July 28th, 2008
04:04 PM ET

Judgment or experience more important for prez?

 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:

Judgment matters more than experience when it comes to picking a president... so says Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.

The Nebraska senator traveled with Barack Obama into the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan last week. Hagel, a Vietnam vet who earned 2 purple hearts, says experience does matter, but that character and judgment matter more. That includes: who the candidate listens to and if he can make the right decisions on behalf of his country and the world.

Watch: Cafferty: Does judgment matter more?

Hagel has been a sharp critic of the war in Iraq and has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Barack Obama. He hasn't endorsed either Obama or John McCain, but says Americans are lucky to have a choice between these two "smart, capable and decent men."

Also traveling with Obama was another military man, Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. Reed, a retired Army captain, talked about what it was like visiting military posts with Obama. He described it as "dynamic”, saying they couldn't get to their car because soldiers were flocking to Obama to get autographs, take a picture, say hello. Reed says Obama received genuine and enthusiastic responses from the troops.

McCain has used the same line Hillary Clinton used against Barack Obama during the primaries, saying he doesn't have enough experience to be commander-in-chief
Here’s my question to you: Is judgment more important for a president than experience?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jon from Washington writes:
Judgment over experience. You can have more experience than anyone else in the country and still have terrible judgment unworthy of your position. Take our current president for example.

AJ from Austin, Texas writes:
Jack, This is a no-brainer. You need experience in order to have good judgment. Obama may say a lot of pretty words that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but McCain has the experience to actually know what he's talking about. Obama's speeches are nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Patricia from Pine Plains, New York writes:
Granted, Barack Obama has the judgment, but what experience of true leadership does John McCain have? He's a senator and has been a senator for almost 30 years. That makes him one of 100. That's not a leadership role. He can't seem to remember too many things that are important to recall. That's scary. Judgment counts in this case far more than no experience and no memory.

Andrew from Brier, Washington writes:
I definitely fall on the judgment side of this question. James Buchanan was probably the most experienced man to hold the office of president. He spent ten years in the House, another ten years as Senator, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Russia and later to Britain, and served as U.S. Secretary of State. And he is perpetually considered to be among the worst U.S. presidents in history. Abraham Lincoln's experience in national government consisted of one term as Congressman from Illinois which ended 12 years prior to his election as president.

Nicholas writes:
I feel that like all other things, to be a good leader you need to work at it for a very long time. I believe that with experience comes judgment. A person who is knowledgeable in his field and is comfortable in it will have far better judgment than someone who is newer to a position.

Betty writes:
Jack, Naturally judgment is more important: I had four husbands, lots of experience, no judgment. I rest my case!

Filed under: 2008 Election
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Michael Smith, New Orleans

    In the case of McCain vs. Obama, yes, judgment is much more important than experience. Obama's overseas trip is irrelevant compared to McCain's documented history of blunders and misjudgments.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Jed in Redding, CA

    Over the last week Barack Obama has suceeded in galvanizing his base and shifting his opposition from annoyed to angered. How dare he do what John McCain suggested he do and visit Iraq, Afghanistan and a half dozen more of our allies. Over the last week he looked more presidential than our President, and I think that's what sickened the opposition the most: Obama is more popular overseas than George W. Bush and John McCain combined.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  3. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    I believe judgment is much more important than experience. Some of our best "statesmen" were remembered best when they were just starting out. Its like the difference between common sense and education. Its great to have that education, but if you don't have common sense, all of the education in the world is not going to help you.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Jerry Ibrone - Atlanta

    Judgement is more important than experience.

    McCain can talk all he wants about Obama being "wrong" about "the Surge" but he can never talk away the fact that Obama wouldn't have done to Iraq in the first place.

    Checkmate, Obama wins hands down.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  5. Jim in BC

    Yes, judgement is more important than experience since there is only one way to gain presidential experience.

    Bush had neither good judgement, nor had he ever been out of the US before being appointed president. Look what happened.

