Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of Barack Obama, said Sunday that Republican John McCain’s experience as a Vietnam-era fighter pilot and prisoner of war didn’t add to his qualifications to be president. Left-wing bloggers have gone farther, saying that McCain participated in propaganda films while in captivity. McCain’s presidential campaign said the Arizona senator’s “record of service and sacrifice is not a matter of debate.” (Politico via CBS News)
What the commentators said
Democrats are “plumbing new lows in class and intelligence” this campaign season, said Ed Morrissey in a Hot Air blog. Clark’s “dishonorable and outrageously stupid disparagement” of McCain’s lifetime of service “will undoubtedly play very well among Obama’s nutcase fringe supporters,” but Obama cannot expect the rest of us “to buy his claims of ‘a new kind of politics’” after this scandalous attack.
Clark hurt Obama in several ways, said Jonathan Stein in Mother Jones’ MoJo blog. He handed McCain an opportunity to paint Obama's supporters as radicals, forced Obama to publicly praise McCain's service, and opened the door for the media to say poor McCain had been swiftboated.
Clark’s remarks were “intemperate,” said Steve Benen in The Carpetbagger Report blog, but this was nothing like the swiftboat attacks on Democrat John Kerry. The swiftboat ads accused Kerry of lying about his service; all Clark said was that McCain’s time as a fighter pilot and prisoner of war didn’t change the fact that he was “untested” in foreign policy matters.