Clark in Context

I just wanted to provide a little context to my piece about the losing line of argument against John McCain’s military service. As a reader points out, Wesley Clark didn’t go out of his way to say the line about McCain getting shot down – Bob Schieffer prompted him. Here’s the full context from the Face the Nation transcript:

Clark: He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he hastraveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executiveresponsibility. That large squadron in Air- in the Navy that hecommanded, it wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there andordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomatscome in and say, ‘I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to getthis point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What aboutyour reputation? How do we handle it-’

Bob Schieffer: Well-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: ’ -it publicly.’ He hasn’t made those calls, Bob.

Bob Schieffer: Well, well, General, maybe-


Bob Schieffer: Could I just interrupt you. If-


Bob Schieffer: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had anyof those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane andgotten shot down. I mean-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.

Bob Schieffer: Really?!

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: But Barack is not, he is not running on the fact that he has made these national security pronouncements.

This doesn’t change the point that Clark – and others before him – doubt the value of McCain’s service for a commander-in-chief. But the context does make Clark’s quote sound less like an “attack” than an answer to a question.