Continuing on the McCain conference call, the typically reticent Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, took issue with Gen. Clark’s comments that John McCain’s service on the Armed Services Committee in no way prepared him for the job of commander-in-chief.
“I made a rough calculation this morning that I was in the Oval Office with five presidents where matters of national security were discussed. John McCain was with me on one or two of those occasions. John has experience that Senator Obama simply does not have. John knows how to assess risk. Many, many times he has assessed risk.”
Warner specifically noted McCain “telling President Bush he needed to put more forces into the Iraq situation based on his assessment of the risk. On that, he turned out to be right.”
Swindle also said the “Truth Squad” is necessary because, according to his estimate, half of the country either wasn’t alive or has no real memory of the Vietnam War. He said McCain’s record must be conveyed to those who don’t know much about the war or McCain’s service in it, adding that Clark’s comments were a “horrible thing to do” and Obama — by not denouncing the remarks — is not running a “civil campaign.”
And in remarks sure to aggravate the situation, Swindle and Day both said Clark’s comments were way out of bounds but questions raised by the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” during the 2004 campaign against John Kerry were not.
Day said the criticisms of Kerry’s war record were factual while Clark’s assessment of McCain was inaccurate. Swindle said Kerry’s Vietnam record was a relevant issue in 2004 and the Swift Boat veterans poked legitimate holes in Kerry’s war-hero biography. The Kerry campaign regarded nearly all of the Swift Boat attacks as groundless lies and the perception that his campaign failed to adequately refute them has led Obama over and over to pledge that he will not be “Swift Boated” during this campaign.