June 30th, 2008
02:30 PM ET

McCain's military credentials overrated?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

John McCain's military service doesn't automatically qualify him to be president according to retired General Wesley Clark.

General Clark is a former NATO commander who backed Hillary Clinton and now supports Barack Obama. He says that performing heroic military acts is not a substitute for command experience. Clark says he honors McCain's service as a POW, and calls him a hero. He credits McCain's time on the Senate Armed Services Committee and his travel worldwide, but he points out that John McCain hasn't held executive responsibility. General Clark says, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

McCain was more than just a fighter pilot, though. After being a POW, he went on to become the commanding officer of the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy.

McCain's campaign responded, saying Obama doesn't stand for a new kind of politics, that he's willing to do and say anything to get elected - including allowing his surrogates to "demean and attack" McCain's military record.

Barack Obama has formally rejected Clark's comments, with a spokesman adding that Obama "honors and respects" McCain's service.

But, Clark isn't the only one. The Politico reports that John McCain is coming under fire about his military service from critics on the left and right. Some accuse him of war crimes for bombing targets in Hanoi during the '60s. One liberal blog is accusing McCain of "disloyalty" during his time as a POW since he participated in Vietnamese propaganda films and interviews. Others are asking for more detailed records from McCain's Navy service.

Here’s my question to you: Are John McCain's military credentials overrated?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Judy writes:
McCain's service should be respected. Our past is always with us, so whatever he did and didn't do is something he has to live with. I do honor all of our military service people and McCain is no different. However, I hope he doesn't wear POW on his forehead believing that will bring him votes. It won't get mine!

Bob writes:
I doubt they're overrated but I don't think they're necessarily a qualification for president. It's an old and tired way of thinking that a war hero qualifies anyone for the presidency. It really is time for change and that includes many of the old ideas that qualify one for the presidency. I don't think he's qualified to be president, period.

Ray from West Chester, Pennsylvania writes:
I think Gen. Wesley Clark's statements are simply stupid from a political standpoint. Why would you want to bring up McCain's military service as an issue in the first place? The discussion hurts Obama much more than McCain. 1. Obama has no military service. McCain served in the Navy in a war zone. 2. Obama has no executive experience. McCain was an officer. 3. McCain is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate. Annapolis is probably one of the greatest leadership schools in the world.

Allen from West Virginia writes:
John McCain's service alone does not make him qualified to be commander-in-chief. However, when combined with his years in the Senate, including as former Chairman and current Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, he has very reputable credentials.

D. writes:
Obama made a mistake rebutting Clark who had a very down to earth point: McCain’s military credentials are not out of the ordinary. I fail to see how being shot down and the subsequent consequences make you a better commander-in-chief.It's like being mugged on the street would make you a better candidate for mayor.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. RJ from Pennsylvania

    Sort of. He never really did anything heroic. He was just a POW.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  2. Terry in Hanover County

    No. McCain has problems and failings just like the rest of us. He's human. But to denigrate his military service just to win an election is just wrong, just like it was wrong with the Swift Boaters did it to Kerry.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  3. viola

    I wonder what other Pows think. No one has heard anything about them since vietnam ended and what the ones that were captured with him. Do we know anything about them. I agree with that McCain has not been tested during war time. And only reason he given command over a troop company was because of his father.

    So to say he commanded this huge military group and it was not during war time, we don't know what his ability or skills are. When engaged in war, being in command over any section is very different than when nothing is going on.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  4. Erin in Kalamazoo

    As qualification for the presidency–yes, his military history is overrated. On the other hand, his political career easily qualifies him as a candidate.

    Still, his war hero persona makes him a true sentimental favorite and Americans love sentiment. But rationality reminds of us of the disconnect between being a POW and a qualified US President.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  5. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No, John McCains credentials aren't overrated it's the credentials of other brave men and women that are underrated.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  6. Terry from North Carolina

    One of the toughest jobs there is , taking off and landing jets from the deck of an Essex class aircraft carrier. after which getting shot down and then taken prisoner, thrown in prison and tortured. Would you say John McCains military credentials are overrated. I dont think so.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  7. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Having been in the military gives McCain a perspective that Obama doesn't have, but it in no way makes him more qualified than Obama to be president. Some of our greatest presidents never served in the military. And Clark was right about the fact that McCain never had "command" or "executive" experience in the Navy at a level that would have prepared him to be president.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  8. Joan: Burlington, VT

    John McCain has never claimed to have been an admiral. I am appalled that the Obama campaign is taking the same tack that George W. Bush took toward John McCain's military record during his campaign for the presidency. Seems Obama is a lot like Bush!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  9. Jenny Rome Ga


    Yes. He was a POW for five years I believe and he did talk in the end. I do not want to marginalize his service but he was no Rambo.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,I don't think John McCain's service record is any more over rated,than Senator Obama's lack service of any kind is underated,miltary and in the congress'I think Obama's lack of service is much more important!

    June 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  11. Laylah B, Los Angeles

    It's hard to tell. Hundreds of pages of his military record seem to be "missing." They may be hiding with Nixon's twenty minutes of audio tape, all those White House emails and those socks my clothes dryer keeps eating.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  12. J.D. in NH

    Senator McCain deserves respect for his service – as did John Kerry in 2004 – but having been a prisoner-of-war does not, in and of itself, make a person any more or less qualified to be president. If anything, it raises questions in my mind about any history McCain might have with PTSD. He has a reputation as a hot head and might not have the temperment to be this country's leader.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  13. Joe in DE

    This is not a duplicvate – I am continually getting responses duplicate detected.

    McCain's military credentials are not overrated but military credentials are not particularly good for being President. Military people are necessary and generally good citizens. The millitary life – espcially for military childern who go into th service – is a far cry from the avrage life experience. For one thing, scraping to make aliving is not a factor, health care is not a factor, retirement is not a factor. Miltary people are out of touch with US life.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  14. Joe

    No! I am a strong Obama supporter, but I DON'T think John McCain's military credentials are overrated. He, and a whole lot of others from that same war and other wars, are true heroes. Their service should not be portrayed as less for political advantage. I felt that way about John Kerry and the way he was swiftboated, and I feel that way about McCain.


    June 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  15. Mac in Truro Nova Scotia

    Yes Jack, they are overrated. I served 23 years in the U.S.Army including service in Viet Nam but that doesn't qualify me to be Commander in Chief. It does qualify me to state unequivoclly that McCain's attitude toward the war in Iraq, that never should have started is way off the mark. Sure he was a POW but others came back in body bags or so badly wounded that their lives were changed forever. McCain should get off his soap box and work to end the war in Iraq which was started because Bush wanted to finish what his father didn't get done.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  16. Anna

    McCain put his life on the line during one war...Obama is putting his life on the line just running for president. Both in service to our country.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  17. Betty - AL

    I don't see anything about a couple of broken arms that qualifies him to be POTUS.

    I think the fact that he finished in the bottom 1% of his class says he probably isn't smart enough to be President.

    Come to think of it, how did he get in the Naval Academy? Did his daddy buy it for him?

    I don't like war – don't like war-mongers or fear-mongers – and that's all that seems to come out of his mouth and the mouths of his surrogates.

    He should be disqualified – fear is a form of terrorism.


    June 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  18. Jay-Mississippi

    I have often thought that Mccain was the guy in the place at the time right time or wrong. Nevertheless, he was there. He did his job. He did it well. Now had he been foretold that he would be caputured and undergo torture, I wonder if he would sign up for the job. He is a great American, worthy of celebration, but we should remember, he was only doing his job. However, That does not make him the the final authority on military operations, and we ought to remember that.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Karyn

    My father served in WWII.....would that have qualified him to be President? No. He was serving at Pearl Harbor in 1941....would that have qualified him to be President? No.
    General Clark has NEVER demeaned McCain's service. He was only pointing out (and he phrased it kindlier that I) that a flyboy who happened to end up a POW does not QUALIFY – ANYONE – to be President. If that were the case, all POWs should run for the office.
    Good grief. I haven't seen this many pairs of panties in a wad since someone suggested that Bush really ISN'T the Second Coming for crying out loud.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  20. Ed Reed

    John McCain served his country courageously, was shot down over Vietnam, and became a POW; however, that may not make him the most qualified candidate to be President. Turns out he was wrong in supporting the invasion of Iraq, which has become our nation's greatest foreign policy blunder.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    June 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  21. Tom in Desoto Texas

    ABSOLUTELY! War Hero? He fly off an aircraft carrier after a breakfast of steak and eggs and returned to have steak for dinner. On his 23rd bombing mission he got shot down and became a POW for 5 1/2 years. Yes he endured a lot. Had he actually been on the ground in Vietnam and been captured he would have been shot in the head. Being a POW seems to be a better option. To be a hero you have to DO something, not be a victim of circumstances.

