McCain: Obama Should "Cut Clark Loose"


"I think it's up to Sen. Obama now to not only repudiate him, but to cut him loose," McCain said to a small group of reporters somewhere between Indianapolis, IN, and Cartagena, Colombia.

Hmm. Cut Clark loose from what? At this point, the McCain Freakout is turning this into a loss for McCain. I think Obama is done with this issue. And McCain's continuing to harp on it will hurt him.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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  • I think you're wrong. (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:27:37 PM EST
    This is the usual playbook----for both sides.
    Don't forget that Obama has a history of weakly and meekly repudiating erstwhile allies.
    Bet heavily on McCain to win this round.

    Today was a loss for McCain on this (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:31:12 PM EST
    HE had a Swift Boater and then had folks attacking Clark's service on his conference call.

    No question today was a bad day on the issue for McCain.

    They would best shut it down.


    One problem (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by Lou Grinzo on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:48:53 PM EST
    You're making an assumption about the reasonableness of the American voters that I don't think holds up.  If US voters were that rational, no one today would even know what "swift boating" means, because the attempt to smear Kerry would have sunk without a trace in one or two news cycles, long before the term entered the lexicon.

    The same argument holds for Gore beating Bush by 20 percentage points and 100 electoral votes.

    My fear is that this current mess will work beautifully with one group McCain desperately needs (and doesn't yet have), the most extreme right wingers, a.k.a. the purple heart band-aid crowd.


    Quite the opposite (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:51:42 PM EST
    As Steve M correctly notes, this is all about Alpha Maleness.

    McCain is whining and now Obama can be the tough guy.

    And at the end of the day, what is McCain gonna do, keep talking about this nonsense?


    heheh (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:04:20 PM EST
    Pointing out Obama's baddies is whining? Who knew?
    Certainly not the American public. And certainly not the millions of veterans who will feel insulted.

    And the latter is what got Kerry. It wasn't the claims about what he did if he did when he did during his Vietnam tour. It was what he said after he was home.

    Kerry was toast from the moment he stepped up to give his acceptance speech and said, "Reporting for duty." He put the ball in play and the Repubs stuffed in his left ear.


    Right (5.00 / 0) (#193)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:06:41 PM EST
    If Kerry hadnt brought up 'Nam, neither would the the swiftboaters, talk radio jackdaws and chickenhawks, have. Right.

    Off the meds again?


    Whatever (1.00 / 0) (#200)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:20:00 PM EST
    The fact is that Kerry opened the door.

    I rarely agree with you (5.00 / 0) (#167)
    by Maggie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:33:50 AM EST
    But speaking as an Independent who expected in February to be pretty happy either way if it came down to McCain vs. Obama, McCain just sounds terribly whiny to me.  He has done ever since the GE started.  McCain has dropped a whole lot in my estimation.  Granted, my reaction is just one data point.  On the other hand, I've voted for the winner of the last four presidential elections, so maybe I'm the swing voter (LOL).  (And, yes, very sorry about the Bush thing.  But voting Democrat this time around -- so I hope that makes amends).

    I think his reasoning is simple (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by IzikLA on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:55:44 PM EST
    I don't think McCain wants Clark as Obama's VP...

    Obama has essentially caved to any pressure about cutting people out of his inner circle and McCain figures if he can apply that pressure it will either 1) make him cave and cut him off, or 2) at the very least make him a liability and a much less attractive VP candidate.

    Just curious, do you think this is way off base?  I agree it's starting to feel like a loss for McCain now in putting on this kind of silly pressure, but I can't help but feel that this is the reason why...


    I agree with you 100% (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 04:31:14 AM EST
    Clark as VP would go a long way towards solving Obama's inexperience problem, and McCain knows it.  

    Also, McCain does not want to have to face those arguments about his qualifications for CinC for the next 4 months, and getting rid of Clark will do it, since Obama apparently rejects those arguments himself.


    Aha. That makes sense. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:58:11 PM EST
    So it being this campaign season, who knows?  So little seems to be sensible.  But an interesting insight; thanks.

    Well, it will be a big victory for (none / 0) (#6)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:32:34 PM EST
    Obama if he wins this one. Way too early to say, though.

    McCain just handed it to him (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:49:44 PM EST
    With this "cut him loose" nonsense.

    Now Obama gets to be strong and NOT cut Clark loose.

    And then what does McCain do? Whine to Andrea Mitchell again?


    Oh I dunno.. i think discussing the recreation (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:56:00 PM EST
    habits Obama had around the time McCain was a POW ( would be an appropriate point of comparison.

    One thing Obama does not want (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:58:33 PM EST
    is for McCain to start questioning HIS qualifications.

    If McCain continues to fixate on this ridiculousness, then McCain will look like an idiot. If I were JM, I would turn it around and say, "Okay, Obama, what executive experience do YOU have?"

    Luckily that does not appear to be happening.


    Ha Ha, well... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:28:52 PM EST
    ...McCain can't do that because then he would have to acknowledge the real meaning of Clark's comment rather than the phony self-serving meaning he attached to them.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:00:27 PM EST
    That would have been the smart move.

    But that is not what McCain did is it?


    I'm amazed they didn't (none / 0) (#57)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:04:16 PM EST
    I wonder if they thought it was too obvious? Are they just saving that one for their closing ad?

    I'm now convinced the qualifications (none / 0) (#68)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:11:52 PM EST
    argument doesn't work.  Media gets bored with it.

    Mccain may have overplayed his hand here but if he's going to win it will be by attacking obama's character.


    Really? (none / 0) (#72)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:13:13 PM EST
    I think it's what won Texas for Hillary. And remember, McCain isn't Hillary Clinton.

    Obama needs to game out "he doesn't have enough experience." I hope he has.


    if the media starts running with (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:20:26 PM EST
    qualifications themes then that'll mean it really was cds.

    Just trying out a theory anyway.

    I just think the media would rather sit around all day talking which one's the biggest lying flip flopping opportunist instead of which one is best qualified to be president.


    Mostly it was CDS (none / 0) (#78)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:22:02 PM EST
    but also what you say.

    It's still early and I expect it is going to (none / 0) (#87)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:35:48 PM EST
    get pretty ugly out there in the campaign arena...JM has many issues he can go after obama on, if he can figure out obama's stance from day to day.

    This may be a touchy subject (none / 0) (#121)
    by anydemwilldo on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:30:19 PM EST
    But the "experience" meme really isn't a very strong argument.  It didn't work for Gore, or Bush Sr. for example, both of whom had overwhelming advantages in executive experience.  And (the touchy part) it didn't work for Hillary very well either, despite a pretty clear objective advantage.

    "Experience" is one of those arguments that people use to justify a pre-existing choice, or maybe break a tie.  By itself, it won't win over undecideds.


    Oh I think W. has made experience (none / 0) (#123)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:33:41 PM EST
    an important criterion for this election.

    exactly right! (none / 0) (#181)
    by kimsaw on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 06:40:12 AM EST
    Ahhh (none / 0) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:59:30 PM EST
    Now see that would have been a tough response by McCain.

    He did not do that. He whined and cried to Andrea Mitchell.


    Karl Rove would NEVER have done that.


