Obama Rebuffs Clark on McCain

Barack Obama has wisely distanced himself from surrogate Wes Clark’s disparagement of John McCain’s military experience.

“For those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country — no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary,” Obama said. “And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.”

The comment drew loud applause.

Andrew Sullivan, an unabashed admirer of Obama despite his own Oakeshottian conservative bent, is less temperate vis-a-vis Clark.

Wesley Clark is now and always has been a Clinton-type, but this is pretty revolting. This kind of personal attack was repulsive coming against Kerry from the far right. And it’s repulsive the other way round. Both Kerry and McCain served their country honorably; and their records should be revered, period. You can make an argument against McCain’s foreign policy experience and judgment on its merits. Do it and leave this crap out of it.

Quite. I’d be happy to see questioning of candidate patriotism and loyalty similarly consigned to the fringes of legitimate discourse.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Military Affairs, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Spoker says:

    When in doubt, let your surrogates handle the dirty work and then claim the high road. Nice way to work both side of the fence.

  2. “And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.”

    I hadn’t realized that anyone had devalued Senator Obama’s service. Or is this a subtle hint to lay off his VP choice in advance?

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    With Obama throwing Clark under the bus, the only advisor he has with experience putting a bomb on target is Ayers.

  4. Alex Knapp says:

    I hadn’t realized that anyone had devalued Senator Obama’s service. Or is this a subtle hint to lay off his VP choice in advance?

    That’s a reminder of the remarks some folks made about Kerry’s service back in 2004.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Does anyone have a link to video? Would be useful to see this in context…

  6. If so, refighting the last war rarely works.

  7. MarkT says:

    I’m curious what amount of military service is useful before someone is ready to be commander in chief? What kind of service? What rank would be ideal?

  8. Davebo says:

    I’d be happy to see questioning of candidate patriotism and loyalty

    The problem here, as James well knows, is that Clark didn’t question McCain’s patriotism or loyalty but merely responded factually to a question asked of him.

  9. Christopher says:

    James,

    You call that a rebuff? Wow. Maybe you had better pull out your trusty but dusty dictionary.

    This is Obama’s guy, and he knew exactly what he would be saying in the interview.

    Pathetic.

  10. James Joyner says:

    Clark didn’t question McCain’s patriotism or loyalty but merely responded factually to a question asked of him.

    I was thinking of some on the hard right and the Clinton dead-enders doing that to Obama.

    This is Obama’s guy, and he knew exactly what he would be saying in the interview.

    I don’t think the world’s that coordinated.

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    James, you fail to see the pattern developing here? Obama surrogates attack, Obama then distances himself from the comment, but it is out there. What do you expect from gutter slime Chicago politicians? Why doesn’t Bill Ayers make a statement on Obama’s behalf? That is where Obama’s political career started.

  12. DL says:

    The issue is not about McCain’s patriotism but about the objective fact that being a war hero doesn’t necessarily qualify you to become president – those that think so need to be, in conscience, willing to vote for a president Murtha.

    Wes was accurate but distainful in his motive.

    Stick with the truth and then the things you say wont come back someday to haunt you.

  13. Bithead says:

    No sale. there’s a pattern developing here with Obama.

    Obama’s been doing this all along; Surrogates end up saying the smears and other trash talk the campaign needs to spread, and when things get too hot because of what gets said, Obama simply tosses the speaker under the bus, and claims he’s running a ‘clean campaign’, and he’s shocked…. shocked… that any of his people would come up with such a comment.

    I’m not buying it.
    And note we have others pushing the same meme.

    It’s clear to me this comment by Idiot Clark is part of an orginized effort.

  14. anjin-san says:

    It’s clear to me this comment by Idiot Clark

    Way to respect those who have served…

    As someone who has actually met Gen. Clark, had a conversation with him and listened to him address an audience, I can tell you that he is, like him or not, obviously an extremely bright guy.

    But I guess a real achiever like Bit can well afford to sneer at a 4 star Rhodes Scholar…

    to say nothing of those who have actually served, as opposed to simply write posts about how groovy war is.

  15. Bithead says:

    But I guess a real achiever like Bit can well afford to sneer at a 4 star Rhodes Scholar…

    … who was fired for… what, again?