    PS: I served on the ground in Vietnam.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  22. Stacy from Loudoun County, VA

    Jack, Senator McCain is a war hero, so if he is talking about the subject of being a prisoner of war and torture, then he is without a doubt an expert and we should always yield to him on that subject. But when it comes to strategy, I don’t know if he is better or worse than Senator Obama in that regard. I mean, Senator Kerry was a decorated war hero, but the Republicans swiftboated him at every turn.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  23. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Yes they are overrated. I respect his service. In all due respect though, his service is way overraated. After he was captured he did what the military directs its people to do. Actually I get tired of hearing about it.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  24. Mark - Asheville, NC

    What happened to him in Vietnam will play perfectly into the mindset of the while male swing voters, who will ultimately decide the Electoral College as they always do. It's the archtypical HERO story, and it will not matter whether it is adequate preparation to be Commander in Chief or not – it will sell!!

    Wesley Clark committed an appalling gaffe yesterday with his denigrating comment about McCain's service. This will come back to bite Obama over and over this Fall – it's about how it looked and sounded more than whether or not it was valid. The damage is done, they can't take it back now.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  25. Frank from Peterborough

    When all your military credentials indicate is that you surrendered and were a POW you have to consider them overrated with no importance whatsoever to being President of the U.S.

    The President has to rely on the advice he gets from his current commanders and top advisers. You know like Bush did with Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. The same types McCain will have to rely on if he ever got elected in November.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  26. Slatsie

    I've no idea why being a PRISONER of the enemy for 5 or more years qualifies one as being a hero? Audie Murphy was a hero – he took control of a bad situation and saved lives. McCain was shot down and captured. To my way of thinking that makes him rather inept.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  27. Emma, San Jose, CA

    McCain is better qualified to be a Navy bigwig and influence national security that way, than he is to deal with serious domestic problems. It seems we think in terms of the President doing it all, rather than allowing
    a government of the people. George W Bush outrageously abused executive power to a point where he stifled Congress and the will of Americans. I fear McCain will do the same thing.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  28. Bev, Los Angeles

    Of course they are. Clark asked a serious legimate question. Does being a military man make you automatically qualified for Commander in Chief? Hero or no hero, the answer is not necessarily. Good judgement, the right values, ability to move people and provide the kind of leadership that allows you to listen to folks and change your mind based on what those folks are saying. (Unlike Cheney's""so"" when asked what about the 68% of Americans opposed to the war in Iraq.)

    June 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  29. Mike from Baltimore, MD


    I wouldn't say his credentials are overrated. However, serving in the military doesn't automatically mean that you are more qualified to be President or have better judgment on issues of foreign and defense policy.

    Baltimore, MD

    June 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  30. Annette from SC

    YES, his military service is overrated.

    He served..great!
    He was shot down...sorry!
    He was a POW...sorry!
    He returned home..wonderful.

    BUT that still does not make him presidential material.

    I am a veteran and I am sick of hearing about his POW status. If that was a criteria to being President, then only POWs should be considered.

    Get off it already. Let's deal with the real issues. His being a POW is not going to get the gas prices down, health care for millions, the economy fixed or the war over.

    If it's all about the military experience, maybe he should be the Secretary of State or a military liason....and not president.

    Can he make executive decisions? That's all I want to know.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  31. janet in oklahoma

    YES YES YES.! Even though it was unfortunate for John McCain to have been shot down and endured a POW camp, it still doesn't qualify him for president. He acts as though no one dare question his military service...why? He should undergo the same scrutiny that anyone else running must go through.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  32. Michael Smith, New Orleans

    McCain's military credentials are certainly not over rated. But his intelligence and ability to govern certainly are.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  33. Bruce St Paul MN

    The Republicans have a lot of nerve treating McCains service record as a sacred cow after what they did to John Kerry. McCains valor and character are not being disputed, but how does his experience relate to being commander-in-chief or being an expert on national security? After the second World War, the guy who ran for president was the Supreme Commander of all allied forces in Europe. Even JFK was a PT boat commander, and he only claimed to have courage. Bob Dole had a purple heart and a permanent injury. GW was only in the pretend division of the Air National Guard. So I guess the bar keeps getting reset lower and lower. McCain is not Stormin' Norman, or Colin Powell, or even Wesly Clark. His academic record at the academy was abysmal, his career involved sacrifice, but does make him any more special tha all the others who served.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  34. Joe St Louis, MO


    Being a soldier does not give one the ability to lead a nation in war. What we have here is more political hog wash. Lets get out of the Iraq War, kill Bin Laden, and build our country on honest hardworking values.

    Joe from St Louis,MO

    June 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  35. Larry in Florida

    He is a veteran and a hero as were all the others who served. He loves this country and that qualifies him. He's honest and that I'm afraid is exactly what hurts him. He tells it like it is unlike his counterpart. The truth hurts and we can't handle it. Enough said.
    Reading your readers comments I can't believe one of them said he was just a POW. that scares me when the younger people feel that way. I pray it's not many that do.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  36. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    McSame was a war hero because of his conduct during his captivity. This service in no way qualifies him for the presidency, nor does it in any way enhance his desirablity as commander-in-shief. . However, it does shed a brilliant light on his character. Too bad his political history – that of backing (his worst enemy) W – DOES disqualify him from srving this country as a political leader. His abyssmal ignorance of socio-economics isn't helping his electioneering either. In short, his self-proclaimed, overrated military "credentials" are probably his best side.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  37. Jim from BC

    John MacCain's military credentials are fairly rated.

    It is his foreign affairs experience that is questionable. How much international diplomatic experience does he have?

    June 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  38. Kenny

    Senator McCain is a war hero and should be honored for such along with others also captured. Not having access to his military records no one can judge his military crendentials as being over rated or not. They do not qualify him to be president under any circumstances.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  39. Thomas L, Greely

    This is all apples and oranges isn't it? McCain is a hero, but he's a hero because of what he endured, not what he acheived. Other being able to lord it over Obama, I'm not sure what skills it transfers to holding the office of President. If the American people thought military service was so essential, they would have dropped AWOL Bush for distinguished veteran John Kerry in 2004.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  40. Grant from Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

    John McCain's war record is not overrated. What is overrated is the idea that service in the military is qualification enough to handle national security and foreign affairs. If that were the case, my three years, seven months and two days (13 months in South Viet Nam, 1968-69) in the US Armey qualify me to be president. I even got better grades in college.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  41. Marie

    McCain is the media's darling. His military record refer back to the time he ran against Bush. See the charges that were made back then. Now that's what I'm talking about. War Hero my butt.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  42. richard a. winkler

    Being a navy pilot and a POW does not qualify you for commander in chief. Wes Clark was absolutely right when he said that.

    June 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  43. jesse mehle

    Mr. Cafferty, In one word. Yes.

    Duluth MN

    June 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  44. PHS in Rhode Island

    Jack – they are EXTREMELY overrated. When did he ever hold a major military position which allowed him to make pivotal decisions.....never. This doesn't take away from the fact that he served proudly, just that his experience shouldn't unfairly qualify him as an experienced military "leader" when technically that wasn't the case.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  45. Ann

    Sen. McCain's record of service is to be admired. There are few men who would do what he did as a POW. He is certainly an honorable man. That said, we have one group to look to when we discuss devaluing military service and that is the Swiftboaters from 2004. They told the electorate that military service didn't matter. That it was okay not to serve your country honorably and then attack the service of those who could have gotten a "pass" on military service but chose not to exercise that option. The Swiftboaters taught us that the value of anyone's military service should be questioned – they made it practically patriotic to do so. I do not feel Sen. McCain's military service is overrated in the same way I did not feel that Sen. Kerry's was either. While he will not get my vote in November, I admire his strength, character and record of service to our country.

    New Hampshire

    June 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  46. Phil-Apple Capital of the World

    All due respect to Senator McCain, being a naval aviator and POW are NOT prerequisites for becoming commander in chief. So much hype is being generated by conservatives who believe "war heroes" should immediately qualify them to become the most powerful office-holder in the land. General Clark was right on target.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  47. Drew, Central FL

    Definitely. McCain didn't actually do anything heroic. He got shot down, caught and imprisoned. He endured incarceration and torture.

    Don't misunderstand. What he went through was horrible, but it doesn't make him a hero. If anything it makes him a victim. It might also explain why there is so much rage in the man. There was nothing exemplary in his service record and just being in the military or being a POW doesn't make you one. You have to do something heroic to earn the title of hero. Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Theresa and Jesus are all heroes.