    But it is coming. There is no doubt (5.00 / 0) (#51)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:00:15 PM EST
    about that.

    You mean like (none / 0) (#55)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:03:21 PM EST
    'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'

    Actually Obama has equivocated on that (none / 0) (#67)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:11:25 PM EST
    When did he stop? It's not at all clear---it wasn't in his teens, as he once indicated. Axelrod said he was using when he was 20 (or in his 20's---I forget).

    Check the memoirs. Not on (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:18:01 PM EST
    the website.

    what are you saying? (none / 0) (#77)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:21:10 PM EST
    heh (2.66 / 3) (#44)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:56:20 PM EST
    The whole world knows that Clark is sucking up for a VP slot, and his comments were despicable, at best.

    If Obama is smart he will take McCain's advice.

    I hope he doesn't and let's McCain keep it in play.


    His comments were despicable? (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by Marco21 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:42:29 AM EST
    In what alternate universe? Republican Party Island?

    Something is despicable, all right... (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by katana on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:48:36 AM EST
    In what alternate universe? Republican Party Island?

    jimakaPPJ's alternate universe is called Tall Cotton, and it's not so much a Republican Party Island as a virulent, reactionary atoll.  I'm surprised its identifying graphics don't include a sheet with eye-holes and a coiled noose.

    Tall Cotton not only loves Senator McCain, he loves torture.  He hates John Kerry, and Democrats, and academics, and, especially, Muslims; and he believes that Senator Obama's reach-out to the devout community is a secret scheme to get federal money for madrassas (and no, I'm not kidding).  

    I should add that on his own website,  jimakaPPJ refers to Obama exclusively as Hussein.

    On his own site, he portrays himself as nothing other than a good ol' American patriot, filled only with good 'ol common sense and a passionate love for his country and an even more passionate hatred of its enemies.  Lots and lots of hatred, especially for Muslims and--unless I misread him--those even a teeny little bit darker than he.

    Around here, he pretends to be merely an enemy of liberals and liberal values; nothing more alarming.  Don't be misled.  It's only his fear of being chased that prevents him from showing his true colors.



    Good description. (5.00 / 0) (#189)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:00:46 PM EST
    But be careful overestimating him.

    Although I do believe that he can't possibly be stupid enough to actually believe that any one here is stupid enough to not see through him or to believe that he makes any sense at all, he does surprise me occasionally. ;-)


    Point taken (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by katana on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 06:02:21 PM EST
    I guess I was fooled because enough people around here kept engaging with him, and, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why.  

    mccain did just hand this to obama (none / 0) (#94)
    by sancho on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:48:53 PM EST
    i'm surprised. i actually think obama is going to keep the gift. clark stayed on the attack. that's great. obama's strategy of retracting and not retracting at the same time seems to have frustrated the republican crew. obama is not afraid to be aggressively inconsistnet while pretending he is consistent. it's a neat talent in a campaign--especially a long one.

    What next? (none / 0) (#95)
    by daryl herbert on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:53:23 PM EST
    And then what does McCain do? Whine to Andrea Mitchell again?

    No. McCain hangs back, and waits for Clark to put his foot in his mouth again.  Then he gets to ask why Obama won't repudiate Clark.

    And knowing Obama, Obama will treat Clark's screw-up as a personal insult, and throw him under the bus.  "That's not the General Clark that I knew" . . .

    Then everyone will be mad at Obama, including BTD.  That's the strategy, at least.


    The playbook is in another ABC headline (none / 0) (#83)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:31:22 PM EST

    Obama: For Denouncing Clark Before He Was Against It?

    It is so depressing to see the playbook for this campaign being a replay of 2004.  I think I'll go read about the 1896 and 1932 campaigns, other times when the economy was a crucial issue, and see whether any candidates talked about it then.  Hmmm.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:30:33 PM EST
    I have to disagree with you BTD. If this is STILL going on, it's not helping Obama. Obama has been on the defensive so much lately this is yet another example. I guess we can plan for him to be constantly defending himself for the next 4 months.

    I have to disagree with you (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:33:53 PM EST
    At this point, McCain looks like a whiny baby with something in his record to be besmirched.

    This is nuts.

    I am positive McCain blew the issue today.

    His restraint on it yesterday was effective and Obama's cowardice helped McCain.

    Today Obama said enough and McCain kept whining.

    A loss today for McCain and when Obama does NOT cut Clark lose then what? Another conference call?

    The worm has turned on this one.


    Frankily (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:37:17 PM EST
    I think Obama completely lost the issue by showing cowardice. McCain's angle seems to be "when your opponent is drowning, give him an anvil". I guess you think it's overkill.

    Sort of (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by daria g on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:48:57 PM EST
    Maybe the worm has turned in favor of Clark, but that does not necessarily correlate to turning in favor of Obama.  From what I've seen it's seemed like Clark going toe-to-toe with McCain, and good on Clark for standing his ground, and now McCain trying to remind everyone - hey, the actual candidate is over there trying to avoid a fight.

    McCain trying to start a fight with Obama (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:55:28 PM EST
    by whining about it.

    And all Obama has to do is . . . . nothing, and he won. He is the strong one.

    McCain should have just blasted Obama if that is what he wanted to do. Demanding actions that are not coming with nothing to back it up, seriously, how much more can be said about this and who gives a sh(t anyway?

    Bad mistake by McCain on that plane. And I wonder if it was due to the fact that the Media had already tired of the story.

    And tired of being caught again and blasted by some of us for bad reporting.

    But I think you make one great point - Clark standing up for himself was the essential first step. It gave Obama a second swing at this and also pushed McCain into this error.


    Maybe (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by daria g on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:10:00 PM EST
    I do tend to see McCain as very adept at.. well, "whining" or airing a grievance, I'd say, without getting called out for it.  But I'm still having a hard time seeing this as a positive for Obama given that he caved in the first place, that was the essential problem - you can't do that straightaway and come off looking tough IMHO.  I'm thinking more about precedent, past and future, beyond this one incident - when does Obama look like a fighter?  I don't see it.

    Clark holds ground, helps Obama (none / 0) (#47)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:58:42 PM EST
    good headline.

    Obama needs help (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:20:07 PM EST
    is an unfortunate reading of that.  Hope for better headlines.

    Isn't it backwards, though? (none / 0) (#66)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:11:12 PM EST
    A little bit, yeah (none / 0) (#69)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:12:00 PM EST
    BTD, it's not coming across as whining (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:25:21 PM EST
    It's coming across as a forceful attack on those durn libruls who can't stop disrespecting the military, general or no general.  And it's also coming across as McCain sternly demanding Obama ditch Clark, not whining to Andrea Mitchell (whom most people have never even heard of).

    I think you are misreading the message the semi-informed public is getting from this.


    Against a general? (5.00 / 0) (#128)
    by Alec82 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:42:21 PM EST
    Clark puts McCain to shame, I'm sorry, but apart from conservative Republicans who buy the "liberals hate America" line, what Clark said is perfectly acceptable.  

     For some reason you think that the American public is incapable of seeing through the media storm. I think they see this for what it is, or will, if it continues.  McCain is asking Senator Obama to drop a general who successfully waged the last European war of the 20th century.  The man stood by while his colleague was eviscerated by the Swift Boaters (he now happily takes their money).  