    Obama already has proven good judgement and he had international exposure by the time he was a teenager.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  6. Chad , Los Angeles, CA

    In experience do you mean having dealt with the last 7 years of horrible government from the GOP? I would want the candidate that is farthest from the bad policies and experiences of the current president.
    Obama is best because he his not been tainted by the worst administration in history.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  7. Judie

    Welcome Back Jack,
    Obama's overseas trip has increased my opinion of his ability to do what he says he can and will do. He met with the foreign leaders and had conversations with them. He seemed to be able to hold his own with the leaders that he spoke with dispite McCain's continuous jabs about his inexperience. Seems like his judgement on foreign policy will make up for any lack of experience. . He took the time to talk to our troops on the ground where and when it was appropriate and he came home to finish the home stretch of his campaign. His actions speak louder than his words. Yet his actions mirror his words.
    How about Yes He Can!
    St. Augustine, Fl

    July 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  8. Ed from Durango, Colorado

    Judgement by a long shot. Too many 'experienced" folks have relied too much on old thinking and did not think to the future.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Judgment is at least as important as experience, BUT I have yet to see any evidence of good judgement coming out of Obama. His past associations, which were made as an adult, comprise one excellent example. And now, his willful ignoring the obvious success of the surge, even though it paved the way for his timeframe for Iraq being taken seriously by Malaki is another.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  10. mike in caroline va

    They are equally needed to be an effective leader in my opinion. Senator Obama has a large lead in judgement AND commen sence. Senator McCain leads in experience. Unfortunately 95% of his experience is all bad.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  11. Conor in Chicago

    Every single member of Bush's cabinet had a lot of expereince and they used that expereince to manufacture the greatest Treason in American history-The Iraq War. I'll take judgment thank you...

    July 28, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  12. Darlene - PA

    Judgement. GWB had experience. Enough said on that. But let's not totally count out Obama's experience, he spent 8 yrs as Illionois Senator and 3 as US Senator so he is not totally new to the scene.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Tim Kennesaw, GA

    Judgement is far more important than experience. Just because someone attended law school does not mean they will be a good lawyer. So to me, experience is way too overrated.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  14. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Judgement provides a moral/legal compass to guide a person in the future. Experience provides a rearview mirror to reflecton past victories and defeats. You can always learn form someone else's experience but you have to have sound judgement to properly apply this information.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Erin in Kalamazoo

    Though adequate measures of both are necessary without a doubt I'd take judgment over experience.

    You can't rehearse for the job of Commander-in-Chief, it's not like being trained on a factory line where there is a limited amount of thinking "outside the box". A good president surrounds him/herself with experienced people who will inform and advise. Then the president makes the best JUDGMENT as to how to proceed–

    unless your GW Bush, that is. Sadly, his only need to surround himself with his so-called advisors is to be informed, prompted and prepped regarding all the decisions already made by (Vice) President Cheney.

    With all this Veep talk of late, has anyone bothered to ask whether Cheney chose Bush rather that the other way around? Hmmmm...
    it's something to think about

    July 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  16. Geri Britt

    Good judgement always trumps experience.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    July 28, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Vinca

    It depends on what kind of experience you have and what kind of judgements you have made. Senator McCain has decades of experience, but exhibits extremely poor judgement. He voted for the Iraqi war, told us it would be a cake walk and continues to defend his vote. He's also voted against bills that would benefit the same soldiers he mentions at every opportunity. He voted against healthcare for little kids and his healthcare plan, so called, would quadruple the uninsured. He was for ending the Bush tax cuts before he was against it, the result being more use of the Chinese credit card should he be elected. Experience is fine, but good judgement is better.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  18. nathan in Chicago

    Jack I choose judgment . take W for example now there's a guy with tons of experience, the type that shows well. judgment has powerful testimonial outcomes that say i told you so to the acclaimed title of "experience."

    July 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  19. Chuck in MO

    Judgment is definitely more important as it also reflects character.
    Who cares how much experience one has if that experience is at
    being an idiot. Case in point: what we have in the White House
    at present.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  20. Jasmine in Germany

    Experience in what? The corrupt and nefarious ways of old D. C. politcs? Abraham Lincoln didn't write his Gettysburg Address based on experience, he used judgement. Intelligence and wise judgement are more important than experience for this job. So is vitality.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  21. Peter Whiteley

    Judgement by far
    Americans know all to well what experience has given them in the last eight years
    Aldergrove B.C. Canada

    July 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  22. John from Chicago

    Obama has not been around a long time like McCain but he has demonstrated the better jugment and experience of being right on the issues.

    former republicans for Obama !!

    July 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  23. Mark from Spring Hill Tennessee


    Clearly judgment wins this contest hands down. General Clark had it right, but got crucified for it. How is it that being shot down and being a POW 30 years ago qualify you to be President. We've had lots of Presidents without a Military background, and to suggest that you can't be a good President without one, is a little like saying you have to be a woman to run a Tampon Company.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  24. Wendy

    Obviously judgment. How many combined years of experience have we had at the top of this administration over the past 7 years? Cheney's alone is over 20. And what they have accomplished with this experience?

