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Press Release - Statement by Commander Paul Galanti on Gen. Wesley Clark's Attack on John McCain

June 30, 2008

ARLINGTON, VA -- Vietnam Prisoner of War and Chair of Virginia Veterans for McCain Chair Commander Paul Galanti, USN (Ret.) released the following statement today regarding Wesley Clark's attack on John McCain's military service on CBS "Face the Nation":

"It is clear that Barack Obama, by allowing his campaign to attack the service of John McCain, will say and do anything to get elected. Wesley Clark has no basis for his statement yesterday on "Face the Nation." I can't believe a general officer would make such a transparent political statement; his real motives are highly suspect. John McCain is proud of his record of always putting the country first -- from his time in the Navy, in Vietnam and through to today and attacks like this show that Obama's calls for a new kind of politics' ring very hollow."

Commander Paul Galanti spent seven years in a North Vietnamese prison after being shot down in June 1966. He had flown 97 combat missions. After his retirement from the Navy in 1982, he served as the CEO of the Virginia Pharmacy and Medical Societies, and has been active in entrepreneurial ventures, and veterans affairs policies on both th e state and national level.

Background:

Yesterday On CBS' "Face The Nation," Wesley Clark Attacked John McCain's Military Service. CLARK: "But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded? It wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, 'I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not, do you want to take the risk, what about your reputation, how do we handle this publicly?' He hasn't made those points Bob." (CBS' "Face The Nation," 6/29/08)

When Pressed, Clark Said "I Don't Think Riding In A Fighter Plane And Getting Shot Down Is A Qualification To Be President." CBS' BOB SCHIEFFER: "Well, General, could I just interrupt you. I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down." CLARK: "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President." (CBS' "Face The Nation," 6/29/08)

Wesley Clark's Attack On McCain Contradicts Barack Obama's Promise For A New Kind Of Politics:

"Senator Barack Obama Often Offers A Crisp Sales Pitch To Voters, Imploring Them To Be Part Of Something New, Different And Hopeful. 'If You Want A New Kind Of Politics,' He Says, 'It's Time To Turn The Page.'" (Jeff Zeleny, "A New Kind Of Politics Closely Resembles The Old," The New York Times, 6/16/07)

Barack Obama: "We've got to get beyond the small politics ... the slash and burn politics that have become the custom in Washington." ("Obama Denounces 'Slash And Burn' Politics," The Associated Press, 2/19/07)

Barack Obama: "We don't want the small, timid, slash and burn, negative campaigning of the past." (Josh Hafenbrack, "Obama Barack Obama Calls For New Political Spirit During South Florida Campaign Swing," [Fort Lauderdale, FL] Sun Sentinel, 3/26/07)

Barack Obama: "I know that in Washington it is acceptable to say or do anything it takes to get elected, but I really don't think that is the kind of politics that is good for our party, and I don't think it is good for our country, and I think that the American people will reject it in this election." (Ben Smith, "Obama: Clinton Rewrites History," The Politico's "Ben Smith" Blog, www.politico.com, 1/13/08)

FLASHBACK: Obama Surrogate Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) Attacked John McCain's Character And Military Service:

Senator Rockefeller: "McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues." (Paul J. Nyden, "Jay Defends Endorsement Of Sen. Obama," The Charleston Gazette, 4/8/08)

Townhall's Matt Lewis: "This is the second incident in less than a week where we have seen an Obama surrogate -- not just questioning Sen. McCain's ideas -- but directly attacking his character, integrity, and war experience. Is this a pattern we should get used to?" (Matt Lewis, "Another Obama Surrogate Attacks McCain's Honor," Townhall's "Blog," www.townhall.com, 4/8/08)

FLASHBACK: Barack Obama Failed To Condemn Remarks From Obama Supporter Ed Schultz Calling John McCain "A Warmonger":

Obama Surrogate Talk Radio Host Ed Schultz Warmed Up Crowd By Calling McCain "A Warmonger." "But Mr. Schultz, a supporter of Senator Barack Obama, may have gone too far late Friday when he called Senator John McCain 'a warmonger.' Mr. Schultz made the remarks while revving up a group of Obama supporters at a $100-a-head fund raiser at the North Dakota Democratic Party's convention in Grand Forks." (Larry Rohter, "McCain Called A 'Warmonger' At Obama Event," The New York Times' "The Caucus" Blog, www.nytimes.com, 4/5/08)

MSBNC's First Read: "The Obama Campaign Didn't Condemn Schultz's Remark..." "As mentioned earlier, the Obama campaign didn't condemn Schultz's remark, but issued this statement: 'John McCain is not a warmonger and should not be described as such. He's a supporter of a war that Senator Obama believes should have never been authorized and never been waged.'" (Mark Murray, "McCain On The 'Warmonger' Remark," MSNBC's "First Read" Blog, firstread.msnbc.msn.com, 4/5/08)

FLASHBACK: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) Criticized McCain's Service In The Military:

Senator Tom Harkin Said McCain's Views Come "From Always Having Been In The Military, And I Think That Can Be Pretty Dangerous." "Republican presidential candidate John McCain's family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, 'and he has a hard time thinking beyond that,' Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., said Friday. 'I think he's trapped in that,' Harkin said in a conference call with Iowa reporters. 'Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous.'" (Jane Norman, "Harkin: McCain Too 'Military,'" The Des Moines Register, 5/17/08)

John McCain, Press Release - Statement by Commander Paul Galanti on Gen. Wesley Clark's Attack on John McCain Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/294316

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