     The political capital of the "liberals hate America" meme was wasted on Bush, frankly.  So it doesn't matter, because the voters who believe that were firmly in McCain's camp anyway.  



    I agree that what Clark (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:51:44 PM EST
    said is perfectly acceptable, but that's not the way it's being presented.

    And I'm left frankly speechless by your assumption that the public can "see through the media storm" on stuff like this.  If they could, we wouldn't be sitting here counting the days to Jr.'s retirement.

    There are MANY swing voters who are nervous about Obama's patriotism, and having his surrogates appear to dis McCain's military service ain't gonna help with that problem.

    Lastly, McCain, you always seem to forget, very much needs to get the GOP base ginned up strongly against Obama.  This helps with that quite a bit.


    It is a manufactured controversy... (none / 0) (#141)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:06:23 AM EST
    ...that conveniently coincides with Fourth of July celebrations.  

     In 2004, it may have worked.  In 2008, I'm not so sure.  The political landscape has changed in a way I never anticipated.  Senator Obama's candidacy would have been unthinkable less than a decade ago, and any Democrat running a competitive campaign against Senator McCain (at least, Senator McCain circa 2000) would have been implausible.  Let me put it this way: in 2000 Gore would have lost to McCain, and it wouldn't have been nearly as close or contentious.

     It might help with the base.  That much I believe.  Beyond that, however, the media tires easily.  


    ALL the GOP controversies (5.00 / 0) (#158)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:32:14 AM EST
    have been manufactured.  They're extremely good at it.  They know what kinds of storylines appeal to the MSM.  The media does tire easily, you're right, but they know that and know how to keep feeding it with new manufactured controversies.

    Um, it's a controversy that OBAMA (none / 0) (#142)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:10:02 AM EST
    manufactured. Perhaps the public will see through that, eh?

    What evidence do you have... (5.00 / 0) (#147)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:14:59 AM EST
    ...that he had anything to do with what General Clark has been saying for over a month now? None, right?

     Precisely.  Your speculation is fit for what I would expect from right wing nutjobs.  But then...


    Oh please. Don't be naive. (none / 0) (#148)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:15:52 AM EST
    I'm not (none / 0) (#153)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:21:25 AM EST
    I don't believe he manufactured this thing.  Maybe you attribute god like qualities to him, but I don't.

     If Obama manufactured this controversy, it started some time ago and took a month to get any traction.  So...no, I don't think he had anything to do with it.  Again, your speculation is just that, and as with all anti-Obama posters, it has become tiresome.  That's all you ever bring to the table...I'm just waiting for another post delving into Birth Certificate-Gate.

     Grow up or go home.


    Well... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:31:46 PM EST
    ... McCain senses an advantage here, and he's willing to press it. I think the Obama campaign scored an own goal here.

    By foolishly (in my view) "rejecting" Clark's perfectly reasonable statement, Obama established that Clark said something wrong as part of the ground rules, and McCain is now demanding that Obama do the logical next step.

    He'll likely keep doing so until something else comes up or everybody in America knows every detail of his time as a POW.

    Obama made a statement today (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:36:41 PM EST
    Obviously you missed it. Read below.

    No, you are wrong here.


    It's a minor issue in any case... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:43:24 PM EST
    The campaign has been full of stupid issues that have made me angry because of the charges thrown--racism, etc.

    This is a stupid issue that is just irritating in its triviality.


    McCain is implying that the statement (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:13:00 PM EST
    is insufficient, it seems.  Could his campaign be getting internals that say this is doing any good for him?  Or, for that matter, either of them.  

    I don't recall any surveys of the American public's issues that listed all this as among their pressing issues.  There was concern about the war, of course.

    But the candidates seem to be debating the wrong war -- the one that went wrong a generation ago . . . while another generation is sent to this war now.

    It's a perfect opportunity for Obama to turn this debate to this war.  But let's talk about faith-based funding instead.


    Denounce AND reject! (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:32:48 PM EST
    Heh.  As usual, I think this one only becomes a loss for the Dems if they roll over.  Good thing Clark isn't your typical spineless D.

    I'm convinced that most people follow these stories so casually and tangentially that apologizing is the only way to lose for sure.  Dems tend to apologize to try and kill the story, but what ends up happening is that people assume the Dems must have actually done something bad or they wouldn't be apologizing.

    I'd rather let McCain freak out all summer over this issue if he likes.  It's really about all he has to talk about.

    Since (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:34:14 PM EST
    Obama already caved on this issue I think he made it last longer. He should have just said that Clark said nothing wrong and gone on about his business.

    You missed Obama's statement today apparently (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:38:44 PM EST
    Are you (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:44:39 PM EST
    talking about the one in your post below? If that's the one, then I don't think his response was good. It's the kind of statement that plays to latte liberals but not anyone else. He should quit with the lecturing type of statements and say stuff clearly and concisely. Almost everything he says comes off as a college professor giving a lecture. Apparently he missed the lecture on KISS in law school. He wanders off on tangents about impoverished people in Ohio (which is insulting in itself because he makes these people sound like they live in some third world country.)

    It is what he did not say (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:47:37 PM EST
    that matters.

    Indeed, it has provoked McCain into this mistake.

    McCain has kicked this issue away.

    He made a personal demand of Obama, one Obama will absolutely refuse.

    The Obama looks strong and McCain look weak? What is McCain's "or else?" IS he going to whine about this all summer? A conference call every day on Clark? On Webb?

    McCain just blew it on that plane.


    Why do you think Obama will absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:54:16 PM EST
    refuse the demand? I think the evidence indicates the opposite will occur.

    hmmm, we have some predictions (none / 0) (#61)
    by tben on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:05:33 PM EST
    lets keep score.

    mebbe (none / 0) (#62)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:07:30 PM EST
    if he does, that will be really stupid. Atrios's response is better.

    I think you are missing the entire point here (5.00 / 0) (#79)
    by talex on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:22:25 PM EST
    First of all Clark is a surrogate with marching orders from Obama. Obama is playing Bush and disavowing what was said about McCain by Clark even though Obama wanted that said about McCain- i.e. Good Cop, Bad Cop. Exactly what Bush has done in the last eight years to McCain, Gore, Kerry.

    Unless of course if you think Obama is not smart enough to do that.

    Second thing you are missing is McCain's game. He is hitting back at the surrogate with both fists and feet. He'd love to knock Clark out of the game and not worry about him anymore. He knows Obama is quick to toss people under the bus. He knows how Obama will act just like Bush and disavow and dump Clark and he is trying to take that knowledge and stick in the dagger.

    You see when you (Obama) are playing the GOP/Bush/Rove game they already know how you will react. So like in chess they have their next moves already planned out to checkmate you. That is the danger of playing by the opponents past strategies and tactics. Unfortunately for Obama he is such a rookie and his campaign platform calls for such a soft approach he is beaten before he starts.

    This not only happens in politics which I know a thing or two about, but it also happens in business which I know a lot about and it happens in the courtroom which I also know a lot about.

    McCain has Obama against the ropes and this is no rope-a-dope. This is McCain knowing the opponents every move before the opponent even makes a move and then pounding him when he does.

    Nothing new. We've seen this game before.


    The high ground (none / 0) (#92)
    by Alec82 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:47:44 PM EST
    Unless of course if you think Obama is not smart enough to do that.

     He's smart enough, but I don't think that is what happened here.  Clark began doing this weeks ago, and it became clear that he was gunning for McCain.  The press "discovered" the issue and had their minor thunderstorm, and now it is dying down...as usual.  So while I would not put this above or beyond Obama, I don't think that's what happened.

     Obama can play the media game, and more importantly the new media game, better than McCain can...which is becoming increasingly obvious the more the fakery hits the air.

     I foresee two very real media liabilities for McCain: an untethered Fox, with its endless parade of scare tactics and nonissues, and youtube, which has transformed him into a calculating politician in the eyes of many.


    As opposed to Obama (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by talex on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:05:19 PM EST
    who is uncalcualting and not a flip-flopper and doesn't tell one audience one thing and another audience exactly the opposite the next day.

    "Obama can play the media game"

    Yeah he has really showed that the last few days allowing himself to not only have his own surrogates words come back on him but has also allowed himself to be backed into a corner - not to mention he is reacting and is not the one controlling the message even though it was his message in the first place. Gezz!


    If he can't control his surrogates (none / 0) (#159)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:34:25 AM EST
    how will he ever lead in office?  

    (I saw this question on the Internets today and I just had to repeat it.  Ha!)  


    Obama plays the youtube game better. (none / 0) (#166)
    by ghost2 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:23:31 AM EST
    Remember media just discovered blogs.  They have little idea about stuff like youtube, facebook, myspace, and how it works.  

    I really see a lot of 'manufacturing a movement' from Obama camp.  They would have a lousy video against McCain, but will manage to make it look like the next hip thing, nad before you know it, it would have a couple of million hits on it, and media will gasp with open mouths.

    That's their strength, fooling their parents' generation with new thingys.  


    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:39:35 PM EST
    I agree that it was a mistake, but still, I think BTD has a point that there have been other developments since then.

    This is really just another one of those alpha male issues IMO.  Will Obama be yet another Democrat who meekly apologizes on demand?  Sometimes I think yes, sometimes I think no.


    He only apologizes when he doesn't need to (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:40:08 PM EST
    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:46:09 PM EST
    He swabs the decks when they are clean and walks away from filthy ones.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Montague on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:39:38 PM EST
    Nice metaphor.

    Gets him a bunch of free media (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:39:39 PM EST
    coverage, and of his strong point, his military service.  

    Mkes his strong point whining (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:44:52 PM EST
    I think at this point, he looks weak and makes Obama look strong when he does not "cut Clark loose."

    McCain took a small win and has turned it into a loss.


    By the way (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:48:24 PM EST
    Does this look strong?  What a farce!

    Even George W. is bumping fists now. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:51:30 PM EST
    No he didn't. (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:54:07 PM EST
    Obama kills me.

    Exactly. No, he didn't -- with a little boy (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:15:37 PM EST
    who asked him to do so.  A great photo op gone?

    It Was Just A Lil' Kid (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by JimWash08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:35:51 PM EST
    Would it have hurt him to oblige a little supporter?

    Aren't they what he's all about; the young ones?

    First the "sweetie" brush-off. Now this?

    Sorry, big "L" of the highest order, Obama is!


    He'll call the kid tomorrow and (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:39:05 PM EST

    And reject his apology the next day. (5.00 / 2) (#150)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:17:04 AM EST
    Jeepers! (none / 0) (#122)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:32:04 PM EST
    What a p***k!

    Denounce and reject. (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:57:44 PM EST
    McCain picked up a few tips from those debates.  Next:  Shame on you, Barack Obama.

    I wonder if we'll get (none / 0) (#50)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:59:52 PM EST
    "meet me in Ohio!"

    Or, "sometimes it hurts my feelings." (none / 0) (#54)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:00:57 PM EST
    I like Atrios's latest deep thought: (none / 0) (#60)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:05:19 PM EST
    I wonder if John McCain has stopped crying yet.

    This is really funny (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:38:06 PM EST
    He's beginning to look like a whiner now. Usually Democrats behave this way.

    depends on the media, doesn't it (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:42:36 PM EST
    has the media stopped mis-representing what clark said?

    actually yes (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:43:43 PM EST
    And that is a big win (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:45:29 PM EST
    good (none / 0) (#30)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:48:13 PM EST
    two points in the truth column.

    Not that I've seen (none / 0) (#130)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:43:42 PM EST
    I guess it's about (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by daria g on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:43:45 PM EST
    Trying to see whether he can push Obama further, given that Obama caved in and rejected Clark so quickly the other day.  Just trying to see how weak he can make Obama look - either by continuing to back away by "cutting [Clark] loose" or by finally taking a stand, which also doesn't look good.  

    Clark said nothing wrong IMHO and should not apologize.

    Clinton-Clark (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by This from a broad on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:03:38 PM EST
    The real ticket should have been Clinton-Clark.  I still don't know how things went so horribly wrong.

    The Big Dems wanted it that way n/t (none / 0) (#104)
    by bridget on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:13:56 PM EST
    Keeping the hysteria fresh (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by pluege on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:09:06 PM EST
    naahh, mccain's base - US corporate media - will keep it fresh.

    Honestly... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Alec82 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:28:24 PM EST
    Do people even care or is this just a media driven thing?

     I was listening to Michele Norris grilling General Clark and the questions were so unbelievably trite and absurd that I found myself as annoyed as when she expressed surprise that same-sex marriage wasn't popular after the 2004 elections or disbelief that there was an ex-gay movement.  The press has consistently revealed itself to be a gigantic joke.  

     What Clark said is obvious and noncontroversial.  He's been saying it for weeks.  What changed, exactly? A Murdoch memo?

     Of course what do I know...I was surprised to learn Russert was our new standard for journalistic excellence just a few weeks ago and for a while I thought "Fair and Balanced" must have been an inside joke.

    It's a media contrivance but... (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:33:38 PM EST
    ...unfortunately, they make a lot of noise.

    Obama will let it drop (5.00 / 0) (#85)
    by catfish on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:32:23 PM EST
    he won't say anything, and he'll hope the issue goes away.

    Another Day More Silliness (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:40:45 PM EST
    Still trying to grasp what all the banter is about.

    One guy managed to get his plane shot out of the air. Someone asks whether such a feat qualifies you to be president. Another says, shot down qualifies you for president? I don't think so...and 200 million Americans and a billion Chinese probably agree, but half a dozen media types and one presidential candidate who still haven't listened to what was actually said step up to the mic to puff out their chest acting like someone's manhood was challenged.

    It all reminds me of of some 15 year old boy screaming, "you disrespected me".
    (Disrespect sounds so much better as a noun rather than a transitive verb)

    Two facets to JM's career (5.00 / 0) (#112)
    by denise k on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:55:42 PM EST
    There is his behavior up to getting shot down over Hanoi and then the time he spent as a POW.  The former is problematic -- like his graduating almost dead last in his class and crashing more than one plane before heading to Nam.  But to the Potemkin Villagers and McCain his time as a POW has made his military record a sacred cow.  Thou shalt not criticize McCain's military record.  Clark's comments broke that rule.  The comments could help to counter the sacred pact the press has with McCain, but it is a high-risk strategy.  The media is notoriously slow to change its pre-conceived story lines.  It helped that Clark stuck to his guns (so to speak).  At this point, Obama would do well to do the same.  

    Which guns are those? (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:13:53 PM EST
    The Reject Clark's Statement guns or the Reject the Analogy guns or the Respect and Honor McCain's Military Service guns?

    Personally (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:35:45 PM EST
    I think you can only lose in this country by going after anything about the military experience of a guy who was kept prisoner for five years and tortured.

    As several people have said up thread, there are a million things to go after McCain about that won't piss off a few million voters right off the bat.


    That sounds pretty constrained (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:42:41 PM EST
    for today's 15 year olds.

    McCain--increasingly hysterical (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by rbtalk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:02:23 PM EST
    Must be fearful of Clark.  What did he do but tell the truth?

    This is all calculated to get an emotional response from swing voters.  I think Clark needs to be the voice of reason, keep telling the truth and NOT apologize.  Apologies given when inappropriate are signs of weakness and capitulation.

    Swing voters want one thing, no matter which side:  a leader that leads and does not back down.

    I would like to re-emphasize (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by Faust on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:05:41 PM EST
    what a poster noted above. We all have to give Clark a big big thank you for staying calm, cool, collected, and not giving an inch on this. His complete unflappability in the face of this ridiculous media creation forced enough of them to look in the mirror that the village may well back off on this.

    I think they've realized that he's not going to budge and that bashing a respected GENERAL for his opinions about another veteran (who he is on record as complementing) is a little too ironic even for them.

    I don't believe that Obama orchestrated this with Clark and he should give him a big fat thank you for the way he handled this.

    That's the beauty of Clark (none / 0) (#111)
    by Montague on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:42:44 PM EST
    Totally unflappable.  He doesn't back down.  He doesn't let people get away with saying crap.  But he does it all while maintaining his cool.

    Dunno BTD (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by ks on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:07:40 PM EST
    I think the idea that this has turned into a win for Obama is a bit of a reach.  Just beacuse Obama waved his hand and said enough! and McCain had the temerity to keep pressing an advantage that the Obama camp "inartfully" opened the door on doesn't turn this into a win for Obama and a loss for McCain. This is not a topic that Obama needs to get into a prolonged battle over. The fact that this has gone on this long and has been largely framed in the MSM in McCain's favor is not good for Obama which is probably why he wants to move on.

    Also, I don't get the idea that if Obama doesn't jettison Clark, as per McCain's airplane comment, that means he will blunt McCain's overall flip flop attack.  Obama has already publically rejected Clark's comments so not dumping him now in order to now "stand up to McCain" per se, is almost besides the point and doesn't seem to be connected to the flip flops on FISA amd public financing.  

    I remember Obama's first tussle with (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:15:06 PM EST
    McCain, in the Senate. He got thoroughly clobbered, although that wasn't obvious for a couple of days. I suspect the same is true here.
    McCain is very smart about this sort of thing.

    McCain's letter about it on his website (none / 0) (#152)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:18:40 AM EST
    is masterful.  Made me wince for the recipient (if he read it).

    disagree BTD (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by jedimom on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:49:29 PM EST
    I think this is hurting no one but Obama. It is clear to all and sundry Clark wouldnt keep going at this day after day were it not with the consent of the Obama campaign which is more tightly handled and wrangled than any other in history according to reports. So we know they want Clarke to do his stint on tv showing his VEEP wrangling cred. It backfired, it makes Obama look passive aggressive saying one thing while his advisers at Center for American Progress and surrogates like Clark are saying the opposite. When we get a poll showing Americana dont like it I predict Clark will go unda da bus!!one more name off the VEEP list...

    and this isnt the only shot at mac they took:

    ...Contrast the absence of smears from the McCain camp with some of the outlandish remarks made by high-ranking Obama supporters. In April, West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV said that because McCain "was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet," and "was long gone when they hit," the Arizona senator who spent five and a half years in a Vietcong tiger cage having his arms repeatedly broken didn't really understand the carnage of war. "What happened when [the missiles] get to the ground?" Rockefeller asked a crowd at an Obama rally. "He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues." That the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller would impugn the wartime experience of John McCain is especially rich, given that the only "battle" Rockefeller has seen is when he hunts wild game at his 80-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

    from here:
    Who's smearing whom?
    By: James Kirchick
    July 1, 2008 05:07 PM EST

    Yes, passive-aggressive describes (5.00 / 3) (#137)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:55:59 PM EST
    Obama to a tee.

    and it describes Tben to a tee as well. (5.00 / 0) (#157)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:30:29 AM EST
    Am I imagining things (5.00 / 0) (#145)
    by s5 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:14:01 AM EST
    Or is McCain the whiniest, most thin-skinned politician ever to seek office? It seems like we can't go a day without more crying over his hurt feelings. boo hoo. This guy wants to be president?

    Q: Why soould we put McCain's finger on (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by scribe on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 07:23:14 AM EST
    the nuclear button?  

    He'll blow up us and the rest of the world over any opposition or questioning of him or his policies.

    This [latest] tantrum of his, over a perceived, though non-existent, slight would have disqualified him from even getting near the nomination back in the days of the Cold War.  Well, the last I checked there are still plenty of nukes running around and there is still a huge danger from accidental (or not) nucelar relase.

    So, why should we let someone with demonstrated intemperance even near the nuclear button?

    Enquiring minds want to know....

    Depends on your point of view, I suppose. (none / 0) (#184)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 07:45:23 AM EST
    There are millions of un-enquiring minds out there who want their armageddon so badly they'll happily make it, and want the rest of us to eat it too.

    As opposed to Obama, who has (none / 0) (#190)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:25:05 PM EST
    a tantrum and flips off Hillary after losing a debate? Sorry, Obama's poor temperament is a big worry for ME.

    Obama many want to be done with (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:31:24 PM EST
    this issue. The question is the media ready to be done with this issue or will they continue to remain focused on it when asking questions  and in their broadcasts.

    Does not matter (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:35:40 PM EST
    At this point, it is all hissy fit and voters no longer care about whether McCain's feelings were hurt.

    McCain overplayed his hand, such as it was created by the Media.

    At this point, they have turned on him on it.


    Yah they're both pathetic (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by djork on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:45:16 PM EST
    McCain could have won this round if he'd turned the argument back on Obama and asked what has that guy done to prove his qualifications. Instead he's behaving like a crybaby, even after Obama acted like a big weeny in basically conceding the argument to him by kneecapping Gen. Clark. I can't believe one of these clowns is going to be our next president.

    I don't think it was about feelings.. (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by daria g on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:58:44 PM EST
    It's about 'honor.'  (Whatever that means.)  It's about some [alleged] slight that allows McCain to play the "military service is sacrosanct and your statement was dishonorable" card.  (Again I don't believe these things but that's how I see the underlying narrative.)

    I think McCain will play this card again and again (probably via surrogates) now that the precedent has been set of successfully getting Obama to go on the defensive over it.


    Two things (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:04:24 PM EST
    One, McCain COULD have done it but he drew a line in the sand on that plane and Obama is going to cross over it.

    Two, Obama said ENOUGH today basically REJECTING Bill Burton's statement.

    And that will be that.

    Now, McCain can't play this card again.

    My point is by McCain PERSONALLY calling on Obama to "cut Clark loose" he upped the stakes and gave Obama a chance to stand up to him and with no where for McCain to go on this.

    Hell, this actually undercuts McCain "Obama flip flops" argument.

    A big mistake by McCain today.


    McCain's tactics worked pretty well (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:13:12 PM EST
    against that NYT story on the female lobbyist.  Bully, bully, bully, and suddenly, we hear nothing more from the NYT or any other media outlet about the lobbyist.

    different altogether (none / 0) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:23:12 PM EST
    BTD, I think you are seeing this (none / 0) (#127)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:41:42 PM EST
    too much from the alpha male perspective.  I don't believe the majority of voters see it exclusively or even primarily as a battle of alpha males.

    but would he (none / 0) (#135)
    by jedimom on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:54:00 PM EST
    I think Obama would cut Clark loose, he dumped Powers for less than this didnt he? wait until we see a poll, I think Americans do NOT like this talk about mccains war record at all, especially from someone with NO experience or their surrogates, that is how I take it, we shall see......

    Yeah, but if this manages to stay in (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:12:54 PM EST
    the news cycle for a couple more days, no one will pay any attention to the speeches Obama is giving.  McCain gets free coverage and for someone who is low on money, free publicity is good publicity.    

    McCain has actually been playing it really cool the last month or so.  He doesn't say anything controversial and almost never says anything about Obama.  He keeps introducing new ideas (offshore drilling, etc.)


    If this turns into (none / 0) (#105)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:17:02 PM EST
    "why does McCain keep whining and complaining?" I'll laugh.

    What's funny (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:33:35 PM EST
    in the original ABC article BTD posted, the only paragraph about what Clark says is this:

    For two days, the Obama campaign has been off message, forced to manage the fallout surrounding comments Clark made about McCain's war service in a broadcast interview Sunday. The highly regarded former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO said of McCain, whose plane was shot down and was later held captive in Vietnam, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."

    As long as the press just keeps repeating that portion of the whole Clark thing over and over again, it's a net gain for McCain because it reminds everyone that he's an ex-POW without him having to say a word.  


    Uh oh, that's not all they're doing. . . . (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:11:05 PM EST
    I finally had a chance to catch up some tv news watching -- and what I'm seeing is several attaboy McCain stories, such as interviews with other POWs who extol his virtues, while the video rolls again and again of the noble hero home from war -- recovering in a hospital bed from his service to this country or hobbling down the steps from the plane, maimed but smiling bravely, etc., etc.

    And amid it all, I'm hearing anger at Clark for dissing a hero.  And I'm not hearing the name Obama at all.

    Is this good?


    Bingo (5.00 / 0) (#126)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:39:48 PM EST
    As I mentioned in another thread earlier, when John Roberts was grilling Clark on CNN this afternoon -- and Clark was stoutly standing up for himself -- they ran a split screen with the grainy B&W video of young McCain wincing in pain on the bed in North Vietnam.

    Time will tell, but I don't think this is even remotely a loser for McCain.


    Can i say "ouch"? (5.00 / 0) (#131)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:46:53 PM EST
    I agree with your other comment, where you say there is no need to go after McCain's military service.

    Ouch indeed (5.00 / 0) (#136)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:55:28 PM EST
    I have no great love for the military, but I honestly don't know how you can successfully thread that needle with a guy who was tortured.

    If McCain was heavily running on his military experience being the major qualifier for office, then maybe.  But he's not and won't because he doesn't need to.  If I were Obama, I'd leave it the hell alone. I think it's only a loser for him, and it's a big loser for Democrats in general.


    But he is (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:10:38 AM EST
    If McCain was heavily running on his military experience being the major qualifier for office, then maybe.  But he's not and won't because he doesn't need to.

     Have you seen his internet ads? "Only one man has the experience to lead us" blah blah blah.  Complete with footage of his triumphant return to the states? In uniform?

     That ad also had the effect of ignoring his age, by showing him as a relatively young man. But yes, he has made it a big deal...not with words, but through rather transparent actions.



    That ad is very positive. (5.00 / 0) (#156)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:30:13 AM EST
    It doesn't say anything about Obama.  It puts McCain is a good light as being from a military family (if it's the same ad I'm seeing on TV -- the one with his grandfather and father in it).  

    One thing that ad doesn't mention are his two sons that are also in the military.  I guess he is leaving that door open so he can toss those facts into the race later, if he needs to.    


    Whether or not you like the ad.... (none / 0) (#161)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:42:34 AM EST
    ...or thought it was effective, he put his military experience on the table.  Period.  

    It may have put his military experience on the (5.00 / 0) (#163)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:55:03 AM EST
    table, but it's a very poor place for Obama to try to hit -- or any of his surrogates.  

    The main reason why is because Obama has no military experience and hardly any experience in anything else either.  

    And McCain was a POW -- Tortured?  Remember?  Anything anyone says about McCain is going to make people remember that he's a POW -- and was tortured?  Remember?  

    If he was just a plain old military guy it might be one thing, but he was a POW for 5+ years.  That makes it a little different.  


    questioning McCain's military service (5.00 / 0) (#185)
    by ccpup on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 08:05:05 AM EST
    is like sitting on the Third Rail of this campaign.  

    If I were the Obama Camp, I'd bow and scrape to McCain the POW and hit him on every other issue.  To even discuss McCain's service is to walk into political quicksand.  

    Just leave it alone, Barack.


    I'm seeing that too (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:51:03 PM EST
    I'm also noticing that they aren't giving much mention to Obama's speech on Faith today except to mention his faith based program is even bigger than Bush's was.  

    You're intellectually done w/ this but the reverb (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by Ellie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 06:32:52 AM EST
    ... at the local level will be through visible signs of military service, eg, vets on Independence Day.

    If people think of the campaigning at all, I doubt their first one will be, "Wow, Obama really scored media points there."


    I would edit that sentence to (none / 0) (#98)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:00:13 PM EST
    At this point, it is all hissy fit and voters no longer care.

    And add at the end (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:01:53 PM EST
    about either candidate's hissy fits on this.  Now, the economy?  Can we talk?

    Considering McCain.. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:34:45 PM EST

    has expressed the exact same sentiments regarding military service as a path to the White House as Clark in the past, Obama's reply should be "Sorry, Johnny. No dice."

    I envisioned Clark being jettisoned (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:37:42 PM EST
    somewhere over Latin America.

    Remember that SNL skit (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:55:33 PM EST
    when Perot drove his prospective VP, Stockdale, into the forest and left him there?

    That's what I'm visualizing. :-)


    Man, that was one of the (none / 0) (#129)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:43:10 PM EST
    all-time greats. (sigh) Wish we had good SNL back again.  Do you suppose Jon Stewart and Colbert have sucked up all the writing talent?

    You know what would really taunt McCain? (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:55:04 PM EST
    Name Clark as VP now. heh.

    Awesome. We can dream. (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:32:17 PM EST
    Awww you beat me to it (none / 0) (#165)
    by Faust on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:08:54 AM EST
    I posted too quick my bad.

    It is passing strange to just read (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 08:55:23 PM EST
    about all this (here, Huff Post, LA Times, NYT) but not see the TV coverage.  Mountain from molehill w/o the constant audio/visual.

    Oooh, ooh (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:07:50 PM EST
    Old soldiers never die, they just get cranky!

    Here is an AP article on (none / 0) (#93)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:47:49 PM EST
    the thoughts of military and vets on McCain and Obama (pre-Clark/Webb comments and cross-fire):


    Score another one for Obama (none / 0) (#106)
    by Veracitor on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:26:16 PM EST
    A nontroversy nipped in the bud.

    Maye. Maybe not. New ABC headline is (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:31:32 PM EST
    Obama: For Denouncing Clark Before He Was Against It?

    This is not good (5.00 / 0) (#109)
    by Lil on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 10:39:14 PM EST
    I don't think this is good for Obama yet.

    Headlines at NBC news (5.00 / 0) (#114)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:08:48 PM EST
    on the main page:

    McCain: Obama Should Cut Wesley Clark Loose.
    (neither here nor there -- but the article says "For two days, the Obama campaign has been off message, forced to manage the fallout surrounding comments Clark made....")

    but down the bottom, titles for ABC News vid are:

    Watch: Obama's Patriot Games
    (uh oh)
    Watch: Gen Clark: I Respect McCain's Service.
    (again with the respect!)

    Every time Obama or Clark speaks on this issue, they have to say that they respect McCain's service (which shows they do know the vagaries of attacking his military service), it just reinforces McCain's big strength.  People hear that again and again from both campaigns.

    I'd say at the end of the day, it's pretty much a draw.


    Agreed. Just did some tv watching (none / 0) (#116)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:12:20 PM EST
    and see comment #115, above.  The hero McCain, etc.

    Pattern: Obie disses person, walks away, speech (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by Ellie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 06:19:41 AM EST
    ... given on some other abstract while [yet another] fight he [started and didn't properly end] drags on without him.

    Any points Clark scored don't automatically score as a "win" for Obama just because they're both Dems. What's being stressed here is McCain's sacrifice, and in the "scoring", Obama no more gets those points than he automatically got to have HRC supporters in his column once she suspended.

    Apply the handy sorting mechanism of One of These Things Ain't Like the Other, One of these Things Doesn't Belong:

    Honorable Military Vet Gen W. Clark, Dem
    Honorable Military Vet Capt John McCain, Rep
    (???) Barack Obama, Dem

    As people get ready to downshift for Independence Day, which quality would be foremost on the public mind? Campaign strategery or those who sacrificed for freedom?

    Noting every thrust and parry for media is a blogger obsession, and whine is a blogger word, not a public perception.

    McCain's campaign don't have to tweak hard to turn this into a story about the kind of personal sacrifice that allowed the Obama family hassle-free attendance at the Church of Gawd-d@mn America for 20 years.


    Obama did not denounce anybody (none / 0) (#191)
    by Veracitor on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:42:52 PM EST
    He said he rejected the comment, but he stood by General Clark.

    What a disappointment for irrational Obama-bashers.


    Good thing McSame is so inept. (none / 0) (#119)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:17:31 PM EST

    But.... Isn't He For Torture? (none / 0) (#125)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:38:10 PM EST
    Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who is accompanying McCain on his trip to Colombia and Mexico this week, said he could cite an instance where McCain's Vietnam service influenced public policy. During the Senate debate over the Detainee Treatment Act, he recalled when McCain spoke out against torture by the United States on the grounds that it then becomes used as a propaganda by America's enemies. "That, to me, is a classic example of how his military experience helped him shape public policy in a way no other senator could have done," Graham said.

    The Trail

    He's not for torture (none / 0) (#164)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:05:42 AM EST
    This is a dishonest meme you hear sometimes, but no, he's not for torture.  He's against torture.  

    He believes the CIA should be able to operate outside of the military handbooks -- but that doesn't mean he is for torture.  


    Bwaahahahahah (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:48:35 PM EST
    Not for torture but torture is OK when it is done according to BushCO rules. No hypocrisy there, straight talk express Bush Style.  Hilarious.

    Glad to know you are for secret renditions, Gitmo and AbuGhraib.


    But Squeaky.... (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 04:32:14 PM EST
    Waterboarding isn't torture. You know that, right?

    Especially If It Is Done By A Trained Specialist (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 05:17:50 PM EST
    Like a CIA agent, or a Egyptian concierge working in a Cairo dungeon.

    Then it certainly not torture because no one, except the above certified technicians mentioned above, has seen it. Like the trees falling in the forest that never make a sound. It is not torture.


    Well now I'm really confused (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 05:29:42 PM EST
    Why would brainless frothing at the mouth rabid wingnuts lie about it? Or are they just stupid and believe that it's not torture?

    Or maybe Hitchens is the top 2% of the 20%'ers and it's only the rest of them that are a little challenged?

    Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, and 24% have no idea what country America gained its independence following the Revolutionary War.

    All of which may help explain why bush is in the oval office, but none of which explains McCain's polling results.

    Go figure...


    Just Like Being Against The Death Penalty (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:49:49 PM EST
    Unless the executioner is a MD or RN....

    Deep Thought: (none / 0) (#138)
    by Faust on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:59:43 PM EST
    Obama cuts Clark loose by making him VP.

    In my mind (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by flyerhawk on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:02:36 AM EST
    there is no question that Clark is being auditioned, and doing admirably well.

    I was indifferent to Clark, politically, prior to this whole tiff.  I was worried that he didn't have the political savvy to be a legit VP.  His performance this week has given me reason to believe that he is a legitimate and perhaps even desirable running mate for Obama.


    That would be my preferred interpretation (none / 0) (#178)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 04:47:23 AM EST
    of cutting Clark loose.  Let 'er rip!

    Just curious (none / 0) (#139)
    by flyerhawk on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:00:14 AM EST
    but how many people agree with me now that this was a completely planned attack on McCain?

    McCain is in full whine mode now.  He's a thin-skinned guy who cannot tolerate his "image" being tarnished.

    FTR, if you believe that this was a horrible gaffe by the Obama campaign, good for you.  I am not much interested in arguing with the same 6 people about how Obama is an abject failure in all aspects of life.

    Duh, it was planned. (none / 0) (#144)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:11:24 AM EST
    Since McCain has skinned Obama a few times already, I don't see any reason to be confident Obama will win this battle. We'll see.

    Duh? (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by flyerhawk on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:14:44 AM EST
    yesterday you couldn't stop telling us that Obama was horrible for throwing Clark in front of the bus.

    Now it's "Duh, it was planned"?

    The fact that you think Obama will lose every skirmish to McCain is about as shocking as the Sun rising in the East.


    Obama's followthrough is bad, IMO, (none / 0) (#149)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:16:39 AM EST
    but maybe he is playing this right. I am in a wait and see mode right now.

    Just dumb and dumbest (none / 0) (#151)
    by Yotin on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:17:52 AM EST
    attacking your opponent strong suit is usually a losing proposition, particularly that Obama has nothing to offer himself on this. In terms of executive experience, Obama is zip.

    we all know that the whole thing is scripted. Clark is never known to be a loose cannon. On the other hand, he's highly discipline. Obama acts to stay above it has fallen flat.

    attempts to diminish McCain's experience is just a dumb tactic notwithstanding Obama's need to negate that McCain's advantage.

    Obama attacking a Dem's strong suit (5.00 / 2) (#155)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:23:32 AM EST
    when the Dem was in a pantsuit worked fine.

    Against a Republican, looks like not so much.  As was predicted here.  Maybe it's the Obama camp that has to get over the primary and get with the new game?


    actually, not true (5.00 / 0) (#160)
    by tben on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:36:22 AM EST
    Attacking your opponents strong suit is very smart strategy. Thats exactly what Bush did to Kerry on his war record - even though Bush had no cred on his side - and it worked. Bush also attacked Gore's long list of legitimate accomplishments by mocking him for claiming accomplishments.

    If you can attack your opponents strength, and go back and forth a few rounds such that it seems to the general public that the two of you both have some pretty good points on the subject, suddenly the two of you can be seen as roughly equal - i.e. you have neutralized the opponents advantage. All that is left then to distinguish him are his weaknesses.


    Actually, one of the things I learned (5.00 / 0) (#162)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:51:33 AM EST
    in college is that, in political campaigns, you should always attack.  Never defend, always attack.  Seriously.  At least that is what they taught in the 1970s.  

    The minute you start defending, you are carrying someone else's message.  

    Obama is falling for this pretty often because he attacks, then he defends.  He should only attack and then move on to the next attack.  

    Hillary did better when she quit defending herself.  She started winning when she attacked more.  

    I haven't paid that much attention to McCain's campaign but just judging on this bit (with Clark), McCain has turned his defense into an attack.  So he's attacking -- which would be the right thing to do.  He's putting Obama on the defensive unless Obama can figure out a way to turn this into an attack.  

    I'm just wondering now if they teach this in debating classes or law classes?  I can't remember if I learned this in an advertising class, a marketing class or a communications class...   I guess lawyers would be taught to defend...?    


    heh (none / 0) (#169)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:43:21 AM EST
    I guess lawyers would be taught to defend...?

     Depends on which side of the v you find yourself on.  And also who you are selling your argument to.

     Admittedly, as a law student the only opportunity I have had to argue in front of a jury was a simulation, and I was playing the (unwanted) role of a prosecutor in a criminal case with racial undertones.  I basically ignored the bombastic advice of NITA and other trial advocacy specialists and went with a calm, cool, controlled approach.  And I won.

     Lawyers, although quite adept at politics in practice, are bad examples of what it takes to win in politics, at least in terms of their training.  That's partly because there are ground rules that simply do not exist during a political campaign.  They are always operating within the confines of those rules.  And they must.  

      Lawyers are very good legislators, as a rule of thumb, because they understand legislation in a way others cannot.  And a judge without legal training is unqualified, in my opinion.  Beyond that, it is a plus, but not decisive.  



    The class I took (5.00 / 0) (#170)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:35:08 AM EST
    Which wasn't for lawyers, taught "attack all the time."

    Obama's drug use, which he admits to (at least partially -- because we know that no drug user ever admits everything he has done) is out in the open due to what he has written in his books.  

    I notice that no one has attacked Obama on that...?  I assume they are saving that attack for the general election.  Since they are staying far away from that, I assume they have a very potent attack to launch.  This will be interesting when it happens.    

    Anyway...  Attack, never defend.  


    I think the GOP (5.00 / 0) (#186)
    by ccpup on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 08:15:22 AM EST
    sees how effortlessly Obama buries himself, so they're giving him more rope before shoveling on -- subtly -- the questions about his drug use.  Probably about the same time they resurrect Wright and introduce Ayres.

    For Evangelicals and potentially McCain-friendly  Swing Voters, this combo may be what officially and definitely turn them away from him come October and into Election Day.

    I bet Obama wishes he was -- with his ex-buddies in the Media -- still running against Hillary.


    Lawyers (none / 0) (#171)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:39:03 AM EST
    I'd agree and add that what I learned in law school was to always speak as if you absolutely knew what you were talking about, even if you didn't have a clue or were not, in fact, even speaking the same language as others in the room.

    That's whether you're on the attacking or defending end.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:52:12 AM EST
    You guys obviously learned much more practical information in law school than I did.

    Personally, I find that an understanding of politics is much more useful in the practice of law than legal training is in the political arena.  Many new lawyers get caught up in the trappings of the formal moot court style when, at heart, everything is a political argument.  What matters is not being right, but being persuasive.


    I've always thought.... (none / 0) (#174)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:11:31 AM EST
    ...that moot court is bad training ground.  First, case law is usually too decisive to win except in the most unsettled areas.  Second, it involves little in the way of persuasion.  Appealing a case on factual issues is almost always a loser.  There's a reason it is almost always framed as a legal issue...by the appealing party.



    Yeah.... (none / 0) (#173)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:53:35 AM EST
    ...that seems fairly typical.  Not sure how much helps in practice. You can speak with all the authority you want...if the case law or statutes aren't on your side, or even arguable, I doubt the efficacy.



    Okay, so (5.00 / 0) (#175)
    by Grace on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:33:49 AM EST
    political campaign, you attack!  How hard is that?!  

    Obama is NOT doing well on this.  McCain is doing a pretty good job.  McCain is laying low most of the time and the only time he comes up it's to attack!  

    Obama is out there talking all the time and he only appears to defend.  That's not good.  


    I don't even understand (none / 0) (#176)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:47:14 AM EST
    What are you talking about?  You obviously were not responding to my post. Frankly it had little to do with Obama or McCain.  

    I promise you (none / 0) (#187)
    by ccpup on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 08:17:30 AM EST
    that the GOP will turn Obama's ability to make a "good speech" into a liability.  Look for buzz words like "lecture" and "long-winded" or "that's all he can do" or something like that.

    And without the speeches, what will Obama have to offer?  McCain knows that.


    are we at least admitting today (none / 0) (#182)
    by TimNCGuy on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 07:17:53 AM EST
    that Clark is part of the Obama campaign as an official advisor?

    McCain should shut up and apologize to Hillary (none / 0) (#192)
    by unitannews on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:45:35 PM EST
    Senator McCain and his supporters should shut up and take the truth.  His military service, though commendable, does not qualify him to be the president.  Last time I checked the only qualifications for the position was a United States Citizen, born in the United States and 35 years of age.  By the way, we still need to establish whether or not McCain's being born in the Panama Canal qualifies him to run for president.  Clark was right, McCain and others know it too.

    Obama should cut that idiot clark loose (none / 0) (#201)
    by katmandu on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:30:14 AM EST
    he just makes Obama look bad.
    McCain is highly qualified for the job, more so
    than Obama.
    Obama needs to get out of the ivory tower and
    get in touch with the common people.