    Got us into an unnecessary war costing thousands of lives and destroyng the economy of the the USA billions, destroyed the constitution, caused us to be hated around the world, ignored the threat of global warning, turned the Justice Dept into a branch of the Republican Party .. and one could go on and on and on!!

    It will take a long time to repair the damage this so-called "experience" has given us. Give me judgment over experience any day.

    San Rafael, CA

    July 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  25. Donna in ID

    You need both. Especially with the mess Bush has caused in this country by using bad judgement when so many miss guided people thought he was so great with the Governor experience.
    This crash course trip Obama took still did not give him the experience or judgement he needs. Still living in a dream world with his pipe dreams,.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  26. dennis north carolina

    Judgement is the most important factor. the person making the decisions must first study the situations, gather the facts and opinions of people who have the experience in these areas then make the decision. now if experience was the only factor than why under McCain's watch and his party's watch over the past twenty five which they have major control over the government have we seen the following:
    1.ten trillion dollars of debt
    2.no energy policy
    3.two wars
    4.econmy that is in failure
    5 our country has the worst standing in the world opinions
    6. no weapons of mass distortion in a country we invaded or was it oil
    I could continue this list for pages but experience must not count, I mean over twenty five years we should have something to show for all our experience not just a war,four dollar gas and empty plates on the dinner table.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  27. Tim

    An example of McCain's judgement and experience: He was against the last bill that would allow vets to get full college scholarships because it would mean that would leave the military without experienced ncos and enlisted personnel. So much for carrying for the troops.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  28. Shirley-Ohio

    Judgment Jack. Anytime you say No to a war that is not needed, that is good judgment to me. Just look at the mess that has been made all because the United States, under an "experienced president" (8 years), decided to get into somebody elses business and not take care of their own business in Afganistan. What does experience got to do with it? Although I think Obama has both.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  29. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Judgment always trumps experience. Cheney and Rumsfeld had a multitude of "experience" and led us right into the Iraq War. If we had people with better judgment in office for the past 7 years, our country and the world might be in a better place than we currently find ourselves.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  30. Jeff - Cleveland OH

    Jack-Too bad we all don't know that judgement is more important than experience. Experience in good judgement is not bad either. Jeff

    July 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  31. Mitchell in NJ

    Experience fosters biases that closes the door to contrary opinions. Haven't we just been through 7 years of that?

    July 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  32. Bill in Michigan

    All the experience in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans, if good judgement doesn't go along with it. The entire Bush administration has pretty much proved that.

    As for what I've been hearing out of McCain vs. Obama I can't say his experience is helping him any. Obama clearly wins in the economic and international judgement catagory.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  33. Glinda

    We are getting over eight years of George Bush. What was the question? I'll take Barack's inexperience over another like-minded Bushie anytime.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  34. A Bob White

    Neither judgement not experience! What is most important are values and integrity.
    Bob White, Kansas

    July 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  35. A Bob White

    Neither judgement nor experience! What is most important are values and integrity.
    Bob White, Kansas

    July 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  36. Dan, Chantilly VA

    It's hard to answer this question given that there hasn't been a president with good judgment in my lifetime.
    As a side note, who decided that 'judgment' should be spelled without an 'e' after the 'g'? Probably someone with poor judgment.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  37. Chuck B Coastal NC

    JUDGEMENT AND INTEGRITY IS WHAT WE NEED, NOT THE SAME. The GOP has wrecked this counrty,its reputation and its values.They have sold us out the the lowest bidder with cheap labor,illegal immigrates,allowing truck driver to cross the boarders unchecked,no port securtiy and allowing the terroist to cause us haveck in raiseing fuel cost,the endless war and trying to sell anything they can to make the debt look better( the whole time blaming others for there wrongs.... that is the GOP way ).

    July 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  38. Patricia F Pine Plains NY

    Granted, Barack Obama has the judgment, but what experience of true leadership does John McCain have? He's a senator and has been a senator for almost 30 years. That makes him one of 100. That's not a leadership role. He can't seem to remember too many things that are important to recall. That's scary.

    Judgment counts in this case far more than no experience and no memory..

    July 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  39. Ralph in New York

    Jack, I think our next leader needs a combination of both. He/she would not be able to take advantage of their experience if they lack proper judgement to evaluate all the issues that confront us.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  40. Mike P. in L.A.

    Come on Jack, do you really have to ask this question...? The most experienced people we've had running this great nation have proven to be complete idiots, I'll leave you to picture who I am talking about.
    We need a little sound judgment this time around.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  41. Toni Boutwell, Myrtle Beach SC

    No one had more experiance than Rumsfeld, and look at the mess he got us in. Cheney had vat experiance, but again faulty judgement led us into a war we had no business fighting, while ignoring the real danger.
    Give me Obama'ssuperior judgement any day.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  42. Paul, Columbia, SC

    Forget this nonsense question. Welcome, America to deciding the "lesser of evils" again. Either way, we lose.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  43. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Of course judgement is better than experience. A sharp mind is better than a feeble mind. A person who walks is better than one who shuffles. Most important is a person who knows which country he is in on any given day. If a candidate drools, it's O.K. as long as he can read the teleprompter.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  44. Anna, SW Missouri

    Let's see Jack, Obama was right about not going to war in the first place, right about negotiating with our enemies, right about Afghanistan, and right about taxing the wealthy and giving tax breaks to the working class. That is judgement I can live with even as a Republican. Oh yes, I guess my new party is called the Obamacans.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  45. Terry in Hanover County

    Judgment. McCain has used poor judgment to formulate his economic policy, for example, and wants to continue Reaganomics which reward the rich and hurt the poor and middle classes. He should have dumped Gramm and Gramm's endorsement of trickle-down economics a long time ago, but he chose friendship over common sense and facts. McCain isn't too old to be President, but he's repeatedly showing he's too set in his ways to change his mind or change course to benefit the majority of Americans, not just the select few who are his friends.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  46. Sandie

    Judgment often comes from experience. Some people, however, never learn. And others are so confident they know what's best that they cannot hear others.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  47. Ray, Florida

    I say judgement!
    If you look at all the so called experienced people in Washington that ended up discraced, or in jail due to poor judgement, there's only one way to go in my book! Besides how can you have experience at being President until you become a President?

    July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  48. Vinnie Vino


    The President should have the abilility to think and act on his or her feet, showing good judgement...

    C.I., New York

    July 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  49. Liz in Foster City, California

    Whether it's judgement, values, or integrity, I was convinced McCain had none of these when I read that he called his wife the four letter "c" word in front of reporters.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  50. David from Menifee, Ca

    Judgment, Look what experience have done.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  51. Tim Jones

    Judgement is important –
    Obama said in 2006 on Nat'l Tv "we cannot have a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq" – no when the surge works he's for a 16 month withdrawal. Oh, he backed off on Jersusalem as well.
    He won't admit Surge has worked – which is stubborn like Bush – scary folks.
    He needs more yrs behind him and then see if he's an American Citizen or the "Global Citizen" that he said he was in his speech in Berlin.
    Tim J
    Dearborn, Mi

    July 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  52. Lauren- CO



    July 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  53. Marilyn from Louisiana

    Good Judgement counts before experience. Look what we have had the last 8 years.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  54. TheTruthHurts

    The entire relevance of experience is to support good judgement. My 95 yr. old grandmother has wonderful experience, but if her ability to reflect and analyze that experience is weak and leads to poor judgements, the experience is of little value. Without suggestion McCain is senile, it is the application of his intellect to his experience that is relevant.

    The underlying assumption in discussions of experience is that it leads to good judgement. Often it does. I think it should. However, they are not the same thing.

    Obama's argument is that his ability to apply history (his own and others), benefit from advisors with differing viewpoints, and analyze with his native and learned intelligence is superior in results to John McCain. That is clearly a matter of opinion, but surely is a reasonable argument.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  55. wally Ruehmann las Vegas nv

    judgment counts big time and it's my judgment that McCain's experience is very flawed. i remember when our president Regan was in office, the last few years he didn't even know where he was. we don't need a repeat of that...

    July 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  56. Ralph in New York

    Jack, oI think our next leader needs a combionation of both. He/she would not be able to take advantage of their past experience if they lack the judgement to properly act on all the issues that confront us. At the same time, judgement alone is not enough - whoever will be our future leader must have experience so that issues are not only properly evaluated, but he/she will know the right way to act on them.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  57. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Let's see; McCain will soon celebrate his 96th birthday and Obama will be 46, so McCain has 50 more years of experience and acts like he is at least 96 with his constant mistakes and mis-speakes. So it must be more important to have more experience, at least that's what McCain keeps saying. Judgement is much more important in this job to select the people best qualified to help rebuild a country that is almost at the bottom, and Obama has proven he selects good people and lets them do their job.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  58. Tom JOhnson

    Democrats have been in power for two years and oil has gone up from 50.00 a barrel to 130.00 barrel. They could of stopped the war but did not by stonewalling the funding. Oh dear who is to blame?
    Obama will make the economy much worse...his judgement if you objectively review his flipflopping will not move you to vote for him.
    I say vote for "none of the above" as that is the choices we have this year.
    Tom J
    Sante Fe, New Mexico

    July 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  59. Chicago

    Considering neither of these candidates have any... it's mute.

    McCain is to old to change... and Obama can't think for himself... he's great when he reads someones speech... but that's about it.

    What's sad is McCain winning the election in a year when the Dems should run away with it... but they pick this guy... oh well... your bed... sleep in it.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  60. Karen from Arkansas

    I think the Presidency is an "on-the-job" training position. Like Parenthood. Great ideas going in and then you learn what you are doing. Good judgment matters more than experience.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  61. Frank from Peterborough

    Well you have Beavis & Butt Head in the White House now and they certainly have given American's an experience to remember.

    Of course John McCain is pretty much joined at the hip with both these characters on domestic and foreign affairs so he can boast having this same experience as well.

    Obama is just using Judgement by opposing the Invasion of Iraq from the beginning and advocating the use of diplomacy with other countries.

    In contrast the McCain/Bush/Cheney tactic of publicly trying to ridicule and slander other countries and their leaders serves to antagonize rather than resolve so voters have a clear choice on whether they want to continue on with the experience or opt to go in another direction with judgement.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  62. Jerry from Atlanta

    Judgment or experience? Doesn't matter. Obama has neither.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  63. Caycee

    Well judgement and experience are both important qualities for President. But I think excellent mental health is not only vital but should be a requirement for candidacy in order to "understand" the
    psychological difference between a mental recession and a real one or a nation of whiners versus a nation of Americans.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  64. James from Idaho

    I had previously thought them interconnected, but after the past 7 1/2 years of Bush and Co. I sit corrected.

    It's seems that Barak Obama had the judgement to speak out against going into Iraq, and his recent experiences abroad have strengthened that notion rather than, as John McCain had expected, changed his mind. He saw that his original assesments werre correct, and Patreus input was really just regurgitating the Bush line. It's too bad Mccain hasn't gotten the email. Maybe if it had been telegraphed...

    I hope Barak Keeps up the good work. If he does, he'll be president for sure, and with that presidency, hopefully, a good shot of the truth will be passed on to the republicans.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  65. Diane -LA, CA

    Ideally, judgment and experience are essential for any leadership position, but when face with one or the other, then the Gift of Discernment (judgment) is quintessential. Case in point, JFK who was viewed as a novice in foreign affairs, but proved to be a wised diplomatic during the October Missiles (he opted to acknowledge the Soviets' 1st proposal for negotiations rather than bomb the Soviet ships.) A point in contrary is GWH Bush: with all his legislative experience has run this country into economic turmoil.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  66. Andy in Atlanta

    It is simple. Judgement is more important the experience. Look at former Gov. Bush of Texas who is now the president, you would expect that his experince would help him rule effectively, but that has not happened. So it will be with McSame, his experince is not important in this election. I think we should have a retirement age of 70 for members of congress because McCain's attitudes points to the fact that he thinks we are still in the 1970s and reason why he does not care about how to use a computer. How can our president promote the technology when he can not use a computer?

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  67. Melinda Washington

    God did not send a grown man to slay the giant Goliath; he sent David with his sling. He equipped him with what it took to get the job done, and so he will do the same for Barack. Judgement means a heck of lot more when you are faced with the many giants of this world around you. Missing too many targets like the decision McCain made to go to war helped to screw this economy speaks volumes to McCain's inability and lack of judgement.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  68. Gregg Davis

    I pick judgement. Looking at "McBush" shows where todays experience will get you... more war! By the way, did you notice that on Baracks overseas trip he was TREATED like a president, not looking or acting like one.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  69. King, Edmonton

    Good judgement is required in this ever changing world
    Relevant experience may help. Being a POW does not make McCain most qualified candidate for the office of President. In my view, he is a lousy pilot with bad judgement.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  70. Purnell

    When it comes to Judgment vs. Experience we have clowns, thieves, and murders and soon with years of experience at what they do, but we do not hire them. Judgment is about the effective use of wisdom and knowledge, doing something over and over again does not supersede Judgment, when you could be doing it wrong over and over again, without learn from your mistakes!

    Kankakee IL.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  71. Rose Black

    Jack ,there is good judgement and bad judgement. As far as experience goes it depends on your teacher Obama also has common sence.Obama has proven to have better judgement . An most of McCains experience has been taught to him by Bush and his Cronies. I also think he flunked History. Rose

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  72. James Cassara

    If George W. Bush were running for a third term, which thankfully he cannot, he would not doubt talk of his "experience". But if that experience means making the same mistakes time and again, stubbornly refusing to consider that there might actually be another point of view than your own, than I'll take judgment any day of the week. McCain has plenty of experience. All of it wrong.

    James in NC

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  73. Mary Morrow

    The first thing that attracted me to Obama in the first place was that I was impressed with how he thought. His judgement seemed so far ahead of anything I had been hearing from anyone in Washington. I trust his judgement over McCain's experience any day. I finally am hearing from someone who actually cares about the average American. It feels good.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  74. Pippie in Prunedale, CA

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, for I'm young, numb and dumb, but wouldn't it be preferable to have a president with superior judgement and little experience than to have a president with poor judgement and lots of experience? Take it from me, the wonder child from Prunedale, with superlative judgement and absolutely no experience at anything at all. ...I can outsmart any experienced old veteran buffoon like you Mr. Caffery. You said Obama was shooting horses with the troops. PETA will shoot you for saying that. Obama was shooting HORSE with the troops. You see, my judgement trumps your experience

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  75. ed, norman, oklahoma

    If experience were really what we need then we should re-elect Bush for a third term. He has the most experience as President.
    I choose judgment as most important. Bush proves the point!

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  76. Kevin Reid

    Judgement of course. The republican experience has put the country in such a bad state that it would be obvious which choice to make

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  77. Melanie, St Stephens Church, VA

    Let's hope judgement counts for more than experience, whoever wins. I mean, I've lived overseas in a couple of different places, visited Germany for a few days, spent a couple of weeks in England. Does that make me qualified to be president? I like the sound of that! Melanie for President! Melanie for Empress of the World! Sorry, the thought of a little bit of power made me giddy. I guess my experience really does out weigh my judgement. Or else I really do think like a politician.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  78. Errol L. McAlexander

    Judgement , listening and intellect are very important for a president. Obama has all of these. Obama will try to make the best decisions possible.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  79. Tega Thad

    The only experience President is an Ex-president. Just like Obama, Mc has no presidential experience but unlike Mc, Obama have the real judgement to lead.
    Tega NY

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  80. Frances Campbell

    Barack Obama or John McCain? In this instance judgement is more important. Experience is not always the measure of what is best.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  81. FRANK

    Judgement is more important. With all the experience Mcain has, why hasn't he made any positive steps in the past to fix the economy or properly handle the Iraq war. We are ready for someone who can make the right judgement. Obama is the man.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  82. Michael Compton

    When assessing a presidential candidate, it is clearly his or her judgement that is their most critical factor. President Bush now has 8 years of on-the-job experience – If given the choice, who among us would vote to give him another 4?

    I find it absolutely galling that the media is now questioning Obama's judgment regarding the troop escalation while remaining silent on McCain's total lack of judgment regarding the decision to go into Iraq in the first place.

    It is wisdom, not time served, that will best serve our country best in the future.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  83. Stephen

    The answer is so obvious for the question not to be a rhetorical. What good is experience if it produces poor decisions based on lack of judgment? A leader with poor judgment will have difficulty learning from experience. So will an electorate.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  84. carlton

    Judgment is more important than experience. Just because you have experience doesn't mean your sensible enough to make proper judgments. Obama has proper judgment McCain has experience but what one has the other fails to have it.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  85. Janice Pound

    Neither one has the experiencey of a President. But Obama has good judgement, common sense, and intelligence. He wants the world to work together indicating he is quite aware of globelization. and dwells on going forward. McCain deals with war & hate, with Bush ,setting us back to the dark ages, this will continue to keep us in a pool of stagnation. Co.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  86. Mike Flint

    Why worry about either one? In 2000 and 2004 we elected someone with neither one and he has put us in a fine state of affairs.All they need is eloquence with the english language.

    Mike from Utah

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  87. Amos

    Judgement.. In moderm society, great minds are minds that are fresh minds.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  88. Jim

    Judgement oe Experience???? If we had good judgement with Bush we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now.....4 dollar gas, 4,000 + dead in Iraq, 30,000+ injured. Come on Jack we need somebody in there with more then a half a brain and a third grade IQ !!!!

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  89. Pippie in Prunedale, CA

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, for I'm young, dumb and numb, but wouldn't it be preferable to have a president with superior judgement and little experience than to have a president with poor judgement and lots of experience? Take it from me, the wonder child from Prunedale, with superlative judgement and absolutely no experience at anything at all. ...I can outsmart any experienced old veteran buffoon like you Mr. Caffery. You said Obama was shooting horses with the troops. PETA will shoot you for saying that. Obama was shooting HORSE with the troops. You see, my judgement trumps your experience

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  90. Bill Fullarton

    Yes, good judgment is far more important than experience. For openers, what kind of experience are we talking about? It's all very generic and ambiguous. As far as McCain is concerned, the experience he emphasizes is his experience in conducting warfare, exactly what we do not need. McCain clearly has a military mentality. That's about all the experience he has to offer. No thanks.

    Bill Fullarton
    Columbus, Ohio

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  91. Dorinda from East Tennessee

    Gosh, Beaver, what kind of experience in anything did Bush have? And, why hasn't the media talked more about it? Are you afraid of exposing more secrets about this administration?
    Experience was thrown away when Hillary did not get the nomination. So, I'll write her in for my vote.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  92. Andre, Toronto

    what is the benefit of having experience if you do not know what to do with it. John McCain's perceived experience makes him all that more unqualified to be a President as he has shown extremely poor judgement on support for a war which even the republican Americans now understand was unjustified.

    America needs an intelligent person with a sound vision and belief in fairness as their next President, not another Bush-alike who can't put two sensible thoughts together on any issue.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  93. earl

    in 2004,we elected a man with 4 yrs. experience and look where it got us. what good is experience if you are to hard headed to listen to anyone?

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  94. Geoff

    McCain's at age 72 and with 3 + decades in politis has the obvious edge on Obama on the issue of experience. His judgement has been lousy – he endorsed Bush on the war and still does, his judgement on Afganistan was wrong as was is his criticism of Obama on his tough stand on Pakistan. He flipped and got it wrong on the tax cuts, his drilling for oil program does not square with his green house gas plan. Above all his judgement on issues important to women is 40 years old, which reflects the age he grew up in. He seems to have got himself in lock step with Bush and Cheney on every issue. The Maverick has lost his judgement; he is just another Bush/Cheney clone. He is absolutely the wrong man to lead the US in the coming decade.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  95. Drew

    Experience breeds judgement, not the other way around so its a silly question. My 10 month old daughter makes a poor judgement when she pulls our dog's hair. No way for her to make a good judgement until she has had that experience of being bitten or hurting the dog. Obama's experience consists of 2 years in the U.S. Senate, experience in the Illinois State Senate and as a community organizer. In a world this dangerous, it seems like the American people would be smart enough to want McCain as President.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  96. Tony

    We have experienced 8 years of "experience" and where are we now. We need someone with good judgment and a whole lot of compassion for the American people to lead us out of this mess.
    As far as experince, neither candidate has ever been president so
    why even bring it up? They are only experienced at what they have already experienced, not what they are hoping to experience,

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  97. 2BeLinda, Washington DC

    "Conditions on the ground" are never the same when each new president takes office, so only 2nd term presidents have experience and we all know how well that served us with Geo. Bush. (Yikes) Circumstances change and time marches on. Sound judgement is more important, along with intelligence, a statesman-like demeanor and an even-temperament. A global perspective, good health, high-energy, grace and cohesive and sound thinking under pressure are also a must for anyone seeking the US Pres. All experience isn't good.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  98. Mohammed, minnesota

    How much experince did Lincoln have again. Isnt he the guy with the face on the mountain with all those other "EXPERINCED" presidents ? How can you have experince being president without being president can someone please answer that question? PLEASE.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  99. eddale

    This isn't even close. Obama has shown that he has the intelligence and judgement needed to be President. McBush doesn't have either. The economy will be a big factor in this years election. Obama's race will be the most important issue to the old racist.

    Ed, Lancaster, CA

    July 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  100. Marilyn Herbert

    The "PRESIDENCY" is a position that requires a LOT of on the job training. I want a president with "common sense" and "good judgment" so that he can do the correct things for the people and the world while he is learning the job. Thanks Jack for asking.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  101. W.N.. Sanabria

    As I recall, Dick Cheney drew up the "Dream Resume" when supposedly helping Bush search for his VP. It was based on the varied experience that would best qualify one for the top job. Amazingly enough, it sounded like Cheney was the ideal fit so he got the call. If we accept the premise that experience trumps everything else, how then do we rationalize that fact that this perfect model was the architect of the worst foreign policy disaster in the history of the republic?

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  102. B. Hinton

    Jack. We have all heard this "experience" argument thrown in Obama's face time and time again! Our brave soldiers are dying in Bush's war in Iraq and the economy is circling down the toilet! Apparently death and destuction and the dismemberment of the middle class is what the people with "experience" have to offer! And McCain's "experience" clearly tells him to maintain the status quo! So no thank you. I'll stick with the judgement from our president to be – Barak Obama!...

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  103. James

    Judgement matters more, because there is no occupation on the planet that can adequately prepare you for the presidency.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  104. Aravindhan aka Arvind

    It is like a Jury Trial delivering a verdict! The Jury typically do not have years of ‘EXPERIENCE’, but they do make and deliver appropriate ‘JUDGEMENTS’. Experience is subjective and is prone to misinterpretations while Judgment is objective and to the point.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  105. JC from NJ

    Actually judgment and experience are not mutually exclusive terms as John McCain would have us believe...if judgment derives from experience it is not necessarily sound or insightful...on the other hand experience can be broad but at the same time limited depending on ones frame of reference... in any event both are important in virtually any leadership position but hardly conducive to simple and accurate measurement...

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  106. Gil from Edison NJ

    Experience is of no value if it is flawed experience. I don't want to vote for anyone who has the kind of experience exhibited by our government over the past 7 years.
    In my opinion, judgment is moral character and intelligent ability to fully understand a problem, evaluate multiple solutions and to choose the solution that addresses the most critical criteria. I believe Barrack has those qualities. Based on the way McCain attacks Barrack's proposals and statements, I believe McCain does not have the patience to hear a problem stated sufficiently to understand the underlying root and potential solutions.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  107. Alan M

    Hey Jack,
    Experience matters. Would you rather have a heart surgeon with education and judgment or one that has experience operating on you. Sen Obama had a great scenic tour. It reminded me of a large bag of cotton candy, starts out with a lot sugar add the hot air and you have a lot of NO substance. He'll make it to the big dance but won't have a ride home.

    Alan M

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  108. Martine S. , California

    Judgment, good judgment, in many ways is more important than experience, especially if the experience is a sum of bad judgments. So, please, too many bad judgments are not the kind of experience we need. E.g. If experience was important, the second term of the Bush administration would have been better. The first 4 years were useless experience. We need good judgment, and we need it now. McCain needs a new line than just , “he has experience”, it won’t get him anywhere.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  109. Ryan - Tampa, Flordia


    "Experience Counts" was one of Nixon's slogans against Kennedy.

    He lost by 84 electoral votes, and Nixon was running on the Republican brand tied to the peace and prosperity of the Eisenhower administration, not the Republican brand tied to the 7 years, two recessions, two wars, and multiple disasters of the Bush administration.

    Maybe John McCain can his explain how his experience as a foot soldier in the Bush revolution is relevant?

    July 28, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  110. Amir Mohammed

    Jack: Of course judgement, judgement, judgement. Look what experience have done.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  111. Emma from San Jose, CA

    Experience with doing things in the same old way, with the same old mind set, doesn't mean a person gets it right. Obama lacks experience, but possesses wisdom and judgement at a high level and knows how to
    tap the best minds of experienced staff which he will have.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  112. Dallan

    Experience is a characteristic which becomes outdated with time just like un old map and therefore unwise and obsolete using it alone in leading anything let alone a country. On the other hand jugdement is a characteristic which is associated with wisdom-utilizing accumalated knowlegde using common sense taking the past, present and future into account. I am sure Obama has that.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  113. Ken

    JACK CAFFERTY for PRESIDENT. You hit the nail on the head about being broke Jack,

    July 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  114. Dealt

    Of course judgement matters most. What's the use of experience in dubious decision making? And McCain is showing some worrying signs of that. He insists on oil drilling when it's more and more obvious that's not a solution, just a lenghtning of the problem. He insists that the surge is working, when it is not. A surge is not a surge if it has to be kept at surge-level for as long as he seems to antecipate.... then it should be called "drowning", i guess.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  115. divad

    What good is experience without good judgement?
    It's just lots of experience using bad judgement. (i.e., dubya)

    July 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm |