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McCain vs Clark: Day Three

UPDATE, 1:10 pm: Clark continues his media campaign to explain his comments on Sunday -- appearing on Andrea Mitchell's show on MSNBC moments ago. Again, Clark reiterated his argument that serving in the military is not the same as exercising strategic judgment during a time of war.

"The service that he had wasn't the same as having been in White House or in the Pentagon or at a high level of command," Clark said. Later he added: "There is a distinction between having shown your courage and commitment....as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and having learned from that the judgment that will make you a better president."

Clark did note however, that what he had to say about McCain "had nothing to with Barack Obama."

(A sidenote: The Fix was furiously typing as Clark was talking so the above should not be treated as a verbatim transcript.)

Here's the video of Clark's interview with Andrea Mitchell:

ORIGINAL POST

The controversy over retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark's comments about John McCain's military service enters its third day -- providing an unwelcome distraction for Barack Obama's campaign as it seeks to build momentum heading into the long July 4th holiday weekend.

On Sunday, Clark, a Obama supporter, questioned McCain's qualifications for the White House, saying on CBS's "Face the Nation" that "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."

The latest developments:

* After Clark stood largely silent in the midst of the Republican onslaught yesterday, he emerged last night and this morning to clarify his remarks.

In a statement released last night, Clark said:

"I have made comments in the past about John McCain's service and I want to reiterate them in order to be crystal clear. As I have said before I honor John McCain's service as a prisoner of war and a Vietnam Veteran veteran. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war."

He then added:

"John McCain is running his campaign on his experience and how his experience would benefit him and our nation as President. That experience shows courage and commitment to our country - but it doesn't include executive experience wrestling with national policy or go-to-war decisions. And in this area his judgment has been flawed - he not only supported going into a war we didn't have to fight in Iraq, but has time and again undervalued other, non-military elements of national power that must be used effectively to protect America. But as an American and former military officer I will not back down if I believe someone doesn't have sound judgment when it comes to our nation's most critical issues."

* McCain's campaign scheduled a conference call featuring Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and former POW Orson Swindle designed to, yet again, castigate Clark for his comments.

"I do believe General Clark has made a huge mistake here," said Graham on this morning's conference call. "No matter how he sugarcoats it, he is trying to question John's service."

Swindle, going a step further than he would yesterday, alleged that Clark's comments were part of a broad, coordinated effort on behalf of the Obama campaign to invalidate McCain's military record.

"When you are in a tough political race and you have no qualifications and no experience and your opponent has a world of experience ... you've got to do something," Swindle said. "This is pretty much a deliberate effort to tear down the credibility of John McCain."

What to make of all of this sturm und drang?

The McCain campaign is clearly interested in keeping this story line alive as long as possible as it takes the national conversation away from the economy and high gas prices -- weaknesses for its candidate -- and into the realm of resumes, a fight the McCain campaign thinks it can win over Obama.

Obama himself was hoping to end the controversy with his speech yesterday on patriotism in which he decried the politicization of patriotism and military service -- rebuking Clark implicitly in the process.

Clark, however, has his own agenda apart from Obama's. The retired general and his political team believe his comments have been taken entirely out of context by the media. They are on a mission to correct the record before he becomes yet another surrogate casualty of the 2008 presidential race.

Clark's desire to set the record straight means that he is prolonging a story that does no favors for the Obama campaign. It allows McCain to play the victim and pound Obama for statements made by people not formally attached to the campaign. The controversy also threatens to overshadow Obama's twin speeches this week -- on patriotism yesterday and on faith today -- that his campaign had hoped would be major markers in the race for the next few months.

The longer this scrap between McCain and Clark continues, the worse it is for Obama. Luckily for the Illinois senator, July 4th arrives on Friday and the long weekend will probably wash away this brouhaha from the national headlines.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 1, 2008; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Elect John McBush and he will happily fight another war in the Middle East for Israel, this is what he knows best.

Posted by: andre | July 2, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Crazyme,

I guess being an old POW with a long career in the Senate is a better reason than being a young black/white with a short and limited experience!

Posted by: Caronte | July 2, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what Clark has to say about Obama's military experience and judgement?
The rookie can't distinguish a revolver from a pistol, not to mention his nonexistent executive expertise!

Posted by: Caronte | July 2, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

You know the joke about the phrase "military intelligence" being an oxymoron?
It's true.
Innate intellience is like being born with green eyes. You either have it or you don't. McCain graduted 6th from the bottom of his class at Annapolis. Barack Obama was at the top of his class and editor of the Harvard law review.
So - basically, what you people are saying is that as long as one has served in the military, and ESPECIALLY if they have been tortured, that makes them qualified to run our country.
WOW. We have a lot of future Presidential hopefuls in Iraq! Many of them joined up because it was the only job they could find in this McBUSH ECONOMY. I'm sure they'll be happy to know they are qualified to run the country. Much more decent pay.

Aren't you tired of electing the guy you want to have a beer with?
SERIOULSLY!!
Obama/Clark '08!!

Posted by: Crazyme | July 2, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

JR said: The larger point is that McCain doesn't want to talk to our enemies....

**********************

Apart from North Korea. Obviously.

We don't negotiate with rogue nations. Because that would be appeasement.

Except when we do. Because that's diplomacy.

Obviously.

Posted by: Fast Eddie | July 2, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I am that person saying that John McCain's experience makes him more qualified as a President. Of course, it's me and millions of others who recognize that things like putting your life on the line for your country, being mentally strong enough to withstand torture, sacrificing for others, having a sense of duty to your country and other Americans, refusing early release to honor your fellow prisoners, and showing courage under circumstances so dire we can't imagine them are all qualities you would want in a President. What fool would say those are insignificant qualities. Who is this person? It's bsimon.

Posted by: JerseyBoy | July 2, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious from the postings that few people perceive the true measure of John McCain's experience. All of it exemplifies qualities you'd want in a President. He volunteered to serve his country. He went to war knowing his life was on the line. He was shot down and had his bones broken by his captors. He suffered torture and held up to that pressure and those conditions. When offered early release before other prisoners he refused, choosing to subject himself to more torture and longer imprisonment.

Which of these qualities is insignificant? His courage, his love of country, his duty to country, his loyalty to fellow American prisoners, and his personal/mental strength and patriotism while withstanding mental and physical challenges few of us can imagine are all facets of one's character that make him even more qualified for the presidency.

Posted by: BadgerOne | July 2, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

While Gen. Clark is right, he's right in a Gore, Kerry, Dukakis, Adalai Stevenson pointy-headed kind of way.

The larger point is that the economy is in the tank and the war in Iraq was a bad idea and distracted us from al Qaida.

The larger point is that McCain, despite being commerce chair, readily admits that he's weak on economic expertise.

The larger point is that McCain doesn't want to talk to our enemies....

Which all leads to the largest point...

McCain wants war with Iran just as much as Bush wanted war with Iraq.

And if McCain were to prosecute a war in Iran the way he's run his campaign we are in deep, deep trouble.

Either Gen Clark can't see the forest for the trees or he has been assigned the minor position of nibbling at McCain's heels instead of the real job of punching him in the mouth.

I'm sick and tired of this country being defined by it's chief executive's deficiencies. Mediocrity is not a virtue in presidents.

Don't nibble at his heels... Kick his...

Posted by: JR, Boston | July 2, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

So, in addition to having a distinguished military carrer( which Clark discounts to his own diminishment) the 4 times as much Senate sercice as Obama and Hillary COMBINED, counts for nothing? If Senate service counts for nothing then why do we want to elect Obama? For his Charity work on the Chicago streets??????? Hmmmmmmm?

Posted by: PhillupSpace | July 2, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Obama believes nothing applies to him - attack Gerry Ferraro, twist Bill Clinton's words around, run a RACIAL campaign in South Carolina."
===================
You Hillary Nuts need help and soon.

Posted by: GObama | July 2, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Gen.Clark for finally bringing this to light because most people agree totally.The MSM and John McBush are the only ones making a big dael out of this for ratings.He spoke the truth and for some reason McBush is trying to convince everyone that its good for McCain and bad for Obama but I say he is crazy!Maybe this will cause him to finally bring his whole record to light and then we can judge for ourselves.Sen.Obama has nothing to apolize for so I hope he doesn't get caught up in defending Gen.Clark because this is what alot of us have been thinking anyway so now just let the chips fall whwere they may!!! HAHAHA!!!!!!THANK YOU GEN.CLARK and DON'T STOP~!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Spyda | July 2, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It amazes me that there can be this much ado about nothing. Clark never questioned McCain's patriotism or service, just whether or not those experiences give him the knowledge and credentials to run the country. If people are going to talk about inconsequential aspects concerning the candidates and the people around them, then let's talk about John McCain's wife with her inappropriate attire. The wife of a presidential candidate, especially on the republican side, should not be caught on tape over and over again showing as much cleavage as a playboy bunny on a date with Heff.

Stop with all the inconsequential b.s. Talk about the candidates plans for how to fix the things that are wrong with this country.

Posted by: lbounds | July 2, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I am absolutely furious at the US press for totally distorting General Wesley Clark's statements on John McCain's military service. I saw the interview on "Face The Nation" last Sunday and find myself in total agreement with General Clark. General Clark was ultra respectful of Senator McCain's service to the nation when he served in the military. However, General Clark spoke from personal executive experience of having to make tough decisions at that top executive level. Unfortunately, Senator McCain does not have that executive level military experience and that is the point that General Clark made. General Clark's statements are pristine clear and do not demean Senator McCain's service to the nation in any way. I personally support General Clark for his statements on this issue.

Unfortunately, I can no longer rely on the US press for valuable, accurate information. Frankly, I just do not recognize my country any more. Thank God for Obama who I will vote for in November.

Posted by: Rick Cadena | July 2, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Clark questioned McCain's executive qualifications, not McCain's military service.

This "outrage" generated by Clark's remarks is one largely manufactured by media - and McCain's campaign.

Posted by: EL | July 2, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

People don't change, Since they were married he has just lived off his wife like he did his family when he was young. Even his political career was bought for him. He has "NEVER" in his life personally created, built, or accomplished anything on his own. If he had been born into the circumstances of Obama he would have just lived a life on welfare and died of drugs and alcohol. Hell, he has already spent most of his life as an alcoholic as it is. Please, tell me what business he has built or anything he has ever accomplished on his own? Even with no responsibilities, no pressures and everything being paid for, the best he could do in school was to finish 896 out of a class of 899. My God, you can;t want this man for your president. Wake up. he wasn't even smart enough to raise the money to run for president with out his wife giving him an allowance. Jesus H Christ, step back and look at this man you want to vote for, is there something wrong with you people.


++++++++++
Kudos to General Clark for calliing a spade a spade. A lot of people know that John McCain was a horrible student during his time at the Academy--at taxpayers' expense. And many in the military who served with him know he wasn't even a good "jet jocky," crashing more than one plane without the help of the North Vietnamese. McCain's military service, apart from his POW time, was less than stellar. He was a "party boy" and womanizer, so he was lucky he had relatives in high places in the Navy!

Posted by: hmm | July 2, 2008 10:20 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to General Clark for calliing a spade a spade. A lot of people know that John McCain was a horrible student during his time at the Academy--at taxpayers' expense. And many in the military who served with him know he wasn't even a good "jet jocky," crashing more than one plane without the help of the North Vietnamese. McCain's military service, apart from his POW time, was less than stellar. He was a "party boy" and womanizer, so he was lucky he had relatives in high places in the Navy!

Posted by: hmm | July 2, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If it was, who cares, it's true

++++++++++++
"I would like everyone to realize that this controversy was PRE-PLANNED BY THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I guess we can't talk about any of this because Mcccain was a pow

++++++++
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/02/mccain-fundraiser-oversaw_n_110354.html

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"I would like everyone to realize that this controversy was PRE-PLANNED BY THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN."

Do you have any, like, uh, EVIDENCE, for that? Or do you just make things up as you type?

Posted by: Northern Pike | July 2, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Wow Chris, to some extent I have to admire your determination to dig yourself into a hole and keep digging.

Unless you're in some deep state of denial two things should now be apparent to you. Endlessly repeating the McCain campaign line - 'a firestorm for Democrats' - doesn't make it so. Despite sterling work to mischaracterize what was said, Clark's basic point has become understood. Being a POW has little or no relevance to being a POTUS.

Secondly, this isn't playing to McCain's 'strength', his war service, it's forcing him to justify its relevance. McCain is weak on the economy, weak on diplomacy, weak on social justice. In fact, weak on everything that will matter come November.

If all McCain can do is protect a 'strength' that's not playing to any great effect - he's up to 15% behind in opinion polls - he's a goner. Democratic strategists will be delighted to hear him spend the dwindling weeks remaining going down this dead end.

It's the economy, stupid. And the less time McCain spends on the most important issue in the election, the more stupid he looks.

Posted by: Eddie | July 2, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Exactly how is being a POW and a naval aviator a qualification to be President? That's the point. Clark did not demean McCain's service--he just questioned the questionable connection between war service and serving as President. Anyone want to answer that?

Posted by: Apostle | July 2, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

MCCAIN CAN RUN FROM THE ECONOMY BUT HE SURE CAN'T HIDE. MCCAIN DOESN'T HAVE A ECONOMIC PLAN. THE ECONOMY IS IN TROUBLE AND MCCAIN DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. THIS IS THE COUNTRY HE LOVES, WHY DOESN'T HE WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT BUT HE'LL TALK ABOUT IRAQ EVERYDAY OF THE WEEK. MCCAIN IS A LOSER. VOTE OBAMA.

Posted by: CAROL | July 2, 2008 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Mccain and his campaign want to talk about the economy? Isn't Mccain running for president and aren't we in a reccesion and Mccain doesn't want to talk about the economy! Than why is Mccain running for president if he doesn't want to talk about the main issue that concerns the American people. That shows you what Mccain is planning to do for the economy people, nothing. If you are as smart as you think you are you better vote for Obama.

Posted by: Jack | July 2, 2008 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Mccain and his campaign want to talk about the economy? Isn't Mccain running for president and aren't we in a reccesion and Mccain doesn't want to talk about the economy! Than why is Mccain running for president if he doesn't want to talk about the main issue that concerns the American people. That shows you what Mccain is planning to do for the economy people, nothing. If you are as smart as you think you are you better vote for Obama.

Posted by: Jack | July 2, 2008 6:12 AM | Report abuse

I would like everyone to realize that this controversy was PRE-PLANNED BY THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN.

First, send Wesley the Offender Clark out there to say outrageous things on purpose. Then have Obama make some pathetic speech about how patriotic Obama is SUPPOSED TO BE.


Didn't work this time, did it?


Obama manufactured this controversy - David the Deceiver Axelrod and David the Liar Plouffe - all got together and thought up this stupid sequence of events that the media was supposed to buy as genuine.


The purpose was to MASK THE FACT THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT OBAMA'S PATRIOTISM. I am angry and offended by these tactics. To have any Presidential campaign question John McCain's qualifications is out of bounds.


However, Obama does not believe the rules apply to him.


Obama believes that there is some affirmative action plan for candidates - the rules apply to everyone else - however Obama can do whatever he wants - lie about campaign finance reform - pull out of the system - complain about John McCain's stance when there is nothing to complain about.


Obama believes nothing applies to him - attack Gerry Ferraro, twist Bill Clinton's words around, run a RACIAL campaign in South Carolina.


Give racist arguments to the Superdelegates, nothing applies to Obama - see Obama believes that Jim Crow ENTITLES HIM TO NOT RESPECT THE RULES, NOT RESPECT ANYONE ELSE. Michele Obama is in the same line of thought. ONE PROBLEM FOR OBAMA: HIS FAMILY WAS NOT IN THIS COUNTRY DURING JIM CROW, Obama has no injury in his family.

I am sick of Obama.

.

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

I would like everyone to realize that this controversy was PRE-PLANNED BY THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN.

First, send Wesley the Offender Clark out there to say outrageous things on purpose. Then have Obama make some pathetic speech about how patriotic Obama is SUPPOSED TO BE.


Didn't work this time, did it?


Obama manufactured this controversy - David the Deceiver Axelrod and David the Liar Plouffe - all got together and thought up this stupid sequence of events that the media was supposed to buy as genuine.


The purpose was to MASK THE FACT THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT OBAMA'S PATRIOTISM. I am angry and offended by these tactics. To have any Presidential campaign question John McCain's qualifications is out of bounds.


However, Obama does not believe the rules apply to him.


Obama believes that there is some affirmative action plan for candidates - the rules apply to everyone else - however Obama can do whatever he wants - lie about campaign finance reform - pull out of the system - complain about John McCain's stance when there is nothing to complain about.


Obama believes nothing applies to him - attack Gerry Ferraro, twist Bill Clinton's words around, run a RACIAL campaign in South Carolina.


Give racist arguments to the Superdelegates, nothing applies to Obama - see Obama believes that Jim Crow ENTITLES HIM TO NOT RESPECT THE RULES, NOT RESPECT ANYONE ELSE. Michele Obama is in the same line of thought. ONE PROBLEM FOR OBAMA: HIS FAMILY WAS NOT IN THIS COUNTRY DURING JIM CROW, Obama has no injury in his family.

I am sick of Obama.

.

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

I would like everyone to realize that this controversy was PRE-PLANNED BY THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN.

First, send Wesley the Offender Clark out there to say outrageous things on purpose. Then have Obama make some pathetic speech about how patriotic Obama is SUPPOSED TO BE.


Didn't work this time, did it?


Obama manufactured this controversy - David the Deceiver Axelrod and David the Liar Plouffe - all got together and thought up this stupid sequence of events that the media was supposed to buy as genuine.


The purpose was to MASK THE FACT THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT OBAMA'S PATRIOTISM. I am angry and offended by these tactics. To have any Presidential campaign question John McCain's qualifications is out of bounds.


However, Obama does not believe the rules apply to him.


Obama believes that there is some affirmative action plan for candidates - the rules apply to everyone else - however Obama can do whatever he wants - lie about campaign finance reform - pull out of the system - complain about John McCain's stance when there is nothing to complain about.


Obama believes nothing applies to him - attack Gerry Ferraro, twist Bill Clinton's words around, run a RACIAL campaign in South Carolina.


Give racist arguments to the Superdelegates, nothing applies to Obama - see Obama believes that Jim Crow ENTITLES HIM TO NOT RESPECT THE RULES, NOT RESPECT ANYONE ELSE. Michele Obama is in the same line of thought. ONE PROBLEM FOR OBAMA: HIS FAMILY WAS NOT IN THIS COUNTRY DURING JIM CROW, Obama has no injury in his family.

I am sick of Obama.

.

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

You know the truth is, no one cares or even follows this stuff. If you stood in a mall with a piece of paper and asked people what Clark said about Mccain you could not find one in a hundred who would know what you were talking about. We like this stuff and read these blogs and watch all the political shows but the majority of the public could care less. They know very little and these day to day stories we think are so important don't really mean sh&t to 99% of the voting public.

++++++++++
Clark another gift to McCain that keeps on giving, and giving. Every time he opens his mouth he keeps putting his foot deeper into it. Keep it Clark

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

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | July 1, 2008 9:59 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Clark another gift to McCain that keeps on giving, and giving. Every time he opens his mouth he keeps putting his foot deeper into it. Keep it Clark

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

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | July 1, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

"McCain's qualifications for President come from 22 years of foriegn affairs, legislative, and budgetary experience."

Perhaps if Clark was asked that, he would have answered as such.

(You guys do realize that Clark was ASKED about the whole getting shot down, right?)

Posted by: DDAWD | July 1, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

MO - you and like minded necon's are welcome to commit suicide. Just leave the rest of us out of it, okay?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 1, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Clark is a liar regarding his intentions and nothing more than a political hack for Obama. They both have the integrity of gnats.

Posted by: MO | July 1, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

General Clark is a real meanie. Mac is a hero because he got shot down. Did you get shot down? Well, did you? Now I don't, uh, know Mac, uh, personally but I hear he should be President because he got shot down. Go Mac.

Sincerely,

Vicki I.

Posted by: Broadway Joe | July 1, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"McCain's qualifications for President come from 22 years of foriegn affairs, legislative, and budgetary experience. His ability to change position on a program when he sees a program isn't working is a plus. The fact that many times he is at odds with his own party when their policy goes against his beliefs and principles is also a plus. McCain is probably the closest thing to a common sense Independent that I've seen. His energy program is far more well rounded and multi-dimensional then Barck Obama's, as is his concept of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Wesley Clark would have to agree, you can't just pack up and walk out of Iraq without opening the door to a genocidal blood bath. Although McCain was in favor of the removal of Saddam Hussien, his was very much against the Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld method of conducting the war. The mess Bush created has to be cleaned up by someone and McCain is far better qualified to do it then Obama."
==================
In the sea of ad hominen insults hurled toward the Candidates from both sides, I find this one of the most substantive, and interesting, comments on McCain that I have read yet.

I am an Obama supporter, but I think that you have given me a little food for thought capt.

Your first 3 points are well taken; McCain has a wealth of legislative experience on which to draw. I also agree that McCain's energy plan has shaped up to more comprehensive than I expected it to be (I agree that Obama needs to flesh out his own energy policy; I don't think that drilling should be rejected out of hand.)

I would go farther than you about McCain and Iraq, I don't see the McCain of 2000 ever going into Iraq (pity that McCain wasn't the President during 9/11...I for one was ready to vote for him, but instead was forced to vote for Gore and the detestable Joe Lieberman.) I am one of those Democrats that actually like John McCain, but can't vote for him in 2008.

One reason is, after looking at his economic plans, I just don't see him veering away, in any meaningful way at least, from the failed Bush policies; McCain was right the first time...we simply can't afford the Bush tax cuts, we couldn't when Bush proposed them and we can't now, especially as we wage expensive War on 3 fronts: Iraq, Afghanistan, Homeland. It appears that McCain will continue the deep deficit spending of the Bush administration, and with the estimated saving from cutting non-essential earmarks at 18 Billion, it isn't nearly enough to cover the new tax cuts McCain proposes.

McCain has no real plan to expand healthcare to most Americans...his tax credits wouldn't buy much of a plan for any American with pre-existing conditions, and McCain has certainly not offered to compel the Insurance Companies to change their policies regarding "high risk" policy holders.

I would also say that for all McCain's supposed vast foreign policy experience he has expressed some dubious ideas such as pre-emptively bombing Iran, and kicking Russia out of the G8, what good would that do with Russia's growing influence in Europe and in certain regions of the Middle-East, they are posed to become a major player in World Politics again, and shouldn't we try to stay friendly with them? Consider that they are trading partners with Iran for example, shouldn't we be striving to develop a better relationship with the Russians so that we might press them to use their influence to get Iran to stand down it's nuclear ambitions?

Re the withdrawal from Iraq, I honestly don't think that Obama will withdraw without, shall I say it, preconditions. NATO troops may be deployed in our stead, for example, Iraq will be forced to step up, heck with the Oil money they have banked they could hire Blackwater and other private security firms to suppliment their army if they want.

What is also very clear is that Europe, and other parts of the World (other Arab Nations) have a vested interest in keeping Oil Rich Iraq from collapsing into sectarian violence, and everyone has an interest in stopping Iran from obtaining Nuclear capability.

I guess what I am saying is that it disturbs me that McCain seems prepared to continue the policies that cast America as Policeman to the World, while Senator Obama is absorbed more fully with the vast problems here at home.

Posted by: radical_moderate | July 1, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Take that with the totality of the rest of Mccains unremarkable to even disgraceful military Career and it is a conversation I don't think the Mccain people really what to be having. The word average would be exemplary to Mccain based on his record. This guys record has to be brought out at some point. He should not be allowed to run on this phony hero crap any longer, it is an insult to every man who served.

++++++++++
Clark's comments, taken in context and undistorted, are absolutely dead on accurate. Getting shot down and becoming a POW is not, in and of itself, a qualification to be Commander-in-Chief. Clark has a much more impressive military record and his executive experience exceeds McCain's modest record by megatons. McCain has been a career politican since 1982, and despite his long exposure to international affairs, his professional judgement is horrendous and scary. Please, can we move on and talk about something substantive before the corporate media coverage of this campaign becomes as vaccuous as its coverage of the Democratic primary campaign.

Posted by: maxfli | July 1, 2008 6:43 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk - re: the Carter economy. We have something far worse than the Carter economy right now and it's going to get A LOT worse. The only difference is, the government published accuate figures under Carter, under the Bush Whitehouse they are faked. Real unemployment RIGHT NOW is close to 15%, real inflation is in the 30% neighborhood and it hasn't even touched it's high! Same for interest rates. What do you think that devalued dollar is all about? The economy is in shambles because of the globalization schemes run amuck by the NeoCons and assorted free traitors.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 1, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear that all Clark meant was that being a brave soldier, even an elite fighter piolet, does not make one an automatic good military leader. Witness, in recent days, the McCain-Bush-Cheney drumbeat to take military action against Iran. Now, I have no idea if this is a godd idea or not, but most of the rest of the world thinks there are a lot fo things we can do before going to war. The most sober estimates think that any such action would have immediate conequences. The conflict would spread, immediately, to Lebanon, Syria, Africa, Thailand, Iraq and the Phillipeans, wherever there is a large population of Shia. It WOULD spread quickly to embroil all of the Middle East. One immediate effect would be the cutoff of oil supplies to the U.S. and Europe, and that would mean and immediate and horrible DEPRESSION. Oil suppply routes are fragile and most are near Iran and could be cut off by even a poorly armed force. You can count on that. You can also count on Shia everywhere rising up against Sunni leaders. People are upset that a few thousand US troops have died. Imagine hindreds of thousands, imagine attacks in this country, and on US interests all over the world. If you ant to commit immediate economic and national suicide, go ahead and attack Iran. McCain is out and out insane, completely cut off from reality.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 1, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Capt Howard wrote:

"No officer in the U.S. military, active or retired, demeans a fellow officer's service to his country, and that's exactly what Clark did! "
__________________________________________________

Are you aware that one of the first people McCain trotted out to attack Wes Clark was Bud Day? He was one of the leaders of the vicious attacks on John Kerry's war record and patriotism.

Even on McCain's conference call a few days ago, Day STILL was attacking Kerry. You can listen to it yourself right here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/offthebus-listening-post/mccain-campaign-press-cal_b_110010.html

Posted by: Doug in NYC | July 1, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

It seems that the requirements for President shift each election. I'm a retired federal worker. I cared for veterans that were in the military for over thirty years. I've heard all sorts of war stories, most of which I believe are true. Several of my patients went into public service positions. I guess that would make them all qualified for the office. Get real!

Posted by: George | July 1, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Since this bogus controversy started, Sen. Jim "Born Fighting" Webb and two or three generals have weighed in, totally backing up Gen. Wes. Wes's point is basic: the fact Mac got shot down 40 years ago is not a qualification to be President. That this statement of fact got in the way of the media's hero narrative for Mac is too bad. To his credit, Gen. Wes isn't backing down, and by gum, he went and said it again. At some point Mac will have to debate BO on the real issues (and not depend on a media-authored biography). Let's talk about the War, global warming, gas prices, algae in China, the disappearance of all the ice on the North Pole -- and let's not talk about flag jewelry, Revs. Wright and Phleger, Ayers, fist bumps, BO's saying "bitter," BO's middle name, nonexistent tapes of Michelle saying "Whitey" (What's up: "the Beave" did that in every episode so go holler at him and Wally and Gilbert), and Scarlett Johanssen's emails to BO. By the way, I think the way "Born Fighting" jumped in just won himself a VP slot with BO; BF seems abrasive but you get the sense when BF says he has your back, you're covered for good -- he really does have your back. When fantasy VP contender HRC says she has your back, well, you won't have a back. World Peace.

Posted by: Broadway Joe | July 1, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

"summary of Lib positions:

Everything bad is someone else's fault.

(On the other hand everything good is to the Republican's ever lasting credit...especially Reagan's credit. The success of the Clinton Years? Reagan's. Conversely, the slowing of the economy any time after Bush took office, Clinton's fault)

Everything good was all me.

(see the comments regarding Saint Reagan above.)

Posted by: GObama | July 1, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Clark's comments, taken in context and undistorted, are absolutely dead on accurate. Getting shot down and becoming a POW is not, in and of itself, a qualification to be Commander-in-Chief. Clark has a much more impressive military record and his executive experience exceeds McCain's modest record by megatons. McCain has been a career politican since 1982, and despite his long exposure to international affairs, his professional judgement is horrendous and scary. Please, can we move on and talk about something substantive before the corporate media coverage of this campaign becomes as vaccuous as its coverage of the Democratic primary campaign.

Posted by: maxfli | July 1, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

This story appearing today kind of confirms what I have been saying, Mccain doesn't even want to be president. Mccain is trapped in a place he never dreamed he would find himself and wishes he could just run away and hide.
_ _ _
Four months have passed since John McCain effectively captured the party nomination and the insiders are getting restless. Top GOP officials, frustrated by what they view as inconsistent messaging, sluggish fundraising and an organization that is too slow to take shape, are growing increasingly uneasy about the direction of the McCain presidential campaign.

While the practice of second-guessing presidential campaign decisions is a quadrennial routine, interviews with sixteen GOP strategists and state party chairmen--few of whom would agree to talk on the record--reveal a striking level of discord and mounting criticism about the McCain operation.

"It's not just message or not having just one single meta-theme to compete with Obama," said a veteran Republican strategist with close ties to McCain's top advisors. "It's not just fundraising, which is mediocre. And it's not even just organization, which is starting or non-existent in many states."

"McCain's campaign seems not to have a game plan. I don't see a consistent message," said Ed Rollins, a veteran of Republican presidential campaigns. "As someone who has run campaigns, this campaign is not running smoothly. But none of this matters if they get their act together."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I made my biggest contribution yesterday, how much have you given to your candidate? Maybe you can borrow a few bucks on your trailer and give Mccain a little.

++++++++++
Where did all the money go? Since I beat hillary, no one is giving to me anymore. come on people, I have big expenses. If you don't give now, I will just raise your taxes even more than 100%. and I can do it too.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 6:00 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I just dont agree with the writer. This issue is not about whether it causes Obama more problems.

Clark makes very important points. Being a POW is not a Presdiential qualification. Being a war hero speaks to qualities of honor and integrity, which is necessary but not sufficient condition. Clark is highlighting this and stating that the Presidential qualities of judgment is missing in McCain.
I think that is a pretty good point. It is upto us as citizens to decide whether it is valid or not.

Why should it be cast as favoring Obama or McCain. Why cant it cast as offering a hitherto unarticulated point and causing the public to think about it?

Posted by: Rocky | July 1, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I have looked Mccain in the eyes several times over the years.
There is nothing there. And most recently I seriously doubt his well being. He has even declined just over the length of this campaign. Think I am kidding, get some clips from even only a tear ago. He is night and day. The Mccain of only a year ago is much sharper then today. At one year into his presidency should he be elected the big stories on all the news shows will be Mccain possibly being removed due to incompetence. He has said he will hold many news conferences and they are going to be very telling if he does. The presidents mental well being will be the big story about a year from today should Mccain win.

-----------------
No one said Obama wasn't smart. Actually he is about as slick as they get.

But we don't need slick. We don't need paper. We need experience.

Obama doesn't have it.

What he does have is the support of our enemies.

When our enemies look Obama in the eye - what do they see/ A small time street hustler who is congenitally weak.

When they look McCain in the eye, they see a guy who has been tested in the fire and walked out like a man. While that infuriates the metro-sexuals, it means something to international thugs.

Posted by: | July 1, 2008 5:06 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Clark is absolutely right and should stay the course. The news media and the McCain campaign try to take sound bites out of context and make something nasty of them. Clark did not even misspeak and it was not even an "inartful" comment as Obama suggested. It was clear, relevant and well-said. He did not disrespect McCain's service record or anyone else's service. He merely said it was not a good platform for running for President. Many people have served the country and we can be grateful (including my father in WWII) but we would not want them to be President.

Posted by: t spangler | July 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The FIX author(s)might do well to check for themselves what was said and its meaning. They probably should do that instead of allowing themselves to become a part of some 'spin machine'.

To be honest, with all of the words used by the author, and quotes from the so-called McCain 'truth squad', there is very little of value in the article.

It baffles me how many so-called reporters and so-called 'professional' opinion writers have difficulty with the English language and understanding it or, for that matter even what is the 'purpose" of language. Most of the time it appears that they are being paid by the word to fill column space.

Posted by: Robert I. Laitres | July 1, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Where did all the money go? Since I beat hillary, no one is giving to me anymore. come on people, I have big expenses. If you don't give now, I will just raise your taxes even more than 100%. and I can do it too.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

When I fulfill my promise to invade Pakistan, I promise you it will be with only four helicoptors. My Carter era advisors say they want another try at that approach and I am willing to ignore change if it serves me well.

I am also willing to let the next President, my successor, handle all my foreign policy errors and cowardice, just like Jimmy.

I will cancel all future military systems being built - just like Jimmy.

I will create numerous big government efforts, like Dept of education, dept of Energy, dept of affirmitive action, dept of flip-flops, dept of waiting in line for a doctor, etc. We can now see how effective they were in solving problems. We all know that energy is all fixed and schools are better then ever, thanks to Jimmy.

I will personally set the price of important goods every morning at breakfast. Just like Jimmy.

I will be voted out of office in disgrace (assuming I can lie my way in), just like Jimmy.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Look for (another) all new me to be released soon.
and this time I promise all sorts of wacky liberal views.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Until today I had been trying to avoid seeming too much like Jimmy Carter, what with the misery, the inflation, the bad economy, the weak foreign policy, etc. As a defense mechanism I flip-flopped all arund on all my most important stated policies.

but now I have discovered that all my liberal friends are hoping for a return to those days of yore. I am so excited. It is much, much easier to reveal the truth about my views than to keep trying to hide all my friends and positions.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

If McCain's supporters keep focusing on his vs Clark's war record, pretty soon others, not necessarily his detractors, will begin publicly agitating for his full military record to be released to the public. To date, it's been closely guarded to the point where he's gotten rather belligerent about anyone even bringing up the subject. A lot of GOP senators who know McCain, pray this won't happen.

Posted by: ccallure | July 1, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Clark is right. We live in an age where everyone seemingly can stop from inflating whatever experience they have to make them qualified for positions that dont necessarily require their experience.

The only experience that truely qualifies one as Presidential material is being president if you got it right the first time. Not first lady. Not VP, Not Prisoner of war, Not Harvard Law School Grad. NONE OF THE ABOVE.

What qualifies one is having a brain in their head, a determination to put in the long hours, and a willingness to learn, especially from mistakes and a desire to truly serve the American people, all of them, not just one or a few segments

Posted by: nclwtk | July 1, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

summary of Lib positions:

Everything bad is someone else's fault.

Everything good was all me.

Just invert this for the Lib opinion on Repubs.

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 1, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear I was living in the 1970s right now:

-Inflation
-Higher unemployment
-Unrest in the Middle East
-Fuel supply problems

There's one difference:
Instead of boycotting the Olympics, we're going -- going to the Olympics in an oppressive, authoritarian -- official communist country -- and saying nothing about it, making no stand for right or freedom.

Well if it's the late 1970s again, then which one -- Obama or McCain -- has the best chance at being the new Reagan?

Posted by: Deja Vu | July 1, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

>>"Enjoy the 21% interest rates, the exhorbitant energy costs, the high unemployment, the feckless foreign policy, the hollowed out military, the surrender on all fronts, the confused decisions, the cardigans for policy, the Xmas tree lights off, the skipping of Olympics, the surrender of Afghanistan again, the misery index, the sorrow, pity and demoralizing results."

Boy, it's one thing to no know you're history. It's another to distort it for petty personal gain.

Here we go:
>The 21% interest rates.
Certainly not CARTER's fault. The fault for this, as any conservative economist will tell you, lies with NIXON, whose plan of price and rent controls and taking the US abruptly off the gold standard was an utter failure.

>Exhorbitant energy costs
Energy wasn't particularly expensive in the 1970s, adjusted for inflation -- rather, energy was scarce. You can't blame Carter for the earth's natural, finite resources.

>the high unemployment
Again, see NIXON, wacky economic moves.

>, the feckless foreign policy
You know, I haven't heard the word "feckless" so much as in the last month, and it's always about Carter. Are you guys reading from talking points, or what?
On the one, YOU'RE COMPLETELY WRONG. Carter negotiated peace between Egypt and Israel, the only durable peace in the Middle East over the last 30 years. How is that feckless?

>The hollowed out military
Again, any examination of troop strength will find cuts under NIXON and FORD.

>The surrender on all fronts
This is a broad, factless assertion and namecalling. No response necessary.

>the confused decisions
Again, no details. Although I'd say having a "secret plan to end" the Vietnam War and then enlarging and deepening that war sounds pretty confused. Also, a 1976 analysis that Eastern Europe was not under Soviet domination is also fits that defintion.

>the cardigans for policy
Again, factless. But you must be referring to Carter's 1977 pre-empted speech in which he appeared before a fireside, wearing a sweater. FDR did that on the radio and was considered a popular hero. Apparently, you are interested in image, and not policy.

>the Xmas tree lights off
If GE's Nela Park division had invented compact flourescents in 1978 Carter probably would have used them. But they exist now, and I believe that's what is used.

>the skipping of Olympics
Do you believe in coddling communists, sir? Carter took a decisive step. He didn't "skip," he boycotted. Which led directly to the Soviet boycott of the 1984 games, leading to a record number of US medals. I guess you figure we should give those medals back.

>the surrender of Afghanistan
I guess you're confused. It was the SOVIETS who surrendered in Afghanistan.

>the misery index, the sorrow, pity and demoralizing results.
I guess you haven't been to a gas station lately.

Posted by: Ego Nemo | July 1, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

No one said Obama wasn't smart. Actually he is about as slick as they get.

But we don't need slick. We don't need paper. We need experience.

Obama doesn't have it.

What he does have is the support of our enemies.

When our enemies look Obama in the eye - what do they see/ A small time street hustler who is congenitally weak.

When they look McCain in the eye, they see a guy who has been tested in the fire and walked out like a man. While that infuriates the metro-sexuals, it means something to international thugs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Does pointing out that executive experience is a good indicator of presidential abilities impress you as something a Democrat should be saying right now?

Unless his goal is to ruin it for Barack and hence get to be SecDef in 2012 under Hillary.

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 1, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk

Dunderhead? You know the man is one of the highest ranking military generals in history right?

Posted by: otonomus maximus | July 1, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Being from a military family, serving in the military, and acting heroically does not qualify you to be President of the United States. It does make you more qualified to be Commander In Chief then someone who has no military experience."

So the dumbest member of the military is more qualified to be president than the smartest man to never have served?

Posted by: DDAWD | July 1, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Carter was a great president. Remember 20% interest rates? Remember the first attack on our embassy in Teheran?

Remember the 2nd attack on our embassy in Teheran? Hmm, what did Bush do to anger the moslems then???? Where was Rove?

Remember how resoundingly Carter was fired?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a Jimmy Carter over another Colledge, Harding, Hoover, Nixon, Bush I, Reagon, or Bush II!

Posted by: A Pismo Clam | July 1, 2008 4:40 PM

that is indeed exactly what you are looking at.

Enjoy the 21% interest rates, the exhorbitant energy costs, the high unemployment, the feckless foreign policy, the hollowed out military, the surrender on all fronts, the confused decisions, the cardigans for policy, the Xmas tree lights off, the skipping of Olympics, the surrender of Afghanistan again, the misery index, the sorrow, pity and demoralizing results.

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 1, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"The true logic is, Experience going the wrong way, & doing the wrong thing is far worse than no experience."

That's it exactly.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

When your getting spanked as bad as McBush, you need all the help you can get, no matter how out of context it is.

Posted by: otonomus maximus | July 1, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thats it, weak.

++++++++++++
Obama will surround himself with the brightest and the best. If he can't get it done no one can no matter how many years of experience you may think they have.

Excuse me, but so far the people with whom Obama has surrounded himself are pretty disgusting.

If Ayres, Wright and Rezco, along with the vote riggers at Acorn are any example, you may want to rethink that little piece of propaganda.

But then again, if you are an Obama supporter, those are probably pretty respectable people.

Posted by: | July 1, 2008 4:35 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The true logic is, Experence going the wrong way, & doing the wrong thing is far worse than no experance.

Posted by: Larsen E. Whipsnade | July 1, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a Jimmy Carter over another Colledge, Harding, Hoover, Nixon, Bush I, Reagon, or Bush II!

Posted by: A Pismo Clam | July 1, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Here is how Lib math and logic works:

A. Suppose that executive experience is a prerequisite for being capable of being President.

B. Point out that McCain does not have much executive experience

C. conclude McCain is not qualified to be President

Easy as pi

Only you must also conclude that since Obama has even less executive experience, he is even less qualified to be President. Oooppss.

this is the kind of strategic thinking that got that dunderhead Clark fired from his job.

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 1, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

If getting shot down and captured is some kind of qualification, I would think that NOT getting shot down and captured is an even better one.

Yup - and the best way to do that is in the Obama paradigm - never serve to begin with. Stay on the sidelines and complain.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

When will the media do a credible job on this issue? Stand up now and give us a thorough examination of McCain's actual military record. And give us the complete transcript of the Shieffer/Clark exchange rather than snippets that distort Clark's position.

Bottom line is Clark told the truth: McCain's claim that his military experience somehow enhances his ability to lead the nation is baseless. Clark did not impugn McCain's patriotism or question his personal courage.

The continued whining over this faux controversy makes McCain and the GOP look even weaker than they first appeared. He is not fit to serve as our president; he knows it, the party knows it, and now we know it too.

Posted by: dee | July 1, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama will surround himself with the brightest and the best. If he can't get it done no one can no matter how many years of experience you may think they have.

Excuse me, but so far the people with whom Obama has surrounded himself are pretty disgusting.

If Ayres, Wright and Rezco, along with the vote riggers at Acorn are any example, you may want to rethink that little piece of propaganda.

But then again, if you are an Obama supporter, those are probably pretty respectable people.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I don't really mind everyone talking about this. It keeps the light of day off my complete lack of the new ideas I promised. Oh well, I'll just go with the old Jimmy Carter ideas if no one minds.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

What does experience matter if McSame is going to keep selling the same old stinky cheese as Bush?

Posted by: Rick | July 1, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

If getting shot down and captured is some kind of qualification, I would think that NOT getting shot down and captured is an even better one.

Posted by: David | July 1, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain and Clark are both war heroes. Clark came home from Vietnam on a stretcher, with four bullets in him.

He did nothing to dis McCain's service or heroic status. But the Republican attack dogs--and much of the media--didn't like his analysis, and those attack dogs are smearing Clark's service.

Irony police?

Posted by: Dave Cullen | July 1, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Listening to Gen Clark's actual remarks in context, i found nothing objectionable about them. McCain is twisting his words in hopes that nobody will again question McCain's military record. In fact, his military performance should be on the table, and it's not all flattering. McCain got into the Naval Academy on the coattails of his father and grandfather (both admirals) but graduated fifth from the bottom of his class. He was given plum assignments and promotions despite being a mediocre pilot (he crashed a total of five planes, including the one that landed him in a POW camp.) Being beaten up for five years by the Viet Cong is unfortunate, but how does that entitle him to be president? More likely, the trauma and deprivation caused permanent mental and emotional damage, in addition to the physical. We know that McCain is an angry and impulsive man - do we really want those qualities in our president?

Posted by: barbara campbell | July 1, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"Songbird" McCain's service should be honored every bit as much as the Hypublicrits honored John Kerry's with their purple hart bandaids at the Hypublicrit hatenanny 4 years ago.

Posted by: Rick | July 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Do The Math 3:58:

Good post. Barack Obama's area of expertise is certainly LAW. McCain would be foolish to go toe to toe with him on that. I have to inquire as to what other experience does Obama have so early in his career that would qualify him as President. The judgement issue doesn't fly well with quite a few folks.

McCain seems to be more well rounded and seasoned. He is not perfect and has stumbled a few times early in his career, but he has learned from his mistakes (hopefully, as we all do). Obama still needs that seasoning.

Your point has been well taken.

Posted by: Capt Howard | July 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if this is a comedy or a bad B-movie.

The more the Repos keep this thread alive, the more it becomes absolutely ludicrous in helping McCain.

I'll give the guy a bone for his 'years' of military experience. And that would make him qualified, after getting back and then dissing his wife while she was sick, and then Keating Five the country, and then...

Hey "The Hill," we can do this with our eyes closed. I'm waiting for the youtubes of Bush, Rove and Company discrediting our dear war hero from 2000 to surface. Oh, and that I was 'against almost anything I say now' before I am it (now).

Next.

Posted by: Captain John | July 1, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter because it is what Mccain has built his campaign around. Destroy that and there is nothing else. Obama has never made such claims and has nothing to lose.

+++++++++
Obama supporters, is this the hill you want to die on?

Although Clark is correct that McCain doesn't have as much military leadership experience as a general, he has much more than Obama. No matter how much this line of attack manages to weaken McCain, he'll always have an advantage over Obama. By all means, please keep this story alive! At the end of the day, the Military Experience score is always:

Obama - 0
McCain - More than zero.

Posted by: The Hill | July 1, 2008 4:21 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

General Clark was and is right!

Being a POW for 5 years is tough but I do not see that it grants McShame a free ride to the WH. If McShame brings it up in his campaign as a reason to consider him for President, then it's fair game to suggest otherwise.

The reason McShame is fighting this so hard is that he has nothing else left with which to Wow and Amaze us. He's been shown to be a flip-flopper of monstrous proportions. Jeez, even John Kerry could learn a few things from McShame.

The Straight Talk Express is really a "short bus".

Posted by: Roofelstoon | July 1, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama supporters, is this the hill you want to die on?

Although Clark is correct that McCain doesn't have as much military leadership experience as a general, he has much more than Obama. No matter how much this line of attack manages to weaken McCain, he'll always have an advantage over Obama. By all means, please keep this story alive! At the end of the day, the Military Experience score is always:

Obama - 0
McCain - More than zero.

Posted by: The Hill | July 1, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is Obama's 4 star water boy. What a peice of crap

Posted by: ziggy1 | July 1, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama is young and has vision and the ability to work with and organize people. That may be one of the most desirable qualities a president needs. Have you ever passed a construction site? As you go by the building keeps getting bigger and bigger and finally there it is. Do you think for one minute those workers you see running around that site had anything to do with the creation of that building beyond their small contribution? That building was built by a guy with vision and the ability to coordinate efforts to achieve an end result. He never laid a brick or spliced a wire but that building is his complete creation never the less. Not one of those skilled workers could have done what he did regardless of their experience.

Experience does not mean a thing, It can be bought and people with experience are a dime a dozen. People with vision and who can get things done are the rare commodity. The John Mccains are a dime a dozen in Washington, the Obamas come along once in a generation.

In Washington I would say there are tens of thousands of years of experience walking around and none of them would you want as a president. But, you do want their knowledge and input because they have value in their area. Obama will surround himself with the brightest and the best. If he can't get it done no one can no matter how many years of experience you may think they have.

When I look at a guy like Mccain I just see an old man stuck in the mud. A guy who if you knew his most private thoughts I would bet wishes he had never gotten himself in this spot. I seriously doubt he even wants to be president, it has never been a life long ambition. He is like a dog chasing a car that has now stopped and he caught up, now what does he do? That is what when you see Mccain, a guy who wishes he was somewhere else.

===========
So, if McCain's proven courage, patriotism, dedication, long demonstrable record of legislation doesn't qualify him to be president - WTF has Obama done that does?

Oh, he was a political activist connected with a vote rigging organization and has a black muslim father.

Sorry - stupid me.

Posted by: | July 1, 2008 3:55 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Do the math - understanding law and having a degree does not necessarily convey understanding of an issue.

You cite a recent supreme court decision as a barometer of understanding.

Well, recently, the supreme court ruled on the 2nd amendment. Thats good. Whats bad is that 4 justices refused to understand, nor confirm the 2nd amendment.

I guess Obama understands this better than anyone, since he was against gun ownership - before he was for it.

Consider this - the well worn left wing argument against the 2nd, is that the framers did not envision assault weapons - although they made no distinction between contemporary assault weapons and squirrel rifles. Do we then logically carry that further and ban electronic communication because the founders could not have possibly conceived of the web when they wrote the 1st amendment and the idea of election results being skewed due to reporting of closed polls on the east coast on the west - before the polls have closed?

Or that terrorists could raise funds through web sites?

That is scary. I guess it depends on which side of the constitution you are on when you consider the level of understanding.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

To my utter shock, CNN just handled this responsibly on The Situation Room.

Bob Roberts (in for Wolfe) played the slightly longer clip, with the question, and then said, "General, you were countering a point, that Bob S had made . . ."

Exactly. Thank you.

(BTW, is there anyone who has seen Bob's statements who doesn't think they were idiotic? Sometimes I'm incredulous at how the media picks its villians.)

Posted by: Dave Cullen | July 1, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

>"It does make you more qualified to be Commander In Chief then someone who has no military experience."

First off, Chris, this is one of those manufactured controversies that you hear so much about. Few Americans know who Wesley Clark is, and even fewer realize that he is a retired general.

This is also about what one man said on one TV show, hardly the sort of thing on which hangs the fate of the Republic.

We're talking about it because we are the people who talk about political minutae and because there is SO LITTLE TO TALK ABOUT in this presidential race.

The next valid, helpful news will be VP selections, and those are weeks away.

That said, I think the above comment shows what has been a silent sort of discrimination in American politics for decades now, and evidence of a thoroughgoing misunderstanding of American history.

First off, let me tell you a story. In recent years, in the legislature of a Southeastern state, a lawmaker rose to tell of how military service was a crucial thing to public service. He spoke about how his own peacetime service in the military had prepared him for his election as a state lawmaker.
When he finished speaking, another lawmaker arose, a member of the same party, and on this Veteran's Day, proceeded to harangue for the first speaker for only being a veteran. "You don't know service unless you are a COMBAT VETERAN," he said, sticking in the knife and twisting.

Such is the ugliness when people start comparing how patriotic they are.

The stated qualifications for president are these: 35 years old, natural born citizen, resident in the country.

AS FOR THE QUESTION of history: Has military service produced better presidents.

Consider this, our greatest presidents were arguably WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON, LINCOLN and FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. For arguments sake, let's put in two recent presidential saints -- KENNEDY and REAGAN:

Washington: Combat general.
Jefferson: No military service.
Lincoln: Militia combat service.
Roosevelt: No military service (although, asst. secretary of the Navy during World War I).
Kennedy: Naval combat officer.
Reagan: No military service.

Consider, again subjectively, a list of our worst presidents, BUCHANAN, PIERCE, FILLMORE, GRANT and HARDING.

And, again, I through in some ideological favorites -- CARTER for those in the cult of his haters, and EISENHOWER for those in his:

BUCHANAN: Militia combat service.
PIERCE: Combat general.
FILLMORE: Militia combat service.
GRANT: Combat general.
HARDING: No military service.
EISENHOWER: Combat general.
CARTER: Naval combat officer.

Here, you can see why TRUMAN (combat officer) wrote in his secret diary that "brass hats" make the worst presidents. He figured being an enlisted soldier or sailor probably didn't do you any harm, but he was sure that officer's bars inflated the ego too much to be of any use in the presidency. The only military men of any esteem to TRUMAN were JACKSON and WASHINGTON. The rest, he figured, were just bloviators.

Posted by: Ego Nemo | July 1, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Four years ago, delegates at the Republican convention implied that John Kerry's war injuries were faked, but it OK to denigate THAT particular veteran.

Now, Wesley Clark makes the rather obvious observation that POW status isn't necessarily a qualification to be president, and that's considered beyond the pale.

It's the bullies who always cry the loudest when they think they're getting picked on.

Posted by: Northern Pike | July 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

New Iraq report: 15 of 18 benchmarks satisfactory

all this success is not serving liberal's interests.

Posted by: libs circle the bowl | July 1, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is right - how does getting shot down and jumping out of an airplane make anyone uniquely qualified to get clobbered by Obama in November?

Posted by: bondjedi | July 1, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Wes Clark is right.

Posted by: Jayne | July 1, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

We should give credit where credit is due, and certainly McCain deserves a lot of credit for showing courage and dedication to his country though his military service. It is intellectually dishonest, though, to say that Clark devalues McCain's service by pointing out that it is not necessarily the kind of experience which proves McCain would make a good president. Clark has not even said that McCain would not make a good president, only that his heroic service does not prove that he would.

If anyone is devaluing anything in this campaign, it is McCain constantly suggesting that Obama doesn't understand various issues. In at least one case I can think of, the recent decision on habeas corpus, the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion as Obama on the issue Obama supposedly didn't understand. And that's not surprising considering that Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and was president of Harvard Law Review. Yet, if you listened to McCain, you'd think Obama didn't understand law any better than - well, any better than McCain.

Posted by: DoTheMath | July 1, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

So, if McCain's proven courage, patriotism, dedication, long demonstrable record of legislation doesn't qualify him to be president - WTF has Obama done that does?

Oh, he was a political activist connected with a vote rigging organization and has a black muslim father.

Sorry - stupid me.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

History is full of foolish old men with bad judgment.

(The Bush administration has shown us clearly that:)

Experience does not automatically bring skill and good judgment.

A familiar face is a poor substitute for a wise and deliberate hand.


Posted by: Feared Sentiments | July 1, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

To all the Obama/ Wesley Clark folk;

Being from a military family, serving in the military, and acting heroically does not qualify you to be President of the United States. It does make you more qualified to be Commander In Chief then someone who has no military experience.

McCain's qualifications for President come from 22 years of foriegn affairs, legislative, and budgetary experience. His ability to change position on a program when he sees a program isn't working is a plus. The fact that many times he is at odds with his own party when their policy goes against his beliefs and principles is also a plus. McCain is probably the closest thing to a common sense Independent that I've seen. His energy program is far more well rounded and multi-dimensional then Barck Obama's, as is his concept of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Wesley Clark would have to agree, you can't just pack up and walk out of Iraq without opening the door to a genocidal blood bath. Although McCain was in favor of the removal of Saddam Hussien, his was very much against the Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld method of conducting the war. The mess Bush created has to be cleaned up by someone and McCain is far better qualified to do it then Obama.

Now I'm sure alot of you are going to disagree with my outlook, but that's what this country is all about. Having a different opinion doesn't mean anyone is going to dislike you, or hate you. It just means we can differ in opinion. After all, when push comes to shove, we are all AMERICANS and want what's best for our families and our country.

Posted by: Capt Howard | July 1, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Burford.

If we're going to talk about the politics of a ludicrous controversy, lost in that, is how McCain is playing it. And I don't think he wears victim well.

I watched him yesterday, and it fell somewhere between sad-puppy face, and attempting to channel the cliche of a Jewish grandmother, saying, essentially, "I'm not hurt. Just disaPOINTed."

I couldn't decide whether it rang true, but it certainly didn't ring commanding--the image he's going for. He looked hurt, worn out and spent.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

It is how he defines himself, there is nothing in his life he himself even regards as more important. I have known people like him, who 20 years after their retirement still signed their names with their military rank and insisted being called Cornel. Mccains only success in life was marring his rich wife and her father buying him a political career. One he has kept going by being in the pockets of any lobbyist with a checkbook. I mean please, People do a little research.

+++++++++
McCain is a poster-boy for PTSD. He eats sleeps and breaths war. Have you ever heard him talk about anything other than war for more than two minutes. He is completely obsessed with war, it's part of his DNA.

He should be in the basement of a VA hospital chained to his bed so he can't hurt himself or anybody else.

Posted by: ed | July 1, 2008 3:22 PM

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

I was watching Face The Nation Sunday, and gaping at Bob Schieffer before Wes Clark opened his mouth. The story here should be Schieffer. He made some really illogical statements equating POW with experienc to be president, and did so in an aggressive, condescending, kinda bit--y way.

Wes Clark was as incredulous as I was by the idea that getting shot out of the sky makes you experienced in making foreign policy decisions, and said so.

Schieffer kept it up, belligerantly.

Clark was sort of incredulous, and made the now infamous comment on the second or third response.

I was thinking the same. I admire McCain greatly for what he went through, and it shows great character. I love him for what he did. It is relevant to his campaign to the extent that character is important, which it is.

But being tortured does not provide the sort of experience being discussed. Clark actually ran through different scenarios that would--which McCain is missing--in a very thoughtful, intellectual way.

To attack Clark for stating the obvious is ridiculous. And to play sound bites that make it look like he went on and attack-McCain rant out of nowhere is dishonest.

His appearance was typical Wes Clark intellectual. To characterize it as some talk-radio style hit-and-run swipe is irresponsible ournalism.

I think part of the problem here is that everyone loves Bob Schieffer, especially within the beltway media. And to tell the truth about what happened with Wes Clark Sunday, is to point the finger--either explicitly, or implicitly--at the person who actually made fool of himself: Bob Schieffer.

I don't think the media has the backbone to take down one of their own that way--especially not a beloved member of their own.

They also don't want to pass by the opportunity to concoct a controversy, or to simplify it into something very different than it is.

The only controversy is:

1) McCain is extremely sympathetic for being a victim of torture, and that has been woven into the idea of his "experience." It's touchy to say, "This guy is a hero for doing xxx. But heroic and great president are not necessarily the same qualities."

The Ds are now addressing that touchy topic. It's not swift-boating, it untangling separate ideas, and discussing them in a non-simplistic manner.

2) Bob Schieffer behaved like a fool Sunday, and a much smarter person called him on it--though any high school student could have.

Posted by: Dave Cullen | July 1, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I think that Wes Clark was making the argument for why Wes Clark would make a good vice president (i.e., he had the kind of military experience that counts in terms of executive leadership) but it backfired. Cross him off the short list.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh my...much ado about nothing! Is Gen Clark's comment REALLY worth 3 days and counting of news coverage? McCain's thin skin must really getting the best of him.

Could the REAL problem be that McCain has been running his whole political life on his military experience, particularly being a
POW and now, someone...a general, no less and a true leader in combat who also came home on a stretcher...has the audacity to question that perhaps there are a few other important issues to be considered.

Posted by: comickey | July 1, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that Wesley Clark is working as a double agent to soften the battlefield for a possible convention challenge to Obama's candidacy by Hillary?

By parsing the issue the way he is doing, he is covertly raising the issue of Obama's inexperience in military affairs and his lack of military service.

Posted by: scrivener | July 1, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

What experience did McCain get, besides all those years in a prison camp? Confinement does not equal tactical or strategic experience. I respect the 'fact' of his service, but not the 'act' of it. To allow oneself to get shot down, be taken prisoner, fail to escape, and eventually be tortured into betraying his country, is a shortcoming, not a asset. The real hero is the man or woman that would not be taken prisoner and gave his or her life. Which took more 'courage'? McCain was, is and always will be a victim. It is what defines him. He will get the pity vote.

Posted by: Mugwamp | July 1, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is an unnecessary distraction on the Obama campaign right now. It is amazing that Wesley Clark was a stark Hillary supporter 3 weeks ago and now he is described as a "key Obama military adviser" now?

Heck, Clark argued that Hillary's experience as first lady trumped that of McCain, and didn't give any credence to Obama being qualified to be president back in March 2008. Wesley Clark should not even be on TV Sunday as a "key Obama military adviser". I'm sure Obama has plenty of military advisers with military experience that have been with him from the beginning of his campaign that can speak of behalf of him instead of Clark.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 1, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

All this attention by the media is focusing attention on McCain's military record which isn't sterling:

Near the bottom of his graduating class, destroying five aircraft, questionable performance as a POW, and cheating on his wife after repatriation. Any other officer with this record would have been passed over for promotion. The fact his father and grandfather were admirals kept him in the service beyond his usefulness.

Soon these, and other sorted stories of his military record will have to be addressed by the media. Andrea Mitchell's interview was just the beginning.

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

McCain is a poster-boy for PTSD. He eats sleeps and breaths war. Have you ever heard him talk about anything other than war for more than two minutes. He is completely obsessed with war, it's part of his DNA.

He should be in the basement of a VA hospital chained to his bed so he can't hurt himself or anybody else.

Posted by: ed | July 1, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Great post by Chris in NYC. While Clark's comments were crass and out of line (and more in line with Karl Rov's playbook), the GOP may be beating a dead horse with this one.
(But, considering this morally bankrupt party is apparently unable to win elections on principle any longer, should anyone be surprised?)

Posted by: vegasgirl | July 1, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

McCain has taken the high ground? He hasn't let this issue distract him?

Then why two days later are his surrogates still railing about this issue? Why is it that he's now attacking JIM WEBB?

What's up with the screws in McCain's head?

Posted by: JP2 | July 1, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain playing the fake indignation game, casting himself as the victim, and demanding the pity vote is wildly unpretty.

John Mccain does a good job of getting indignant in real life. But his Achilles heel is his inability to do it on queue from his consultants and handlers.

This issue is John McCain's equivalent of Hillary's vagina. On the one hand it is some sort of ring of power that gives them the power to rule us all, and on the other hand it is taboo subject that will cause their followers to demand that people be burned at the stake.

And for both McCain and Hillary, this gambit looks weak, silly, insincere, contrived, and no amount of running around with their hair on fire will earn them more votes than they lose.

Posted by: Burford Holly | July 1, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

If McCain's experience doesn't satisfy Clark's requirement for POTUS, then Obama isn't even remotely qualified.
==========
Clark has said that part of his "requirement" for POTUS is sound judgement. What part of that don't you understand? Obama opposed the War, and he has speeches from 2002 that prove that sound judgement. McBush bought into the the neo-con Propaganda pushing the invasion of Iraq hook, line and sinker, what does that say about his judgement?
===========
McCain served his country honorably in Vietnam, and I have no doubt he will continue to serve his country honorably in Vietnam if he is elected President.
===========
LOL. Good line.
==========
The more Clark gets on TV, the more independents will get turned off by him and by the Democratic Party.
==========
Keep up the wishful thinking pal...plenty of people have stopped sipping the Republican kool-aid (check out how many voted in the Democratic primary as opposed to the Republican) and are no longer by the faux folksy homilies and empty promises that the Conservatives have sold the working class in this country over the past 8 years and have never followed up on. The Republicans Being stridently opposed to gay marriage, and being self righteously religious will not pay the mortgage or fill up the gas tank, BTW.

Posted by: radical_moderate | July 1, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama Camp get some backbone or prepare to lose to another loser!! Clark was right! Lots of pilots were shot down in ww2, Korea and VietNam and were captured. John McCain got a whole whole lot more medals than the average Vietnam pilot POW. In fact I have heard several other Vets question the enormous amount of medals he recieved. Could it be because his Dad was head of the Navy? I deeply question McCain heroism. How many people did this Hero save? McCain even admits himself in his old book from 20 or 30 years ago that he made pilot errors in getting himself shotdown. I bet when he wrote that book he never expected to be running for president though.

Posted by: Zem Bob Way | July 1, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

NOE, 2:35: I totally agree with you that no one posting here, or anywhere else, would trade places with McCain for five minutes as a POW. That is not the issue here. The issue is Wesley Cark's behavior and comments as a surrogate for Barack Obama. No officer in the U.S. military, active or retired, demeans a fellow officer's service to his country, and that's exactly what Clark did! His statement, that although McCain commanded the largest aviation squadron in the U.S. Navy, it wasn't a COMBAT SQUADRON, is both false and disengenuious. All aviation squadrons in the United States Military are combat units. They have to be ready to go to war 24/7 365 days a year, no exceptions! Just because a unit is not actively in combat doesn't mean it's not a combat unit.

Barack Obama's use of Clark as a third party surrogate to give himself some sort of military credentials, and then distance himself from the offensive comments of his own surrogate, are despicable at best. The candidate of change has not lived up to his pledge to change the face of the political scene.

McCain on the other hand, has taken the high ground and prefers not to waste time on an issue that doesn't amount to anything but a smear tactic. As McCain stated, the issue doesn't put a dime in the pocket of Americans, or a drop of gas in their tank.

Frankly, I'm very disappointed in Obama. I was expecting better. McCain has lived up to my expectations. Good for you John McCain, stay on the high ground!


Posted by: Capt Howard | July 1, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I prefer the correction by far. The first statement on the weekend seemed like the Clark that over-bombed Sarajevo's citizens - rash and boastful and not coming across as a Democrat. A little humility on his part is needed. Otherwise, he deserves the fate of Humpty Dumpty.

Having said that, I think some humility would help McCain too, because any hero I ever met never emphasized it, but hid it. Secondly, Clark's revised statement is obviously correct. To be President, You need the judgment to know the big strategic picture of America and its image in the world. You need to understand the whole globe and its peoples, and contribute to building a better world, not just manifest destiny. You also need in tight moments to have the coolness to be wise and make calm decisions.
Last, I believe that if it takes wisdom to discern who is best for America come November, we can hold back our premature opinions and request that Providence should help us so to do.

Posted by: Ward MacNaughton | July 1, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

General Clark cannot disassociate his comments from the Obama campaign. Obviously, he was trying to undermine Senator McCain's credibility as a Presidential candidate, while serving as Senator Obama's senior military advisor in his Presidential campaign. He has done Obama's campaign significant harm. The one thing that he has proven regarding judgment is that he acquired very little while serving as an upper level military bureaucrat!

Posted by: Art from San Diego | July 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Spectator2 | July 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't get what the uproar is. McCain's service is not being questioned, only his qualification to be President.

Posted by: Carol | July 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Clark's statement may qualify as the least controversial controversy of the election.

I'm just waiting for the inevitable pundit backlash/return-to-common-sense when some columnist wakes the F up, and writes a piece titled: "Clark is Right: McCain's Service Doesn't Automatically Qualify Him to be President"

Posted by: BB | July 1, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

bsimon wrote:

Let me ask the inverse:

Is there someone saying that getting in a fighter plane & getting shot down IS a qualification to become president?

Who is this person?

Posted by: bsimon | July 1, 2008 12:08 PM

==================================

This person is actually and organization called the Republican Party - on behalf of John McCain.

Posted by: armybrat68 | July 1, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The darling of the media, McCain, is not some god that cannot be criticized. McCain has gotten by with the adoration and mancrush from people like you Cilizza. Calm down and listen to Gen. Clark's comments, inhale, and you will realize that Gen. Clark was not disrespectful, he simply stated the obvious. McCain was a pilot who got shot down, imprisoned for 5 years, had some bones broken just like other American POWs. What made McCain stand out was that his father and grandfatehr were Admirals. Kerry was trashed by the Republicans and the media went along too. Shame on you. It could be payback time for McCain - it's a beatch. Deal with it.

Posted by: M. Stratas | July 1, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

To Cecil Quick: First you say that or rather imply that Obama has no morals and is not honest. Let me respond by saying or rather asking is it moral to abandon a wife who faithfully stood by, raised McCain's children, and was then dumped by him when he returned in spite of her debilitating injury. Is it moral to call your wife a c**t in front of others? Is it honest to totally pander to the right wing of the Republican party in spite of clearly stated and yes emphatically stated positions to the contrary? What is your proof that Obama has such a liberal record? It is not smart nor Quick to mouth off about things without reading and finding out the facts before displaying one's ignorance by stating half or 1/4 truths. What General Clark said was and is true. Please some one tell me how getting shot down shortly after arriving in Vietnam and losing an expensive plane qualifies one to be POTUS. No one - not one single candidate has presidential experience since neither has been president. It is the judgment thing or as GHWB used to say it is the vision thing. What examples of presidential judgment and or vision has McCain displayed? Obama, on the other hand, had the judgment and vision to call the Iraq war a bone headed mistake from the outset. Where was McCain? Where is McCain's judgment and vision now when it comes to Iraq? Oh, I know "stay the course." Now that is such good judgment to find oneself (or rather the country) in a hole and to keep digging rather than getting out of the hole. One last example of McCain's "morals" - he was wooing his present wife while still married to his first wife. Indeed while the 1st Mrs. McCain was recouperating from a horrible accident, old John was sparking and squiring Cindy - the gal with the big bucks - around. But then we are talking about morals as Republicans define morals and not as most folks use the term. Mr. or Ms. Quick - please quickly go bone up on the facts before you say stuff that is so wrong.

Posted by: jimmy | July 1, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

This thread and yesterday's make me long for the days when campaigns began on Labor Day and there was no 24-hour news coverage.

The Swift Boat Boys got us again. We've been quibbling about things from over 40 years ago for over a day now.

BTW - Thank you Nathan, for posting the transcript of the ENTIRE back and forth dialogue between Schieffer and Clark yesterday. That made a significant difference.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | July 1, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

McCain's qualifications;
Graduated at the bottom of his class,
Got shot down,
Got captured,
Made anti-American video for North Vietnam,
Moved into hotel with prostitutes in Hanoi,
Came home as a hero?
Was one of the main players of "Keating Five" fame,
Won the title "Mr. Flip-Flop" for his new positions on torture & other war crimes,
Promotes fascism over our constitution,
Sold out to the CFR.

Posted by: DWayne | July 1, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how the republicans are complaining about an effort to denigerate John McCains service. It was the Bush machine itself that led the effort in 2000, practically branding McCain a collaborator.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | July 1, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The proper permits were not pulled when the McCains converted this condo into one from two condos (1105 &1106) for the roof top zero edge pool, sun deck, spa, fire pit, gas barbeque, men's and ladies' locker rooms, steam rooms, massage room


www.webofdeception.com

Posted by: Robert Lewis | July 1, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

General Clark is absolutely correct. Distorting what he said by calling it an attack on McCain is bullsht Chris, and you know it!

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 1, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I served in the NAVY as a fire Fighter....I even boarded ships catching terrorists and pirates (anyone remeber USS Cape St George?)

Does this qualify me as a presidential candidate when i turn 35?

Posted by: Ron | July 1, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

great stuff from salon editor joan walsh. she's the first in the media i've heard call this nonsense for what it is.

her post:

"I was sorry to see the Obama campaign "reject" Gen. Wesley Clark's remarks about John McCain on Face the Nation yesterday. I think the context of Clark's remarks mattered (although that's gotten lost in the right wing blogosphere's attacks on Clark). Host Bob Schieffer noted that Obama had never ridden in a fighter plane or been shot down by the enemy, and Clark replied, "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," Clark replied."

Posted by: Dave Cullen | July 1, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a poster-boy for PTSD. He eats sleeps and breaths war. Have you ever heard him talk about anything other than war for more than two minutes. He is completely obsessed with war, it's part of his DNA.

He should be in the basement of a VA hospital chained to his bed so he can't hurt himself or anybody else.

Posted by: ed | July 1, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is a wise man, who has served his country well and with distinction. McCain is a hero because "he survived". And good for him. But he also supported the war in Iraq, and has never held this president accountable for his MISCONDUCT OF THE WAR IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN. He was a Senator, of the President's Party, and yet had no influence.

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW is why the press has let the millionaire Pearson off the hook about his pledge to pay a million dollars to anyone who could proove the Swiftboaters were liars. John Kerry said he would meet the challenge, he has done along with others, but Pearson doesn't have to. (actually, I had been wondering why Kerry hadn't fulfilled his quest, and find that the press didn't bother to inform us that in fact he had, but Pearson reneged). If the Swiftboarters lied, and the evidence is gathered, I want Pearson to pay up like he promised. Also, Kerry needs his day as do the others who faithfully served their country with brave John Kerry and the honorables.

Posted by: CarmanK | July 1, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
You wouldn't know a real hero to save your life. You enjoy the mainstream media game. You all are out to destroy a man like General Wesley Clark because he KNOWS that McCain doesn't have the qualifications, judgment, to lead this nation. He's ever bit as dangerous as the Bush/Cheney neocons, and our country needs someone at the helm who has been correct in his judgment, time and again.

You and Andrea Mitchell are quite a team. Shill for McCain, distort the message (as usual) coming from Wes Clark, and indulge in tactics to hurt Obama. It won't work. This time around the voters have got your number. All of you talking heads look like fools.

Keep up the good work! You only convince us more that we need CHANGE, and that needs to happen with the neocon media types like the two of you.

Wes Clark's message is correct. Every damn word of it.

Posted by: KSF | July 1, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... commentary for the NATO leader during the Clinton years. That's paramount to the military mastermind that tried to save the hostages for Jimmy Carter.

Wesley Clarks comment; "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president" can only be summed up by one word. Jealousy.

McCain fought for our country. He paid a horrific price by being captured and held as a POW. Yet his McCain's refusal to be permitted to leave the Hanoi Hilton early based on his familiar connections speaks volumes.

McCains long run history of *actions* and not cheap political commentary remind me that he is a man of consciensce and valor. Those attributes ARE usually qualifications for President.

Cut the bull Wesley.

Posted by: Allen | July 1, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

To anyone who questions McCain's ability to be president "just" because he served, and got shot down on an airplane...McCain has proven his patriotism, he has done a lot more for this country by just serving in our military than anyone here posting, I bet that nobody here would have switched one day with McCain as a POW to be known as a "PATRIOT". Then in the other hand, you are willing to support a nobody, who hasnt proven to be a real american nor an american HERO, Wait! He gave a speech on patriotism.....Would that qualify him? Is that better than McCain's record? Of course that people will come out with all sorts of stories on McCain, on 1982 Blah! Blah! Blah! Why we dont have anything on Obama? Do your homework!!! He hasn't been around...Is that guy better qualified? Are you putting the fate of this nation on a nobody?

Noe

Posted by: Noe | July 1, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

McCain may be a war hero, but he was also involved in a multi-billion dollar swindle of American taxpayers with the S&L loan crisis.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham was a war hero too, as was Benedict Arnold -- for a time.

McCain's military service earns him deserved respect -- it does not earn him license to enact policies which undermine America's economic and national security.

McCain's work as a politician is anything but heroic or patriotic. There is a difference.

Posted by: JP2 | July 1, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with some authors here, I am not sure what part of the show the media watched on Sunday, or I know to well which part they are focusing on. I am appalled that the media distorted the interview in such a way that W. Clark was blamed for his statement completely taken out of context.

Please, watch the entire show and you will see that W. Clark comments made perfect sense as a response to an attack from the other party.

Thank you to the mass media again for trading the truth for sensational.

Posted by: Luc | July 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Are you putting the fate of this nation on a nobody?

Posted by: Noe | July 1, 2008 2:29 PM

Please, please, I'm counting on you.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I totally with some authors here, I am not sure what part of the show the media watched on Sunday, or I know to well which part they are focusing on. I am appalled that the media distorted the interview in such a way that W. Clark was blamed for his statement completely taken out of context.

Please, watch the entire show and you will see that W. Clark comments made perfect sense as a response to an attack from the other party.

Thank you to the mass media again for trading the truth for sensational.

Posted by: Luc | July 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This "story" is another of numerous examples of many in the media being obsessed with something of very little or no importance. Republicans and their supporters are desperate to change the topics of discussion away from the economy, domestic issues and one of the most unpopular presidents ever.

McCain and Republicans seem to think they can dupe millions of voters into thinking McCain's military service is one of his primary qualifications to be president. Being in the military, per se, does not ensure a person will have the proper judgment, understanding and knowledge to be an effective president.

George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower had far more military experience than McCain. Washington is rightly considered one of the greatest presidents, Grant probably among the ten with the lowest ranking and Eisenhower likely in the second tier of presidents.

There must not be much deemed of importance happenng in the world, for this "controversy" to be given so much attention by the media, succumbing to Republican propaganda, which after all most persons in the media have been often doing during the Bush-Cheney presidency.

Posted by: Independent | July 1, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

To anyone who questions McCain's ability to be president "just" because he served, and got shot down on an airplane...McCain has proven his patriotism, he has done a lot more for this country by just serving in our military than anyone here posting, I bet that nobody here would have switched one day with McCain as a POW to be known as a "PATRIOT". Then in the other hand, you are willing to support a nobody, who hasnt proven to be a real american nor an american HERO, Wait! He gave a speech on patriotism.....Would that qualify him? Is that better than McCain's record? Of course that people will come out with all sorts of stories on McCain, on 1982 Blah! Blah! Blah! Why we dont have anything on Obama? Do your homework!!! He hasn't been around...Is that guy better qualified? Are you putting the fate of this nation on a nobody?

Posted by: Noe | July 1, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

McCain has a history of personal courage and has endured harsh conditions...I don't question his service. However I am in agreement with Gen W. Clark.

Personal courage does not mean that you have command experience. To command, you take on the responsibility for your men and women in your unit.

I am a former Army Officer that has commanded soldiers in peacetime and during combat. Every decision you make impacts not only you and that soldier. That decision impacts the soldier's parents, spouse, siblings and children.

General Wesley Clark has it correct. John McCain has served honorably and with great personal courage, but that does not mean he has command experience.

Obama has not served in the military nor is he campaigning on a military record, John McCain is and Wesley Clark is providing the voice of reason.


Posted by: Blaine T | July 1, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Do you think Barry Hussein will invade Pakistan? I remembering him saying this last summer and the uproar it caused.

Posted by: Nadeem Zakaria | July 1, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

We Libs have so few war heros we have to make do with the slim pickins we can find.

Kerry - the total fake out war hero, who knew it was all Hollywood produced

Webb - the shortest time ever Navy Secy, still 3 months counts on Lib resumes. reason for leaving - FIRED

clark - FIRED for gross incompetence

that's it. no more Lib warriers.

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"Does getting canned from your NATO gig, which any objective assessment would rate as the special Olympics of the military world, qualify you to critique anything outside of Mad magazine characters?"

I've seen this talking point being made a few times now. Is this the new idea Rush Limbaugh is pushing? It's such utter nonsense.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 1, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Reasons to not vote for Obama, visit:
http://www.youtube.com/user/brightamericaneyes

Posted by: American Eyes | July 1, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Wes,

Does getting canned from your NATO gig, which any objective assessment would rate as the special Olympics of the military world, qualify you to critique anything outside of Mad magazine characters?

Just sayin, Wes - the credibility bus left you on the corner weeping a long time ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Re: David & All

You guys do not watch TV? Do you speak different languages?

Posted by: peace4world | July 1, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I recently had the opportunity to see and hear McCain at a campaign event. He was an eloquent speaker and sharp as a tack.
Suffice to say that I think Wes Clark is just envious or perhaps even jealous of McCain and his success.

Posted by: American Eyes | July 1, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The media is distorting Clark's comments for entertainment value. He never questioned McCain's service or his patriotism, just whether his particular military service qualifies him to be President. Since when is this question off-limits? Did GWB's service in the Air National Guard qualify him to be an effective President? Hardly. This sort of reporting is how the country got in its curret fix, and the media's destructive nature is tragic beyond belief. Pls stop thinking about entertainment and ratings value, and protecting conventional wisdom. Think. That's what we need now more than ever. You are not doing it in this column.

Posted by: David | July 1, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The media's willingness to give McCain so much air time illustrates what I've believed from the start, which is that the American media are a Republican asset.

Posted by: Magic Dog | July 1, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Talking about being patriotic, from now on only the following can qualify in MY book:


Military service (only his surrogates may question that)
Not shopping
Raising taxes on the rich
Forcing economic decisions on people a.k.a. "reducing our dependence on foreign oil" -- and by "foreign oil" he means "oil," since he opposes drilling for oil offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve
Teaching in "underserved schools" -- not to be confused with charter or private schools
Working in understaffed hospitals
Not, apparently, working anywhere else, such as small businesses, corporations, or worse, charter or private schools
Promoting government policies to force economic decisions on people via the euphemism of "more sustainable energy policies"
Expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps
Making such "national service" mandatory for those receiving federal college loans
Raising taxes to end the national debt (granted, Obama does not say how he would end the national debt, but given his many proposed expansions of the federal government, his stated desire to raise taxes on the wealthy, and his advocacy of pay-as-you-go legislation, it is highly unlikely he would do so after lowering spending)
Mandating by law wrenching changes to the nation's energy policies (see other mentions above)
Not protecting your fellow citizens from laws that would force statists' economic decisions on them, especially -- by virtue of Obama's multiple statements on the subject in this speech -- choices regarding consumption of gasoline and other petroleum products
Massively increasing federal education spending
Massively increasing federal research spending
Not protecting your fellow citizens from confiscatory taxation

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Chiller,

McCain may have served in the service and on Senate committee's -- in terms of his foreign policy track-record though he was one of the advocates of the "bomb N. Korea" bandwagon in the mid-90s -- a position that was strongly opposed by our regional ally S. Korea which stood to lose about 1,000,000 in a conflict. He also has signed onto the biggest strategic blunder in at least a generation in Iraq. He's sung a paean to bombing Iran (not exactly presidential behavior). And he has surrounded his campaign with a bunch of Neo-Cons who were architects of the poorly conceived Iraq "regime change" policy.

At 71 you'd think the guy would have learned some lessons.

This is without even talking about the two largest banking crises of the past 50 years -- the S&L scandal in the 1980s, which McCain had direct involvement in; and the most recent subprime crisis, which was able to come about in large part because of policies pushed by McCain's key economics adviser Phil Gramm.

McCain's judgment stinks. That's the bottom line.

Posted by: JP2 | July 1, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

General Clark did NOT attack McCain or his war record...he was challenging Bob Schieffer and the rest of the Media's blind acceptance that John McCain's personal experience was enough to qualify him for President. Clark says it does not, and that is a legitimate opinion, especially coming from a much higher-ranking officer and fellow Vietnam vet who refused to leave his men behind in the battlefield even after he took 3 bullets from an AK-47... A veteran who also led the combined forces of the United States in one of the most succesful military campaigns in modern history.

And there's nothing in Clark's statements that can even remotely be equated with "Swiftboating", which would have to include:

1) The systematic denial of McCain's official military record, as was done to John Kerry by The Swiftboaters

2) Belittling the risks that he had undertaken in combat, as was done to Kerry by the Swiftboaters

3) Effectivly accusing McCain of murdering a helpless enemy soldier, as was said of Kerry by The Swiftboaters

4) Ignoring the accolades of those warriors that served most closely with McCain, as was done to Kerry's crew by The Swiftboaters

By contrast, Clark took pains to acknowlege McCain's heroism and the suffering that he doubtlessly endured. But Clark's positition is that McCain had zero strategic command experience in Vietnam or any other war, and even McCain himself has not made any claim to contradict that contention. In that regard, sitting on The Senate Armed Services Commitee is more relevant than McCain's experience as a fighter pilot, but many members of that committee had never served at all!

Posted by: Ford Porter | July 1, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

My post has nothing to do with my support of Obama. I have no problem giving credit where due, and on either side.

I admire McCain's historic military service. I do. With that said....

I have been shocked at opinions from some that he is worth voting for simply because he was this war hero, the POW. I cannot imagine the look on my face. Here we have all of these issues, and to hear that that would be a reason to vote for McCain, because he was a war hero, is just....wow. I can't do it. Senate experience is not the same as presidential experience. I agree with Clark, and I am glad someone else besides myself recognizes the fact. The ground is leveled. I am personally left with who I believe has it right on the issues. I find that Obama would be the choice; it seems he'd be more sincere on working on the issues than McCain.

Back to Clark's statement, I don't understand why people are apologizing, and why Obama rejected his statement. There was no harm done. The man was stating his discernment between McCain's life experience while on duty, and presidential qualifications. My husband is in the military, and is a war vet too. Shall he be qualified for POTUS too?! I believe that judgment is key, and looking at McCain's recent judgments on a variety of topics, I do not trust that man in office next.

McCain's military service and experience is simply that, and admirably so. That has zip to do with his ability to lead this nation. I believe that as a senator, no more or less than Obama as well.

Thank you General Clark. People needed to hear it from a very credible source. Keep telling the truth. I don't understand how some feel the need to apologize. There was no insult, only opinion with distinction.

Posted by: Obama2008 | July 1, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The point is, McSame is a punk and a thief. Regardless of what he allegedly went through in Vietnam.

Go Wes!

Posted by: captainkona | July 1, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

No matter how thin McCain's experience is, Obama's is thinner.

Do Obama's supporters really want to keep an issue where McCain is better than Obama in the forefront?

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

You can add to that resume he is 72 years old with declining mental capacity applying for one of the most demanding jobs on the face of the earth. That means a lot more to me then what he has done in the past. If elected the odds he will serve out his first term is little more the the toss of a coin. He will either die or have to be removed because he can't do the job. At his age you have already begun to decline exponentially. As diminished as he may be at this moment, and it is a 100% certainty he is diminished. By the end of his first term you would not want him making a decision on what sox to ware that day. That is just a fact.

++++++++++
Let's look at McCain's resume- his documented military experience, service on various Senate committees over the past 20+ years. He has a documented voting record a mile long (love it or hate it).

Let's look at Obama's resume- first term in the Senate, no sponsored legislation of any consquence, no military experience, no experience actually managing anything, lots of documented "present" vote.

McCain oversaw the daily operation of a U.S. Navy A-4 squadron- something that does take attention to detail, leadership and orginizational skills. Squadron leaders have a LOT of serious responsibilities- considering flying jet aircraft with live munitions isn't particularly safe, even in peacetime.

Obama was a "neighborhood organizer" which doesn't compare with running a squadron.

Wesley Clark is a buffoon. The guy wanted to mount a full military assualt on the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX and wanted to militarily confront the Russians during his service in the Balkans. Clark's repuation as a political climber, hot-head and egomanic is legendary.

Having a temper has never, ever disqualified anyone from being President- see Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson, etc..

McCain has sons currently serving in the military and in Iraq/Afghanistan. Being a veteran, POW and father of serving military personnel gives him a better perspective on war than someone who studied law and criticizes everyday people who "cling to thier guns and religion".

Posted by: chiller | July 1, 2008 1:43 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand why Gen. Clark is presumed to speaking for anyone but himself here. Because I support a candidate, it does not mean that every word I utter or opinion I express is representative of that candidate's views.

Since when do we expect such orthodoxy from our politics? Have we all been brainwashed by Clinton-Bush and years of "on-message" "talking points"?? This is the United States of America. General Clark has a right (well earned) to comment on the military cred. of another military man.

You don't have to agree, but he has the right to express his views.

--------------
energy policy and how we define patriotism
http://ilfamilypolitics.blogspot.com

Posted by: Julia Kelly | July 1, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that Wesley Clark was a Four Star General and Commander of NATO. McCain was a Commander in the Navy when he was shot down. Four star generals eat Navy commanders for breakfast every day. Clark has so much experience that it is stupid to pick a fight with him. I do not think that Obama will be hurt by this. Instead I think that most people will take another look at McCain's service and realize it is what it is. A hero but no executive experience.

Posted by: Opa2 | July 1, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Clark's observation was correct, and not particularly hostile; it was a comment by someone with immense experience, noting, simply, that McCain has none but is running on having a lot. Reporters are not required to latch on to McCain's obvious flummery and fake outrage, which effectively disguise the truth of Clark's statement. If there were a story here, it would be about Obama's cynical distancing himself from Clark, and McCain's ability to play the press. It is a story about two narcissistic, fatuous jerks and the corporate media that pretends to cover them by saying less than nothing. So it goes.

Posted by: Lee | July 1, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually, while Clark didn't go there, McCain's POW experience may be an explicit DISqualification for President.

We will never know how much of his temper (e.g. calling his wife a c*nt in public), his erratic behavior and mood swings, and his inability to smile (he can only grin, it doesn't reach his eyes), are tragic results of being tortured.

These things are not his fault, but no we want his fingers on the button?

Posted by: Chuck Lesker | July 1, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Let me sort this out. McCain, after graduating, what, second to last in his class, gets shot down in the first 24 hours or so of his Vietnam tour and gets captured. Okay. Admirable that he lived through the experience, I may not have. Then, a General questions why this would make someone fit to be POTUS; extolling rather gracious admiration for McCain's honor by the way. Okay, I'd tend to side with the General here, not some bottom of the class fighter pilot. So, in McCain's eyes, because he was kept captive by a crazed pedophile, Shawn Hornbeck should be President. I'm not making light of Shawn's horrific ordeal, but come on! General Clark is right: McCain's judgment is, well, he has none. Except if you think coming home from Vietnam to a disabled wife, cheat on her with a rich beer heiress, and then divorce your wife a month later is good judgment. McCain better rethink this argument. Especially since he's employing the Swiftboat Veterans for "Truth" to smear Clark's record. Gotta hand it to McCain, he sure is a Republican, even if he tried to switch parties a few years ago.

Posted by: Martin | July 1, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I live in Florida and one thing we don't like to talk about are hurricanes. It is like if we don't talk about them they will stay away. You know what they are not talking about right now regarding the energy crises? The coming winter. When the papers begin having stories about families freezing to death and old people dying on a daly basis because their heat was turned off because they can't afford to pay the bill, it will make the inconvenience of not being able to just drive your car around willy-nilly seem pretty unimportant. One of the candidates should be addressing it now. Something along the lines of barring someone's heat turned off because of non payment. Some-kind of government subsidy like we have with food stamps. And they should not be waiting till people begin to die. This by the way will be happening right about election time. You think the we have a crises now, just wait.

-------------------
The McCain camp may want to rethink their position on keeping this issue alive. All the human brain hears is McCain not qualified, over and over again. Because of the way the brain works, that is not a good thing for him.

And as for The Fix's statement that the McCain camp does not want to focus on gas prices and the economy, that is his only path to not losing. It is the most important issue to voters and Obama is by no means defining the issue as his. He is trying to coast on gas and the economy: relying on voters blaming Republicans because they are in charge. Rather than sniping about a retired general's statement of the obvious, he should be out front pounding an energy plan that mixes standard extraction technologies with renewable incentives. The playing field is tilted against McCain like Mt Everest; being seen as the only candidate getting down and dirty with energy is his only prayer.

Posted by: muD | July 1, 2008 1:30 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Keeping this "controversy alive" has done considerable harm to the McCain cause. Gen. Clark stated nothing but the unvarnished truth in pointing out that neither flying a fighter jet nor getting shot out of the sky qualifies anyone for the complex job of president of the United States.

Nothing Clark has said has in any way impugned McCain's patriotism or his personal courage. But Clark has now encouraged all voters and media to examine in greater detail the slender points of McCain's military resume. As we do that, we uncover what the McCain campaign does not want us to know: their candidate was a poor student at the military academy, a reckless pilot, an indifferent leader, and a sorry excuse for a husband.

None of this makes McCain unqualified for the presidency. But it does undercut his only claim to the office, his supposed expertise as a leader in an international crisis.

We already know that McCain is hopeless in economics, a dunderhead on energy policy, ignorant of even the most basic facts about the culture, religions and politics of the Middle East, unschooled in technology, and opposed to a woman's right to choose.

Now, thanks to Gen. Clark's gutsy comments, we are also becoming more familiar with McCain's shaky claim that his military experiences make him qualified for the presidency.

No wonder the Republicans are spewing the most godawful tripe against Clark and Obama: they are fielding a loser in this election and they know it.

Posted by: dee | July 1, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's look at McCain's resume- his documented military experience, service on various Senate committees over the past 20+ years. He has a documented voting record a mile long (love it or hate it).

Let's look at Obama's resume- first term in the Senate, no sponsored legislation of any consquence, no military experience, no experience actually managing anything, lots of documented "present" vote.

McCain oversaw the daily operation of a U.S. Navy A-4 squadron- something that does take attention to detail, leadership and orginizational skills. Squadron leaders have a LOT of serious responsibilities- considering flying jet aircraft with live munitions isn't particularly safe, even in peacetime.

Obama was a "neighborhood organizer" which doesn't compare with running a squadron.

Wesley Clark is a buffoon. The guy wanted to mount a full military assualt on the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX and wanted to militarily confront the Russians during his service in the Balkans. Clark's repuation as a political climber, hot-head and egomanic is legendary.

Having a temper has never, ever disqualified anyone from being President- see Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson, etc..

McCain has sons currently serving in the military and in Iraq/Afghanistan. Being a veteran, POW and father of serving military personnel gives him a better perspective on war than someone who studied law and criticizes everyday people who "cling to thier guns and religion".

Posted by: chiller | July 1, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
This time, while I agree with you that this argument has shifted attention away from normal campaign activities, I don't agree that it's not good for Obama.
This is the case: my hero, General Wesley Clark is not about to allow these malicious gossips who deliberately misconstrue remarks to benefit their candidate's fairytales he's trying to "sell" the public.
Andrea Mitchell just interviewed General Clark on MSNBC again.
She hammered away at the General, who stood his ground like the very strong, principled man he is.
General Clark, a Rhodes scholar, Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient, and former 4-star general, when contrasted with John McCain, who can't hold a candle to him in terms of foreign policy experience, knows what he's talking about.
John McCain is in way over his depth in this campaign and doesn't have much to go on, military-wise, since he flipped and espoused torture, just can't respond well, when a light is focused on his many shifting policy positions.
No question politics makes strange bedfellows, but when John McCain gets in bed with the same swift-boaters who promoted character assassination against him in 2000, I've just about lost all respect for him.
McCain may have been a war hero 35 years ago, but his strength of character has collapsed since that time over many years of trying to navigate political shoals he should have had the judgment to stay away from -- the savings & loan scandal, crossing the aisle then sinking the very initiatives he tried to spark for the sake of expediency, wandering around all over the place on so many issues, first supporting them, then abandoning them, then trying to claim both sides of the fence at once -- shifting sands McCain has no judgment to avoid.
Mitchell called Clark's comments on "Face the Nation" "stupid" when she first heard them.
Well, I disagree with her.
What's stupid is the pathetic manner in which his critics have tried to mischaracterize Clark's comments.
Clark in pure form vs. these attacks -- Clark wins by a mile with any thinking voter.

Posted by: Judy-in-Texas | July 1, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

How awful the coverage of this comment has been. Even in the original interview, Schieffer puffed himself up and asked incredulously how it could be that being a POW didn't matter. Then all the good-looking teleprompter-readers (all channels, not just Faux) started babbling about "Clark is swift-boating McCain" and "Clark is questioning McCain's military service". Do these people have no brains? Swift-boating refers to making up lies, but anyone has a right to his opinion. Which in this case is hardly an opinion, actually; it is a factual statement that McCain has no supervisory or policy experience. Suffering and heroism don't qualify you (or disqualify you) for a promotion to commander-in-chief. It's just irrelevant.

Posted by: Chuck Lesker | July 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't, he gives Mccain way more respect then he deserves.

+++++
How long before this starts to really hurt Obama? Even appearing like you're dissing a war hero has got to be bad for business.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | July 1, 2008 1:34 PM

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

I will tolerate no questions of patriotism.

and by that I mean mine. who else?

Posted by: snObama | July 1, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

How long before this starts to really hurt Obama? Even appearing like you're dissing a war hero has got to be bad for business.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | July 1, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

OH, and let's not forget McCain's take on that Beach Boys' song: "Bomb Iran, bomb bomb Iran..."

McSame, not even qualified to sing, much less authorize a legitimate air strike - couldn't hit a slow-moving person in a wheelchair with a water balloon if time stood still.

OH, was I making fun of McCain's age?

No, I was making fun of his lack of judgment. And so much more...

Posted by: Captain John | July 1, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The McCain camp may want to rethink their position on keeping this issue alive. All the human brain hears is McCain not qualified, over and over again. Because of the way the brain works, that is not a good thing for him.

And as for The Fix's statement that the McCain camp does not want to focus on gas prices and the economy, that is his only path to not losing. It is the most important issue to voters and Obama is by no means defining the issue as his. He is trying to coast on gas and the economy: relying on voters blaming Republicans because they are in charge. Rather than sniping about a retired general's statement of the obvious, he should be out front pounding an energy plan that mixes standard extraction technologies with renewable incentives. The playing field is tilted against McCain like Mt Everest; being seen as the only candidate getting down and dirty with energy is his only prayer.

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

I would challenge you to even tell me one of the great things he has done.
--------
This is a great strategic move, intended or not, for Sen. Obama. The media thus far has not make the distinction between Sen. McCain's military service and lack of foreign policy experience. For all the wonderful things that Sen. McCain has done for his country, one thing that he has NOT done is managed a war or national or international crisis, which could give him the experience to carry the "Commander-in-Chief" mantle.

Currently the MSM is failing at looking at his record and whether that prepared him to be Commander-in-Chief. Like Gen. Clark said (and Sen. McCain said when Bush was running for office) that you don't need to be in the military to be a great Commander-in-Chief.

Posted by: Eros Wong | July 1, 2008 1:23 PM

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

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

Chris, like the rest of the media you put up that quote as if General Clark just pulled that out of his ass when you know damn well it was Bob Schieffer who threw that out there first and Clark was merely responding. Your creds, if any, stink.

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

"You have to put General Clark's comments in context, the context of a small minded weak military persona. I have no respect for General Clark, particularly when I remember during the Kosovo war that he paraded around with war criminal General Radko Mladic and even traded military caps with him. What a ludicrous represenatative of our fine military tradition! not to mention an immature and arrogant man who was thrust onto the stage without his own experience and maturity."
==============
I've got to hand it to you rightwing-nuts, you have plenty of nerve. First John Kerry, shot twice in Vietnam, decorated War Hero was smeared by a gang of old coots who did NOT serve with him, and now you are trying to smear Clark who was shot 4 times in Vietnam while serving his country...not to mention that Clark was at the top of his class, and not the goat like McCain at Annapolis (brains actually mattered as Bush's stupidity has sadly reminded us.)

Yep it takes a lot of gall to attack Clark because he stated the brutal fact of the irrelevance of McCain's service vis a vis the qualifications needed for the Presidency, sadly a lot of low information voters bought the crapola 2004 (chiefly because Kerry had the gall to come home from Vietnam and oppose the War), but I assure you the American Public will see through your misleading and factual untruths in this election. We got fooled in 2000, and 2004 and look what it got us: another quagmire War that might become Vietnam redux, and an economy in freefall. "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on YOU."

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

You may not have realized it but you just said one of the most profound things written on these blogs. Almost none of the rumors and innuendoes spread about Obama will stand up to any scrutiny. But almost everything said about Mccain is a matter of public record. No one has made up a thing about Mccain. You don't have to his real life is bad enough.

++++++++
I suppose it's no surprise that one of the Repubs pretending to get vapors over what they are pretending Clark said is one of the original Swift Boaters.

I guess it's okay for Repubs to lie about Kerry's service, but not okay for Dems to tell the truth about McCain's.
Posted by: Whippy | July 1, 2008 1:17 PM

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

Defintely the more this conversation goes on, the more the Obama campaign will suffer for it.

If Obama's campaign can not run a tight ship, especially after his speach on patriotism, how will people expect him to run a tight ship in the White House?

And the more Clark harps on McCain's Army experience doesnt translate to the White House the more people on the fence will think what about community organizing in Chicago makes Obama ready to lead the United States?

The more Clark gets on TV, the more independents will get turned off by him and by the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Longtime DC Resident | July 1, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This is a great strategic move, intended or not, for Sen. Obama. The media thus far has not make the distinction between Sen. McCain's military service and lack of foreign policy experience. For all the wonderful things that Sen. McCain has done for his country, one thing that he has NOT done is managed a war or national or international crisis, which could give him the experience to carry the "Commander-in-Chief" mantle.

Currently the MSM is failing at looking at his record and whether that prepared him to be Commander-in-Chief. Like Gen. Clark said (and Sen. McCain said when Bush was running for office) that you don't need to be in the military to be a great Commander-in-Chief.

Posted by: Eros Wong | July 1, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Todd'
Yes, Wesley Clark, Jim Webb, and Charlie Rangle were all Hillary supporters. Before they ever knew Hillary, they were all distinguished Military going as far back to WWII. As such they are qualified to comment on military matters. Don't try to make an issue where there is none.

Posted by: Fareed H. Ansar | July 1, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

McCain served his country honorably in Vietnam, and I have no doubt he will continue to serve his country honorably in Vietnam if he is elected President.

Posted by: Next generation please | July 1, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Clark is just pointing out the "The Emperor Has No Clothes". Mccain has been hiding behind the POW thing to avoid being criticized his whole career. Now he wants to throw stones from behind it and not be held to any responsibility. The fact is, Mccains military history is there for anyone to look at. Once you take a look at it and combine it with he after military life both political and personal. You end up with a guy you would not even want as a neighbor much less president. The guy is "NO GOD DAMN GOOD" what does it take to get that through peoples heads. Can't they just do an ounce of research on their own? Since they don't seem to be able they better listen to a guy like Clark, because he is telling you the truth you don't seem to want to hear.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it's no surprise that one of the Repubs pretending to get vapors over what they are pretending Clark said is one of the original Swift Boaters.

I guess it's okay for Repubs to lie about Kerry's service, but not okay for Dems to tell the truth about McCain's.

Posted by: Whippy | July 1, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

>>> The longer this scrap between McCain and Clark continues, the worse it is for Obama.

From my point of view, the longer this CRAP between McCain and General Clark continues, the worse it is for McCain.

I was leaning McCain but no more. McCain lost my vote before July 4th weekend.

I like to hear how many votes McCain lost in this blog just to disqualify Chris Chilliza theory.

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

I am so sick of Mccain and his broken arms, who gives a sh&t. As someone who lived in AZ I can tell you I wish he had broken his damn neck. The guy is just a useless lier who is in anybody's pocket with a check book.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

And check out Campaign Diaries' lengthy analysis of this issue, and explanation of how Clark's remarks have been distorted by people with ties to the 2004 Swift Boat ads! Here: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/07/01/the-wesley-clark-controversy-mccains-truth-squad-and-dem-veepstakes/

Posted by: Dan | July 1, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

McCains military record did not help him in his primary loss to absentee National Gard George Bush. Why should it help him today? This is between "General" Wesley Clark and "Lt" commander John McCain. Senator obama is nowhere in the picture. This is a General telling a Liutennat, as a Senator, McCains miltary judjment on Iraq was flawed. A 5th grader could have told him that. As a General, Clark is in his right to comment on Lt. McCain. The problem is, McCain is insubordinte, and doesn't know how to follow orders. If McCain was serious he would respectfully disagree with Clark and state "WHY" McCains military record otherwise qualifies (entitles) him to be President? McCain has yet to tell us this! If he won't, and he can't, he should be quiet unless this is the only way he can get some media time.

Posted by: Fareed H. Ansari | July 1, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The latest round of presidential polls has good news for both candidates, as Obama leads in Virginia and McCain is ahead in Florida: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/06/30/monday-polls-mccain-still-ahead-in-florida-but-loses-virginia/

Posted by: Dan | July 1, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama isn't running on lies and a fake resumé.

++++++++++
If McCain's experience doesn't satisfy Clark's requirement for POTUS, then Obama isn't even remotely qualified.

Posted by: Snuffy Smith | July 1, 2008 1:02 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks,
Let's call a spade a spade...Clark's comments were right on the money, and mcbush is using this purported slur to appeal to the average person's misconception about his so-called heroism. A true hero doesn't wallow in prolonging the issue-John Kerry was a hero and look at the crap he took from "swift-boating"...

Posted by: Christopher Flynn | July 1, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Columbia Journalism Review:
"This is the perfect embodiment of the press's unbelievably destructive habit of assessing every piece of campaign rhetoric for its political acuity, rather than for its validity and accuracy."

Chris Cillizza: Exhibit A

Posted by: Alan | July 1, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Clark's remarks were absolutely true. Where exactly has McCain demonstrated good foreign policy judgment? Where is the evidence? That seemed to be Clark's point.

McCain's foreign policy judgment stinks. His economic policy judgment isn't much better. That is the point.

The real losers here are McCain, Obama, the press, and the American people. McCain comes off looking thin-skinned. Obama comes off looking weak. The press comes off looking petty. And once again the public interest is obscured, not served.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

Tell me it's not really depressing to have a job that involves following this meaningless drivel on a day-to-day basis. Tell me.

Posted by: Matt | July 1, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

If McCain's experience doesn't satisfy Clark's requirement for POTUS, then Obama isn't even remotely qualified.

Posted by: Snuffy Smith | July 1, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"I do believe General Clark has made a huge mistake here," said Graham on this morning's conference call. "No matter how he sugarcoats it, he is trying to question John's service."
==========
Someone needs to tell this dolt to wipe the "southern simple" off his face. No Lindsey, let me say it slowly so that you'll understand: Wes Clark DID NOT, let me repeat, did not, question Johnny Freeride's service, in fact he lauded it, and as someone who was shot 4xs in Vietnam himself, Clark is accutely aware of the cost to McCain of that service, what he questioned was how does McCain's experience as a long suffering POW qualifiy him to Lead the most Powerful Country in the World (at least for now...who knows how diminished we have become in the wake of the disastrous Bush Presidency.) I don't believe that the McCain campaign has ever made the case themselves that McCain's POW experience in and of itself qualifies him for the Presidency, but they are sure are feigning outrage at the moment. BTW, Chuck Hagel said in a recent Article about Jim Webb, that he and Webb have better experience to judge the situation in Iraq than McCain because they both served in a combat capacity in Vietnam as part of the Army, as opposed to being a fly-boy without hand to hand combat or boots on the ground...why hasn't the MSM jumped on that?
================
"How can McCain deny this? He has never pushed for any kind of solution other than a military solution for any of our foreign policy problems..."
===============
GREAT point...I'll have to add that to my personal repetoire.
================
"Obama has always done this -- he sends slimey characters to do his dirty work, then pretends to distance himself..."
===============
OMG that is rich considering that the Republicans, since 2000, have relied on the spurious 527's to hurl slime on any Democrat that attempts to seize power from them. HAHA. Even McCain, who once eschewed such shady groups after what they did to him in 2000, and how they smeared his fellow Vet Kerry in 2004, now has one of the "Swift Boaters" as part of his entourage. D'oh the hypocrisy of the Right...guess you can dish it out, but can't take it? Not to mention the gall of you people supporting a Candidate whose policies do not veer in any substantive way from those of the failed Bush policies....to want to keep this country on the downslide trajectory to support your own ideology, I ask YOU want does that say about YOUR character?

Posted by: radical_moderate | July 1, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

It's encouraging that the dialogue in U.S. electoral politics is rising to the level of The Jerry Springer Show.

Posted by: mike johnson | July 1, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

You have to put General Clark's comments in context, the context of a small minded weak military persona. I have no respect for General Clark, particularly when I remember during the Kosovo war that he paraded around with war criminal General Radko Mladic and even traded military caps with him. What a ludicrous represenatative of our fine military tradition! not to mention an immature and arrogant man who was thrust onto the stage without his own experience and maturity.

Posted by: Mtn Man | July 1, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Much ado about nothing. Exactly why its being over-covered in the MSM.

Its pointless, so it features well in a horse-race column.

Now that we've beaten this particular horse, how about some substance on policy differences between Obama and McCain.

I understand McCain is endorsing the Bush administration's economic and energy policy.

Got any INFORMATION on that?

Posted by: JBE | July 1, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"The retired general and his political team believe his comments have been taken entirely out of context by the media"

Chris, it's not just a question of belief or partisanship, read the transcript (much of which your abbreviated quote leaves out). Columbia Journalism Review did, and rightly lambasted the press for getting it.

And I was hoping against hope, that after three days you could get it right!

Posted by: Cornfields | July 1, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Why Scrivener (ID below) is raising the "Gang Stalking/Community Stalking" issue:

WARANTLESS WIRETAPPING IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG...

PEOPLE (INCLUDING JOURNALISTS) ARE BEING UNJUSTLY TARGETED AND SCAPEGOATED.

IT'S "ORGANIZED VIGILANTE STALKING" (A/K/A "GAND STALKING"/"COMMUNITY STALKING")

AND IT'S HAPPENING ALL OVER AMERICA.

Why hasn't the mainstream media "connected the dots"? As poster Dave Johnson noted in the first entry on this blog, the warantless wiretapping began BEFORE 9/11. It's just part of a frightening mosaic that already has nullified the rule of law and the constitutional right of due process under the law.

People are being targeted for ruin -- financially, socially and physically -- by an organized campaign of vigilantism that some victims believe is funded and supported my multiple levels of government. The phenomenon, which has yet to break through to the mainstream media, is commonly known as "gang stalking" and "community stalking." But that nomenclature tends to trivialize the issue. This is a re-emergence of the KKK, the Stazi and the Gestapo. It is mob rule seemingly coordinated and condoned by rogue elements within the power structure.

This link explains it, and contains sublinks to additional information:


http://citizensoulpower.wordpress.com/2007/09/21

Those who raise this issue find that their computer connections are subject to frequent interruption and tampering. Their ability to freely communicate is severely circumscribed. Their careers are ruined, their reputations are slandered, and their physical well-being is placed in serious jeopardy. The link explains how this is done.

http://citizensoulpower.wordpress.com/2007/09/21

I am a former investigative/business reporter/producer for major newspapers and TV stations. And I have been a victim of organized gang stalking for more than four years. I have contacted media outlets, but I find that there is a concerted effort to destroy my credibility. My name is Victor Livingston and my telephone number is (215) 295-0852. My email is erratic and I can't rely on its veracity. If you are a fellow journalist, please help me get the word out. I have tried to go through "the system," so far to no avail.

If you know Sy Hersh, please send him this post (that is, if it goes through...)

Posted by: scrivener | July 1, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

So far..you've had Clark, Jim Webb and Charlie Rangel this morning all basically saying the same thing that Clark did on Sunday on Face the Nation...

There's one connection between these three if memory serves me...weren't they all Hillary Clinton supporters?

If thats the case..then we all can see now the Clinton strategy playing out here...If Hillary can't be President..then no Democrat will....

Posted by: Todd | July 1, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Is McCain a little baby? Does he need others to fight his battles?

Clark was right. Is a crack addict more qualified to run the DEA than an executive?

Posted by: KAckermann | July 1, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Let's forget all the VFW posturing. This story is not about Wes Clark, it is about John McCain.

What does John McCain's service tell us about his character.

McCain supporters tell us he is brave, patriotic and unswervingly loyal. OK.

Let's look at some other facets of his service. President Johnson took personal responsibility for the collateral damage inflicted on the missions and demanded that the planners pass everything by him. LBJ was catigated by then Lt. McCain for micromanagement.

Question- how does one assert responsibility without personal involvement in management? McCain as President would do what? Sit back like Bush and let an unprepared military establishment screw up like they admit doing in Iraq?

Second, the myth that McCain could have been released from POW camp but CHOOSE to stay. Would the North Vietnamese who were losing 5,000 KIA a WEEK have really been such pushovers? Can anyone believe that the North Vietnamese made the decision on McCain's disposition based on anything but their own interest?

Are people who believe that a wounded POW has influence over his captors people we want running foreign policy?

John McCain's character- whatever dedication John McCain showed in captivity - when McCain returned home he deserted his wife.

McCain's wife did nothing but be loyal, faithful and take care of their kids.

McCain repaid her by publicly humilitiating her with numerous affairs and deserting her and the kids.

The GOP may view that kind of behavior as family values and patriotic. The family values and patriotism party may feel that deserting a loyal wife and kids can be forgotten and forgiven.

I sure that some people in this country have higher standards and that they will turn out to express them in November.

John McCain has lived a long time in Washington, D.C. and in that long career has shown nothing but the ability to rise to the top of the dung pile.

Posted by: robert chapman | July 1, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure this is as bad for Obama as you seem to think it is. But you still have a former head of NATO making the rounds and telling people that McCain's past while admirable does not make him qualified to be President.
Once again, just like with "terrorist attack favors Mccain" the assumption by the media is that talking about this is a good thing for McCain.
While Obama can not want the distraction from his speeches, I am not sure they are entirely unhappy about MCCain being challenged about one of his strongest suits. Remember what Rove used to say ? Always soften up your opponent on his strength rather than his weaknesses.

Posted by: benjamin | July 1, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The real campaign begins in August, were still in the collection of negative material mode right now. McCain has the ability to size up the opposition, saying he will choose his VP pick about 1 week after Obama picks. Smart move for McCain.

Posted by: reason | July 1, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It was almost four years ago that all those Republicans paraded around the GOP convention with their purple-heart band-aid buttons, happily mocking John Kerry's Vietnam service. And now they're offended by Clark's comments about John McCain? Give me a break. And shame on you Chris for ignoring the obvious hypocrisy.

Posted by: Dave | July 1, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

There's only one little problem with the usual cadre of GOP hysterics: what Wes Clark said was 100 percent accurate.

I figure there's some internal Democratic clock that's ticking down to Clark's eventual "apology" at the behest of the Obama campaign. But I hope he sticks to his guns. Progressives and Democrats need to take at least a two-year holiday from apologizing for anything.

Truth be told, as an Obama supporter, I'd be happy as a clam for the recent patriotism and faith-based speeches to be totally lost in the din.

Posted by: Tank | July 1, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Clark was clearly, as he stated, speaking on his own behalf, and not on behalf of the Obama campaign.

Aside from that, what was factually inaccurate in his statement? Nothing. I've heard a lot of harping about his statements, but no serious responses to the question he posed...what is it in regard to McCains service that makes him uniquely qualified to be president? He was not involved in policy decisions, he was rank and file following orders. There's an enormous amount of difference in his service and service on the executive level. I doubt that graduate number 894 of 899 has the intelligence and the intellectual curiousity to succeed at running this country. Also, why hasn't his full medical and military records been released? What is he hiding?

Posted by: JDB | July 1, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Chris:

I disagreed with your analysis when this "story" started and disagree with it now.

If all McCain and Obama do from now until Election Day is debate McCain's resume and war service, Obama will win hands down.

Why?

Because McCain is still fighting the Vietnam War, as is Bud Day and all his fellow Swift Boat travelers.

America is tired of Vietnam. And it's tired of Iraq. America is tired of stupid men sending off our sons and daughters to die and get maimed and hurt innocent civilians for stupid reasons. Whether it was LBJ not wanting to be the first president to lose a war or W wanting to avenge his Poppy, Americans are sick of it.

Afghanistan, okay. Bin Laden was based there and had the protection of the Taliban. If I had told you that nearly seven years after 9/11 and trillions of defense and intelligence dollars later, Bin Laden would still be walking the earth a free man, you would have said I was nuts, that the people would have demanded the impeachment of the president for gross imcompetance by this point, but here we are.

And with over 100,000 troops in Iraq.

THAT's why we could celebrate John McCain's heroic actions as a POW every single day until November 4th, and Obama will STILL be the next president of the United States.

Posted by: Doug in NYC | July 1, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Again, Clark statement about McCain was unbelievably stupid.

Obama has no experience whatsoever to be commander-in-chief. Never in modern history would we have a president so woefully unpreprepared to run a military. Even Clinton ran a national guard.

Obama will loses this issue. Badly.

Posted by: info | July 1, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Why do you think Clark questioning McCain's readiness as Commander in Chief based SOLEY on him being a war prisoner is a distraction for Obama? I believe it undercuts the basic premise of McCain's campaign and that is why McCain and his cronies are trying to confuse the issue by suggesting his patriotism is being questioned. Whatever!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It speaks volumes about Obama's character that he would send Clark out to smear McCann yet claim he knew nothing about it. What slimy weasle behaviour. It looks like Obama is the worst of the liberal worst when it comes to morals and honesty. He has neither. Do not elect this Marxist who will tax the country to death.

Posted by: Cecil Quick | July 1, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

As long as the media, including you Chris, label this "controversial," the story has legs.

IT DOES NOT have legs. It's a line looking for a story.

General Clark spoke the truth. Let's say, oh, I put out a grease fire in my kitchen? Does that make me qualified to be a fireman?

NO.

Move along, there's nothing to see here except a bunch of air time looking for something to fill it with. Go look for something real to report, as opposed to simply take up 'controversial' space.

Or check out that grease fire. Now there's a story...

Posted by: Captain John | July 1, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm embarrassed that Obama turned on Clark on this one. The more he chooses to chuck people overboard rather than fight back, the more respect I lose for him.

Posted by: BB | July 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
One of the members of the media who has taken the quote out of context is you yourself. I notice that you still haven't edited the quote on the other post, even after a number of us have pointed out your error.

Nathan,
If you still disturbed about Chris' breech of journalistic standards, you can e-mail the Deborah Howell, the ombudsman: ombudsman@washingtonpost.com.

Posted by: mnteng | July 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Of course to the media the fact that Clark was right is beside the point.

If flying a plane and being a POW pre-qualify one to be President, then there are a lot of Americans pre-qualified to be President.

How many former POWs are there in the States right now? As brave as they are, and as terrible as their sacrifices were, are they all qualified to be President of the United States? Of course not. So what's controversial about Clark's statement?

Posted by: BB | July 1, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Why do you call this column "The Fix"? It should be called "The Echo Chamber".

You continue to take Gen Clark's words out of context, even as you say he "thinks" they were taken out of context! Shameful at best! I know it must help with ratings to stir up controversy, CC, but you're simply being dishonest by perpetuating the falsehood that this was anything but a direct answer to a specific question. Put it back in context!

Here's the exchange:

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...

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

SCHIEFFER: Really?

Posted by: Alan | July 1, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

General Clark speaks the truth. It doesn't matter if you have been awarded the MOH....you still might not be Presidential material. McSame supports all of Bush's disastrous policies. That alone makes him unfit.

Oh, and all of you Freeptards can go home now. Jimbob, or whatever his name is, is low on cash.

Posted by: hihomoron | July 1, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree that pretty much everything General ninkompoop said is mostly true, it does point out what tin ears most Libs have.

Bringing up the notion that Mccain does not have executive experience simply boomarangs back to Obama since he has zero executive experience. Next he'll be explaining how Obama is just like Jesse Jackson - oh wait, another tin ear already did that.

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 1, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

This is great stuff because it actually has some substance. It isn't just mudslinging. We're talking about a general (not a marine or something) and his criticisms of a fighter pilot's leadership skills. Technically, he is correct. Nothing about McCain's service makes him qualified to lead, and the point Clark made about "undervaluing other non-military" forms of power is absolutely spot-on.

How can McCain deny this? He has never pushed for any kind of solution other than a military solution for any of our foreign policy problems. Obama, however, has stated he will use force when necessary, but would rather solve our problems with diplomacy - I'm going for Obama and Clark on this one.

Posted by: Brian | July 1, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Let me ask the inverse:

Is there someone saying that getting in a fighter plane & getting shot down IS a qualification to become president?

Who is this person?"

You know, I was making this argument until I watched the actual interview. Clark was talking about how McCain has never held executive experience. Schieffer then brings up the fact that McCain was a POW and has been shot down and all that stuff. Only then does Clark say that line. I didn't like the line at first, but I watched the interview and in the context of what he was being asked, it was fair. McCain has dropped bombs, but has never given the order to drop bombs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kag0bBJVkIw

Watch it. It will give you some context. The controversial part comes early on, so you don't have to watch the whole thing.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 1, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I still can't believe you haven't corrected your misquote from yesterday, and then have the gall to say Clark "thinks" he was taken out of context.

YOU took his quote out of context and still you say he "thinks" that's what happened.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Nathan | July 1, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about this. I want to hear Michelle Shaniqua Obama say that she is proud of this country instead of her race baiting in Trinity Church. We all know the "whitey" tape due for release in October will be pivotal.

Posted by: Dianne72 | July 1, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The Republican't Talking Points Machine is up to speed at full throttle.

So it doesn't matter that Clark spoke the TRUTH.

Still waiting for the MSM to give McSame the same treatment it gave Kerry.

Posted by: RealCalGal | July 1, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Chris forgot to mention the other Obama surrogates who have dismissed McCain's military service - General McPeak, Rand Beers, Senator Rockefeller and Senator Harkin. This is not isolated. Obama has always done this -- he sends slimey characters to do his dirty work, then pretends to distance himself. Are we forgetting that Obama must be the victim always? The Washington Post has dozens of reporters going around the country, finding someone who will not vote for Obama, and then sliming them. The WaPo and Chris Cizilla have become just more Obama surrogates doing his dirty work.

Posted by: Karen | July 1, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Subject: Presidential Temperament


Please talk about and "Compare And Contrast" the " Presidential Temperament" of our Presidential presumptive nominees. I will also request and plead to the nominees themselves [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama ].

Our nation has been applying this yard and stick tor the appointments and confirmation process of our Supreme Court Justices nominees.

Our Greatgrand Nation Foundations are as under:
Family, friends, fellows, faith, funds, fun, with fairness & freedom And without fear, favor, and failure.

It will be disgrace and shameful if the nominees and media will not look into this critical and crucial aspect under current challenging times and circumstances within our country and all around the Globe.

America wake up and the discuss the " Presidential Temperament" of our presumptive presidential nominee's [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama].

Yours sincerely,

COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret].
Disabled American Veteran
Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas, Nevada

PS: Do not blame Gen. Clark and start discussing "Presidential Temperament" of our would Presidents.

Posted by: COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret] | July 1, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Ok, as with other people who have posted on this topic over the past couple of days: I do not get how this "plays to McCain's strength". I can see how it plays to his "war hero" credentials ... if that is his "strength" for the presidency, he's in big trouble. And that is what Clark is saying, isn't it?

And having Joe Lieberman insist that McCain and Clinton are both "ready on Day One" ... more playing to McCain's strength??

Posted by: Fred D | July 1, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Chris, but I don't think very many American voters, except for some McCain paid staffers and you folks in the media, give a rats a$$ about this garbage. Try reporting on some actual news for a change.

Posted by: Get Real | July 1, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Agree with first poster here - MSM and Print is driving this crapola, this is a non-story, latched onto by a crazed MSM losing ratings and trying to keep a disinterested electorate engaged.

Get back to us when you have a real story to report, or a better debate, this is drivel.

Come on FIX - Step up your game!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Wank | July 1, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Next

Posted by: Huh | July 1, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Typical McCain supporters' tactic: Distort what the other guy (Gen. Clark) actually said, then attack what they SAY he said. We call this "a straw man" when we're being charitable, and "a lie" when we're not.

The interesting question is why the media let the distortion pass without attention. Why is the focus not on the willful attempt to mislead the public?

Posted by: FlownOver | July 1, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"On Sunday, Clark... questioned McCain's qualifications for the White House, saying on CBS's "Face the Nation" that "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president." "

Let me ask the inverse:

Is there someone saying that getting in a fighter plane & getting shot down IS a qualification to become president?

Who is this person?

Posted by: bsimon | July 1, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The only people paying attention to the candidates right now are the people the campaigns are paying to post on this site. Everyone else is worried about scrounging up enough gas money to get to Home Depot for some propane and Costco for some dogs, burgers, and buns. Everything right now is manufactured news by a media that has nothing better to do. The Post and the other media outlets should just close up shop for a month or so and pick up again in late August for the conventions.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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