On CBS's Face the Nation this morning, Obama surrogate Gen. Wesley Clark said of John McCain: "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."
The McCain campaign responded with a statement from Admiral Leighton "Snuffy" Smith:
If Barack Obama wants to question John McCain's service to his country, he should have the guts to do it himself and not hide behind his campaign surrogates. If he expects the American people to believe his pledges about a new kind of politics, Barack Obama has a responsibility to condemn these attacks.
Clark's attack is a bit like saying that JFK's boat getting sunk wasn't a qualification to become president in 1960. Can you imagine the outrage if someone said that Clark's getting shot four times in Vietnam didn't count as a qualification for the presidency?
When choosing a commander-in-chief, most voters do take into account the courage and heroism that candidates displayed while serving their country.
McCain's citation for the Distinguished Flying Cross states: "Although his aircraft was severely damaged, he continued his bomb delivery pass and released his bombs on the target. When the aircraft would not recover from the dive, Commander McCain was forced to eject over the target." Does Clark know this?
Is Clark unaware that McCain won a Silver Star for resisting "extreme mental and physical cruelties" inflicted upon him by his North Vietnamese captors? Or that McCain won the Navy Commendation Medal for declining early release?
The man that Clark supports, Sen.Obama, routinely refers to McCain's heroism.
Shouldn't Clark apologize personally to McCain? Shouldn't Obama disavow Clark's comments?