    I think the whole GOP is too hawkish. Seems their first resort is always violence and threats.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  48. Bill in New London, CT

    Anyone who served in the military and didn't dishonor himself or the country should be lauded and treated with some degree of deference. However, sometimes we feel like we can't even dispute McCain on foreign policy because of his military service. He was never in a leadership position and, indeed, ended his career on a down note. He may be a hero for serving, but others may have taken more heroic actions, like Jim Webb.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  49. Ralph in New York

    No, Jack. He is a true hero who has given so much for his country. With close communication with military leaders in the middle east and elsewhere, including within our country, he would be a fine Commander-In-Chief.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  50. Chuck

    Much overrated! Wesley Clark is absolutely right. I'm glad he said it.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  51. Kerry Diehl

    No more than Obama's lack of military experience has been underrated and understated.

    kerry diehl
    grosse ile, mi

    June 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  52. Connie

    Jack, i think Wes Clark was right on , being a POW does not make you presidential material . I don't know if his military service has been overrated( he has), because I was not there, but to hear John McBush talk he was the only POW in that war.There were thousands that did not even come home in that war and this one also.How many of John McBush's VP candidates have even been in the service , lot a lone served in a war. After all they will only be a heart beat away from the oval office and if John McBush holds service as a litmus test non of his VP's pass.

    Connie from Indiana

    June 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  53. Brian - Trinidad

    Questioning McCain's military credentials is disgusting.The question is not how complex his duties were,but how did he serve.And lets compare his record to some of the big names.As far as I know,he volunteered,which Obama could have done but didn't,he accepted his mission,which neither Bush nor Cheney did as they both worked hard to avoid combat,refused to betray or criticise his country or fellow soldiers which resulted in his being kept as a prisoner longer than most,which Obama continually does in his sermons as does General Clark.McCain has more military qualifications than the rest put together.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  54. Karen, Idaho Falls Idaho

    Hi Jack,

    Over-rated!! Probably. But I'd rather have a President who served our country and understands war than one who didn't choose to serve and whose knowledge of war comes from a textbook.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  55. Judy - PCMO

    McCain's service should be respected. Our past is always with us, so whatever he did and didn't do is something he has to live with. I do honor all of our military service people and McCain is no different. However, I hope he doesn't wear POW on his forehead believing that will bring him votes. It won't get mine!!

    Happy Birthday America!!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  56. Lon Ivey

    As a veteran I have great respect for Sen. Mccain's service but Gen. Clark has a vaild point. Being captured and held prisoner does'nt automatically make you a great military leader. So much has been made about Sen. Obama's "lack of experience." What combat command experience can John McCain document? As a POW he was basically a non-combatant. The tactic of vilifying anyone who does'nt accept Sen. McCain's ability to lead as an "article of faith" as unpatriotic, has played out. If Michelle Obama is fair game, then McCain's leadership credibility should stand the test of public examination as well. Lon

    June 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  57. *CW*

    Overrated?.. YES!

    June 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  58. Harry

    McCain needs to stop referring to his 5 1/2 years in a POW camp.

    He tries to cherry pick his career. Why doesn't the press do it's job and examine his activities of the other 17 years of his military service?
    Explain how a man can come back, get returned to flight status in 1974 and then receive full disability in 1981?

    There is a lot there that you guys are not telling. The American people are watching you, just as much as the candidates.


    June 30, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  59. Dan from NJ

    While I don't think McCain's military service is overrated, I also don't think it automatically qualifies him to be president. it's not the only thing one should consider when deciding whether to vote for him. His service ABSOLUTELY should not be denigrated by his opponents or their mouthpieces.
    The man put life and limb at risk in service of his country; he will always have my respect and appreciation. and when it comes to speaking about the cost of war and policies around torture, he will always have my attention. He's earned it.
    Whether Gen. Clark's statement about McCain was accurate or not, he sounded very disrespectful, and he (Clark) lost some of my respect for himself.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  60. Cynthia

    While Sentor McCain served honorably in the military, I don't think it qualifies him to be a better President than Senator Obama. What about the RayRay 's, John's and Robert's (you see where I'm going with this) of the U.S. who served honorably, were POWs, etc. doesn't qualify them to be President in more than it does Senator McCain.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  61. Ray,Florida

    Well Jack,

    Some may say Patton was a great general.
    But do they think he woul'd have been a great president?
    If you don't know how balance a budget, How's your war record gonna help? I like to answer a question with a question. How bout you?

    June 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  62. Helena

    Clearwater, FL

    He will be unqualified until he releases the rest of his military records. What is he hiding? By refusing he is adopting another Bush policy. Would he be a "don't ask, don't tell" kind of leader?

    June 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  63. Larry Hutchinson Candidate for MI.State Rep.

    As a candidate for office as well as a "communications expert," of course he has what we call "fluff" or "puffery" going on in his campaign, we all do. we play up our weaknesses and evrything else to add points to the score board. so the fact that senator McCain spent time in prison is a plus. american politics, gotta love it.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  64. sarah, indiana

    nope not over rated at all and gen. clark should stop being disrespectful of a man who has dedicated himself to the service of his country. apparantly gen clark thinks being a community organizer and a HALF-TERM senator makes one more qualified to be president.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  65. C. Polk


    General(note -General) Clark was right on. Unfairly, the right-wingers, swift-boaters, and the Grand (Oil) Party did the same thing to John Kerry. Now those same people are complaining that John McShame
    is getting the same treatment. We appreciate McShame's military service. It was probably honorable. But he is not the only one who has been a prisoner of war.
    It means that everyone who has been one is qualified to be president. This is plain crazy.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  66. Sandra fromTexas

    General Wes Clark was right to question whether his military experience is relevant to his Presidential aspirations. He was not a General Eisenhower and not even a General Clark. McCain did not make military decisions on that kind of scale. He was a pilot and got shot down and was a POW and finished almost last in his class at the naval academy. I don't see anything here to qualify a person for the Presidency.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  67. Tina (Fort Worth)

    Lets me get this right....We are worrying about McCain's military record because he went into war and bombed Hanoi? Isn't that what a soldier does? We have a president who went off on a drunken binge and a V. P. who got 5 deferments but yet we or you the media is making a big deal out of McCains record. Gee what a shame but the GOP snowed over Kerry's military record also. I guess this is the norm now to see just how low either party can sink during an election.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  68. Al Scaroina, Humble, TX

    Jack, John McCain definitely served his country well, but being a POW does not qualify him to be Commander in Chief. I would say that surviving torture must have created post traumatic stress, And that's definitely something we would not want our president to have.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm |

    yes john mccain's credentials are overrated. spending 5 years in captivity doesn't make you a war expert, just a war hero. so far all i see of john mccains experience is. yes mr bush, no mr bush, okay mr bush, when mr bush, how mr bush and can i mr bush?

    June 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  70. Al, Lawrence KS

    There is a lot more to American than just it's military. Health care, poverty, jobs, immigration, energy, education, and housing, just to name a few. John McCain is more than qualified to hold any military job available, as Secretary of Defense or Veterans affairs. His service is heroic, as is the service of all Americans in the military, but it does not necessarily make him qualified to tackle all of the other issues facing us.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  71. Nick - Cary, North Carolina

    John McCane's military service is not overrated if we want to stay in Irac for another 100 years, or if we want to attack Iran. However it has little bearing on the economy and all the other domestic issues he will have to face if elected. There is no doubt McCane is a hero and has buckets of character, but he is applying for the job of leader of the free world, and not merely comander in chief. It's the economy!

    June 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  72. Julie from LA

    Jack, Why does the media always go along with Senator McCain's idea that being a POW gave him some kind of military and foreign policy expertise?

    Pesonally, I think General Clark is raising a very valid point. We can honor John McCain for his service, and even say, as General Clark did, that he was heroic for enduring a terrible captivity.

    Being a POW has absolutely nothing at all to do with the job of being President of the United States.

    And as for Clark himself, he is a decorated war hero–and four star general– who has served his country bravely for 30 years. While we Democrats repeatedly express respect for Senator McCain's service, I would also like to see the Republicans showing the same respect for General Clark.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  73. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    The more that John McCain keeps bringing up his military experience, the more it opens himself up for attack on it. No one can question McCain's courage can not be questioned nor can his patriotism, however, his military record is fair game and i would like to see more of it before coming to a final decision one way or the other.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  74. Lenore Z.

    Yes they are overrated. He was a POW. He was never a Commander and so he lacks relevent experience to be a President.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  75. Jeremy in Boston

    When rating McCain's military credentials, what should we consider?

    His six years in captivity, or the fact that as a naval aviator, he managed to crash FIVE aircraft in 9 years?

    His 28 combat service medals or the fact that he saw only 20 hours of combat in Vietnam before bailing out over Hanoi, when many unsung infantrymen on the ground saw over 7000 hours?

    Do you think maybe the fact that his father, four star Admiral John Sidney McCain Jr ,was commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, had anything to do with his exaggerated decorations?

    Overstated Jack? That's an understatement.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  76. Les From Lakeland, FL

    By making the President the "commander in chief" of the armed forces the Founders wanted civilian control of the military to avert war more than to wage it. Military experience could indicate that a President would be more likely to seek a military solution to problems rather than a diplomatic one. Thus engaging us in a war that does more damage than good. Sen. McCain seems to be more along those lines as he continues to view military force as the principal weapon in foreign relations. His military experience is not overrated, but it may not be what this country needs for the next four to eight years.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  77. JW Georgia

    McCain's credentials are not so much over-rated as immaterial. We seem lately to get our panties in a bunch anytime someone utters an obvious truth. If flying military aircraft qualifies a person to be President, we have a whole AIR FORCE FULL of qualified future Commanders in Chiefs. Not to mention Navy, Marines and George Bush.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  78. Nancy Indiana

    My late husband and his two brothers and a brother-in-law all were in World War II. One of his brothers was captured by Japanese and was in a prison camp for over 3 years. The family did not know if he was dead of alive until they finally released the prisoners. Like Senator McCain he had been beaten starved and tortured throughout that time which was horrible. But my husband and his other brother and brother-in-law went on in each of their own separate duties and fought the enemy. As far as being a prisoner of war for the one was terrible human suffering but the other's were dodging bullets and bombs, watching their buddies being shot and die, crawling on their bellies to protect themselves and sleeping in mud and rain drenched gulley's and eating canned army food when they had the time. Now who would you guess or say was a true military hero?

    June 30, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  79. Jeremy D (University of Texas)

    I once got a paper cut and didn't cry out, I think that means I have the credentials to run the Cafferty File. Hand it over, Jack.

    Seriously, his war efforts don't show he can make good decisions about a whole host of issues. It shows he has fortitude. But I'd argue that Bush has a ton of fortitude. Only a man with that kind of perservernce can still make public speeches with an approval rating around 31% and with over half the nation blaming him for many of this country's problems.

    Fortitude aint enough, Jack. But I wouldn't mind hosting the Cafferty file nonetheless.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  80. D.J.Lauter

    I thought a war hero was one that took chances to save the lives of others. Being shot down doesn't qualify. He's lucky to be alive, not like most that also served.
    Most veterans that were captured will tell you that they have post-traumatic stress, and that alone should disqualify McCain from being president. His temper will attest to that.
    Ojai, California

    June 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  81. Chut Pata


    When I was a student I worked in an Exxon gas station. I slipped on an oil spill and broke my tail bone. I should be considered an "Oil Hero" by Exxon and the share holders should elect me the president of Exxon based on my "experience" in Exxon and my sacrifices to this company.

    I hope McCain supports me on this one.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  82. Naomi, Texas

    Yes the credentials are overated. History has shown us over and over again that just because one fights a military style war does not mean they possess good judgement. It's not automatic, if it was McCain would have seen this Iraq war mess coming before he voted for it.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  83. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    Over-rated or not, this is becoming tiresome, and it's not even July yet! Just about everyone by now must know of McCain's experiences in the war and most everyone respects his service to his country. O.K. Big deal. Lots of military personnel were POW's and lots didn't come home. McCain's military experience does not make him better at foreign policy or governing our country than anyone else. It's high time to move on!!

    June 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  84. David, San Diego , CA

    As one of the many Americans who have grown tired of endless cycles of war, most recently unnecessary war, I'm ready for a President who doesn't need his military experience to prove he is worthy of leading our nation. McCain's military experience would no doubt make him a good military leader. But, is a good military leader what we need to fix a broken education system, a bad economy, and a national debt that is growing by the second? McCain's military credentials don't seem to mean much when considering the issues he will have to deal with if he makes it to the white house.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  85. Lois, NJ

    It is overrated in that there is absolutely no requirement for military service to run or hold any office in the United States. He, like any other man or woman should be commended and honored for their service, but because he served and was a POW has absolutely no bearing on this race whatsoever.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  86. Vinnie Vino

    I think so, let's look at his track record on war it isn't that good, besides being a war hero for getting blown out of the sky. He claims to understand and have a greater knowledge of war than Sen. Obama. Then how in the world can he justify wanting to continue fighting this unjust war in Iraq like the one he was in a hotel for in vietnam...

    C.I., New York

    June 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  87. Were NOT your friends!!!

    With all due respect, his credentials are absolutely overrated. He flew a plane and dropped bombs on Vietnam, was shot down and tortured for 5 years. IM sorry but no where in there do I see any qualification for President.

    Chris, Albany NY

    June 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  88. Diane

    I will not judge his service as a military person but a POW for five years does not make him Presidential material. It is his only badge of glory and that war was over decades ago. There were thousands of vets who went through the same things. It looks like his BOMB< BOMB< BOMB IRAN will come to pass also.. WWIII oh goodie just what a 72 year old vet with PTSD and is deaf as a post can handle with ease..God help us all.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  89. Scott

    McCain has been using his POW history on a constant basis to gain the presidency. It's almost as if he's saying - "If you don't vote for me, you're un-American." Military service is military service. It should qualify him to be the most cautious and careful of commanders-in-chief.. that he would be the last person in the world to send soldiers into battle. This is one lesson he has forgotten. His years in Washington and Republican politics have drowned out his military lessons. He is pro war and anti soldier. His continuous votes in the Senate against peace and troop support have disqualified him to be commander in chief. Just ask yourself if McCain was a Democrat – the Republicans would have by now said that he was never a POW and you would have seen a never ending line of POWs trotted out to say John McCain was never a war hero.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  90. Marlon B.

    Of course, Military decisions made by the president are solely politically motivated and always will be. Until the president is out on the battlefield commanding troops, that's when I'll take military experience into my vote. And even then, McCain is far from displaying a dazzling resume.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  91. John S. from CA

    Democrats repeatedly praise John McCain for his service. Wesley Clark praised him again for it yesterday. When will we hear Republicans praise General Clark for the 30 years of service HE'S given to our country?

    A four star general certainly has the right to have his opinion respected. If General Clark says that being a POW is irrelevant to being President, that is an important point to think about.

    The media would do well to take off the blinders about him being a POW. That was 30 years ago and is irrelevant to being president. I'm much more concerned about Senator McCain's reported anger management problems–and whether foreign policy deficiencies\–like his inability to remember the difference between Shia and Sunni despite 8 visits to Iraq–would be a problem for him as president.

    The press should look at facts that could affect the candidates' job performance and not be a PR and spin machine–gettung and reoeatung their daily talking points

    June 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  92. Tim

    Of course. The problem is, nobody dares to talk about it.
    McCain was 894th out of 899 in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy. Can this country afford another C- president?
    Before getting shut in Vietnam, McCain lost 5 (five) aircrafts. Talking about competence. Give it a little though and think why his Vietnam prison was called "Hilton". Hint: "a Hilton of prisons". Why can't we look at the "hero's" full military record? Somehow, out of 1000+ pages only 60 are available for public viewing.
    Upon returning from Vietnam, McCain abandoned and divorced his first wife after she was disfigured in a car accident. Of course he did an honorable thing and chose Cindy. With Cindy, McCain got his only job of VP of Public Relations in Cindy's corporation. McCain was courting women long before Hillary lost to Obama.
    McCain very much wants this campaign to be "about issues" because his record is disgusting.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  93. Rosalynd Florida

    Over rated? No. But it does not follow that being a war hero qualifies McCain to be the commander in chief. Wes Clark was right on the money and I agree with him 100 percent.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  94. virtual in Georgia

    I agree with General Clark. McCain’s war record and service cannot by itself be a determination of his qualification to be President. If so anyone who was a POW or served in our military would be qualified to be President which is a pretty low bar for such a complex job.

    I want to know if John McCain is bright, intelligent and exhibits a level head coupled with sound judgment. In looking at these other requirements McCain falls woefully short.

    Please America – no more “C” students in the White House!!

    June 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  95. Greg Richards

    I don't think most people join the military looking at it as a stepping stone leading to becoming President. It is an experience unique unto itself. Serving in the military may give John McCain valuable insights into needs of our service men and women; that's all t provides, it affords no other presidential credentials.

    Certainly, if military leadership was an important consideration for becoming president, the rather shaky record of non service of our current 2-term president should have precluded his ever being elected in the first place.

    Bethesda, Maryland

    June 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  96. Dan, Maryland

    Simply put, being in uniform or being a POW doesn't give you executive decision making experience. Sure I respect the man immensly, but being a POW doesn't give him any more qualification than someone who was a community organizer and it's about time someone said it

    June 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  97. sandi-arizona

    Check back on the propaganda that the Bush people put out on MCCain in 2000 while in the primaries. Talk about denigrating his war record. It made the "swiftboating" of Kerry look small in comparison. So what is good for the Republican part and the way they treated McCain in 2000 must be far game for the Democrats in 2007.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  98. T. Orr

    That was over 30 years ago.... Is anyone speaking of the invetigation of McCain shortly after his return... Boy someone needs to clean their glasses... Just because he was caught and imprisoned says nothing about political leasdership or does it.... My uncle was captured myabe he should be president..

    June 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  99. collette lanton

    Yes. I don't know how many prisioners of war the U.S has had, but I know Mccain is not the only one. I don't see any other POW running for president based on their experiences.

    June 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  100. Steve (Atlanta)

    Why does it matter? Maybe if he was running against someone that did have executive experience it would. But throwing out any time spent in the military, and just looking at McCain's time as a legislator, he has more experience than Obama.

    Obama would be wise to shy away from attacking anyone's experience

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  101. tainopower

    "overrated?" hum ill wold have said irrelevant, low-blow, meanigfull, bad taste, attack on a hero, and our forces fighting for our freedom around the word. this bad comment r made to try to change shift on McCain that hes not a patriot and a war hero . thank for helping me made my mind up. will vote for McCain in November.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  102. MackBeemer

    Of course, being shot down and a POW are not sufficient conditions for qualification to become CinC of US Military. Nor are these necssary conditions. That much is a no-brainer.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  103. Jamie Kankakee, IIlinois

    I can't say that his experience is overrated because I'm sure it has a firm imprint on his personality and his leadership style. But I do think it's fair to question if he is actually "sound" with todays challenges with war that are clearly different than when he was in Vietnam. He appears to be clearly in line with Pres. Bush's policies which have not done our country justice. General Clark is an expert in this area and his expertise allows him to criticize McCain's positions. General Clark's opinions should be respected much like McCain's service to our country. The American people need to listen to what this expert who has all the experience, knowledge and judgement (that McCain often speaks of) to determine what is best for our country in terms of the Iraq war.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  104. Lawrence Rutherford, Passaic, New Jersey

    Jack by no means are Senator McCain's military credentials overrated however, they do not qualify him to be Commander In Chief. General Clark said getting shot down does not qualifiy you to be president and that in of itself does seem like a cheap shot, but he was responding to Bob Schieffer saying that Senator Obama had never been shot down suggesting that Senator McCain is more qualified because of his military service which is not the case. As General Clark pointed out you can't base your candidacy on your military record when that record has no wartime executive experience. I think Gen. Clark was well within bounds with the statement he made as it was afterall quite accurate. By the way Jack, why are we not talking about Senator McCain's default property taxes. For someone looking to rebound our economy, isn't that pretty fiscally irresponsible?

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  105. Melinda Charlotte, NC

    I cannot believe this question was even asked. I can think of no greater sacrifice for our country than to proudly serve in uniform and remain in captivity so as not to become a propoganda tool for the enemy. It is abhorrent to me that that service be denigrated by anyone, and I mean anyone. Is being a former POW the only qualification for being POTUS? Of course not, but it does help round out the character of the man who would be our nation's 44th president. Shame on you, Jack, for this question. Shame on you.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  106. Lori Berry

    First off, I am a veteran with 24 years of service in USAF. I think we all should respect Sen McCain's service, including his term at the Hanoi Hilton. We should also respect his father and grandfather; both were High ranking Naval Leaders during times of armed conflict.
    Sen McCain continued his naval career following his release from POW status. He commanded the largest training squadron in Navy. But, if he had not been sidetracked for over 5 years in POW, his career may have been more in line with his father/grandfather.
    Obama and his follower should not throw stones. Gen Wesley Clark is a disgrace to the uniform. He was fired and relieved of duty, after years of backstabbing, untruths etc. from his job as NATO Commander in Bosnia. So who would take the word of a disgraced General over the actions of a True American Hero? Probably you Jack, and all the other left wing liberals who want to build up a National Welfare State.
    PS, it was the Clinton's who fired Wes, not some Conservative GOP.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  107. Eugene L. Sadick

    The "Hero" designation for John McCain should be measured against the actions of other active war military. First, why is it that most Medal of Honor winners go back to their home town and never enter politics? Secondly, Why is it that most former POW's never go into politics? The answer is that they they don't want to soil their accomplishments by being into politics. which leads to the question of why John McCain has had such an interest in running for President. could it be that since he never became an Admiral, he wants to rise to the level of his Father and Grandfather who were four star Admirals? As a Veteran of the Korean War, and an employee of the Navy Department for 20 years, I can attest to the small minds of the Navy Officers who think that their service trumps any service by Civilians who really run the Navy.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  108. Rob Kole NYC NY


    Overrated or not, I would much rather have the person making the decision to send our troops in harms way, been willing to stand in harms way.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  109. Fred, Las Vegas, NV

    Military experience is one thing and having the necessary qualities to lead the nation is yet another.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  110. Axel

    As for McCain's military experience showing his strength of character, how come the media is not reporting the fact that he dumped his wife after returning from war and went for a millionairess 20 years his former ?

    Sure, family values and great character. Give me a break.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  111. ryrob175

    Senator McCain's military credentials may be overrated, but he did serve his country during a time of conflict and was willing to pay the ultimate price. I do not think that military service is a good prerequisite for the Presidency, but I think he is more than qualified to competently serve as Commander in Chief during a conflict.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  112. Kenny

    As an Obama Supporter, and a military member I say this;

    McCains' military record and his service should never come in question.
    He is a hero, point blank. I do not think that qualifies him on foreign affairs, but it shows his toughness and resoluteness. If that was the case, then PFC Lynch is qualified to be the Secretary of State. I think he should focus more on his Senate record, and his differences with Obama, then what he did in 1965. That wars is old and we have had numerous conflicts since then, but I don't think people shoul din any way shape or form denigrate a man's service who spent 5 years in a POW camp!

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  113. Sandra Pinto

    Yes we respect his suffering as a POW but does that alone qualify him to be President of a country? What about all the detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are strictly speaking Prisoners of war are they potential Presidential material in their countries?just on the notion that they have suffered for their country John McCain is a nice man but nice is not good enough to rectify the wrongs that have been wrought by the Bush administration on the entire world. AND it doesn't say much for America if a nice elderly ineffective man is considered superior to a vibrant, intelligent young man just because of the colour of his skin because the bottom line is exactly that....RACE.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  114. Chris

    His military record should have nothing to do with whether or not he's qualified to be President of the United States. Sure it makes us all warm and fuzzy in the back of our heads because national security and military experience go so well together, but in the end good judgement and intelligence of thought are much more important. Recent statements he's made on various subjects of national security make me doubt he has either of those two qualities.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  115. Shaun

    Absolutely night. Who is Wesley Clark comparing John McCain to, himself? General Clark is not running for President. John McCain and Brak Obama are and when you compare their records Obama can't hold a candle to McCain's when it comes to military service, foreign policy policy and communication with our various Allies around the world. To quote a democratic commentator on one of the news programs Sunday, "Clark should just shut-up."

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  116. Alex

    Sure McCain should be regarded in the heroic light that he has earned for serving our Country. However, serving in the military does not qualify a person to be president, no matter his rank or responsibilities. McCain should not solely rely on his service to win him this election and should come to terms with the fact that the best man will win this election military background or not.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  117. Arch Stanton

    I don't believe McCain's military record should be questioned. He served honorably, at great personal cost, and should be respected for that. His military service, however, has little bearing on the job he's applying for. McCain was not in a major leadership position in the military. And there are serious doubts about his judgement and his knowlege as pertains to the job of president. So, questioning his military service, no. Questioning his competency as president, definitely. They're two entirely different things.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  118. Michael Ray Thompson

    Wesley Clark's comment about John McCain is a clear example of Democrats saying anything to get elected. The Democrats have nothing. They had Bill who was the great philanderer. They had Hillary who was the famous former first lesbian. Now they've got a nobody one term Senator who wants to become President. Democrats, quit demeaning Senator McCain.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  119. Billy G in Las Vegas

    as a former Naval Aviator who flew off aircraft carriers during the Vietnam era, I want the guy who DIDN'T get shot down running things.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  120. Joseph Omoremi

    Senator McCain POW has won him enough sympathy and honor. The Presidency goes beyond sympathy and emotions. It's about good judgement and competence. It absolutely has nothing to do with experience. As such, his POW is overrated.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  121. Rick Hendersonville,N.C.

    very much so. I don't see MCcain doing anything .. If this is the case Congress should be filled with people that served in the military instead we find most of them on the street.,hungry and homeless.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  122. Leigh

    Yes, it's way overrated. I don't think Gen. Clark said anything wrong – he only stated the obvious. McCain served in the Navy, was a POW – honorable. Now, move on. I don't consider his military service a factor in considering him for president. Instead, I look at his conduct. And well, intimating that you hope Fidel Castro dies soon or making up a song about bombing Iran are pretty much disqualifiers for someone wanted to be the leader of this nation. And, being a Navy vet and POW do not erase such serious flaws in his character.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  123. John Sathrum

    Did being a fighter pilot in WWII help George McGovern in 1972? I was not of voting age back then, but it seems that the same type of "America – right or wrong" voter wasn't giving McGovern any credit as a potential commander-in-chief. Let's agree that our next President should be the one whose policies best address the myriad of problems we face at home and abroad. We've been so dumbed down by the People Magazine mentality of bizarre personality and biographic litmus tests that we fail to remember that we are essence choosing a proxy to make decisions for us. Who someone opts for as Supreme Court Justice, what bills they will sign or veto, and which nations they seek out as trade and security partners are the keys. Educate yourselves. . .

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  124. Shaun

    Absolutely not. Who is Wesley Clark comparing John McCain to, himself? General Clark is not running for President. John McCain and Barak Obama are and when you compare their records Obama can’t hold a candle to McCain’s when it comes to military service, foreign policy policy and communication with our various Allies around the world. To quote a democratic commentator on one of the news programs Sunday, “Clark should just shut-up.”

    June 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  125. John

    Clark is absolutly correct. Being shot down and captured as a POW does not in any way qualify an individual to be President. Democrats should not shy away from the facts.

    On a different note some of these so called Republican Evangelical pastors should not be holding themself as God. They feel like they have the right to interpret the bible the way that favors their position. They do not have the moral authority to judge any one. Most of them preach hate if you don't agree with them or look like them. I have never seen in any place in the bible that talks about a White church and a Black church. God, His son and the Holy spirit is neither White or Black. God is Love and he instructs us to love one another as he loved us. OOO is the spititual head of the universe.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  126. Sharon PORTER

    Let me get this straight-Obama's clown Wesley Clark is questioning McCain's military record and experience to be President. What pray tell is Obama's experience?? Ghetto loitering with the likes of Bill Ayers, or perhaps listening and bowing at the feet of that preacherman-Wright, who so loves God that he preaches hatred toward whites. Give me a break, Obama and his followers should be ashamed. I am a 57 year old female who is a single parent-I don't make much money, but I will be voting Republican (McCain) because the LAST thing we need is another inexperienced person in the White House.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  127. NCY for Asia

    Let's the get media to pressure the MCcain campaign to release his full military service record, just like with the tax returns, be totally transparent about it.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  128. Rosemary, New York, NY

    His service should not be underrated, but he did not have a leadership role. In fact, the five miserable years he bravely spent as a prisoner kept him out of touch about what was going on in Viet Nam and how sincere and effective anti-war protests were. I don't think Clark was denigrating his war record, just what qualifications it gave him. And Obama shouldn' t be blamed for this. He responded–unlike McCain's claim that he just can't do anything about the anti-Obama 527s.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  129. David for Maryland

    A president is supposed to be intelligent. Not to say that there aren't intelligent soldiers, but being smart is not a requirement for the army and never was. Oh, not to mention that John McCain finished 894th in his class of 899!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  130. Bruce

    I don't know if McCain's military credentials are overrated or not.
    But it is puzzling to me how he can cozy up to Bush, when he should be calling for Bush's impeachment for dishonoring the military by instituting torture as a military tactic into the armed forces.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  131. vern - anaheim ca

    being a prisoner of war does not qualify a person to be president of the united states,does allowing himself to be photographed there constitute abetting the enemy?did he save any lives?did he help anyone try to escape?i would like to see more of john mccains military record and i don't believe he wants the public to see it,what's he trying to hide?

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  132. Anthony from New Hampshire

    Great question, but it's impossible to answer, because John McCain refuses to sign the military's Standard Form 180 to release his full military record to the American public. John Kerry was not afraid to sign this form. If Mr. McCain is so proud of his military record, why is he keeping the details sealed from the American people?

    June 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  133. GT from NY

    It is not an attack to question McCain's qualifications for the presidency, and that is all Clark did. I am disappointed to see Obama "reject" Clark's remarks.

    It's obvious that McCain's military experience has helped him little in the face of today's economic, environmental, and foreign policy issues. He's the first to admit, for example, that he's not knowledgable about the economy. He's basically just trying to exploit America's culture of hero worship and its sympathy and support for combat veterans.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  134. Liz

    Being a POW has nothing to do with qualifications to be commander in chief. Why has the media (you excepted Jack) misrepresented General Clark's comments to infer that he questioned McCain's patriotism? General Clark brought up an observation that the media should have been raising for months. Many of us voters have discussed this huge leap by the media that McCain is obviously qualified to be CIC b/c he was a POW 40 years ago!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  135. Pauline Vicenti

    I am curious as to how John McCain received his command position. Most people don't realize that while you are MIA or POW you continue to be on the promotion list and promoted even though you have not gained the experience that leads to promotion. Therefore, how did he qualify for his command? Rank? Being a POW who survived? What were his evaluations like? Why did he leave the Navy? I am curious because all of the questions above are pertinent to his fitness to be the Commander in chief

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  136. Cliff Dick

    First, based on my personal experience in National Security policy and International Security affairs, it doesn't surprise me whatever Wes Clark says. Overrated, compared to what. His Military career and time in the Senate make his credentials to deal with Military and Foreign Affairs issues than Obama's.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  137. Rodney

    Yes, if the President’s only job is to be a warlord. But if the goal is peace and prosperity don't we need someone that can deliver that and not someone merrily running on their military service record.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  138. Douglas

    I don't see anything derogatory about Clark's comments. He specifically commends and appreciates McCain's service and history, but accurately pointed out that none of it necessarily equates to a good candidate for executive decisions or for shaping foreign policies.

    You pointed out that he commanded that Navy squadron after his POW experience. It's also worth mentioning that he never commanded during war time or in a global political climate as heated and delicate as the one which we're living in now.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  139. Redbug-OH

    Yes. he served in the military just like the others. yes he was a pow and so were others. That doesn't mean he knows everthing about foreing policy. It just means he doesn't mind war. and is willing to put other lives on the line for a war that America should not be in, just like Vietnam.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  140. Michele, Oregon

    No, Jack, they should not underrate McCain's military service on a human level. But one must consider whether military prowess is the prime attribute we want in the next president. Will he be more likely to posture for war as the answer to conflict? McCain's whole major premise on Iraq/Middle East has to do with touting military strategies he would have employed if it were up to him, and trying to prove himself adept, rather than believing in the viability of diplomacy and every other means available to avoid war. An us vs. them guy. I do not trust his lack of evolvement/orientation and actions that follow from them.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  141. Jerry,OK

    This is one conversation McCain is glad to have. Juxtapose McCain's military record beside Obama's, and "viola" McCain is president.

    Jerry N/Tulsa

    June 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  142. Glenn, Houston

    Absolutely, Jack!
    Actually, no one is disparging McCain's military record. But, everyone is pointing out exactly what everyone already knows: McCain's military experience, his POW experience and his hero status have nothing to do with whether it qualifies him to be Commander-in-Chief. All of his military experience, his POW experience and hero status DO NOT EQUATE with the abilty or the intelligence to lead our country as President. History is loaded with examples of American military commanders and heros who were elected President and were horrible Presidents. McCain's experiences simply don't qualify him to have the vision, the experience, the abilty or the intelligence to lead.



    June 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  143. Relle Boston

    From what I hear his father and grandfather covered up allot for him, but we should not judge mccain on this, but in the same breath we can not say that this will make him a beeter president how. Bush was elected twice. He was elected the second time based on supposed experience. LOOK WHAT HE DID TO US THIS COUNTRY

    June 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  144. NCY for Asia

    I think MCcain campaign should release his full military service record, just like with the tax returns, be totally transparent about it. Let the American public be the judge, if Mc Cain is truly a war hero, then there's nothing to hide.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  145. Steve C

    No one should undermine the fact the he was a POW and survived. However, I do not see how this educated him on how to defend America agianst any enemy.

    Laguna Niguel, CA

    June 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  146. Sam

    Why the question, Jack? McCain has no chance of winning the presidency.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  147. William Herman

    In my mind I would say yes; I would like to see the McCain of 2000 running for office rather then the current McCain who seems unable to make up his mind on important issues. Bill Petaluma, CA

    June 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  148. Tiff


    Credentials are like opinions…everybody has them.

    Central, SC

    June 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  149. ms.sims

    I don't think that is record is overrated and I don't think Mr. Clark was intending for his comments to demean McCains service to this country. But he is pointing out a truth being a POW doesn't automatically give you the qualifications to be POTUS, but that has been the McCain camps position. Maybe he should highlight his other qualifications i.e. senate time and not just keep falling back on his POW status. Thank You John McCain for your service to the country!! Now can we hear about the other things you have done SINCE then. I worked at Barnes & Noble doesn't mean I'm qualified to write a book!

    June 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  150. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Since he voted for the Iraq war, still thinks it was a good idea to invade Iraq knowing what we know today, and jokes about bombing Iran while he's not willing to talk with them first, he obviously didn't learn anything from his military experience. Obama's good judgement trumps McCain's military experience.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  151. RB in Mass.

    While being captive for five years must have been a horrible experience, in what way does that make a person qualified to be president of the United States?

    Just last week this same guy admitted he had no idea how much a gallon of gas cost. Talk about being out of touch with the problems of the average working stiff..............

    June 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  152. Noel in MN


    General Clark has point and the good General has the credentials to make that statement. I believe McCain should talk more about his Senate career than Military. If it is military which he is touting that makes him the Commander in Chief, then General Clark's comments does erode Sen. McCain's claim.

    Sen. McCain talks of General Clarks comments as questioning his patriotism, which is not what General Clark stated. He stated that Sen. McCain is not fit for Commander in Chief based solely on his Military career.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  153. Rick from N.Carolina

    OK, so McCain was just a POW, but what was Obama?

    June 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  154. Marc Ross

    Let's not go down this road please. McCain has a military record – let it stand at that. When you try to impeach the dignity of a decorated war veteran in order to score political points, that makes you a conservative, and that is just plain wrong. Sinking to the level of a conservative is an insult to America and all of the soldiers who fight in her name. If we are to win this election, let's do it by declaring an end to Rove politics.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  155. dennis north carolina

    they should not be rated by anyone.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  156. Chris

    Far overrated.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  157. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Face it McCain is a war hero. BUT he wasn't doing any commanding of troops or anything military or executive during the five years he was lock up in prison. Being shot down DOES NOT equate to being qualified to be President.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  158. Alex from Brooklyn

    I think we should take Senator McCain's military service off the table as a talking point, and Senator Obama agrees. There are actual issues to be discussed.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  159. Dorian in NC

    C'MON JACK!!!

    How can we as AMERICANS consider a person who has served our military proudly and became a PRISONER of war overrated?!

    I guess many Americans believe you're not really a prisoner until you've served at Gitmo.

    Nevertheless, I'm still voting for change: Go Obama!

    June 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  160. John Minnesota

    Yes all he is a POW, you can not campare him with those who lost their life and who were wounded badly, 85% of young people in his generation have military service because of the vietnam war, so there is no special thing that Mccain did, his military service is admired, but as Mr. Clark say it does not qualify him to be president.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  161. Eric from Hamden

    Interestingly, this was not the same 'attack' that was used against Kerry in 2004. There, his military record was used to try to paint him as a 'coward' and 'unpatriotic.' Also interesting that McCain has hired one of the Swift Boat guys for his "Truth Squad."

    I'm glad that you, Mr. Cafferty, are pointing out that Clark is not attacking McCain's patriotism or bravery. That is where we should have drawn the line in 2004, and I find it hypocritical that many who attacked Kerry are now 'outraged' at this 'attack.'

    June 30, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  162. Toni South Carolina

    If elected president does John Mccain think that all he has to do is talk about what a good military career he had, that seems to be the bulk of his conversation. Get real Mr. McCain.

    South Carolina

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  163. EQ

    In a word – Yes! It's wonderful that McCain served in our military but he's talking as if he's the only one who ever did and that somehow he has done more than the millions of Americans who have served and died for this country and continue to do so.

    It's about time people are starting to question his record. He did it to Kerry so why is he complaining now that HIS record is being questioned? What does he really have to hide?

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  164. Ben Burris

    Yes Jack, the are overrated. His own campaign has ratcheted them up much as John Kerry's did in '04. I don't understand how John Kerry could be attacked for his service in 2004 by the far right then McCain not expect to be fair game for the left in 2008.

    Columbia, KY

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  165. Matt M.

    McCain's military record certainly deserves more scrutiny than it's gotten in most of the mainstream media. Why hasn't he released his military records to the public? His entire campaign is predicated upon his POW/war hero experience, and thus it is critical to the American people in order to make an informed decision that we have access to these records.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  166. Al, California

    No. But I think his credentials for being president are.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  167. Jerry -Roselle, Illinois

    I served in the Army In Korea and I fly my flag on holidays
    and flag day but I Never wear it on my shoulder as a badge
    as I thought serving in the armed forces was the right thing to
    do at the time.
    I hope John McCain is man enough not to bring Patroitism
    into this campaign ,if so all members of Congress should be
    mandated to serve in the military before becoming voted into

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  168. gregg lorenz

    john mccain was unlucky enough to get shot down, but being captured by the enemy is not an entry on his resume' that means anything. he was lucky to graduate from the naval acadamy as his class rank proves and the only reason he made it through was because his father was a bigshot at the time in the navy. mccain is too old to be president, but he is not too old to have a beer with. gregg lorenz morrisville pa

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  169. sanjay

    Yes in a way because the right overstreches it by a mile. but what i dont understand is ppl beleive in John McCain words his response on the to general clark statement were so cheesey

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  170. Will In Az

    John McCain's military service matters far less than the decisions he has made and the policies he has supported since he became a senator. Nearly all of these policies, from mortgage deregulation to the war in Iraq have been unmitigated disasters and, for me, THAT is what disqualifies him to be president.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  171. Mike Iveson


    John McCain's credentials are no more or less valid than John Kerry's Swift Boat record. Yet the Republicans thought nothing of besmirching a Silver Star winner – perhaps they should not be complaining – sounds like Turn Around is fail play.
    The truth is neither man's military record should be questioned.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  172. James Bankes

    The American public does not seem to overrate military experience with regard to the presidency. After all, we twice elected a man who never put himself in harm's way and couldn't even fulfil his national guard duties.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  173. Corey Chrisman

    Liberals wish for voters not to hear about McCain's military history. I'm sure many casual voters do not know of McCain's father and grandfather being admirals or that his son is in the military. It sickens me that a retired General (Wesley Clark) would aim to reduce someone's service. And then with the next sentence claim Obama's campaign is built on character. McCain's 5+ years of being a POW didn't build character?
    Obama keeps talking about change, but on a daily basis he shows his campaign is the usual stuff.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  174. Ed from Durango, Colorado

    As a veteran of the Viet Nam war, I highly respect John McCain's military service and his subsequent sacrifices. However, I am not sure why military service is such a big deal when one looks at junior bush's record of privilege and desertion from the National Guard. As far as integrity goes, both Obama and McCain are light years ahead of the present sorry example of "commander and chief.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  175. Gary from Dallas

    Yes, Sen. John McCain's military credentials are overated. Are we looking for the best man to be the next warmonger, or have the last 8 years of bad government not taught us a lesson. the credentals i look at are the issues that most effect me as a lower class worker with a young family. Sen John McCain fails on every single issue.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  176. Sheridan

    YES THEY ARE!!!!! Have been saying that for months. How does getting shot down, and cracking under the Viet Cong make him a hero? He definitely gets points for surviving....I mean i wouldn't do it. As far as I remember, he felt as though he failed his father for getting shot down. If this is so...then he failed. He is a failure. But what do I know. I am not a military man.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  177. Pete Lipps

    Damn that makes me mad saying John MCcain's military record is overatted, I was in that damn war, john MCcain went thru a living hell. I have been a democrat all my life, but this old boy gets my vote

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  178. Fritz S.

    If GWB can be elected to two terms as President with his abysmal military record (he didn't even show up for all of his National Guard duty), how can military service even be considered a factor in the National Election?????

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  179. Joe

    Considering that when John McCain was captured it had been his 3rd plane crash, worries me. He was also given the opportunity to leave by the Vietnamese but choose not to because he didn't want to give them a victory. That to me seems like a man who is not willing to swallow his pride and do the smart thing.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  180. Rian McMurtry

    Yes, and it has been made so by McCain and his campaign's constant proclaiming of it. Military service has nothing to do with being President, despite a tendency on our part to elect them. George Washington did very well, Andrew Jackson was spotty, and Ulysses S. Grant was a notable failure. If McCain wasn't making such a big deal about his service, it would be a far better indication of his qualifications. Since he's made it so central to his campaign, it's a fair target.

    Davis, California

    June 30, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  181. Sam

    Is being a POW heroic?


    Does any non-command experience in the millitary make that big a difference is a candidate's qualifications to be President?


    June 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  182. Alan Weatherholt

    General Clark is correct. If being a war hero qualifies you for president then Audy Murphy would have been preident in the 50's, not General Eisenhower who planned and directed the European invasion.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  183. gwray

    There have been hundreds of POWs. That is commendable. However, this is not the automatic resume for President. General Patton was an extremely good General, he accomplished far more more than Mc Cain, but maybe his temperment was not Presidential.

    To lead this country who really knows who has what it will take? Times change. Jesus was a Carpenter and look at his policies, they still live on today!

    PS., A military background is not the only thing you need to set forth plans and policies to lead and defend your home and country!

    June 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  184. Julia Dallas

    I would think that being a POW might not be the best qualification for being President. He might not be able to be objective in times of crisis and making decisions that could cause serious damage to our country. Just because he is a military hero doesn't make him a capable candidate for President.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  185. steve

    Of course his military record is overated and fair game, especially since McCain touts it as what gives him the edge in "experience". I find it rather disengenious that his slogan is "straight talk" and he has yet to release his military records. All this "outrage" is just a cover up on his part to change the subject. I suspect if there was anything note worthy in his military record, he would have exploited it for political purposes already.

    Democrats 08!

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  186. Patrick in Orlando

    My father flew helicopters in Vietnam. Does that qualify him to be president? No. McCain's service doesn't qualify McCain, and Clark's service doesn't qualify Clark. It just goes to establish character. Anyway, since when do we elect presidents based on qualifications... or character for that matter?

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  187. martin wnuk

    John Mccain is probably the closest thing we have to a genuine American hero. During the 2000 presidential primary goons from the Bush campaign did smear his military service and i think that was the beginning of the end for Republican ascendency.

    Having said that, I don't think his service would make him any better or worse as a president. Combat soldiers usually make poor politicians; they know too much.

    And personally, I think it's time to "turn over the keys" to a new generation.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  188. Deborah Grossberg

    It upsets me to hear the attacks on John McCain's honorable and stellar record. My son is in the US ARMY and I want John McCain's experience and leadership when it comes to making military decisions regarding my son. John McCain's experience is light years beyond Barak Obama. Not to mention Barak Obama is wet behind the ears with only one year of service in the US Senate. The rest of the time he has spent campaigning for a position he is not qualified for. He's got more ambition than experience. Wait a few years Barak!

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  189. Michael M Phx AZ

    Yes, his record is overrated. I am from Arizona, a Viet Nam vet, and received the full benefits of the GI Bill after my honorable discharge in 1968. I watched the vote last week on the new GI Bill, and it passed by a 77-21 margin. Only two Senators did NOT vote...one, Senator Kennedy was home convalessing, but the other (our so-called "war hero") was not even present for the vote. Even Senator Kyl voted NO on the bill. Senators Obama and Clinton both voted YES...I guess that shows all the current and future veterans where we stand with McCain. I would have to assume that Sen McCain would have voted against the bill to keep his "anti-veteran" voting record intact!

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  190. Connie

    To Viola: I can tell you what other POWs think as I've been volunteering with them for years. They are angry that they received harsher treatment than McCain and that McCain's influential family ties have helped him to go on to great things, based on being a POW hero!

    They deeply resent him and told me long ago that McCain "talked", which along with his family status, got him favorable treatment. That's what most of them think, that M. has been richly rewarded while they have languished in VA hospitals and at times been homeless. (I can verify this).

    I do not condemn whatever McCain did while a POW; who can say what they'd do. But, what I do resent is his playing the POW card to win the White House and how people keep buying into it.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  191. Joseph N. Hughes

    As a Vietnam veteran and the Father of two children that have served in Iraq, I hope that our next presidents knows and understands the sacrifice that families make when they send the children to war. Senator McCain deserves respect for his service – as did John Kerry in 2004 and every veteran that has every served their country. I Hope we as nations well stop trying to make thier service a political issues and just say thank you.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  192. Tom in Atlanta

    For the record, I think John McCain was a hero who served this country well until 2005 when a part of his soul obviously shriveled up and died in the service of George W. Bush.

    The man I see on the Republican ticket is not the same one I voted for in 2000.

    Having said that, especially given McCain's unwavering support for Bush in the last several years, I find it VERY hard to sympathize when he gets Swift Boated just like John Kerry. If you say Bush is a good man and a good president, you pretty much endorse this kind of attack even though on the surface McCain has attacked some of the more vicious attacks against Obama. I commend him for that, but McCain has to run a different kind of Republican not to get the bad karma from the Swift Boaters, and I just don't see that happening.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  193. Jim in St. Louis

    John McCain's leadership abilities was defined while he was a POW.

    Once his captors realized they had captured the son of the senior military officer in the Pacific theater of operations, they gave McCain every opportunity to leave the "Hanoi Hilton", which time and again, McCain refused because he didn't want any special favors.

    That, and a long, distinguished record in the Senate outweighs the few years' experience of the Junior Senator from Illinois.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  194. judy from wisconsin

    I think Clark's comments were absolutely right and now the McCain people are complaining about the "attack", creating a so called truth squad. He keeps touting his service and using it in ads, so Clark's comments were not out of line at all. If anything, McCain has a problem with his temper–perhaps what he went through and its effects actually disqualify him from the highest office in the world.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  195. Eric Langston

    Langston from Macon, GA

    His record certainly does not make him more qualified than Senator Obama. It sounds as if McCain is using his military record as an asset because it is his only contribution. America doesnt need another John Wayne Administration, we need peace. And peace comes in the form of withdrawing ourselves from the Middle East so that we dont have anymore pilots shot out of the sky and held in POW camps.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  196. Robbie

    No of course they're not. He served his country in a time when draft cards were being ripped up and military drug use problems. This country owes him for all that he did. He deserves everyones respect, as do the countless others that fought, died, and suffered for this great nation. However, that doesnt mean he is the best man for the job as President. He has to prove to the American voters that he has what it takes to lead this country on the world's stage.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  197. Charlie (Los Angeles California)

    His plane got shot down after he unloaded bombs on civilian target... What's the hero in that??

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  198. Lynn, Vancouver

    John McCain had access to the intelligence leading up to the Iraq war and yet he supported it woleheartedly.

    That support, with what the public now knows, puts into doubt and question both his judgement and his leaning toward military action rather than diplomacy.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  199. Robin L.

    I've been waiting for someone to finally figure this one out!

    Being captured and held as a POW gives you no more war experience than a guy gets job experience during sick leave. McCain was locked in a little room, with no particpation or knowledge of war strategies beyond gritting his teeth when they beat him.

    McCain was a tough man, and it was courageous and honorable of him to have toughed out his experiences, but in truth, every soldier in the field during that campaign gained more true war experience than McCain.

    And I am so tired of him bringing this POW thing up EVERY speech, like a guy trying to get endorsements on pity alone, or something.

    Can't we just lock up Obama for a week in Gitmo, so he can say he has military experience too? Then we could forget this POW nonsense entirely, and get down to the real issues.

    Robin L.
    Los Angeles

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  200. Robert L. Elder

    General Clarke is right. Riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down did not confirm presidential qualifications. National security is comprosed of many facets of which military power is one. Eeconomic strength, natural resources, population, ate just some of the other dozen or so most authors list. I would add good judgment and a belief in the Constitution that most of us share is another.. We have seen what a few short-sighted people with power can do. Presidential judgment., open-mindedness and thinking before leaping are central..

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  201. john vines Florida

    i would sure follow gen.clark into combat but i dont think so with mccain.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  202. Bill - Dallas, TX

    This is the dumbest debate I've heard since Obama and Hillary's love in on TV during the primaries. Who cares what he did or didn't do during his military career? It's shameful that this is somehow defining John McCain. He's qualified on several fronts to be President...why focus on "Commander in Chief". On that basis, Obama shouldn't be allowed near the military. Oh yeah, apparently Wesley Clark forgets how much he touted his career as preparation for the Presidency. Sour grapes? I think so.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  203. Vio

    While I'm leaning towards Obama, in defense of McCain's military service which is other than ordinary. The experience itself does not give him presidential qualification, IT DOES INDEED STRENGTHENS A PERSON'S CHARACTER IN MORE WAYS THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE. Many died while in captivity, he survived. I can't question his strength of character.

    A president must not only have strength of character, but extraordinary intelligence to priotize what needs to be done, how to do it and getting it accomplished.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  204. Matt

    RJ really? "Sort of. He never really did anything heroic. He was just a POW."

    How much time have you done as a Prisoner of War? I wouldn't wish the hell that he went through to my worse enemy.

    I find all of this comical that all of this is coming from a guy that supports a man with ZERO military experience....rather petty.

    June 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm |