four Star General, who eats Navy Commanders for breakfast. Clark knew how to command, McCain was just learning. Yes, he was promoted to Captain before he retired but still just learning about the BIG decisions.

Posted by: Opa2 | July 1, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

John McCain's grandfather was an Admiral! John McCain's father was an Admiral! John McCain was a POW after admitting making mistakes and getting himself shotdown so all the above MUST make him a Hero!

Posted by: Peewee | June 30, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Personaly I think McCain is running his whole campaign on his war record. If his war record collapses so does he. No reason why we can't question it though.

Posted by: Peewee | June 30, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Read how Hero John McCain got his Medals.
Navy Awarded McCain Medals For Valor Without Required Eyewitnesses

Presidential candidate John McCain is being hailed by the press as a genuine "American war hero" and says he has the medals to prove it.

For 5 ½ years as a POW (three of which he says were spent in solitary confinement), the U.S. Navy awarded McCain a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals.

Former POW McCain claims his experience as a prisoner of the communists better qualifies him to be President of the United States. He has forged that experience along with his military record deeply into his campaign.

But, Navy regulations say two eyewitnesses are required for any award of heroism and McCain has none for the valor awards he received.

Are McCain's Awards Heroism Valid?

The following narrative is what the Navy Said McCain did from October 27, 1967 to December 8, 1967 to earn a Silver Star.

THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
Washington D.C. 20350
The president of the United States takes pleasure in
presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
COMMANDER JOHN S. MCCAIN III
UNITED STATES NAVY

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 27 October to 8 December 1967. His captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.

However, John McCain's actual behavior from October to December 1967 is quite different from the Navy's version of events.

On October 27, 1967, four days after being shot down, McCain called for a North Vietnamese guard. He told the officer, "O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital." -U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain

McCain was taken to Gai Lam military hospital. (U.S. government documents) "Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I [McCain] did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant." Page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers by John McCain

On Nov. 9, 1967, Hanoi press began quoting the seriously injured McCain giving specific military information.

One report dated read, "To a question of the correspondent, McCain answered: 'My assignment to the Oriskany, I told myself, was due to serious losses in pilots, which were sustained by this aircraft carrier (due to its raids on the North Vietnam territory - VNA) and which necessitated replacements.

"'From 10 to 12 pilots were transferred like me from the Forrestal to the Oriskany.

"'Before I was shot down, we had made several sorties. Altogether, I made about 23 flights over North Vietnam.'"

In that report, McCain was quoted describing the number of aircraft in his flight, information about rescue ships, and the order of which his attack was supposed to take place.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Veteran Dispatch acquired a declassified Department of Defense (DOD) transcript of an interview prominent French television reporter Francois Chalais had with McCain.

Chalais told of his private interview with POW McCain in a series titled Life in Hanoi, which was aired in Europe. In the series, Chalais said his meeting with McCain was "a meeting which will leave its mark on my life."

"My meeting with John Sidney McCain was certainly one of those meetings which will affect me most profoundly for the rest of my life. I had asked the North Vietnamese authorities to allow me to personally interrogate an American prisoner. They authorized me to do so.

"When night fell, they took me---without any precautions or mystery--to a hospital near the Gia Lam airport reserved for the military. (passage omitted) The officer who receives me begins: I ask you not to ask any questions of political nature. If this man replies in a way unfavorable to us, they will not hesitate to speak of 'brainwashing' and conclude that we threatened him.

"'This John Sidney McCain is not an ordinary prisoner. His father is none other than Admiral Edmond John McCain, commander in chief of U.S. naval forces in Europe. (passage omitted)'"

". . . Many visitors came to talk to me [John McCain]. Not all of it was for interrogation. Once a famous North Vietnamese writer-an old man with a Ho Chi Minh beard-came to my room, wanting to know all about Ernest Hemingway . . . Others came to find out about life in the United States.

"They figured because my father had such high military rank that I was of the royalty or governing circle . . . One of the men who came to see me, whose picture I recognized later, was Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the hero of Dienbienphu." U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain

December 1967, Vietnamese doctors operate (early December) on McCain's Leg. Later that month, six weeks after he was shot down, McCain was taken from the hospital and delivered to Room No. 11 of "The Plantation" into the hands of two other U.S. POWs, Air Force majors George "Bud" Day and Norris Overly. They helped further nurse him along until he was eventually able to walk by himself. --Faith of My Fathers by John McCain
Read retired Army Col. David Hackworth's opinion of Sen. McCain's medals.

Posted by: Real Vets for vets | June 30, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Wes Clark and the Independents comments here. Sorry, getting shot down and suffering at the hands of your captors is not a qualifier for being President. But as usual
our missing in action know-nothing faux-balanced media allows others to mischaracterize the remarks.
Sounds like 2000 and 2004 coming all over again. So Obama calls it a losing issue. He knows the media too well.

Posted by: steveo | June 30, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr Clark for bringing up McCain's phoney hero war record. A little about McCain that people need to know about....
John Sidney McCain III entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1954. Young McCain wanted to become an admiral. He planned to be the "first son and grandson of four star admirals" to achieve such a distinction. But that was not to be. McCain III possessed none of the innate character and discipline traits that helped mold his father and grandfather into great military leaders.

His father, John S. "Junior" McCain, and grandfather, John S. McCain, Sr., were famous four-star Admirals in the U.S. Navy. His father commanded U.S. forces in Europe before becoming commander of American forces fighting in Vietnam. His grandfather commanded naval aviation at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Both men became highly influential in U.S. Navy operations.

At the Academy, aside being known as a "rowdy, raunchy, underachiever" who resented authority, Midshipman McCain became infamous as a leader among his fellow midshipmen for organizing "off-Yard activities" and hard drinking parties. Robert Timberg wrote in his book, The Nightingale's Song, that "being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck."

McCain's grades were "marginal." He drew so many demerits for breaking curfew and other discipline issues that he graduated fifth from the bottom of the class of 1958. Despite his low "class standing," and no doubt because of the influence of his family of famous Admirals, McCain was leap-frogged ahead of more qualified applicants and granted a coveted slot to be trained as a navy pilot.

Good Party Animal - Bad Pilot:

He spent the next two and a half years as a "naval aviator in training" at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas, flying A-1 Skyraiders.

While a pilot trainee, McCain continued to party hard. He drove a Corvette and dated an exotic dancer named "Marie the Flame of Florida." Timberg wrote that McCain "learned to fly at Pensacola, though his performance was below par, at best good enough to get by. He liked flying, but didn't love it."

McCain Lost Five Military Aircraft

McCain, the "below par" pilot, eventually lost 5 military aircraft, the first during a training flight in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus Christi Bay while trying to land. The Navy ignored the crash and graduated McCain in 1960.

While deployed in the Mediterranean, the hard partying McCain lost a second aircraft. Timberg described the crash: "Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula, he took out some power lines which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral."

Unscathed, McCain returned to Pensacola Station where he was promoted to flight instructor for Naval Air Station Meridian in Mississippi. The airfield at Meridian, McCain Field, was named in honor of McCain's grandfather.

In 1964 McCain became involved with Carol Shepp, a model from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he had met at Annapolis. They were married in Philadelphia on July 3, 1965.

Flight instructor McCain lost a third aircraft while flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game. Timberg wrote that McCain radioed, "I've got a flameout" before ejecting at one thousand feet. McCain parachuted onto a beach moments before his plane slammed into a clump of trees.

The Navy dismissed the crash as "unavoidable" and assigned McCain to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in December 1966, which was patrolling the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In Spring 1967, the Forrestal was assigned to join the Operation Rolling Thunder bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

McCain lost his fourth plane on board the Forrestal on July 29, 1967 when a rocket inadvertently slammed into his bomb laden jet. McCain escaped, but the explosions that followed killed 134 sailors. McCain was transferred from the badly damaged Forrestal to the USS Oriskany. Shortly afterwards, on Oct. 26, 1967, he was shot down and captured by the Vietnamese.

Post-POW Years: Political Ambition and a New, Young, Rich Wife

Upon his release from North Vietnam and return to the United States in 1973, McCain reunited with his wife, Carol, who had been permanently crippled in a car accident while he was a POW.

Still yearning to become an admiral, McCain enrolled in the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. and underwent physical therapy in order to fly again. The Navy excused his permanent disabilities and reinstated him to flight status, effectively positioning him for promotion.

Timberg described McCain's advancement: "in the fall of 1974, McCain was transferred to Jacksonville as the executive officer of Replacement Air Group 174, the long-sought flying billet at last a reality. A few months later, he assumed command of the RAG, which trained pilots and crews for carrier deployments. The assignment was controversial, some calling it favoritism, a sop to the famous son of a famous father and grandfather, since he had not first commanded a squadron, the usual career path."

While Executive Officer and later as Squadron Commander McCain used his authority to arrange frequent flights that allowed him to carouse with subordinates and "engage in extra-marital affairs."

This was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice rules against adultery and fraternization with subordinates. But, as with all his other past behaviors, McCain was never penalized; instead he always got away with his transgressions.

Timberg wrote, "Off duty, usually on routine cross-country flights to Yuma and El Centro, John started carousing and running around with women. To make matters worse, some of the women with whom he was linked by rumor were subordinates . . . At the time the rumors were so widespread that, true or not, they became part of McCain's persona, impossible not to take note of."

In early 1977, Admiral Jim Holloway, Chief of Naval Operations promoted McCain to captain and transferred him from his command position "to Washington as the number-two man in the Navy's Senate liaison office. McCain was promptly given total control of the office. It wasn't long before the "fun loving and irreverent" McCain had turned the liaison office into a "late-afternoon gathering spot where senators and staffers, usually from the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, would drop in for a drink and the chance to unwind."

In 1979, while attending a military reception in Hawaii, McCain met and fell in love with Cindy Lou Hensley, 17 years his junior, who was the daughter of James W. Hensley, a wealthy Anheuser-Busch distributor from Phoenix, Arizona. McCain filed for and obtained an uncontested divorce from his wife in Florida on April 2, 1980 and promptly married Cindy on May 17, 1980.

He resigned from the Navy in 1981 and went to work for his father-in-law in Phoenix; where he used the opportunity to make powerful and wealthy friends in Arizona including banker Charles Keating and Duke Tully, the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Republic. Keating was later convicted of fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy and Tully was disgraced for concocting a phony military record of combat in Korea and Vietnam including medals for heroism.

McCain ran for Arizona's First Congressional District in 1982. McCain won the congressional seat. In 1987 McCain was elected to the Senate.

Posted by: Ex-McCain supporter | June 30, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me Clark was forced out of his position in the Bosnia fiasco (in which our troops are still there) Was he ever wounded? a prisoner of war? Just an empty suit who spins the bs of Obama> Maybe he married well as old General Haig did. Shame on him. Plus, wasn't he ashamed of his heritage and kept it hidden? Sort of like Albright? Hypocrits, both. They had a great heritage and McCain will make sure there will always be an Israel.

Posted by: LH | June 30, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

i guess Wesley Clark and his Democ"rat"ic allies never saw the movie PT Boat 109.

VJ Machiavelli
http://www.vjmachiavelli.blogspot.com

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | June 30, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

"If All McCain has to offer is his resume the American people have a right to ask "What have you done for me lately. McCain should be admired and praised for his service, but his service alone does not necessarily make him capable of handling the broad range of issues that America faces, issues far beyond the Iraq War..."

What has Barack Obama done for ME lately?
What has Barack Obama EVER done of ANY significance? What exactly makes Barack Obama qualified to formulate ANY foreign or domestic policy?

Barack Obama has NOTHING in his resume, including military service to his country. Get a grip.

Posted by: samtree | June 30, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

"If All McCain has to offer is his resume the American people have a right to ask "What have you done for me lately. McCain should be admired and praised for his service, but his service alone does not necessarily make him capable of handling the broad range of issues that America faces, issues far beyond the Iraq War..."

What has Barack Obama done for ME lately?
What has Barack Obama EVER done of ANY significance? What exactly makes Barack Obama qualified to formulate ANY foreign or domestic policy?

Barack Obama has NOTHING in his resume, including military service to his country. Get a grip.

You can't set 1 standard for McCain & think people aren't gonna apply the same standard to Obama.

Side by side, using the same standard, Obama is a quisling. A nobody. A wannabe.
Only fools are fooled into not getting that.

Posted by: samtree | June 30, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

In this election, the media reminds me of sportscasters trying to hang onto the audience in a 20-1 blowout at the top of the 8th. This issue could easily be cleared up by framing Gen. Clark's comment in the form of a question: "Is riding in a fighter jet and being shot down qualify somebody to be president?". I suspect even the sanest of partisans would have to truthfully answer no. This has less to do about presidential qualifications than pundits' paychecks.

Posted by: Casey | June 30, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

General Clark did not question McCain's military service. He merely observed, with justification, flying a plane, being shot down and taken prisoner does not, in itself, enhance a person's ability to be commander-in-chief. This should be patently clear to anyone who uses reason or common sense. Of course, as Al Gore observes in "The Assault on Reason," Republicans in recent years, especially during the Bush-Cheney administration, have essentially declared war on reason.

Thousands of pilots flying in a morally justified war, World War II, were shot down and taken prisoner. These men were truly brave, patriotic and had distinguished military records. But does such an experience make a person more qualified to be commander in chief?

I think this was all General Clark was saying. Barack should not have repudiated his comments and doing so shows he is becoming increasingly at odds with the ostensible progressive credentials, based on reason, he offered as a candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: Independent | June 30, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

While everyone wants to dissect McCain's time as a POW, it is the time AFTER his repatriation that ought to be considered to discern qualifications the make him fit to be president. No held no major commands, never got into the command at sea career line, and, since he was mostly shore assignments, it should be noted that he also didn't do much that required administrative capability. His command of a training squadron was apparently a leadership success, but doesn't demonstrate the first point of admin or logistics. His main function prior to retiring was as a congressional liaison, where he took part in yet another act of insubordination by the independent navy times in helping procure a carrier that Carter didn't want and believed we didn't need. Given that Carter WAS a command at sea officer, with a background in Engineering, and significant experience in maintaining a navy, it would seem he was the better qualified to make that decision. (It is pages of boring stuff to lay out the pros and cons of buying Theodore Roosevelt, the only carrier ordered in Carter's term)

One set of characteristics from his POW days, possibly reinforced their, do pertain to a president: He is stubborn, head strong, uncompromising and as self confident as the Decider himself. THOSE PROVEN CHARACTERISTICS we most certainly don't need.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | June 30, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Ahh Chris doing what you do best, repeating conventional wisdom.

Posted by: Julian | June 30, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Look at it this way. If McCain were a physician, say a neurologist and I was considering him for some medical procedure that required him to performed some delicate, skilled procedure on myself or a loved one. And if I became aware up on his academic record and discovered he graduated at the bottom of his class at Annapolis, than without even checking his medical school records- I would reject him, even if he had received ok grades at a mediocre medical school because I would assume that if he got into such a school it would have been because of - his family connections.
Same thing if he were a lawyer or an Architect in each case I would reject him. And If I had been told he had been a war hero, and spent 7 years as a prisoner of war- I would have admired him for courage, but still would still reject him as a skilled practitioner.
I have trouble seeing how some one who would have insufficient aptitude to be a Doctor, Lawyer or architect, would have sufficient aptitude to president of the most complicated, and powerful country in the history of the world.
Come on folks we just had one of these (still do!)
L.L.

Posted by: luxlumina | June 30, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Demeaning a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation Medals, two Purple Hearts, and 23 combat missions only much makes the attackers as low as the Swift Boaters who took out John Kerry, and is the ultimate insult to every decorated combat veteran. Nothing like a bunch of ingrates pissing on somebody who has bled for them.

Posted by: Bill Fidurski | June 30, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Well. The update got it right. Another case of the Obama campaign apologizing much too quickly for someone making an accurate statement. If McCain thinks that was an attack on his reputation, he better get tough quick.

Posted by: Oakstroke | June 30, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Clark is a pansy, but he's got a point. Shame on the media and CC for portraying this as an attack on McCain's service. All he did was question McCain's exploitation of his service in his run for the president. Frankly, his service has nothing to do with being a good president.

When the Republicans attacked Kerry in a highly orchestrated attack on his war record, the media happily repeated the attacks and publicly asked whether the libel was true. Now, when Democrats raise legitimate issues about how McCain portrays his service, the media sides again with Republicans.

Shameful...

Posted by: freeDom | June 30, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

General Wesley Clark's blunt assessment of how John McCain's military service enhanced his presidential qualifications provides some much needed perspective to counter the assumptions that we presented with every day.

The only people who are 'shocked' by these the General's comments are politicians and media personalities that are too busy exchanging common assumptions and ideas to spend very much time thinking for themselves.

John McCain flew 23 combat missions (an estimated 20-25 hours over enemy territory). The U.S. Navy awarded McCain III, the son of an admiral, a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals.

On John McCain's 23rd mission over North Vietnam his plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. McCain ejected from the plane breaking both arms and a leg in the process and subsequently parachuted into Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi. After being pulled from the lake by the North Vietnamese, McCain was bayoneted in his left foot and shoulder and struck by a rifle butt. He was then transported to the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton.

On McCain's fourth day of being denied medical treatment, slapped, and threatened with death by his captors. They were demanding military information in exchange for medical treatment. McCain broke and told his interrogator,"O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.", as reported by McCain in the U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article that he authored.

It was then that the communist learned that McCain III's father was Admiral John S. McCain, the soon-to-be commander of all U.S. Forces in the Pacific. The Vietnamese rushed McCain III to Gai Lam military hospital (U.S. government documents), a medical facility normally off-limits to U.S. POW. By Nov. 9, 1967 (U.S. government documents) Hanoi press was quoting McCain III describing his mission including the number of aircraft in his flight, information about rescue ships, and the order of which U.S. attacks would take place. While in still in North Vietnam's military hospital, McCain III gave an interview to prominent French television reporter Francois Chalais for a series titled Life in Hanoi. Chalais' interview with McCain III was aired in Europe. Vietnamese doctors operated on McCain's leg in early December, 1967. Six weeks after he was shot down, McCain was taken from the hospital and delivered to a U.S. POW camp, In May of 1968, McCain III allowed himself to be interviewed by two North Vietnamese generals at separate times.", as reported in May 14, 1973 by former POW John McCain.

On June 5, 1969, the New York Daily News reported in a article headlined "Reds Say POW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral, " . . . Hanoi has aired a broadcast in which the pilot son of United States Commander in the Pacific, Adm. John McCain, purportedly admits to having bombed civilian targets in North Vietnam and praises medical treatment he has received since being taken prisoner . . ."

In 1970, McCain III agreed to an interview with Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist who was living in Cuba at the time. The meeting between Barral and McCain III (which was photographed by the Vietnamese) took place away from the prison at the office of the Committee for Foreign Cultural Relations in Hanoi (declassified government document). During the meeting, POW McCain sipped coffee and ate oranges and cakes with the Cuban.

While talking with Barral, McCain III further seriously violated the military Code of Conduct by failing to evade answering questions "to the utmost of his ability" when he, according government documents, helped Barral by answering questions in Spanish, a language McCain had learned in school. The interview was published in the in January 1970.

Many other captured soldiers and airmen preferred death to providing less aid to the enemy than John McCain. His collaboration can be understood, but not excused, as the reaction of a privileged young man to very harsh treatment, who owed his captors his life.

Did he come through his trials of war and imprisonment with values fortified and ready to make the right decisions for America?

Many of us with a bit of a memory, remember how John McCain acquitted himself when the Savings and Load scandal put his friends and family at risk. Did he do the right thing for all Americans or his best to protect himself?

So, don't judge General Wesley Clark too harshly. He is thinking for himself. His friends in the Obama campaign should not mindlessly reject General Clark's opinions. General Clark is not Rev. Wright. Obama must understand and accept a diversity of opinions from well-meaning, supportive, experienced public servants.

Posted by: J Lambert | June 30, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

All you had to do was include what Wesley Clark said about McCain's service on Face the Nation:
http://securingamerica.com/node/2993
"I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war."

McCain wasn't sullying McCain's service record, but he WAS pointing out the obvious. Being a POW is not an automatic pass to being elected President. If it were, we might as well elect Orson Swindle or any of the other POWs. There are many people I admire, but that doesn't mean I want them to be President. How about you?

Posted by: Tom J | June 30, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

There is no "strength" in McCain's military record. Read page 188 of his autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers."

His incompetence led him to lose his jet, by his own admission. He is a failed warrior, as was his father and grandfather before him.

Clark popped the balloon. McCain, married to the Mob, has neither grace, dignity, nor honor.

Posted by: Will Jones | June 30, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Clark is right. Being a lousy pilot is not a prerequisite for President.

Only a military person could say that. I don't think I'm some hero or Qualify to be President just because I make it back from Baghdad.

The simple task of flying a plane, McCain couldn't even do that without getting shut down.

Posted by: Stone {Iraq Vet} | June 30, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

make that UNTRUE in my previous post

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"What exactly, did General Clark say, that isn't true?"

Perhaps he didn't say anything true, but who is he arguing with?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Hear, Hear General Clark!

Five years in a POW camp is tough but of, and in itself, it is not a free ticket to the presidency. Supporters of McShame do him no service when they claim that is why the Old Fart ought to be our President.

As for Wesley Clark, I think its a trail balloon. Can he stand the headwind that his comments have generated? If so he proves himself worthy of being a Veep. A candidate for Veep needs to be the "bad cop" to the "good cop" of the ticket's Presidential candidate.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | June 30, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"And yet you Obama supporters excoriated President Clinton and ridiculed him as being a racist for stating the "obvious" when he merely mentioned the historical fact that Jesse Jackson won the South Carolina Primary twice.

The concepts of irony and hypocrisy are foreign to the cult, aren't they?"

What is your point?
That Clark is a racist too? That Clark is anti-military? That Clark was wrong for "denigrating" McCain's military service?

Perhaps you need familiarize yourself with the concept of "analogy", because there is scant similarity between the statements of Clinton and Clark (who was, "ironically", an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton).

Clinton was obviously attempting to minimize Obama's SC victory by bringing up Jesse Jackson. Sure, it was true, but why did Clinton consider Jackson's win significant in terms of the 2008 campaign? If Clinton was simply into quoting history as a way of minimizing Obama's victories, why didn't he compare Obama's Iowa victory to that of Edmund Muskie or Dick Gephardt, two Iowa primary winners who ultimately (like Jackson) went on to lose the nomination? By bringing up the only other black candidate in history to win a presidential primary, Clinton quite clearly was trying to imply that the only reason Obama won South Carolina was because of the large black vote there.

In contrast to Clinton's quote, Clark was asked specifically to comment about the fact that Obama was NOT a war hero fighter pilot who was shot down and kept as a prisoner of war. Quite correctly, Clark stated that none of those facts, while admirable, are relevant to a candidate's ability to run the country. Add to it the fact that McCain himself primarily stakes his claim to the presidency on his status as a war hero, and regularly speaks about how his experience as a POW give him hightened qualifications in matters of war, then you understand why Clark made the statements he did.

Speaking of hypocrisy, it is the height of gall and hypocrisy for Republicans, and especially McCain, to complain about attacks on military service while they (including and especially McCain) sat idly by while John Kerry's volunteer service in Vietnam was attacked solely for political gain.

Republicans have short memories, but fair minded Americans don't. If it was okay to attack Kerry's military service, it is okay to attack McCain's. Plain and simple. Fair is fair.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Of course Obama wants to put an end to Patriotism as an issue, because Obama is the one who's patriotism is in question! He conveniently condems questioning patiotism, but where was he when his hatchet men came up with General Betray Us??? Also, why isn't Iraq, or Afganistan on Obama's upcoming itinery? Obama knows he can't compete with McCain on the issue of patriotism, so he's trying to make it a non issue. Obama has no experience, except to listen to God Damn America for 20 years!

Posted by: Howard | June 30, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

[Dr M.H. Littlejohn] is a second-rate [Dr] and a fourth rate political pundit. Why would anyone give credence to his comments on military or political matters? His accomplishments in both camps are non-existent, and his career is long-gone. He should go home, keep his mouth shut, and like a good [Dr] just fade away. No one wants to hear what he has to say.

Posted by: Eric Yendall | June 30, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Any day John McCain is able to talk about his military service and remind people of the sacrifices he has made for the country is a good day for the Republican candidate."

See the sacrifice is the thing here, not how little executive experience McCain has or his bad luck getting shot down and holed up almost 6 years as a Vietnamese prisoner. Six years that must of aged him more than others that didn't get captured and imprisoned.

Folks elected Bob Dole as Senator for his big sacrifice in WW II. Millions thought he ought to of been rewarded by being elected President. But even those that voted for someone else (Clinton) for President must of applauded Dole's sacrifice. Its just that some only thought he was entitled to be Senator and not President.

Posted by: old white vet | June 30, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

To Earl C:

Who's bent out of shape? I think it's hilairous. Tell me that you can watch that clip where Obama pauses for a moment as he ponders "fifty....seven states" without laughing. You see, it's the pause to ponder that makes it so funny. He took his time to make sure that he would get it right. Remember the Dan Quayle potato vs potatoe thing? Well, this is much funnier than that.

It's not "unjust criticism". It's simply poking fun at a dopey comment by a politician. Obama is fair game just like all the others. Don't get your panties all in a wad about it.

Posted by: Quidam | June 30, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What exactly, did General Clark say, that isn't true?
As usual, the media comes to McCain's aid, as they continue to find anything to attack Obama with.
Funny, how when Kerry was attacked about his unquestionable war heroism, the media just went along with the attacks... and Kerry actually did save lives, unlike McCain.
Why doesn't the media ask the question:
"Was what General Clark said, untrue?"
Nah... better to just attack Obama.
There really is no way, the media is going to let Obama win.

Posted by: jon | June 30, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

How ironic that part of the McCain campaign's feigned outrage -- against something that General Clark didn't say -- is coming from Bud Day, of all people. Bud Day, for those lucky enough to forget, was one of the original Swift Boaters.

The very same Swift Boaters whom John McCain himself called "dishonest and dishonorable".

Of course, that was all the way back in 2004. John McCain has changed his mind about a lot of things since then ...

Posted by: Whippy | June 30, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama Supporters respect McCain's service to our country. But when he says that he sees victory in Iraq in 5 years if he is President by continuing the Bush/Cheney policy on Iraq that is anther story. We already have over 29,978 US wounded, over 2000 UK wounded. Over 4178 US Military deaths, over 176 UK.

Now McCain says its all about the US causalities. Because of modern medical advancements more of our troops are surviving and returning home wounded.

Obama will work with our allies and listen to the people that count so this mess is cleaned up and our troops can come home safely.

I do believe that Bush/Cheney/Rove should be held accountable until our all troops are home safely from Iraq. In the next election cycle Bush/Cheney/Rove will attempt to say that they won Iraq on their watch. They will attempt to blame the Democrats and try to win back control of the Congress and Senate. This is what I mean about them being held accountable so that they can't use the fear tactics that proved so successful in 2004 and you can see them attempt to use it against Obama right now.

This is going to be anther very close election. We all have hopes for Obama in Nov. But hes going to need all the help he can get. That Republican attack machine is going to get really nasty. I hope Gen Wesley Clark will still speak out about the issues as he is one of the Star Democrats that everyone respects and we do need him. Every time a Republican would say the Democrats are weak when it comes to all thing military we could always say "We have Gen. Wesley Clark on our side."

Sometimes it hard to hold ones tongue in dealing with the Republican smear machine online. One of our friends Katherine wants to wake up to a beautiful day in Nov. The McCain/Bush/Cheney nightmare will end. American deserves a beautiful day in Nov.

Obama '08


Posted by: Yeil Raven | June 30, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

To Dr. M. A. Littlejohn,

Wow, what a vote of confidence for Adm. Clark, ret. Since you obviously know Wes Clark well enough to be able to evaluate his military credentials and ability, perhaps you can evaluate some of the other military spokespeople for the past eight years. Maybe you want to give currently serving gererals marks also.

Perhaps you are upset with Adm Clark's comments, but you do not have to belittle a distinguished servant of our country. Perhaps your doctorate is earned, perhaps it is not. To push your doctorate in our faces means that you are not above trying to pull rank in your conversations or your day-to-day operations.

Having achieved such a status myself from a pretigious college/university, I am telling you that you have earned the position to be much more charitable in your comments. You may disagree, but don't laud your degree as a hammer.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Karl Frisch can kiss my A$$ | June 30, 2008 3:27 PM

Banged-up John McCain and what was left of plane splashed into Truc Bach Lake. A compassionate Vietnamese civilian left his air raid shelter and swam out to McCain. McCain's arm and leg were fractured and he was tangled up in his parachute underwater. He was drowning. The Vietnamese man saved McCain's sorry ass, and yet McCain has nothing but hatred for "the gooks" who allegedly tortured him.

John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam's Go-To Collaborator ... According to Fernando Barral, a Cuban psychologist who questioned McCain in January 1970, "McCain was "boastful" during their interview and "without ...
dissentmag.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/john-mccain-war-hero-or-north-vietnams-go-to-collaborator/ - 6 hours ago -

1 - Student pilot McCain III lost jet number one in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus
Christi Bay while practicing landings.
2 - Pilot McCain III lost another plane two years later while he was deployed in the Mediterranean. "Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula, he took out some power lines which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral.
3 - Pilot McCain III lost number three in 1965 when he was returning from flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game. McCain III radioed, "I've got a flameout" and ejected at one thousand feet. The plane crashed to the ground and McCain III floated to a deserted beach.

He was discharged from the military due to "fratinizing with FEMALE subordinates". He was given the typical"my dady is an admiral" discharge.

Posted by: Katerina Deligiannis | June 30, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Whereby he was glad USA has a great team in office, men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice... all people Clark knew well - including our president George W. Bush; saying we need them there? What differences seven years make, especially when thinking of running for president and or writing book(s)?"

Yeah, because EVERYONE who has changed his mind about Bush is looking to write a book, right?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Littlejohn
You go home and shut your mouth. General Clark was telling the truth. How many sorties did McSame flew? I'm glad that the truth is coming out on his military record. McSame did not do anything other than giving propaganda to benefit his release from prison. He is almost at the bottom of his class when he graduated from the military academy and he became a pilot because his daddy was an admiral. How many people who came above him in his class made it to flight school. He can't even use a computer...give me a break. Good on you General Clerk. Over 4,000 soldiers have died in Iraq and how many more would lose their lives if this clown is president. McSame has no morals - just ask his first wife.

Posted by: ob08 | June 30, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Well, we all know who Bob Schieffer is voting for ... Chris, I agree with the other posters who wrote that you didn't give the right context in your summary. You make it sound as if Clark attacked McCain. Really, the most incendiary stuff was coming from Bob "Mr. Objectivity" Schieffer ...

Posted by: sparrow | June 30, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

To learn more about WESLEY CLARK positions; suggest you research Google and you'll find his amazing reversal of valued standards. On May 11, '01 when he addressed Pulaski County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas, I believed Clark's remarks and thought he was an honorable man? Whereby he was glad USA has a great team in office, men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice... all people Clark knew well - including our president George W. Bush; saying we need them there? What differences seven years make, especially when thinking of running for president and or writing book(s)?
When Gen. Hugh Shelton was asked about supporting Wesley Clark for president; knowing Clark a long time he felt compromised, Shelton wouldn't disclosed his political party, but did say Clark wouldn't get his vote. Maybe reason Clark's earlier than planned withdrawal from Europe was to do with integrity and character issues?
Also as a matter of public record and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), during appearance of CNBC's Capital Report hosted by Gloria Borger and Alan Murray, retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf was asked his opinion of Clark, my interpretation of what I read wasn't favorable. Clark's greatest condemnation was/is from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as NATO commander, military has many ways of removing commander's without embarrassment to all concerned, however if move is true; Clark was fired as NATO commander. Schwarzkopf commented, Shelton said he (Clark) was fired because of matters of character, integrity, which is highly negative statement. With removal of NATO commander Clark must be bitter and holds it against GWB and GOP or least his character reversal leads one to believe this way? As seven years has passed since GOP speaking, Wesley Clark confirmed his reversal of character by making below negative war record statement (character assassination) about John McCain.
CLARK: "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." Applying same logic, if being relieved/fired/withdrawn as NATO commander certainly doesn't qualify Clark to hold any political USA office.
If this is the case; as far as I'm concerned he's not the right man for any USA political position.

Posted by: Raymond | June 30, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RAS
Guantanamo has prisoners of war who have been held captive (and tortured) as long (or longer) than McCain was held captive.
What high office does their captivity qualify them for?

Leadership in the Democratic National Committee alongside Howard Dean.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I think it's funny how Obama's people want to talk about the media being biased. Them claiming that this is a contraversy over nothing is too much! All they do is try and make their candidate look like a victim over nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

To Capt. Howard,

I suggest, with all due respect, that over the past decade or so, the military brass have been quite vocal, whether on active duty or not. I live in a military town and I read it in the local press from time to time. It seems that the military press has also entertained some very interesting comments over the past several years. Since the Republicans and the Bush White House in particular have chosen to politicize the military, it is only understandable that this so-called taboo has been broken. (I never heard about this taboo when I served. I was under oath not to reveal what I knew about nuclear weapons and other sensative information nor to leave the country until after one year after my discharge from the service.) During the Vietnam era, I wish someone would have enlightened me as to how many major speeches or press conferences that either Johnson or Nixon gave in front of the uniformed military or with the uniformed military serving as a backdrop. I was a Democrat then, even though I greatly admired Barry Goldwater. However, politics was something my fellow officers and I never, I mean never, discussed. We were literally apolitical. Admiral Fallen's instructions recently emphasized a point that he felt must be made during this very political year. I resent when troops in the field are asked to comment on issues that have political overtones. General Westmoreland, above all, should be able to tell us about falsifiying information because those above him would not like the truth.

There is a time when even military leaders need to speak out. This may be one of those times. Some spoke out when Kerry was being SwiftBoated, but many did not listen. Because John Kerry spoke before Congress to try to present the facts as he saw them in Vietnam, his military heroism was brought under question again in 2004. Odd that a question about his heroism would surface again just in time for a political campaign. There are times and events when good men, even military men, must speak out. This is not a dictatorship. We all are citizens of a free country.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Having seen the video I have to say that the media is trying to rev this into something that it is not for the sake of headlining... So much for the objective media...not! If you are at all curious just go to Youtube and see the video yourself and draw your own conclusions...All I can say is spare me the phoney drama... News media report on something of substance...cut the National Enquirer approach to providing news... it is rally nauseating.

Posted by: Media Shuckup | June 30, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Clark and he is right on the money. We all respect McCain's time in the War and the Army but that doesn't serve as qualification for the Presidential Resume. All a presidential candidate needs is good judgement, leadership skills and a good team including listening to counsel and Obama has all that.
McCain is so arrogant and will bring that kind of mentality to the presidency.
Sorry we cannot afford another 3rd Bush term.
I voted for him in 2004 and I regretted it.
Obama'08 is the best choice and he has my vote!

Posted by: gasbecca | June 30, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wesly Clark is a second-rate military office and a fourth rate political pundit. Why would anyone give credence to his comments on military or political matters? His accomplishments in both camps are non-existent, and his career is long-gone. He should go home, keep his mouth shut, and like a good general just fade away. No one wants to hear what he has to say.

Posted by: Dr. M. A. Littlejohn | June 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I usually appreciate your blogging, but I'm disappointed by your work here.

To provide some context to General Clark's statement, the least you could have done was note that he was responding to a direct question, and the words "getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down" were not Clark's--but Bob Schieffer's. Clark's comment may not have been politically wise, but he was merely parroting back Schiefer's question.

Furthermore, your quotation isn't even accurate. You took two sentences from different comments, and combined them (without an ellipsis) as if they were one thought. Again, the context gets lost.

You're usually better at this. I'm disappointed by this 'gotcha,' 'soundbyte-out-of-context' reporting.

Posted by: Dave | June 30, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Gen. Wesley Clark is highly qualified to speak on the subject of combat leadership. It isn't everybody that can say that they were relieved of command for cause.

Posted by: Vatar | June 30, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

To Chris Cillizza,

You are the man commenting on MSNBC from time to time. Chris, my good man, you missed it this time in my opinion. If Clark is playing to McCain's strength, you are not saying much about John McCain. McCain is no General Eisenhower. If McCain's military service that is part of the available public record is his strength, then McCain is in trouble. Saturday, McCain spoke about using his talents, which meant having a townhall format for the conference on Saturday and not giving speeches. I hate to tell McCain that he had better acquire a speech-making talent soon if he expects to keep the country awake during a State of the Union address. He says that he does not know economics. There are other areas that he has problems with. Believe me, if townhall meetings are his talent, then Obama should have this election in a landslide. Obama can do townhall meetings with the best of them. I venture to say that Obama has more such meetings under his belt than McCain has.

Chris, speaking to another person's strength is not all bad, especially when the other person's strength may also be a point of weakness.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey. McCain is a long-standing US Senator. Seems as though that has been forgotten. That DOES stand for something as far as credibility goes.

Posted by: MaryK | June 30, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If Cilizza wrote or agrees with this piece's headline ---- to wit, Clark's comments play to McCain's strengths ----- then, in my opinion, Cilizza'z own lack of military experience and consequent lack of understanding are revealed. As a fellow Hoya I would like to think, however, that Chris can read and understand English sentences and can acknowledge the obvious logic in Gen Clark's statements.

Posted by: Wes Cain | June 30, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

McCain was just fit enough to do desk job during the Vietnam War. McCain was never regarded tactical fighter pilot. In fact, McCain endangered his comrades during his few missions.

American people should be told about McCain.

Posted by: Chris | June 30, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Capt Howard and Karl Fritsch -

Clark is not swiftboating anyone or criticizing a fellow officer. The words "riding in a plane and being shot down" were first said by the interviewer in a direct question, and Clark answered the question.

Clark rightly noted, in response to a direct question -- NOT THAT YOU WOULD KNOW FROM HOW CHRIS MISQUOTED IT -- that being a pilot who was shot down is not something that qualifies you for President.

This statement is neither wrong nor insulting, but simply a truism.

Posted by: Nathan | June 30, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Guantanamo has prisoners of war who have been held captive (and tortured) as long (or longer) than McCain was held captive.

What high office does their captivity qualify them for?

Posted by: RAS | June 30, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

It is very rare that an officer (retired or active) in the United States Military demeans a fellow officer. This is one of the taboos of military life. I have to wonder what Wesley Clarke's motives are. Is he looking for a position in the Obama administration (not yet a reality) as VP, or perhaps Sec'y of Defense? The tactic of attacking an opponent's strengths is not a new one. McCain's media strength is his military record. Obama used a retired general to deal a blow that he couldn't deliver himself. Third party surrogates can be useful. Same old politics; no change there!

Posted by: Capt Howard | June 30, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The left are "swift boating" McCain.

It started with Jay Rockefeller, who essentially accused McCain of being an "Air Pirate." Then Wes Clark made his idiotic remarks. Is there an effort to undermine McCain's heroic image? You bet your life!

... Here's a couple quotes from Ben Smith's post that further illustrate how the left is targeting McCain's war record:


... "Getting shot down, tortured, and then doing propaganda for the enemy is not command experience," Aravosis wrote in the blog post, entitled "Honestly, besides being tortured, what did McCain do to excel in the military?"

... "I wouldn't characterize anybody who fought in Vietnam as a war hero," said Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of the theatrical anti-war group Code Pink. "In 23 bombing sorties, there must have been civilians that were killed and there's no heroism to that."


A few things to note:

1. This further highlights how Obama and his supporters are not engaging in a "new" type of politics. This is the same old attack-style politics where one side tries to undermine and destroy the reputation of the other side.

And the fact that several prominent Obama surrogates have "gone there" leads me to believe this is an organized effort to undermine McCain's strength (while Obama keeps his hands clean). It occurs to me that Obama is in Independence, MO today to talk about patriotism.

Is it patriotic to attack a former P.O.W.?

2. The left are the ones who are not willing to move on from the Vietnam war. These comments show they are still fighting protesting the war. Only people with no class whatsoever would attack the military service of a former P.O.W. -- but then, again, these are the same people who spat into the faces of our service men when they returned home.

3. This illustrates how out-of-touch the left still is regarding military service. This is the last thing Obama needs, but the truth is that -- sooner or later -- people reveal their true feelings. The left loathes the military.

Posted by: Karl Frisch can kiss my A$$ | June 30, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

To Quidam,

Obama must have learned his lesson. I definitely heard him say that there were 50 states Saturday. People are allowed slips of the tongue from time to time. I heard both Obama and McCain misspeak Saturday. I misspeak from time to time. It is a human condition. I may think one thing and say something else. It happens. In a matter like this, it is very easy to figure out those who can be charitable versus those who are looking for any reason not to support someone or to be unjustly critical. But fairness dictates that you must keep score on your own candidate as well. A person who is bent all out of shape over the state count is not focusing on the big issues that confront the United States.

One of my famous McCain quotes is the following. I listened to his statement over and over to get the exact, unedited, wording.

"My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will that will then prevent us that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East." John McCain, Denver, Co. May 2 , 2008.

May I suggest that what McCain said above makes Obama's 57-state gaff pale into insignificance.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Gen. Wesley Clark is highly qualified to speak on the subject of combat leadership. Therefore I take his criticism of McCain's thin military resume quite seriously.

The Republicans are angry and upset, of course, because McCain is being hit squarely in his presumed strength. McCain has no other claim to the presidency except his long-ago heroism in a Viet Cong prison camp. But the loud and obvious pique of the GOP is no reason for the incurious Main Stream Media to return to their lazy default position of defending John McCain. He is unqualified to be president and getting shot down over Viet Nam does not make it otherwise.

Posted by: delta | June 30, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Earl C: what a joke. Obama's staff preps all of his "top guns" on what to say. Who are you kidding? Don't quit your day job to be a stand-up comic. I've worked on campaigns in the past. You can believe that Clark was prepped.

Posted by: TwoTimer | June 30, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I disagree Chriss, it creates a doubt in independent voter to really look into McCains claim of experience--the War experience. It may help to attract some republican voter but definitely stir independents. It will help to neutralizes the experience field. Clark is not a "direct surrogate" but an indirect (Clinton) and that will have less negative impact.

Posted by: Mia | June 30, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my dear Chris: After reading the trash you just wrote, and the comments to follow, it's painfully clear: The comments win.

Now, when I click on your link I'll just stroll past the McCain advertisement you tout as a column, and go straight to the comments.

They are hilarious, and SPOT ON. You've lost all credibility with me on your headline "Clark's Comments Play to McCain's Strengths."

What were you thinking? Oh, what's that? You weren't.

Got it. Funny. Still like the comments better - they sound more real, and insightful.

Posted by: Captain John | June 30, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I though Senator Obama was supposed to be some sort of new-style politician, a uniter who wants to reach across aisles and above traditional differences, who doesn't want to get distracted by the usual nasty, and personal, give and take of modern politics, etc., etc., etc. He wants to focus on issues, and the future, and "change." Yet clearly there are people around him, like Clark, who want to hit McCain on a personal level -- who don't just want to attack his positions on issues, or his proposals, but who for good measure want to take him down personally, too. I suppose that's fair, or in any event it's how these things usually go, and I understand that until recently Clark was in Hillary's camp (where I'm sure he and his tactics were right at home). But now that he's with Obama shouldn't he be focusing on issues, and "change," and less on going after McCain at a personal level? Isn't that supposed to be what Obama is trying to change? Or is he just another politician?

Posted by: dcpost1 | June 30, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Please go watch the exchange. While we all honor McCain's service and his sacrifice as a POW but what does this have to do being President? This was the point being made by General Clark. In fact a careful study of McCain's military career raises many questions if he is the right person for the job. Graduating near the bottom of his class at Annapolis nor the judgment he showed in his personal life during his younger years. The fact that he crashed two airplanes his early days as a pilot hardly speaks well of his discipline or use of good judgment. To me the most telling thing about his military career was the fact he discusses at length in his book (that I have read) was that he was not going to get promote to Admiral. As much as the brass wanted John to make the grade (his father and grandfather were both four star Admirals) he was 23 years in and had not made the grade. What this tells me is that their peers did not think he had the discipline or temperament for strategic thinking. Ranks Capitan and below are tactical officers ( or those carry out the plans) while Admirals are the strategic planners. It is plain to me we have too many cowboys in the White House and we need some strategic thinkers in there. McCain's service as a tactical officer should be honored, but his military service and record really shows he is not the right person for the job of President. I applaud a four star who speaks the truth at risk of being attacked by the chicken hawks of the Republican Party.

Posted by: bradcpa | June 30, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Two Timer wrote:
"There goes Obama - having his surrogates to his dirty work for him. Then he comes out against what was said so that he looks as clean as a whistle. He is such a hypocrite "

Well, it's possible of course. The thing is that considering Obama's shady background, it's likely.

Posted by: Billw | June 30, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Well..since CC thinks that Clark's comments help McCain, I will rightfully determine that the opposite is true. CC hasn't predicted one correct thing this entire campaign. If I recall correctly, CC has Obama as a tie for #3 in his prediction on who would win the Democratic nominee.

Folks, this guy doesn't know anything. He should not have this job.

Posted by: GoHuskies08 | June 30, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

it would have been wise to provide the full context for general clark's quoted statements, and not rely on the patience of your readers to watch the entire video. clark did not question mccain's patriotism or his competence or his service to his country, and was in fact quite respectful of the heroism he showed while a prisoner of war. he pointed out, however, that flying combat missions and getting shot down is no guarantee that a man will be effective as president.
mccain supporters can take offense at this statement, and call it a smear, but it isn't a smear. it's a fact. another fact, which clark might have added, is that military service of any kind is not prerequisite to effective leadership, merely one of many possible qualifications. of our four greatest presidents, for example--washington, jefferson, lincoln, and fdr--only the first was a soldier. and of the soldiers who became president, many were mediocre. general mcclellan in 1864 did not win his party's nomination, which is widely regarded fortunate for the nation.
keep in mind that one of our greatest soldiers--mcarthur--had to be reined in by truman because he was predisposed to attack even if it meant a land war in Asia. despite his impressive record in combat (far beyond anything mccain can offer, or truman, either), the warrior's mentality can be problematic when re-located to the oval office.
implicit in your post is the idea that mccain's service to his country--particularly his years as a captive of the north Vietnamese--is proof of superior leadership, and that even someone with the qualifications of general clark cannot be permitted to question the logic. in fact, he is perfectly qualified say what he said and, in times other than these, expect a reasonable discussion to follow. but no discussion will follow because no one wants to be accused of dishonoring a hero.
i am sorry to hear you make another flag-pin issue out of it, and even sorrier to see obama "reject" what clark said because what he said happens to be true. mccain's experience in the navy may be entirely to his credit, and deserving of our respect and gratitude (as clark candidly conceded). but it is not by itself evidence that he would be a great president, or even a good one.

Posted by: jimbro | June 30, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse


I watched Face the Nation yesterday, and I got the impression that Bob Schieffer was thiiiiis close to rightly pointing out to Wesley Clark that Barack Obama probably couldn't tell an F-16 from a Lincoln Continental.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

CC- your mancrush on McCain is so transparent. And your willful misquote of the Clark interview is quite telling.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

To TwoTimer,

Your nickname says it all. Who are you twotiming? Obama cannot control his supporters no more than McCain can control you. This is a fact.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure McCain would rather it be otherwise, but his military record should be fair game. He touts it as his main credential for the presidency, yet refuses to release his entire record. In fact, he graduated at the bottom 1% of his class; crashed five planes in addition to the one that landed him in a POW camp; and went into politics when he was informed that he wouldn't be promoted to admiral.

So of course his campaign is throwing a tantrum over any questioning of his military performance.

McCain has just formed the ironically named Truth Squad, featuring Bud Day, one of the Swift Boaters who smeared John Kerry. If it hadn't been for the Swift Boaters, the country probably would not have been subjected to the Bush administration and the associated damage to our country. The Swift Boaters have been exposed as a political group that migrates from one attack operation to another. Clearly Bud Day's connection with the McCain campaign confirms that McCain has no interest in the truth.

Posted by: bam | June 30, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Clark that getting shot down and held as a POW does not necessarily qualify one to be president. But ya know, there should be some sort of qualification exam for want-to-be Presidential candidates. It should be a relatively simple quiz with questions that every citizen should be able to answer correctly. Perhaps the first question should be "How many states currently comprise the United States?" Obama thinks that there are 57+ states so he would have been weeded out right off the get-go.

Posted by: Quidam | June 30, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

General Clark is absolutely correct. McCain's long-ago military service is no "qualification" for the Presidency. He got out as soon as he could, and became a politician.

Posted by: larry | June 30, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

You sir are as biased a columnist for McCain as I've seen. You're a disgrace to the profession. You twisted the whole interview to fan the flames. And why, in your columns, is every attack on Barack Obama a help to John McCain and any attempt at the truth by the Obama campaign is also a help to John McCain? Are you on McCain's payroll?

Posted by: Frank Martin | June 30, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

btw, the only reason that "Clark's Comments Play to McCain's Strengths" is because such a large swatch of the traditional media is rushing to their dreamboat maverick mccain's defense. it's sickening and doubly so in light of how you and your cohort treated kerry in 2004.

Posted by: jethro | June 30, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to experience, there is no contest, McCain has it all over Obama. McCain was one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence! That's 232 years of experience!!!!!

Posted by: Pillsbury Doughboy | June 30, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I am reminded when Bill Clinton was Commander in Chief. Republican friends of mine who happened to be senior officers in the active military, you know the people who are supposed to be apolitical, had very rude and caustic comments to make about their commander-in-chief. Wesley Clark is retired and entitled to speak his mind. There is no law or rule that retired military must keep quiet and park their brains at the door of the public debate. As far as I am concerned, this is a non-issue based on the whole context of Wesley Clark's statement.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

By graduating 4th from the bottom of his class at Annapolis, McCain should have found himself in tugboat school. He nonetheless ended up joining his far more qualified classmates gaining the prestigious assignment to flight school. Should it surprise you his father and grand father were Admirals? If John McCain wants to use his POW-Aviator Halo as a campaign tool he should be prepared to defend it, just as John Kerry had to defend his Silver Star in 2004. Wes Clark's point that McCain has no significant executive leadership experience is a valid one.

Posted by: Gordrog | June 30, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

We used to have a saying in the AF regarding teaching people how to fly helicopters (in Special Ops, no less): Just because you're a great pilot, sorry - you don't make a good instructor. And I was one of the best instructors, btw, if you count medal counts and people I taught how to fly.

Does the fact that McCain's flying ability help in understanding leadership? A bit. But since he didn't fly in a multi-seat aircraft, not as much as teaching people how to fly an aircraft at night 50 feet over the trees.

I don't think anyone is questioning McCain's Navy credentials (swift-boat it, if you may). But that DOESN'T make him presidential material.

And, btw, that aircraft of his. We don't fly it anymore.

Posted by: Captain John | June 30, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Nope, sorry Chris, but the view out here beyond the Beltway is that Gen. Clarke did the nation a tremendous service in pointing out the fallacy in attributing commander-in-chief qualities or qualifications to John McCain. Just because he was a combat flyer in Viet Nam does not qualify him to act in a measured and responsible way as president of the United States. Clarke spoke the plain truth and the GOP can't handle that, which is why they are pushing back so hard.

In fact, McCain's absurd support for the insane was on Iraq (which he backed from the beginning) proves conclusively that he is unfit to be president during wartime. He lacks the balanced judgment, the temperament, the historical and cultural knowledge, the insight into human nature and nuanced understanding of our national interest to be president.

Put it another way: I don't trust John (100 years in Iraq) McCain with the lives of my children or grandchildren.

McCain doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shiia, he foolishly thinks that Iran is supporting al Qeda in Iraq, he opposed the recent bill to bring needed financial and educational benefits to our Iraq war veterans, he opposed limiting the use of torture techniques, his top advisers are hoping for another terrorist attack on the U.S. to guarantee a GOP victory.

McCain, and the people he surrounds himself with, are dangerously out of touch with the concerns of everyday Americans. He is proudly ignorant of the economic and employment issues facing our nation, he knows little about the environment or education or the needs of our cities. McCain would be a disaster for our nation were he to be elected.

Thank goodness that Gen. Wesley Clarke had the courage to stand up and tell the truth about McCain's shaky record and non-existent credentials.

Posted by: dee | June 30, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

There goes Obama - having his surrogates to his dirty work for him. Then he comes out against what was said so that he looks as clean as a whistle. He is such a hypocrite and if he thinks the voters can't see through him, I've got bridge that I would like to sell. He must think everyone is an idiot. Shame on Obama and Wesley Clark.

Posted by: TwoTimer | June 30, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Bush and Rove masterminded the attacks on McCain in 2000. Gen. Clark's comments are too kind in comparison to what Rove said about McCain's service in Vietnam. Bush, ROve, Cheney and all the neocons looked down on military service and yet, they all won the elections TWICE! The Democrats should not feel guilty about attacking McCain - his own party kind did it first.

Posted by: M. Stratas | June 30, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I think we need to be mindful sometimes that not everyone quoted about a Presidential campaign checks his own past or ego at the door.

Wesley Clark thought he should be President four years ago. I'm sure he still does. I don't doubt he sees his own military experience as much better preparation for the Presidency than Sen. McCain's, by an order of magnitude. As a career military man, Clark probably also gives short shrift to the value of having been a productive legislator, which McCain has been and Obama has not.

But I think the real mistake here is to assume that Clark answered this question thinking of himself as an Obama campaign operative. He's a Democrat, he's for Obama, and all that is on the level. If he's comparing McCain's record in the military to anyone's, though, it's his own.

Posted by: Zathras | June 30, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

chris, could you please fix the misquote in your post that many others have pointed out? leaving out schieffer's question which elicited clark's "getting shot down" reply is highly misleading.

Posted by: jethro | June 30, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Republicans live for this garbage, slander those who dare to question while never addressing the substance of the question. In McCains case, being a POW makes him qualified for president. I guess that makes sense since Bush avoided service all together and cheney finagled five medical defermemnts to avoid serving. Dumb old John Kerry saw ground combat, man, what a moron.

Posted by: pj451 | June 30, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: linda
what gen clark stated was the obvious: getting shot out of an airplane and being held prisoner is not executive experience that gives you unquestioned entree to the oval office.

-----------------------------------------

And yet you Obama supporters excoriated President Clinton and ridiculed him as being a racist for stating the "obvious" when he merely mentioned the historical fact that Jesse Jackson won the South Carolina Primary twice.

The concepts of irony and hypocrisy are foreign to the cult, aren't they?


Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Gen Clark's Comments are pretty on target, but they allow the McCain's to point out the relative contrast in experience between the Senators, which is the one comparison Senator Obama is not going to win.

Posted by: Muddy | June 30, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is entitled to his opinion. His opinion is not nearly as caustic as others that I have heard or read. There is much truth in what General Clark has said. The point that he was making from my perspective is that McCain's military experiences do not either entitle or uniquely qualify McCain to serve as Commander in Chief. Whether Clark's comments either hurt or help Obama's candidacy may never be determined. Good reporting, like good analysis, requires a more objective reading and/or hearing of the sources.

Posted by: Earl C | June 30, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, but Clark is right in principle. While McCain's refusal to be repatriated before his time showed courage and honor and all that, he has demonstrated zero ability to lead the country militarily. In fact, his confusion on any number of issues regarding Iraq, starting with the decision to go in in the first place, demonstrates just the opposite.

McCain's people will try to make it sound like people are "questioning his service", when in fact they are just questioning whether his fine service is at all relevant. I wonder if our simplistic media will understand that distinction.

Posted by: Mark | June 30, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Why is Wesley Clark on the morning show circuit? He is a retired general and ardent Hillary supporter. Wesley Clark just recently came over to the Obama camp as a "military adviser". Obama has plenty of other military advisers that have been with his campaign from the beginning, so why is Wesley Clark in front of the cameras?!?!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | June 30, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Gen. Clark fought in Vietnam, was wounded and yes, he is right to say that just because McCain was shot down does not qualify him to be president. McCain has been nothing but a "follower"; he has a low IQ (bottom of his graduating class) got into flight school because of connections (just like George). There is nothing to recommend McCain to be our next president. Being a prisoner is a random fate. Jeremiah Denton was a much braver POW. Gen. Clark can say what he wants: he was top of his class at West Point and rose to be Supreme Commander Europe. McCain dumped his 1st wife, and married a rich woman.

Posted by: M. Stratas | June 30, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Col. Bud Day, now on McCain's "Truth Squad" was a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that McCain attacked during the 2004 campaign for airing "dishonest and dishonorable" attacks against Kerry that amounted to a "cheap stunt."

As other money-watchers have also noticed, McCains' accepted at least $61,000 in direct and bundled contributions this campaign from three top funders of the Swift Boat Veterans, among them Bob Perry, T. Boone Pickens and Harold Simmons.

Posted by: flipflop flipflop | June 30, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Only in beltway, media establishment-land could Clark's words be so misconstrued and twisted.
You people at WaPo need to get out more.

Posted by: elmerg | June 30, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

why is Mc Cain in league with one of the slimeballs who swiftboated decorated war veteran John Kerry?

because he will flip-flop and kowtow to the right wing whenever it means their support or votes. Nobody is putting down his service, it's his outdated pro-Bush policies and total inability to grasp economic issues that make him a bad choice for president.

Mc Cain and the swiftboaters = same old right wing slime machine

Posted by: Mc Cain the hypocrite | June 30, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

big deal Mc was a pow for 5+ years at the hands of the viet cong, so what ?

once during Obama's days as a community activist, Ob had to eat a warm tuna sandwich and drink a semi ice cold coke. I think there were days when Obama was walking the streets when the temp hit 90+ degrees( and he coudnt get into airconditioning for a good part of the afternoon).

Go Wesley, yr such a nudge.

Posted by: alex | June 30, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, this reminds me of Hillary's claims to be the candidate of experience. Tom Daschle had to point out that First Lady is not on a career track to the Presidency.

We don't really know how McCain or Obama would make the sort of decisions you have to as President, because neither of them has ever run anything.

If they had, we'd be knocking the stuffing out of them for that.

Anybody else noticed that a modern campaign seems designed to prevent us from learning anything meaningful about our candidates?

Posted by: Samson151 | June 30, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

You're wrong Chris. The Democrats are taking a page from Rove's book and attacking McCain's strength. It won't last as long as the swiftboat campaign did against Kerry and certainly Obama won't endorse it, but the idea will be planted. Give it a while and then Obama will condemn it if he mentions it at all.

Posted by: Janda | June 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to disagree with ktodack's comment that, "McCain's military service should not be devalued, but his service should not be over valued either."
Recently on MSNBC one of the talking heads was ranting about how McCain is qualified to be leader of the free-world because he was tortured to the point where he cannot raise his arm to comb his own hair. I fail to make the connection. Granted, he lived through hell and personally I think McCain is a good man. I was a McCain volunteer in 2000. However, we don't live in the past. We need a leader for the times we live in and nothing in McCains CV suggests he's got the 'right stuff' for our times. Orsen Swindle aside, some of the people who were imprisoned with McCain are not so sure about his qualifications. Google it - with a grain of salt.

Posted by: PFC Otto | June 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

oh and Chris . . .

comments much worse than Clark's were used against McSame in 00 - by Rove & Bush

... "Bush surrogates (several later involved in the Kerry swiftboating effort) skillfully turned McCain's service record against him (thereby deflecting questions about Bush's own service record.) They planted stories that the torture McCain suffered as a POW had brought about mental instability, including rumors that he had been programmed as a "Manchurian candidate" who "collaborated with the enemy." No longer could McCain use the fact that he had endured torture as evidence of dedication to serving his country."

...

In the 2000 South Carolina Presidential primary Bush surrogates circulated stories that McCain's five years as a POW had made him "mentally unstable," gave him a "loose screw," that he "committed treason while a POW" and "came home and forgot us."


Posted by: ayfkm | June 30, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

with friends and surrogates like Clark, who himself is in love with the sound of his own voice,Obama doesn't need enemies.

Obama and his surrogates need to spend more time building up his credentials and thinking on national security and avoid a ...... match with McCain who is a legitimate war hero and who is given credit for it regardless of what those like Clark say.

obama should simply say he admires McCain for his heroism, sacrifice and dedication to country and then get into the differences between the two on policy and strategy. Any attempt to diminish McCain, such as Clark's statements, is only going to produce push back which further emphasizes McCain's perceived strengths.

The more this becomes about personality rahter than policy, the more Obama loses when it comes to questions of national security. Stop playing that game or run the risk of digging a deeper hole.

Posted by: robert bell | June 30, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

why is McSame using a swiftboater to defend him ? One of the guys he condemned in 04

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5612836/

And why doesn't Mcrib cultist Cillizza point this out to his readers ?!?!?

Posted by: ayfkm | June 30, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

spin it, chrissie. just like the rest of you bbq-sucking toadies on the zig-zag express.

read the unedited and in context quote again, bub. apparently, you and your cohorts have profound reading comprehension issues (not to mention dishonest 'reporting'). please point out where clark lambasted st john's military credentials. i will type this slowly, chrissie.

what gen clark stated was the obvious: getting shot out of an airplane and being held prisoner is not executive experience that gives you unquestioned entree to the oval office.

oh, and remember this charmer:

http://static1.firedoglake.com/29/files//2008/06/bandaid.jpg

Posted by: linda | June 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, should have read the comments before I posted (some good ones for a change).

Nathan, what you said.

Posted by: mnteng | June 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but I have to disagree with Chris's blog pretty much from beginning to end.

First off, I think the Obama camp is quite happy to have McCain talking about his military service. Look at where it's got him.

McCain has been talking about his military experience, his toughness and determination in the War on Terror and homeland security. Meanwhile, two of the latest major opinions polls have McCain 12 and 15 points behind.

Call me crazy, but I invite Chris and others to put the two together. It's not working. The electorate have other issues at the forefront of their minds and McCain's not addressing them.

Here's the bottom line. McCain is a one trick pony. And the trick ain't working. He has zero traction on any of the major issues around the economy.

Another day McCain spends talking about the military and repeating points the electorate have heard a thousand times is another day lost when he could have been talking about bread and butter issues to the American people.

If I'm a Democratic strategist, I'm loving this. "It plays to his strengths!" No, it stops him addressing his weaknesses.

Posted by: Fast Eddie | June 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So John Kerry, who still has shrapnel in his leg, has his military service questioned and it becomes a major question of his qualifications. But when somebody says John McCain's experiences are just experiences and not resume points, the media is all over him. Liberal bias indeed...

Though it will never get any play in mainstream media, Clark's comments are factually true. Being shot down doesn't make you an expert on foreign policy any more than being poor makes you an expert on the economy. It may give you a special insight, it may give you some credibility, but it does not make you an expert.

But besides, it's not like McCain would exploit his POW status for political gain, right?

Posted by: corinthian | June 30, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The people here defending Clark are probably the same people who (rightfully) attacked those criticizing Kerry military service.

Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Posted by: info | June 30, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you haven't fixed that misquote yet. It is simply incorrect, and gives an impression that is inaccurate.

Maybe it was a mistake, but leaving it up there is dishonest.

Here's the entire exchange which you can see at http://securingamerica.com/node/2993:

________________________________________

Bob Schieffer: Well you, you went so far as to say that you thought John McCain was, quote, and these are your words, "untested and untried," And I must say I, I had to read that twice, because you're talking about somebody who was a prisoner of war. He was a squadron commander of the largest squadron in the Navy. He's been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for lo these many years. How can you say that John McCain is un- untested and untried? General?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy making, it's a matter of understanding risk. It's a matter of gauging your opponents, and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in Air- in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, 'I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it-'

Bob Schieffer: Well-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: ' -it publicly.' He hasn't made those calls, Bob.

Bob Schieffer: Well, well, General, maybe-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: So-

Bob Schieffer: Could I just interrupt you. If-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure.

Bob Schieffer: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.

Bob Schieffer: Really?!

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: But Barack is not, he is not running on the fact that he has made these national security pronouncements. He's running on his other strengths. He's running on the strengths of character, on the strengths of his communication skills, on the strengths of his judgment. And those are qualities that we seek in our national leadership.

Posted by: Nathan | June 30, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Clark is completely right: getting your behind shot out of the sky doesn't qualify you as commander in chief. End of story. Too bad we're not allowed to tell the truth as we see it in America anymore.

Posted by: rbe1 | June 30, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"Any day John McCain is able to talk about his military service and remind people of the sacrifices he has made for the country is a good day for the Republican candidate."

Convince me.

When voters go to the polls in November, are they going to vote for the guy that incessantly reminded us about his military service & the sacrifices he made, or about the guy who's proposing a concrete set of policy ideas for our country? That is not to say that mcCain is one and Obama is the other, but rather that voters want a President that can lead us to better times. Part of effective leadership is in having a vision. If a candidate is spending all their time reminding us about what happened 40 years ago, they're not going to win.

The Fix is wrong on this one.

Posted by: bsimon | June 30, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It was really dumb attacking McCain on this when there's so many legitimate issues to hammer him on.

Obama has perhaps less experience to be commander-in-chief than any major candidate in modern history. Even Clinton commanded a state national guard.

They should stay far, far away from this.

Posted by: info | June 30, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Chris you are wrong on this. Clark did not call into question McCain's service, but his ability to be C-in-C.


General Wesley Clark had this to say about John McCain:


"In national security terms John McCain is largely untested and untried. He has never been responsible for policy formulation -- never had a leadership in crisis or anything larger than his own element on an aircraft carrier [which he crashed several] or even managing his own Congressional staff."


Clark dismissed McCain's world view on national security saying, " McCain's weakness is that he is always been for the use of force, force and more force."

The contrast between McCain and Obama is stark: the former focuses on fears, threats and insecurities while the latter focuses on hopes, possibilities and solutions. The choice could not be more clear.

I do not understand why people believe McCain would be better on national security. I suppose it is a meme that republicans have repeated so many times that it has become conventional wisdom.


But the truth is Bush policies have made us more vulnerable. And McCain will continue those policies.


So questioning McCain's credentials ought not be off the table. He served the country, but he also downed 5 planes which proves he is wreckless, too.

The costs in terms of life, limb, America's standing in the world and treasure are more than any person ought to bear.


Posted by: serena1313 | June 30, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Where was all this outrage from the Republicans when the likes of Carl-The Liar-Rove, Dick-5 military deferments-Cheney, George A"W"OL Bush, and the teletubbies at Fox News were dragging Senator Kerry's military creds through the mud.

Posted by: hayden | June 30, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Any day John McCain is able to talk about his military service and remind people of the sacrifices he has made for the country is a good day for the Republican candidate."

I'm sure John Kerry thought the same thing. The danger for McCain is that his running on purely national security themes is that his judgement on such issues sucks. He keeps pimping his "100 Years in Iraq" position and eternal "progress" while voting against every benefit extended to the men and women veterans returning (but likely to go back...again)from the debacle that he set in motion. By the way, where is Osama?

Is anyone buying what McCain is selling, and if so, did they just come out from under a rock? This will be neither the first nor the last person to expose the truth of McCain's rotten, rotten judgement on foreign policy matters.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

ARRGH! The Fix is doing it too. By juxtaposing the "shot down" quote with the "squadron" quote without using ellipses (excerpted below), he makes it seem that the two statements were spoken in series when that wasn't the case.

"[McCain] hasn't held executive responsibility," Clark said on "Face the Nation" yesterday. "That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded -- that wasn't a wartime squadron. I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."

Clark's "shot down" statement was in direct response to Schieffer's comment about BHO's experience.

What is wrong with the journalism in this country? Oh wait. This is a blog, not journalism. Apparently, you don't have to follow journalistic standards for proper citation on a blog.

Posted by: mnteng | June 30, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Do the pundits of the MSM have meetings every morning to determine the dumbest possible way to interpret these campaign spats? Of course McCain is acting indignant -- his stint in Vietnam 40 years ago is all he's got in this election. But that's all it is -- an act. Clark said nothing objectionable. He certainly did not engage in swiftboating. So why do you fall for McCain's pseudo-victimhood?

Posted by: Seamus | June 30, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Wes Clark graduated at the top of his class from West Point and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford where he got a degree in PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics). He went on to become Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. John McCain is a moron by comparison, and was an appallingly inept pilot. His war experience qualifies him for precisely nothing. We just had a eight years of President Moron. Mr. Cilliza needs a vacation.

Posted by: h1000 | June 30, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

And just what did Gen Clark say that was not the truth? He honored Senator McCain's heroism while noting that Senator McCain's heroism did not make him a commander.

Or is it only Karl Rove and George W. Bush who can challenge Senator McCain's military record (as they did in Y2K)?

Oh wait! I'm so sorry. I keep forgetting. IOKIYAR.

Posted by: Richard | June 30, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line-- McCain's military service should not be devalued, but his service should not be over valued either. Thousands of Americans who are not running for office have also flown military jets, some were shot down over Viet Nam and along with McCain are honored-- but this should not be an over riding factor in choosing someone to be president. Looking back over our entire history, military experience has not been a constant predictor of good presidents.

Posted by: ktodack | June 30, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line-- McCain's military service should not be devalued, but his service should not be over valued either. Thousands of Americans who are not running for office have also flown military jets, some were shot down over Viet Nam and along with McCain are honored-- but this should not be an over riding factor in choosing someone to be president. Looking back over our entire history, military experience has not been a constant predictor of good presidents.

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

The bottom line-- McCain's military service should not be devalued, but his service should not be over valued either. Thousands of Americans who are not running for office have also flown military jets, some were shot down over Viet Nam and along with McCain are honored-- but this should not be an over riding factor in choosing someone to be president. Looking back over our entire history, military experience has not been a constant predictor of good presidents.

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

The only description I can come up with when comparing John McCain with Barack Obama is: the Hero vs the Zero.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter | June 30, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Please stop promoting "conventional wisdom" speak.... It is ANNOYING and doesn't shed any light on the issues being discussed. I disagree with your premise. You assume that it's not OK to challenge McCain's military service as a proxy for executive experience. Gen. Clark actually HAS the experience to share his views on this. He has LED in the military and has executive experience.

Posted by: MK | June 30, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris,You are becoming a whinning little B. We know how you tring to get a permanent gig on FOX. Stop with the crying every time someone speaks bad about your candidate John McCain. If McCain is going to parade his time as POW which we all commend him for. Them let examine the entire service record as was done to John Kerry. McCain like Kerry is fair game on his actual service not his perceived service to the country. Every time some one that supports Obama speak bad it a coordinated effort by the campaign according to you Cillizza-- when McCain supporters speak improperly you hardly produce a whimper.

Posted by: Edward Brock Sr. | June 30, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

So instead of addressing the issue that Clark is raising, Chris Cillizza starts busting out about this helps McCain? Yes, Chris, it helps McCain when people like YOU rush to defend him without looking at the facts of what Clark said. This is a classic kill the messenger without looking at the message. It is amazing how McCain keeps getting a pass from the media..gee this feels a bit like the glowing press Bush received post 9-11. Why don't you just call him John "perfect in every way, can do no wrong and cannot be questioned on anything in his record" McCain.

Posted by: Neil | June 30, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama's campaign has now specifically rejected General Clark's remarks (using his name, etc.). Why is that not reported here?

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | June 30, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

>>>> Any day John McCain is able to talk about his military service and remind people of the sacrifices he has made for the country is a good day for the Republican candidate.<<<<

I'm Clinton supporter, still toying around to see I can vote for John McCain. If election is today, I will NOT vote for John McCain. He got one less vote for today.

CC: I disagree; it's not good day for McCain.

Based on all the historical archives, he was not a great fighter pilot. I can think of many greatest fighter pilots during that period. Many are my next door neighbors currently living in San Diego, California.

General Clark told the truth to America.

In fact, I am just sick and tired of his black and white photo (seen thousand times) smoking cigarette to get sympathy vote from us. Sorry, not this voter!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris,You are becoming a whinning little B. We know how you tring to get a permanent gig on FOX. Stop with the crying every time someone speaks bad about your candidate John McCain. If McCain is going to parade his time as POW which we all commend him for. Them let examine the entire service record as was done to John Kerry. McCain like Kerry is fair game on his actual service not his perceived service to the country. Every time some one that supports Obama speak bad it a coordinated effort by the campaign according to you Cillizza-- when McCain supporters speak improperly you hardly produce a whimper.

Posted by: JTK | June 30, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh please Chris, give me a break. Instead of breaking out the McCain campaign talking points and naval gazing about what Clark said, how about just thinking through the point he is trying to make? McCain is running as a war time president. The question is how does his being a POW make him ready to be commander in chief? Where's the slander here? If some of you in the media are not on McCain's payroll by now, you should be. On every issue, time and again, you land directly in his camp.

Posted by: DW | June 30, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The real question is whether General Clark's statement was TRUE? Neither this article nor any response from McCain's supporters seem to actually deny any truthfulness in these statements!

Meaning, McCain has been exaggerating....sadly that reminds me of BUSH!

Posted by: James Jenkins | June 30, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

In conversations I have, people are always quick to say about John McCain's military service that "obviously that doesn't mean he's necessarily better qualified to be president...". I don't see how having this conversation, pointing out the obvious, hurts Obama.

Posted by: Wallace | June 30, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Clark is a bumbling idiot that still hasn't gotten over the fact that know one takes him serious and would ever consider him a presidential contender.

Posted by: Dave in DC | June 30, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The absurdity of the discussion of McC having been shot down should be apparent from Nathan's post, if not on its face.

However, a retired General should not denigrate squadron leadership because it was a peacetime command.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | June 30, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

General Clark's comments were right on the mark, McCain and his advisors realy have no worthwhile plan for Iraq. It's just more of the same mess we have under Bush. Worse, however, is their insane idea for dealing with Iran. China and Russia have made is clear that any attack on Iran will invite retribution FROM THEM and might lead to a global conflict. At the very least, any unilateral military actions on our or our Israeli surrogate will mean the end of American influence and presence in the Far East. McCain hasn't talked about this (and neither has the White House). Their foreign policy and "cowboy diplomacy" is not just wrong headed and incompetent, it is dangerous; I'd have thought Iraq and Afghanistan would have taught that.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is just a pimp for CNN and Obama. Old soldiers don't just fade away anymore. They sell out to the highest bidder and write a book.

Former General McPeak is another example of a former general pimping for Obama. This is supposed to make Obama acceptable. Fat Chance!

Posted by: alance | June 30, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

There is good reason why the military should be kept occupied in foreign lands and why officers who get involved in politics should be fired.

Posted by: K Blit | June 30, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

As was said in 7 days in May or something like it "general if you can do better run for office" otherwise shut up!

Posted by: K Blit | June 30, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

In addition to taking Clark's quote out of context, why are you being so selective about the comments made during McCain's "truth squad" conference call? I'm referring specifically to Bud Day's defense of the Swiftboat Veterans and what they did to Kerry. I really never wanted to be one of those people who think the media is biased but, seriously, sometimes the evidence is just overwhelming. McCain should be asked whether he agrees with Day that the Swiftboat Veterans were doing something that was good.

Posted by: Alanna | June 30, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I disagree, Chris, about this being a bad road for Obama surrogates to travel. As a Democrat (and former candidate for office) I'm sick to death of the GOP parading around in their flight suits--literally and figuratively--as a way of saying they are stronger on defense than Democratic candidates. 4- Star General Clark, a Purple Heart recipient and true leader, has every right to set the record straight on McCain. Too late to do it on Bush, but we can stop his third term with just this kind of honest, incisive commentary.

Posted by: Soonerthought.Blogspot.Com | June 30, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

That is a total misquote, and requires a retraction. You totally cut out Scheifer's question, which Clark responded to. Instead, you made it seem like Clark offered up to discuss the plane ride and crash.

Here's what it REALLY looked like.

SCHIEFFER: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean --

CLARK: Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

How is it possible to leave 28 words out of an EXCHANGE and not even use elipses, which would also be a misquote.

Posted by: Nathan | June 30, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Unless I'm mistaken, in his speech today, Obama repudiated Moveon.org's comments about Gen. Petraeus ( i.e., Gen. Betrayus) last year. It may not be a Sister Souljah moment, but it clearly qualifies as a step toward the center and away from the left.

Posted by: Lou | June 30, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

If All McCain has to offer is his resume the American people have a right to ask "What have you done for me lately." McCain should be admired and praised for his service, but his service alone does not necessarily make him capable of handling the broad range of issues that America faces, issues far beyond the Iraq War and the everpresent (If you beleve the Republican)terrorist threat. If Americans vote based on fear, what they should be fearing is themselves

Posted by: nclwtk | June 30, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company